Recap: Saturday Brunch Pop-Up at Get Cooking

In the last year, there has been an increase in the number of non-traditional venues hosting brunch. This includes Sailin’ On’s Breakfast Club at The Buckingham, and the fairly new Wild Heart Brunch Club at The Mercury Room. Another recent addition to the weekend scene is Get Cooking’s Brunch Pop-Ups.

They launched just over a month ago at the end of January, and seek to provide people with a relaxed opportunity to gather and socialize. It takes place every Saturday at noon, and based on our experience last week, it isn’t a meal you will rush through (we were there a total of 2.5 hours). Brunch at Get Cooking is meant to be savoured, and if you don’t know the folks around your communal table, you will by the end of the afternoon! Plus, the food we consumed was so rich we needed time between courses just to recuperate.

Mack and I were invited by Get Cooking to experience their brunch last weekend. We arrived just after noon to a nearly full house. For those who prefer one of the coveted island seats, I’d recommend arriving early to guarantee yourself a front row vantage point. Some of the kitchen action can be seen from other areas of the room on the TV monitors, but cooking tips and tricks (unlike other Get Cooking classes) are not the focus here. In fact, Chef Doreen Prei wasn’t miked, so she was difficult to hear above the din of social chatter. We did wander over to the stove every now and then, but the open kitchen was more of an incidental presence than a deliberate attraction. Personally, I would have appreciated more details about where the ingredients were sourced (even if only on a menu), but I was probably in the minority.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Chef Doreen Prei

The $45 ticket ($22.50 for kids aged 7-13) includes a tasting board, an amuse, four courses, coffee or tea and a welcome cocktail. The cocktail was served family-style in a generous punch bowl – Ann’s Garden Punch was an easy-to-drink combination of pineapple-infused rum, lemon, almond syrup, sumac, mint, cucumber and strawberries.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Ann’s Garden Punch

It might have been a small detail, but Mack and I appreciated that the coffee, made with Iconoclast-roasted beans, kept coming. Staff ensured the French presses at our table were refreshed as necessary, and the milk for coffee was even thoughtfully warmed.

Before the hot courses arrived, we were invited to sip our drinks and fill up our plates at their tasting board. Changing weekly, the selections that day included margarita scones (served with compote and cream), and a variety of cheeses and charcuterie.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Tasting boards

Chef Prei’s amuse bouche consisted of shot glasses of Gold Forest Grains steel cut oats, bits of chorizo, and a garnish of whipped cream, blueberries and pistachios. I’ve never been a fan of oatmeal, but the addition of chorizo was genius – the fat and flavour boost has made me reconsider this breakfast option.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Steel cut oats with chorizo, whipped cream, blueberries and pistachios

Ricotta fritters, served on beautiful table-length wooden planks, were a delight to eat, lightly battered, fried, and accompanied by a tomato and orange jam.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Ricotta fritters

Eggs made their appearance in the next course – poached over smoked salmon and a delectable potato rosti and bernaise. Chef Prei shared her secret for poaching eggs: a splash of vinegar and vigorous whisking of the water prior to slipping the eggs in, as the motion helps draw the whites in around the yolk.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Eggs benedict with smoked salmon and potato rosti

My favourite dish was one I would never order on my own at brunch – a beer-marinated flank steak with greens, a German bread dumpling and mushroom sauce. The beef was perfectly medium rare, and the dumpling, pan-fried in butter, was delicious.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Beer-marinated flank steak with greens and a German bread dumpling

Dessert combined hot and cold elements: fried brioche rolled in lavender sugar with a brandy chocolate drizzle plus a white chocolate elderflower parfait.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Fried brioche and white chocolate elderflower parfait

As a whole, the meal at Get Cooking featured some of the most refined dishes I’ve ever had at brunch. As everything was made fresh, it does distinguish itself from the buffet-style brunches aligned by price alone. In this case, the ticket price is justified based on the quality and unique nature of the dishes. And because of the ever-changing menu, this brunch stays true to its pop-up inspiration.

Brunch at Get Cooking

Up close and personal with plating

Thanks again to Kathryn and Liv for the invitation! If you’re interested in trying their brunch, make sure to reserve online in advance, or stay tuned to their Twitter account for information about seats available on the day of.

Get Cooking
11050 104 Avenue
(780) 934-8058

Check out Athena’s review of the same brunch experience here.

