Food is one of the most popular topics at Diskuto French Corner, especially when it comes to French cuisine. Our foodie Diskutoyens often ask me: Where can I find a cheap French cooking class in Toronto? Toronto offers plenty of cooking classes from different countries. However, most are quite expensive. At the same time, it’s quite amazing what Toronto has to offer. Since I have been living here I’ve come to think of Toronto as Aladdin’s Cave of exclusive gifts: you can find anything you want in Toronto, you just need to have an open ear for the right information.
Registering for a French cooking class: Ikuen
Once a month, La Passerelle I.D.E, a Francophone organization located in downtown Toronto offers Ikuen, a free cooking class. Launched 20 years ago, Ikuen (which mean ‘cooking pot’ in a Cameroonese dialect) provides opportunity for attendees to learn to cook and network. Participants discover and taste the dishes of the world. Registration is easy: Visit the website or send an email to Rose, the program manager.
Is it worth a try?
Definitely yes! I joined the last Ikuen cooking session in March with María, a Brazilian who has good command of French. She really appreciated being able to learn a quick and a must-know French recipe: la crêpe salée et sucrée. Chef Guy Dongué, owner of French restaurant Bistrot 92, was really keen and patient, explaining to us step by step exactly what we had to do.
How does Ikuen work?
Class started at 6 :00pm—sharp! As they say, latecomers are always in the wrong.
After a brief introduction from the program manager of La Passerelle, we washed our hands, then were divided into two groups of six. One group was in charge of making la crêpes sucrée and my group was charged with la crêpes salée aux champignons.
During the class we also got to know the ‘Dongué team’—Chef Dongué supporters and apprentices. Most of the apprentices had come to Ikuen at least 12 times in a row! It was easy to understand why they are so addicted: the Ikuen cooking classes are perfect for both new chefs who want to learn from zero or those who want to gain more practise in the culinary arts. The chef-d’oeuvre of the cooking class was, naturally, la dégustation. We were sitting around the table commenting on each dish as though it were a piece of art. It was like a big reunion at a family dinner.
I highly recommend to French learners with an intermediate or advanced level to grab the opportunity to participate in Ikuen, and learn a new recipe or rediscover an old one. Make sure to get to know Chef Dongué and the Dongué team.