Les Petits Chefs make dumplings with Chef Vanessa Yeung

This week, Les Petits Chefs had the privilege of working with Chef Vanessa Yeung, Chef/ Partner of Aphrodite Cooks. Vanessa’s culinary journey began as a cook in catering companies in and around the Toronto area. Desiring a deeper knowledge and understanding of food, she applied to the Stratford Chefs School.

Vanessa graduated with the Award of Culinary Excellence and a prestigious apprenticeship at one of Canada’s top restaurants, Scaramouche. It was there she honed her skills and her palate, to understand that sometimes simplicity is the road to perfection.  After her time as a research and development chef at one of Canada’s largest food manufacturing companies, Vanessa felt her true calling was catering and providing personal chef services. She has catered to the Hospital for Sick Children, York University, University of Toronto and the Credit Union of Ontario. Vanessa has also worked as a private chef to some of Toronto’s most prestigious professional athletes.  If you live in or near Toronto, check out the schedule for the cooking classes at Aphrodite Cooks.  I first met Vanessa when I sat in on a day at the kids’ cooking classes at Nella Cucina last summer and right away, I knew she would make an excellent guest chef for my little guys.

The boys were excited to make dumplings with Vanessa – she certainly picked fabulous recipes to keep many little hands busy!  Under Vanessa’s calm and gentle guidance, we made Vegetarian Soi Gau “Water Dumplings” and Ginger Chicken Potstickers.

I love the way the boys just dive in there and tackle any task that is given to them.  I think we can learn a lot from their attitude – there’s never “I can’t do it”, it’s always “What’s next?”

Yup, we’re getting VERY good at mincing garlic!

The boys worked with some unusual (to them) ingredients this week – bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.

And we watched as the greens magically dwindled to nothing…

The boys made adjustments to the recipes based on the fact that I couldn’t get a hold of all the ingredients necessary and ended up making triangular vegetable dumplings instead of little bundles. They worked just as well.

Meanwhile, over at “Team Chicken”, the boys enjoyed the “gross” factor of the raw chicken….

But did a SPECTACULAR job assembling the potstickers…

Aren’t these amazing???

Meanwhile, over in “Team Gluten Free”, Vanessa showed Will how to make his own dumpling dough using tapioca flour. Again, I am so impressed with what a great job he did!

Totally professional looking dim sum dumplings!!!

And the taste?  I only got a nibble at a couple of the chicken potstickers but they were really really good. As in, I need to try these at home. Not sure I can assemble them as professionally as the boys but I can try!

Chef Vanessa has kindly agreed to share the recipe for the vegetable water dumplings with you all – I highly recommend you make these. If you have kids, get them involved too!

Vegetarian Soi Gau “Water Dumplings”

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Dim-sum steamed vegetable dumplings

Yields 10


  • 2 cups Gai Lan leaves, shredded
  • 2 1⁄2 cups Nappa Cabbage, shredded
  • 3 green onions sliced
  • 1⁄4 cup bamboo shoots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 cup water


  1. Heat a wok or sauté pan with vegetable oil.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Add all the vegetables and stir together until vegetables wilt.
  4. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  5. Remove from wok or pan and allow mixture to cool.
  6. To form dumplings mix cornstarch and water together, this will be the glue that will seal the dumplings.
  7. Take one wonton wrapper and place about 1 teaspoon of the vegetable mixture.
  8. Dip your finger in the cornstarch and water mixture and run it around the edges of the square.
  9. Gather all edges of the wrapper and bring them together into a bundle.
  10. Place finished dumplings on a baking sheet.
  11. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  12. Add a few of the dumplings at a time. They will pop up to surface when they are cooked.
  13. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon.
  14. Enjoy while warm and serve with chili sauce or soy sauce.



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44 Responses to Les Petits Chefs make dumplings with Chef Vanessa Yeung

  1. Liz May 19, 2011 at 07:40 #

    What lucky boys! These pot stickers look amazing…I’d love a few for lunch 🙂 Well, maybe more than a few…

  2. Adora's Box May 19, 2011 at 07:46 #

    Dumplings are very addictive, aren’t they? You can’t quite tell when you’ve had enough. Those dumplings are fantastic. I like the way the wontons are wrapped like tortellini. Love those pot sticker wrappers.

  3. Nelly Rodriguez May 19, 2011 at 08:02 #

    Both of the dumplings look delicious!

