Working with one of the country's most famous artists might cause some to rest on their laurels, but for Patricia Corsini, the years she spent as a personal assistant and photographer to renowned artist Robert Bateman only pushed her to keep exploring. Robert's sweet tooth led Patricia to culinary school at George Brown College, after which she became executive chef of Cook Gourmet Inc., where culinary experts show aspiring cooks how to craft elegant dishes.
In one of the company's many cooking classes, Sunshine en Provence courses lead students through each step of creating a bistro-style meal, and Some Like It Haute! sessions focus on stylish summertime meals. Classes are taught in a gourmet kitchen with a wide assembly of tools at students' disposal.
Cook Gourmet Inc.'s crew also caters events small and large, even providing personal-chef services for clients' dinner parties.
A mere sandwich throw from Niagara Falls, East Side Mario's is found within the Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Fallsview Hotel, directly across the street from Fallsview Casino. Below elegant chandeliers, Mario's red and white checked tablecloths support grilled salmon, juicy steak, and Italian-imported pastas slathered in spicy arrabbiata or pesto alfredo. The doors of the kitchen part as servers emerge bearing Sicilian-style pizzas fresh from the sweltering interior of a stone oven.
Through the steam rising from Mario's all-you-can-eat garlic homeloaf, diners can peer at the framed mirrors hanging on gold walls. After enjoying wine or cocktails at Mario's polished wooden bar, guests can question servers about Four Points hotel accommodations or the strength needed to hurl a pizza across Niagara Falls and into the mouth of a waiting American.
Amid hanging lanterns and colourful murals, the dining rooms at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant's two locations fill with the aromas of spicy berbere sauce, sizzling beef tips, and savoury vegetable stews. Diners scoop up each bite with pieces of injera, a spongy flatbread that combines the tangy taste of sourdough with the aerodynamism of pizza delivered by frisbee. Cast-iron pots conceal slow-simmered stews of chicken and lamb, and slices of Western bread conceal pieces of grilled chicken or kifto, a very rare minced beef. Servers celebrate the Horn of Africa's claim as the birthplace of coffee by roasting beans at the table, releasing the earthy aromas of a traditional coffee ceremony.
Combining fresh, local ingredients with traditional Sicilian recipes, Tutto Pronto Ristorante champions Italy's contributions to the culinary stage with midday and evening concoctions. Dedicate a triumphal arch to cutlery's victory over starters such as fresh wild-mushroom-and-goat-cheese bruschetta ($10) and a roasted-beet salad featuring blue cheese and pumpkin seeds ($13). Fettuccine al bosco ensnares wild mushrooms, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes in its olive-oil-kissed noodles, threatening to hold them for a king's ransom ($15). Tutto Pronto also dusts plates with such classics as chicken or veal parmigiana ($19), as well as pizzas, including the tutto funghi, topped with brie, a trio of roasted mushrooms, and basil oil ($16).
Loïc Gourmet follows a philosophy of providing busy people with fresh, French-inspired takeout fare while leaving the smallest environmental footprint possible. The daily changing menu pillages local seasonal produce to concoct appetizers such as the charcuterie plate, an array of naturally raised, finishing-school-educated Niagara meats that include prosciutto, capicollo, and salamis dressed with crostini ($7.75). Sandwich selections may include the croque madame, a traditional French grilled sandwich bedecked with ham, béchamel sauce, emmental cheese, and a fried egg ($8.75). Entrees span delicacies from sweet-pea risotto festooned with baby spinach ($13.50) to poached sockeye salmon with julienne vegetables ($12.50). Loïc also dispenses a limited rotation of frozen options, such as beet-and-cabbage borscht ($9 for 24 oz.) and beef brisket in a ginger-and-apricot jus ($11), which shoppers can heat up at home or onboard their steam-powered airships.
By blending all-natural ingredients, Todaysmenu produces prepared family- or single-serving meals that are free of MSG and preservatives. Peruse the seasonal menu for fresh entrees such as chicken pot pie ($22.95) or beef lasagna, which furnishes four to five family members with a hearty dose of lean ground beef and layers of mozzarella cheese forged from 1 per cent milk ($23.95). Single-size meals can nourish one to two individuals and include israeli-couscous-sided salmon en papillote ($9.95) and wheat-free thai-coconut chicken ($8.95). Diners may also indulge in guiltless sides such as vegetable pesto orzo ($6.95) and scented basmati rice ($4.95). Children and deceptive man-children can chomp on lean, meaty sloppy joes ($7.95) before orally inspecting the apple crumble's hand-cut apples sprinkled with brown sugar ($13.95). Todaysmenu also brandishes grills with marinated lean meats ($7.95+) that are ready to barbecue, toss in the oven, or use to decorate bare meat hooks.