Learning to Cook Vegan in the Forest City

I can’t cook....or should I say, I don’t cook.

Before joining the VegFest London committee, I was unfamiliar with the vegan options available in the city. As a new vegan, it was even more challenging to put meals on the table. I blamed London – if this city had vegan cooking classes available, all my problems would be solved! So when I noticed a Facebook post on the VegFest London page announcing that there would be vegan cooking classes offered by the City of London through the Spectrum Recreation Program – I had no choice but to register!

I attended three different courses – The Vegan Pantry, Vegan Cooking 101 and Vegan Italian Cooking—all taught by the talented (and patient) instructor, Heather Pinsky. Heather is the owner of the Naturally Vegan Company, located at 630 Dundas Street in London, which offers vegan products, catering services, cooking classes and more. Heather even serves a delicious vegan lunch on Fridays from 11:30 am to 1 pm.

The Vegan Pantry class was an informative two hour session where Heather outlined all the essential foods, spices and tools needed for a well-stocked vegan pantry. Along with all the obvious baking and cooking basics needed in any pantry, the vegan pantry requires some unique items, like tofu, vital wheat gluten, and nutritional yeast. There’s a bit of a learning curve for those new to veganism, and information like this really helps!

The four weeks of Vegan Cooking 101 were packed with recipes and fun. Each night vegans and non-vegans worked together to create some tasty and sometimes challenging recipes, which were enjoyed by all at the end of the class. From Tofu Triangles to Buffalo Cauliflower, Lasagna Rolls to Breakfast Burritos, we covered it all. And don’t forget dessert—chocolate cupcakes, apple crisp, almond pound cake, just to name a delicious few!

These classes are great fun and you go home with all the recipes. If you’re looking to gain confidence in the kitchen and great new vegan recipes to add to your repertoire, consider registering for the spring course, starting April 13. Just go to www.London.ca/PlayYourWay or call 519.661.5575 to speak to a Customer Service Representative. Or check out www.NaturallyVeganCompany.com for more information about Heather’s classes.

Written by Susan Campbell, VegFest Committee Member