-By Crystal Lee
I walked from the bus stop to the MacEwan University residences located at the City Centre Campus where I was one of the first to arrive at the new Get Cooking (@getcookingyeg) space. Housed at the southeast corner of the building’s main floor, it’s easy to assume from the outdoor patio that nothing more than a simple coffee shop exists there. That’s false. Having outgrown her Riverbend home, Get Cooking founder and chef Kathryn Joel has completely revamped the room into a commercial kitchen where she plans to continue teaching diverse courses with the help of several talented chefs.
The official media launch and grand opening took place on Friday, Oct. 17, serving as a way to get local foodies excited about the move to the downtown location and to hint at the kind of plans the Get Cooking team has in store. As I took a seat while we waited for the event to begin, I watched as the whole team meticulously prepped ingredients for the evening’s demonstrations and canapes, scooped dough onto pans, checked on food baking in the ovens and tidied up.
Eventually, it seemed that most guests had trickled into the studio. So, after a quick introduction of what the evening would
entail, the chefs were off to the races with Kathryn, Stephen Baidacoff (@Sbaidacoff), Israel Alvarez (@dubspark), Eric Hanson (@ChefEricHanson) and Wendy Mah (@wenDmah) showing us the work involved in making some of the delicious finger foods that we would be sampling throughout the night.
Outfitted with cameras that provide a bird’s eye view of the kitchen counter, it is a fairly high tech operation. Images from the cameras are broadcast on a few elevated TV screens around the room, meaning no matter where you find yourself situated, you can still see exactly what is happening with the food. The shiny new kitchen also has the ability to facilitate a lot more students than Kathryn has previously set up at her home. With space for at least 30 people (likely a few more, if they want to squeeze in some extras) around the metal tables and the main counter, you can enjoy a few incredible hours learning how to cook a foreign cuisine or cook with local foods (something that is really important to Kathryn) while making some new friends. Or, perhaps your organization can take advantage of the team building classes that Get Cooking has to offer.
Better yet, if you believe that you have come up with the next great food product or menu item, but you aren’t sure how to get it off the ground, the chefs at Get Cooking would be happy to help you develop your recipe by acting as an incubator or lab for individuals, entrepreneurs and business owners. They hope that by continually getting involved in the community, they can assist in bringing other peoples’ ideas to life.
This team’s willingness to share their expertise led them to their first collaboration with Prairie Noodle Shop (@YEGNoodles), the brainchild of Arden Tse who wanted to bring this city a uniquely Albertan bowl of ramen. Paired with Stephen Baidacoff, their creation was the showcase of the evening as they invited everyone to join them the following night for the Pop-Up Shop at the Get Cooking studio where they would be selling 100 orders to see just how hungry Edmontonians were for authentic ramen with a twist (by the way, it was a hit!).
With E-town’s burgeoning food scene making waves in the culinary world with establishments like RGE RD having just been named as one of EnRoute Magazine’s best new restaurants in Canada, there is certainly plenty of potential for the growing Get Cooking to forge some amazing partnerships while continuing to spread their culinary knowledge to the masses.