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Cooking is a life skill - we all need to eat, and preferably we eat in a way that keeps us healthy and strong. A daily practice of cooking will also make you more attuned to local ingredients, and if you are lucky enough to be in Halifax, you will find yourself exploring coastal, Nova Scotian staples like fish, lobster, scallops and fresh regional fruits and vegetables like carrots, berries and apples. Stroll into the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market, to see for yourself all the foods that local farmers and fishermen are producing in the Maritimes.
Though fresh, delicious and local ingredients are fairly easy to find in Halifax’s markets and grocery stores, many people struggle with finding the time to cook. How many times have you ambitiously purchased vegetables and baking ingredients, only to toss them out at the end of the week because you couldn’t find time to cook? Let’s face it, with so much pressure to focus on work and be connected all the time, it’s easy to put cooking on the back burner. It also doesn’t help that options for fast-food and takeout are constantly tempting us: after a busy day, takeout looks pretty delicious and a whole lot less work than cooking and making a mess you’ll have to clean up later.
However, taking the time to cook can open up a world of food and a new understanding of local ingredients. And while cooking can often feel like a hassle, it gives us an opportunity to be creative and functional at the same time, and can actually improve your health while saving you money.
Let’s explore some reasons you should learn how to cook in Halifax, and why you should enrol in a cooking class today.
Learning how to cook is rewarding and will pay off in dividends as your talent develops over time. From health and diet reasons to feeling more confident about entertaining friends and family, you will find that a session of cooking lessons can make a world of difference in your everyday life.
Through cooking lessons, you can learn how to cook healthier dishes for yourself and your family. When we eat processed foods or get takeout, we eat food that may have higher quantities of salt, fried foods, or food that has additives to help it taste better for longer. When you learn how to cook, you can reduce salt and fat, use methods that are healthier, and understand which ingredients are more nutrient dense or contain more fibre.
If you have a plan to lose weight or become more physically fit, eating and nutrition is the first place to start. Specialty foods that follow keto, paleo, gluten-free or Weight Watchers guidelines (just to name a few of the diets out there) can be expensive to purchase. Learn how to cook and you’ll not only achieve your diet goals but develop a skill set that you can use time and time again. Who knows, maybe you can start your own business!
It’s easy to get in the habit of eating the same proteins and grains in familiar ways: it makes shopping easy, and makes meal prep predictable in a busy week. A lack of variety in your diet, however, can be boring. Cooking classes can help you spice up your repertoire and bring in new veggies and grains that you might be missing out on. Find a cooking class that suits you or your family’s needs and taste profile and you’ll find that your kitchen can be a very exciting place.
Our attention is constantly being absorbed by notifications on our smartphones, the obligations of our careers, and the general stress of daily life. Learning how to cook, and cooking regularly, is a low-cost way to focus your mind away from it all every day and truly focus on self-care. Cooking is tactile and involves touch, taste, and smell: add a glass of red wine and some music and your Monday nights just got better. When you make something delicious, you will be rewarded not just by the food you eat but the compliments of your family.
The type of cooking class you choose to take should be determined by your skill level, family needs, and health considerations. For example, if you seldom cook beyond an easy pasta dish or a plate of eggs, a class teaching basic techniques or methods might be a good place to start. Once you have an understanding of how to sautee, bake, grill, and fry, and what flavours and textures you like most, you will have a solid base on which you can build a more extensive cooking repertoire.
If you are advanced and are looking to explore foods from a specific country or culture, seek out lessons from local restaurants or cooking schools that focus on a certain region. Some of the most popular types of regional cuisine are: Italian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, French, Spanish, and Mediterranean. You may need a full session of classes or a single workshop to learn what you want.
Should cooking for health and allergies be your main concern, look for classes that can cater to your specific diet needs. If you find that your local options in Halifax are not quite cutting it, don’t hesitate to explore online classes or consult with a naturopath or nutritionist for some suggestions.
Halifax has some great options for people looking to cook for personal and professional reasons. Boutique cooking schools like Shivani’s Kitchen offer classes in Indian cooking, while The Kitchen Door in nearby Dartmouth offers virtual and in-person options for the aspiring chef. You can also check online for a meetup group that is focused on cooking. If you are after professional training, Nova Scotia Community College offers a culinary program that also includes classes on the restaurant business, local wines, and baking. Want to get your kids cooking? Check out the Bite-Sized Kitchen for kids cooking lessons and cooking birthday parties.
Of course, you can always drive your own culinary learning and find lots of virtual options online. There are numerous companies that bring cooking to the screen of your computer, from the top cooking schools in Canada and the United States. Sometimes the best restaurants and chefs even post demo videos on their signature dishes on social media, so be creative in your search! And don’t forget the power of an old fashioned cookbook or internet recipe. Sites like Allrecipes.com not only include dishes but comments and ideas from others who have made the dish and can share their own tips.
If you prefer having the attention and instruction of a teacher watching your work, look into arranging private lessons from a local cook or chef. Sites like Superprof have listings for cooking teachers in Halifax. A personal cooking instructor can work with you virtually or in person to help you achieve your personal goals or walk you through your next family meal. Ask them for feedback on grocery shopping or where to get the best ingredients, tell them what your kids refuse to eat, inform them of your dietary restrictions, and a private cooking teacher can help you be the best chef you can be.
The average price of Cooking lessons is $15.
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