Cooking Indian Street Food with Chef Addie

One of the very thoughtful wedding gifts Mack and I had received was a gift certificate to Get Cooking. Kathryn Joel’s brand new kitchen studio, located at the MacEwan University Residences, had opened around the same time, and we knew at some point we’d want to check out her new digs, which could accommodate even more learners.That said, even when she was teaching from her home kitchen, Kathryn always managed to collaborate with great local talent, bringing in cuisine content experts that could help eager participants navigate through foreign flavours and techniques.

As soon as the winter schedule was released back in December, Mack and I jumped at the opportunity to learn about Indian street food with Addie Raghavan in March. We knew he’d be just returning from a long sojourn in his native India, where last summer he spent time acquainting himself with cheesemakers pushing the boundaries beyond paneer.

Get Cooking

Addie Raghavan

Over the course of the evening we learned to prepare two snacks, four main courses, and a dessert. Given the focus on inexpensive food available on the street, most of the dishes were ones we had never encountered before.

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A pakora tower (one of the few dishes we were familiar with)

Mack really loved the jhal muri, a vegetarian snack full of varied texture and fresh ingredients, including puffed rice, fried noodles, spicy roasted peas, cilantro and chopped tomatoes. It was quick to pull together, and would feed a nice sized crowd.

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Jhal muri

The misal pao started with a sprout and lentil curry, which Addie made with mung beans soaked in water overnight (starting their sprouting process). It also incorporated dried kokum fruits, a souring agent that reminded us of tamarind. And instead of being served with naan or chapatis that we were more familiar with, because of the Portuguese influence in the Northern Indian region where the dish is found, the curry is traditionally eaten with leavened buns.

Get Cooking


Get Cooking

The beautiful pao (extra buns may have migrated into my purse at night’s end)

Get Cooking’s slogan is “think local, cook global”, so throughout the evening, Kathryn highlighted the suppliers who provided the proteins used that night. The Chettinad fish fry, for instance, made use of Icelandic red fish, sourced fresh from Ocean Odyssey. The recipe itself was fairly straightforward – marinated fish seared in coconut oil (“Solid at Canadian room temperature”, joked Addie). But the revelation involved the garnish of fried curry leaves – I really enjoyed the burst of aromatics they added to the dish.

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Addie fries up some fresh curry leaves

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Chettinad fish fry, served on plates made of dried leaves

Chicken lollipops are the perfect street food in many ways, self-contained and not requiring utensils. They’re apparently so popular in India that at the butcher shop, you can purchase already-lollipopped chicken to prepare at home. Mack loved the chicken, battered in a garlic and chili-infused coating and fried to a crisp.

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Mack loves chicken wings

Addie brought in off-cuts of meat with the bheja fry, featuring lamb brains. Although the recipe could also be made with eggs, given the inexpensive nature of offal, it was definitely a truer representation of an Indian street food dish.

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Lamb brains from Acme Meat Market

The brains were first boiled, then stir-fried with onions, tomatoes and spices. It was my first time sampling brain, which was creamy in a way I did not anticipate. While it wasn’t my favourite of the recipes shared, I’m glad Addie didn’t just play to a mainstream palate.

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Bheja fry

For dessert, Addie made jalebis infused with bourbon. I always find that jalebis are much too sweet for me, although I could appreciate this more “adult” version.

Get Cooking


I think Mack and I were anticipating a more hands-on class as a whole, but participation was limited to some instances where Addie invited learners to help chop or fry. I understand the time constraints (seven dishes in four hours!), but it would have been nice for more deliberate opportunities to get our hands dirty.

It was obvious that Addie knew the content; he was able to answer our curiosities and questions with ease. But in terms of organizing the lesson, I would have preferred some context to precede each dish (and to be fair, it was our fault that we were fifteen minutes late). It is possible that we missed an introduction which would have provided a broad overview to street food. Given we visited several different regions through the food, I would have loved a map representing where each dish originated, and more information about the regional influences, ingredients available, and different cooking methods used.

That said, the evening was all-inclusive – we were stuffed by the end of the night, and had our share of drinks; each course was accompanied with a wine or drink pairing. Kathryn and her staff were more than hospitable, and we felt as welcomed as we would have been in her home.

It was an educational session, and I know moving forward, I will definitely be making the fish fry and misal pao in the near future. Thanks to Addie and Kathryn for a night of learning and good food!

Check out the schedule of upcoming Get Cooking classes here, including North Indian Cuisine on May 10 and Indian Vegetarian on June 14 with Addie!