Gifts. I love giving them, but I always wonder if I have found just the right gift for that special someone. Some people are really hard to gift shop for, and it can be a challenge. There are times that the perfect gift may not be found in a wrapped package. This is why I was excited that Breakaway Experiences asked me to review an experience from their directory of businesses that provide amazing experiences anyone would enjoy!
How Breakaway Experiences Work
After registering with Breakaway Experience, it was really hard for me to choose from the numerous adventures Breakaway Experiences had to offer on their directory, but the service was really easy to use! Users of this site can choose from the following drop-down options to find an experience they would enjoy:
• (Type of) Experience
• Occasion (ex. Wedding, Father’s Day)
• Recipient (ex. For Him, For Couples)
I chose Location, selected my province, and from there, I browsed through all of the experiences listed to choose from. Since I have always wanted to do a cooking class, I decided to try the Hands-On Cooking Class with The Urban Element. I added it to “My Cart” and went to the Checkout to finalize payment. I was sent an email with the details of my experience, as well as instructions how to contact The Urban Element to select the cooking class of my choice.
Chose My Experience
Once I visited website for The Urban Element for the classes they offered, I thought I would enjoy trying out their Summer Harvest class. When I called to book my class, they were able to answer all of the questions I had about the class as well as any concerns I had. I was even sent an email to confirm my class and to ask about any food allergies I may have to make sure I could fully participate in the class. The Urban Element is located in a gorgeous refurbished firehouse in the Wellington West area of Ottawa. They provide various types of events such as cooking classes, corporate team building events, private events, weddings, culinary consulting and UE on campus sessions, and catering services.
The Whole Experience
I sat down at one of the place settings as the class go under way. Chef Tara Rajan introduced herself as the chef that was running that evening’s class. She then went through the Summer Harvest menu and what was involved in each of the stations to prep each part of our meal. This was what was on the menu for the class:
• Grilled Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
• Mussels with Roasted Tomatoes and Chorizo with Fresh Baked Focaccia
• Chernoula-Marniated Grilled Cornish Hen topped with Swiss Chard with Apples and Pine Nuts, on a bed of Green Beans with Pancetta and a Corn Salsa
• Mixed Berry Shortcake with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream
The class then separated themselves and got to work. I chose to roll up my sleeves and help to prepare the Cornish hens and swiss chard. My partner for the evening, Ophelia, and I had a fun time navigating ourselves through the menu set out at our station. I loved that each menu was only a page long, and that there was a list of equipment provided so that if you were to try and duplicate your efforts at home, you would know what you needed before you started cooking. Luckily, the cooking instructors had previously prepared each station with what we needed.
One of the best parts of prepping the Cornish hens was separating them so that they were in quarters. I picked up a lot of handy tips to take along with me on future cooking adventures in my own kitchen. Chef Rajan and the cooking instructors were also on hand to give any further instruction and to answer questions we had about our part of the menu. From prep to the end of your meal, each class is three hours long, and boy, did time fly while Ophelia and I had our adventures in this gorgeous kitchen.
Once we finished preparing our part of the meal, Chef Rajan and the cooking instructors then put all of the pieces of our meal together and served us 4 amazing courses! We were also given our choice of a wine (white, red or rosé) to sip on while we enjoyed each course. Though I helped prepare the Cornish hen, my favourite course was dessert. The Mixed Berry Shortcake with Limoncello Mascarpone Cream was divine! I could have had seconds (or thirds), it was THAT good!
If I had one criticism about this experience, it would be that I did not get to try and make all of the courses for that particular class. I understand that the class is structured to have students make a part of the meal for time constraints, but it would have been fun to try my hand at some of the other courses.
Loving The Experience
As I left for the night, I was so happy and excited by this cooking class at The Urban Element. Chef Rajan and the cooking instructors were really helpful and helped us with whatever questions we had about our portion of the class. The atmosphere was fun and laid back even though the kitchen was crammed with people cooking, and the space was gorgeous to cook and enjoy your meal after the class. Oh, and the food everyone made was scrumptious! It was a great experience! I want to go back for another class with a different theme to try preparing a new dish.
If cooking is not your thing, there are so many other experiences to be had with Breakaway experiences! Here are some adventures I will be thinking about choosing to do myself or gifting for loved ones:
• Brewery Tour – Ottawa
• Biplane Flight Over the Gatineau Hills for 2
• Camp Explora Electric ATV Scavenger Hunt Adventure
• Maple Luscious Spa Experience at Hotlz Spa
• Ottawa Bicycle Tour – Full Day
Gifting an experience is a great present to give to a parent, sibling, friend, or couple, and they make fabulous Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or wedding presents!
Disclaimer: My experience was paid for by Breakaway Experiences in order to write this review. My views are all my own.