I’ve been lucky enough to go to a fair share of food events over the past year as The Everyday Foodie, but never have I been to an event where it would be a complete hands on learning experience. In the past, the events I have been to had the meal already prepped for me to eat. All I had to do was show up, take pictures, and chow down. This time around I actually had to cook the food myself first and let me tell you, it was a blast doing it!
I was fortunate to be invited to the premiere Blogger’s Party of Weber Canada. If you are not familiar with the brand Weber, you just may have to look outside your patio right now to see that the grill you may already own is actually a Weber grill. Weber-Stephen Products LLC is one of the biggest and most popular grilling manufactures of charcoal, gas and electric outdoor grills originating from Chicago,Illinois. With an international presence now in more than 72 countries, Weber-Stephen Canada Co has built and opened its doors to Canada’s first Grilling Academy in Vaughan, Ontario.
Weber’s Grill Academy is a custom-designed learning facility dedicated to the art and skill of grilling. It offers regularly scheduled public grilling classes as well as private parties and corporate events. In each grilling class, you will get 3 hours of instruction from the Grill Specialist and celebrity Chef Michael P. Clive. The classes range from beginner to intermediate and advanced where you will get a chance to eat your very own grilling creations!
Here is my very own experience at the Weber’s Grill Academy.
As mentioned earlier, the Grill Academy is located in Vaughan, Ontario (about a 25 minute drive from Toronto), so knowing that I was not close to its vicinity, Weber Canada offered to provide me car service and picked me up directly after I got off work in North York. I was expecting maybe a volunteer of the company to come drive their own car and pick me and all the others in maybe a mini van of sorts. Was I ever mistaken. I was provided full car concierge service! A long black Lincoln was actually waiting for me outside of my building with a sign that had my name on its window to let me know that yes, that decked out Lincoln was in fact for me. That man staring me down through the tinted windows? Yes, he was my very own personal chauffeur! The driver, in his fancy suit, stepped out to let me in the car and transported me down to the Grill Academy in Vaughan. Did I arrive in style or what!
As soon as I entered the Grill Academy, I was immediately greeted by Theresa Stahl (Public Relations Director of Weber - Stephen Canada Co.), who was the one who was kind enough to extend me this invitation and handed me my very own custom apron with my name sewn into it. After chatting up with some of the other bloggers in attendance (which included a contestant from Master Chef Canada Season 2), the night was officially about to start and the 17 of us bloggers were split up into 4 groups each manning one of the designated grilling stations.
With Chef Michael P. Clive now at the helm, we were going to start to grill our 5 course dinner for the night. With step by step instructions from the instructor himself and also a very handy iPad at every grilling station, the first course was on deck.
1) Smoked Chicken Drumettes with Orange - Honey Glaze
2) Cedar - Planked Salmon with Honey - Lime Dressing
3) Asparagus and Potato Napoleons with Tarragon Vinaigrette
4) Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
5) Grilled Pineapple Upside - Down Cake
Once all the food was cooked and plated, we all went to the dining area and ate our delicious grilled food we worked so ever hard to make. It was extremely impressive to know that we could actually bake a cake using a grill. When you come to think of it, it does make complete sense as you are essentially using the grill as your substitute for the oven, so yes even cupcakes are possible to be made in a Weber! My favourite dish of the night was hands down the Cedar Planked Salmon. The cedar plank does wonders for the seasoning, not to mention making the salmon incredibly moist, flaky, and tender infused with a delicate sweet and smoky aroma from the grill.
Before the night ended, there was just one more big surprise for all of us. Not only did we walk away with a free grilling lesson from Chef Clive worth $125, under a large blanket near the entrance of the building it was unveiled that every single one of us were going to go home with a loot bag including a brand new Weber Q1200 grill in our favourite colours worth over $300! You can just imagine how excited and happy everyone was at that point and we were thrilled to know that we could actually practice our grilling techniques and recipes now at the comfort of our own home, or practically anywhere on the go as this Weber Q1200 is so portable to bring around.
Just like how the night started with my own personal driver, Weber Canada’s hospitality knows no bounds and another black Lincoln and chauffeur was waiting outside of the Grill Academy to drive me all the way back home. I cannot thank enough to the wonderful people at Weber-Stephen Canada Co. who organized this event and their over whelming generosity they showed to myself and the other participants. This event has now become the new bench mark for future blogging events so I would strongly suggest anyone here who is even a little bit interested to learn more about grilling to take up on one of the classes offered at Weber’s Grill Academy. You can visit this link here for more information on the availability of the different classes. Three hours spent at the Grill Academy could mean knowledge and a skill that will last you a life time. That’s a pretty good deal, wouldn’t you agree?
I’ll leave everyone here with Weber’s 4 Grilling Tips:
1) Preheat the Grill
2) Keep the Grill Clean
3) Oil the Food, Not the Grate
4) Keep the Lid Down
If anyone is interested in learning any of the 5 recipes discussed in this post, shoot me an email and I will be happy to send it your way!
Below are also some shots of the new Weber Q1200 that is available in 7 different colours and is also in stores now. Can’t wait until the weather gets warmer to get a chance to use this! Get your sizzle on!
Weber-Stephen Canada Co.
Chef Michael P. Clive
My 2 Chauffeurs :)