Table Scraps 

Even turkeys can cook with new Apres Graves Gastronomique classes

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Everybody has their fortes: for me, cooking isn’t one of them.

One of my finer moments was deciding to cook a turkey dinner for a special someone. A vegetarian of 12 years at the time, browsing the grocery store meat section was a bit traumatizing, so much so that I couldn’t make heads or tails of the two bins of turkeys situated in front me.

It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I picked a frozen bird. The 10-pound turkey wouldn’t fit in the microwave, so instead I called my Grandpa, a butcher in his early years, to solve the dilemma of the frozen mass of meat with the dinner bell only eight hours away.

"What am I supposed to do with this turkey?" I asked.

"Don’t talk about your sister that way," he joked.

Instructions followed: Put the turkey in a bucket, put the bucket in the sink and then turn on the tap and let the water trickle over it for about four hours.

I carried out the directions and settled into Gone with the Wind , a four-hour epic that would finish just in time to put my perfectly defrosted turkey into the oven.

Great movie, but I realized an even bigger drama playing out right in my kitchen. I returned to find water spilling out from under the kitchen door. I discovered with a sploosh, as I slid away the barrier, that I had put the bucket over the drain.

The moral of the story?

Vegetarians shouldn’t date carnivores and there was a reason beyond animal concerns as to why tofurkey rolls were invented. Or maybe, I should have considered cooking classes?

Well I may have mastered the bucket technique, but I still have a way to go with anything beyond soup, salad and cereal, so learning from Master Chef Eric Vernice at the Après Gastronomique Cooking School might be just the ticket to branch out from my 12-recipe repertoire.

Starting Saturday, April 29, and every Saturday thereafter, the award-winning restaurant will conduct cooking classes every morning, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing with lunch.

You get a backstage view of the restaurant operation as Vernice guides you through a series of recipes – appetizer, main entrée and dessert – breaking down ingredients, cooking techniques and product knowledge in the Après kitchen. Questions are welcome and the setting casual and social.

Recipe printouts are included, so you can recreate your A-B-C lessons in your own kitchen, bringing the restaurant dining experience home without flood or fire.

The $125 classes also include coffee and freshly baked croissants (upon arrival), as well as lunch.

For more information or to register, call 604-935-0200.

Dining out you can cut into

There has never been a better time to dine in Whistler, with specials moving into full swing.

The 2-for-1 menu at the Dubh Linn Gate Pub is back April 24, with deals changing daily. Tuesdays is 2-for-1 burgers (lentil, bison or beef) for $13 and Sundays the 2-for-1 roast beef dinner for $17 – and the price includes live music to boot.

Three-course tasting menus are now offered at the Fifty Two 80 Bistro for $38, Après for $33, Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grille $29 and Zen $20. And you can expect more restaurants to offer specials in the next few weeks.

So get out of your regular dining routine and try something new.

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