Williams-Sonoma Master Class


I love cooking classes. Oh, I know my way around a kitchen, it’s my job after all, but to this day I remain a klutz bent on chopping off one of her fingers. I also hate washing dishes as I go, which means the kitchen counter becomes quickly overrun with bowls and downright unmanageable. And because of my ADD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, try as I might, creating timed lists and all, food prep always seems to get away from me in the final stages, to the extent that whenever friends come over for a Saturday dinner or brunch, they end up cooking alongside in hopes of eating before midnight rings…

Cooking classes offer the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned. On the one hand, the whole evening consists of discussing cooking techniques, tableware brands, exotic ingredients and food trends. Heaven. On the other hand, while I get to play with knives like the other grown ups, there’s always a handy chef nearby to save my life. Then, in the end, I get to eat delicious food that I don’t have the patience to prepare at home (and anyways, my picky eaters would never appreciate). Nirvana.



Chef Marie-Jeanne Laflamme is prepping before guests/students arrive.


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited by the Williams-Sonoma boutique at Carrefour Laval to discover their cooking classes. Set in the very middle of bookcases and table displays piled with beautiful tableware, jars of cooking sauces and enticing cookbooks, a fully-equipped kitchen island awaits guests. Grey marble counters, glazed white tiles, built-in cooktops, it’s all very pretty, upscale and inviting (save for the cute but uncomfortable stools which had me balancing on-and-off all evening, note to the interior designer…).



A private 3-course menu such as this will cost $50 per guest. On the menu, chicken dumplings, Shoyu ramen and fruity spring rolls.


In-store technique classes are free (!) and, according to season and schedule, can go from knife skills to Easter pastry. If you seek a more tailored class, it’s also possible to organize an evening around a theme or someone’s anniversary, for example. It will cost you around $50 per guest for a 3- or 5-course class, unless you ask for a more expensive fish tartare class, let’s say. The best part for shopaholics? Paid class participants get 10% off any item in store, even those already reduced (psst! you’ll want to check Le Creuset, whose Yellow Van Gogh series is being discontinued and therefore deeply discounted…).


dumpling WS

The chicken and chives dumplings served with jarred Williams-Sonoma Peanut Sauce if you don’t feel like making your own. For this course, the chef taught us how to wrap dumplings fantail-style. Delicious and instructive.


Our chef is prepping the Shoyu Ramen Soup. The rice vermicelli were freshly-made (using an electric Phillips pasta machine sold in store), the portobellos were peeled (a first for me) and, to the right, the “hard-boiled” eggs were actually steamed for 6 minutes (a no-fail technique according to our chef) then marinated in soy sauce overnight. I was taking mental notes all through.


Pork kebabs and whole corn roasting at very high temperatures


The ingredients are ready to start plating the soup. The corn is seriously charred, on purpose. The kernels added a crunchy nutty touch to the soup that had me totally convinced. Another technique worth remembering.


The finished product: Pork and chicken broth, bamboo shoots and nori completed the long list of ingredients.


You don’t feel like driving all the way to Carrefour Laval or Dix30, Williams-Sonoma other Greater Montreal address? Their chefs also offer private cooking classes at home and are even available for children birthday workshops. Cookie class anyone?



Prepping dessert: Our chef served us a mango-strawberry-almond recipe from Giada de Laurentis to take advantage of the in-season mango. The sauce was also a big hit.



The rice sheet refused to cooperate and fold properly, but I was more interested in the mint, honey & lime sauce anyways. You’ll find the recipe here on the blog.


Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel…: US kitchen and home decor stores have finally landed in Greater Montreal, opening both on and off the island. While the instinct is to bemoan the potential impact on Québec kitchen and tableware stores, the quality, the brands and the upscale choices inside Williams-Sonoma had me smiling. Those shopping center kitchen stores from my youth feel like a time warp away. While Arès and Després Laporte remain among my go-to addresses, I was instantly taken with WS. In fact, the only other store in recent memory that had a similar impact on me was the new Espace Ricardo in Saint-Lambert, whose launch I attended and where I’m due to go back soon.

One small dampener though: the Canadian websites of Williams-Sonoma, West Elm, Crate and Barrel & all basically come down to a list of addresses, unlike their US counterparts with their online boutique and dreamy catalogue. It seems that the price of translating the websites into French to comply with Québec’s Bill 101 has proven cost prohibitive, given the inventories numbering in the thousands of products that change seasonally. So if you want to dream and drool, you’ll have to visit the .com and not .ca versions of their parent companies. It may save your wallet if nothing else.



One of the great advantages of Williams-Sonoma vs local kitchen stores may well reside in the high quality of home and branded products, like Momofuku cookie dough or a certain lemon-scented stirfry cooking oil that we literally sipped out of cups. That good.



Williams-Sonoma Carrefour Laval

3035 Le Carrefour Blvd. in Laval


William-Sonoma DIX30

9120 Leduc Blvd. in Brossard


www.williams-sonoma.ca (for the addresses only)
www.williams-sonoma.com (for dreaming away)


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4 Responses to Williams-Sonoma Master Class

  1. Janice @Kitchen Heals Soul 1 Mar 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Free cooking classes?! How did I not know about this?
    Also, I’m with you about the ADD + prep. Almost every Ottolenghi recipe I made last month from Plenty More felt like it took hours. Nothing was hard, but there were so many little things to chop and get ready. If I had guests over and made these things, I think they’d kill me and/or order a pizza because I was so slow 😉

    • Lynne 1 Mar 2015 at 6:34 pm #

      Oh, I’ve been known to stay up until midnight the night before, get up at 6 am and still not meet up for dinner. It’s like such a curse. As a setting, the classes are so great. But it could be dangerous on your wallet, lol.

  2. Gilles 20 Apr 2015 at 9:37 am #

    J’aimerais bien avoir les coordonnées pour ce cour de cuisine.
    Ça m’a l’air bien intéressant.

    • Lynne 20 Apr 2015 at 9:53 am #

      Bonjour. Je suggèrerais de les contacter directement. Voici l’adresse pour Laval ci-dessous. Sinon vous trouverez les autres adresses ici: https://www.williams-sonoma.ca/quebec

      Carrefour Laval
      3035 Boulevard le Carrefour
      Laval, QC

      Bonne dégustation!

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