Cooking with plants has never been so easy. Our mission is to help people cook incredible, flavor-packed vegan food, with 0 sacrifice. So that’s what we are here to do, sharing our go-to recipes from our kitchens, straight into yours! These cooking classes are a first for us here at Wicked and we are very excited to kick-off with ‘Wicked Party Class’; our favourite show-stoppers for entertaining and the ‘Wicked Healthy Kids Class’; a practical guide to getting the little ones involved in the kitchen and making food they’ll love. These classes are both led by Sarno bro, Chad. Check out the trailer of both these classes below.
WICKED PARTY CLASS
WICKED HEALTHY KIDS CLASS
You’ve accomplished many things in your career as a chef, from opening restaurants, launching online courses, writing cookbooks and co-founding Wicked Healthy and Good Catch with your brother. What led you to launch these cooking classes?
Education is the cornerstone of what I believe about cooking- so many weren’t taught to cook when growing up, and if so, plants were not the focus, which is a life skill that I am motivated to pass on to anyone who shows interest. The more we cook, the more we are able to provide healthier choices for ourselves and our families and the planet. These classes are topic-specific and share some of my favorite go-to dishes I reach for dinner parties or when cooking for my family.
The recipes in the Party class look pretty involved. Are they suitable for people who are beginners in the kitchen?
Absolutely. In fact, while a lot of the recipes showcase bold flavors and are beautiful little bites, they are all quite simple to pull together. We’re not about being pretentious with our food at Wicked. We want people to be able to feed themselves and feed their friends and family more plants. Period. There is absolutely no reason to complicate that with intensely difficult dishes. As well, the Party class is also filled with recipes that are for casual get-togethers, like tacos, sliders and things like that. Sloppy, but wicked good party food!
``We want people to be able to feed themselves and feed their friends and family more plants.``
Tell us your top tips for someone wanting to get confident in the kitchen, but don’t know where to start.
My number one tip is to get and stay organized! We go through this in the classes, but staying organized as you work through a recipe keeps you not only sane but also feeling successful as you cook.
Go on, tell us your personal favourite recipe available in the classes so far?
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say the number of dumplings in the Party Class – no party is complete without a dumpling on the menu, and the Baked Penne and Meatballs in the Wicked Healthy Kids Class. Pure comfort food, just like my Nana used to make. I’m all about that!
Be honest, how tricky was it to get the kids to co-operate and make the dishes you created in the Kid’s class?
The kids were total troopers, and plus, I haven’t met a kid that doesn’t love cooking, some more than others of course! If you include kids in the kitchen and create an atmosphere that’s positive and fun, they stay engaged, and the bonus is they usually try what they make! The key is patience and not being attached to the outcome being perfect if they are actively participating in the process its perfect for them.
What do you feel is the greatest challenge most have when transitioning to a plant-powered lifestyle?
I think this has changed over the years, accessibility used to be more of an excuse than a challenge due to the lack of products available on the market. This has certainly changed more than ever now with the abundance of plant-based items to work with during a transition with the same experience one has with non-vegan items (cheeses, meats etc). I would say a consistent challenge is just understanding basic cooking methods in order to feel comfortable in the kitchen. Our classes cover a bit of method, while also offering culinary inspiration with menu planning.
Choose just one go-to hack that you think every home cook should know?
Prep in advance, batch cook! I usually spend one day during the week to shop and then taking an hour or two to prep a few staples that I know I will be using during the week, such as breaking down or cooking off vegetables, grains or beans, sauces, soups, dressings, etc. It makes life so much easier throughout the week. We speak more to this in all the classes.
You must have catered a lot of parties in your time as a chef. Which recipe has always been the biggest crowd-pleaser?
People love small bites to kick off a meal and the best way to showcase the comfort and bold flavors you can achieve with plant-based dishes. I almost always include a type of dumpling on the menu for when my guests arrive, either a dipping dumpling or broth dumplings are my go-to. We cover a few favorites in the Party class.
There are more and more vegan cooking classes cropping up these days. What sets the Wicked Healthy ones aside from the competition?
Yah, it’s so great to see more people embracing cooking more plants! Our classes are so relaxed, really it just feels like you are hanging out with us in our home kitchens. We wanted to take away the sense of restriction and perfection around cooking and just have people enjoy putting food together, with the focus being some of our favorite dishes for themed events or everyday cooking with your family. No pretense, no pressure, just celebrating plants and cooking!
What do you wish you knew when you first started cooking?
That understanding herbs, spices and flavor profiles from all over the world go a long way to keeping your food interesting and delicious. We have a Free Herb and Spice guide when you sign up for our email list that we just give away because it’s so important that people understand how to balance the flavor. It takes a bit of practice, but the options are endless when pushing bold flavors with your menus.