Hidden on the ground floor of MacEwan University’s student residence, Get Cooking appears unremarkable—another takeaway café supplying students with sandwiches and muffins. But step behind the counter and enter the working kitchen, and you’ll discover a world of culinary excellence.
Owner Kathryn Joel, a graduate of London’s Le Cordon Bleu and Leiths School of Food and Wine, brings her expertise of global cuisine to this quiet corner of the university campus every evening. Her educational kitchen—with its central island, video monitors and movable steel tables for flexibility and collaboration— becomes a hub for the city’s top chefs.
It also helps apprentices wishing to learn from masters like Joel and Michelin-star restaurant trained chef Doreen Prei.
Joel marries an appreciation of local ingredients with her international background. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Joel lived in England, Scandinavia and the US before moving here to teach culinary classes from her Riverbend home. But while intimate, the small kitchen couldn’t accommodate her vision.
Having an Oliver location with a commercial kitchen has allowed her to cater private events, bring in other chefs and excite young people about cuisine.
She hopes classes like Cooking for Two, Seafood Skills or 30-Minute Meals will “demystify cooking” and encourage the use of quality local and international ingredients. “We’re bringing flavours from afar into Edmonton’s home kitchens,” says Joel. The classes come with wine parings and take-home recipe packs. “It’s a night out with restaurant-level food but in an interactive environment.”
Her guest chefs love it, too: “It’s like a playground,” says Prei. She enjoys the freedom the venue brings, allowing her to use locally sourced ingredients and meet foodies. But if you’d rather leave it entirely in the hands of the experts, you’re in luck. Saturdays’ pop-up brunches are served “family style” with a focus on central Alberta ingredients like Jerusalem artichokes and free-range chicken.
Meanwhile, Food Fight YEG events put on a reality TV-style cooking battle between Edmonton’s celebrity chefs, like Chopped competitor Shane Chartrand.
Then there are the Kitchen Parties—culinary theme nights like “Gin, Pimms and Gastropub,” a modern take on English pub favourites, and “Greek Getaway,” featuring grilled octopus and cocktails.
Tickets to these events often sell out in mere hours. Book yourself for a cooking class, Food Fight or Saturday brunch at getcookingedmonton.com.