  4. Mr. Neil May 19, 2011 at 08:25 #

    Me too please for lunch – I’m missing my taste box from LPC today. 🙁

    As for wine pairings, I’d go classic with something off-dry. Riesling (Alsace/Germany) is the traditional match, but as we’re entering the summer months here in the northern hemisphere, you might want to try a rose – but again with slightly more residual sugar. For those who favour the exotic, Gewurztraminer is worth a shot: but very much an acquired taste, that.

  5. Paula May 19, 2011 at 10:01 #

    No wonder you are so proud of *your boys*, they did awesome in this class with Vanessa and she was wonderful to come and share her expertise with them. I love seeing that the boys were able to do all the prep work for these and yes, their pot stickers are beautifully assembled. Great job everyone! Mardi I love all the great culinary experiences and fantastic people you are exposing these young chefs to.

  6. Belinda @zomppa May 19, 2011 at 11:13 #

    These are fantastic!! Professional-quality – very impressive.

  7. Valerie May 19, 2011 at 11:15 #

    That’s fantastic! Lucky are you guys! And those colors in your photos, they are great!

  8. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 19, 2011 at 12:19 #

    Wow… I am so impressed!! I can assure you that the time that I made pot stickers, they did not look nearly that good. Can’t wait to try this recipe… Sounds amazing!

  9. foodwanderings May 19, 2011 at 12:35 #

    Mardi, Absolutely mouth watering post and photographs. I haven’t had lunch been hungry since 10am and would love some of these pot stickers. Faving this recipe!!

  10. K A B L O O E Y May 19, 2011 at 12:44 #

    I LOVE this post. The pictures are easy to follow and the colors pop. The writing bursts with pride for your students. I was wondering: do they read the blog? Do their parents? Also, its amazing to consider that you have a well-known chef, three different dumplings being made and you still get to take so many wonderful pictures. Great job.

  11. Emily May 19, 2011 at 13:04 #

    Do you have the recipe for the GF dumpling wrappers? I’ve been dying for a good homemade recipe!

    I love how you’re getting the boys into cooking. How awesome for them!

  12. Mindy May 19, 2011 at 13:31 #

    How wonderful….I wanna be “one of the boys” PLEASE!!! Those look so delicious. What a great post!

  13. Kate@Diethood May 19, 2011 at 16:10 #

    I am jealous of these little kids! 😉 They get to do all this at such a young age… lucky! The dumplings look like a pro made them… bravo!

  14. working london mummy May 19, 2011 at 17:02 #

    these look fantastic what a nice idea and fun for kids to make

  15. Renee @kudoskitchen May 19, 2011 at 17:41 #

    Those boys did a wonderful job! They are showing some real, true talent in the kitchen. All of the photos are outstanding as well. Loved everything about this!

  16. Tami May 19, 2011 at 18:12 #

    Soooooo……..how do you fold those little potstickers????? Maybe a guest blog from Les Petite Chefs is warranted!!!!

  17. bridget {bake at 350} May 19, 2011 at 18:16 #

    These look great…and you’re right…I love that attitude that boys have! 🙂

  18. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts May 19, 2011 at 21:51 #

    How cute are these! They look so good!

  19. Cookin' Canuck May 19, 2011 at 23:49 #

    I just love these classes, Mardi! Those boys are going to remember this experience forever. Those dumplings look irresistible.

  20. penny aka jeroxie May 22, 2011 at 07:20 #

    your boys are so lucky to get exposure to awesome cooks… and I am pretty sure you can make these at home

  21. Eleanor Hoh (WokStar) May 24, 2011 at 00:07 #

    Mardi, I’m just too lazy to make dumplings from scratch so I give full marks to your boys! You hit it on the head why kids love gruesome stuff like raw chicken, ha, ha! I would like to try the ones with tapioca flour not that soon though, can I ‘borrow’ your boys?

  22. Conor @ Hold the Beef May 24, 2011 at 01:53 #

    The boys’ talents continue to amaze. I am demanding, in advance, continued “Where are they now?” updates when they’re grown up 🙂


  1. Spicy Merguez Moussaka from eat. live. travel. write. | my kitchen addiction - May 31, 2011

    […] her Les Petits Chefs – a group of her students who prepare some pretty awesome recipes (like steamed vegetable dumplings!) under her magnificent guidance. Sometimes I wish I could enroll as a student at her school just […]

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