Like learning to juggle, learning to cook requires patience, a distraction-free environment, and the ability to handle multiple eggplants at once. Become the ringmaster of your kitchen with today's Groupon: for $85, you get a seafood cooking class and dinner (a $170 value) at Cork & Fin, located in the Alhambra Hotel. Classes start September 18 and run Sundays–Tuesdays. The experience includes:
- A 30 minute lecture on oyster varieties and fish types and tips on selecting, storing, and cooking them
- An oyster shucking lesson where students shuck half a dozen oysters each
- A hands on lesson on how to fillet a whole fish
- A hands on lesson on how to prepare a fish broth/fume
- A Provencal-style bouillabaisse that students make and eat together
Cork & Fin’s adroit culinary artists Chef Elliott Hashimoto and Sous Chef Peter Niermann guide fledgling cooks through the fundamentals of assembling a feast of sea-sourced sustenance with informative, interactive classes. Sessions are capped at eight students to ensure hands-on instruction and prevent knife-juggling contest to win instructor attention, kicking off with a 20-minute lecture that covers the numerous varieties of fish and oysters. Nascent meal manifesters then hone their fish butchery skills as they learn to scale, skin, and fillet a whole fish, using the surplus remnants to craft an aromatic fish fume. The artfully filleted fish can be packaged up to be taken home, allowing students to show off their handy work by cooking it up for dinner or taping the boneless masterpieces to the refrigerator. Once students have enhanced their ability to wrangle finned fare, they learn how to profile and scoop up fresh oysters before coaxing shy mollusks out of their shells with shucking lessons. To cap off the class, pupils employ their new chef savvy to whip up a Provençal-style bouillabaisse to chow down on and reward tummies for not heckling the appendix throughout the lesson.
Cork & Fin
A raw bar packed with ice, oysters, and crab greets diners when they enter Cork & Fin, offering a glimpse at a menu of refined seafood and contemporary cuisine that Zagat rated "very good to excellent." In addition to spotlighting seafood by creating towers of oysters on the half shell, dungeness crab legs, and albacore tuna tartare, the chefs demonstrate their culinary skills by introducing new flavours. Saffron aioli adds a distinctive, Mediterranean spark to seafood fritters, barbecued mackerel arrives with the restrained zest of a beetroot vinaigrette, and wild mushrooms lend a savoury decadence to six-ounce cuts of grilled sirloin.
This commitment to simple yet refined cuisine complements the split-level dining area's clean, minimalist decor. Exposed brick walls supply a rustic vibe that acknowledges the building's historic Gastown roots, but the room also features modern accents, including track lighting and an electron microscope. Bordered by a stately white banister, the mezzanine level presents guests with a semiprivate dining option for parties or special events.