They’re baaaaack! That’s right, Les Petits Chefs are raring to go after March Break and Easter and we have lots of exciting adventures planned – field trips and guest chefs cooking with the boys – some old favourites (we’re so grateful when the chefs want to come back and work with the boys!) and some new faces too! We’re welcoming some regular Petits Chefs into the club as well as some new to club boys which is always exciting! Since I started the guest chef programme in the spring of 2011, I have not had a shortage of chefs and foodie folks wanting to come and work with the boys and this term I even have too many people willing to work with the boys for the amount of weeks we had! Chef Mary Hulbert is a new face in the Petits Chefs
kitchen science lab and she’s been keen to work with the boys for a while now!
Mary Hulbert is a raw vegan chef and culinary nutritionist who divides her time between Toronto and Muskoka. She brings out the best in people and vegetables with her passion for healthy living using wholesome plant-based foods. Mary offers a range of culinary services from her private cooking studio in Muskoka, and hosts wellness retreats in cottage country. She is the Muskoka Ambassador for Food Revolution Day. When in the Toronto area, Mary teaches workshops at TheDepanneur in Toronto, and Relish Cooking Studio in Waterloo. In her spare time, she volunteers at The Stop Community Food Centre’s After School Program at Wychwood Barns where she helps teach cooking classes for elementary school children.
To be perfectly honest with you (as I tend to be here), I was a little nervous about raw, vegan food myself. It’s not something that I know a lot about and I wondered what we would be up to! Mary sent me the recipes a few days before with mentions of “spiralizers” and mini-food processors. Kitchen gadgets? I knew the boys would love it, no matter what! Gadgets are the best! And, as we would all find out together, raw food is pretty tasty as well as fun!
The boys were intrigued by the ingredients. And some were VERY excited to see the microplane for zesting the lemons. To the point of calling dibs on it before we had even started the session. Who knew zesting lemons was so much fun?
The boys started off making “Chocolate Tangerine Bliss Balls“. With pumpkin seeds, raw cacao powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, dates, vanilla and tangerine extract and prepared in a mini food processor, these are the easiest “energy” treats to prepare. The boys loved all the measuring and blitzing in the processors which was undertaken with much gusto!
In about 10 minutes, we had bliss. Chocolate tangerine bliss! The boys seemed to love the finished product (yes, I saw you all sneaking tastes!) even though the dates were not a huge hit when Mary handed out tastes at the beginning of the session. Dates ARE a bit odd on their own (I love them, myself) but blitzed with all that protein-rich goodness and cacao powder? Perfection! I’ll bet not many of those made it home!
Next up, Chef Mary had us preparing Zucchini “pasta” with Lemon Herb Pesto. A gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free version of pesto, made with hemp seeds, garlic and herbs with abovementioned lemon zest and lemon juice. Made in the mini food processor. So much fun! We used Three Farmers camelina oil, a Canadian cold-pressed artisan oil high in Omega-3 and Vitamin D that is able to hold up in the cold, ensuring that marinades don’t congeal in the fridge, as well as the heat, with a smoke point of 475°F! Due to its Vitamin-E content, camelina oil’s shelf life is significantly longer than other cold-pressed, high-Omega-3 oils, easily lasting between 12 and 24 months. Another cool feature is that you are able to track your oil online by entering the product code found on the bottle (or scanning the QR code from a mobile device) to find out exactly who made your oil, and where. For example, the bottle we used during the club session was produced in September 2012 and was the batch that appeared on Dragon’s Den! The seed for this batch of oil was grown by Colin Rosengren. This crop was fall seeded in 2009 for an early harvest in 2010. Cool info huh? Check out our bottle’s trace info here!
Once the pesto was ready, the boys got to use the best. kitchen. gadget. ever. The Spiralizer.
Transforming the humble zucchini into gorgeous spirals of “pasta”.
To be topped with the gorgeously vibrant pesto. What a pretty meal!
I actually heated this up a little at home (I know, I know, then it’s not raw…) and it made a delightful accompaniment to some oven-baked fish and new potatoes. I tasted it raw too ad it was extremely tasty. Not sure I’d have it in place of regular pasta but what a fun, beautiful and tasty dish. And what a great introduction to raw, vegan food for the boys!
As Chef Mary taught the boys to say and do in the kitchen, “Chef Bump” to the boys for such a great job and such open minds! (the Chef Bump is what you do so you don’t have to touch hands with anyone doing high five after you’ve washed your hands in the kitchen). Having overheard one Petit Chef say to another “Let’s do a running Chef Bump” and watching as the other looked at me and said “That’s a really bad idea…” I have the feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot more “Chef Bump” moments this term!
Canadian readers – did you enter my Pati’s Mexican Table giveaway yet? Closes Thursday April 11th.