I’ve been grilling for about as long as I can remember. Every time I think I have figured out my earliest grilling experience I can remember with tongs and hamburger spatula in-hand, I think of an even earlier one before that. I’ve grilled, I’ve smoked, I’ve rotisseried. I’ve used chunk wood, chips, lump charcoal, gas, and briquettes. I’ve grilled in backyards, snowstorms, parking lots, dense forests, and once in the back of a family station wagon (which sublimely smelled of grilled meats and smoke for years to follow…). I’ve grilled meats, seafood, vegetables, soups, desserts, cheeses and an entire Thanksgiving dinner. So, to call me an ‘old dog’ of the grill would hardly be an insult. However, the magical thing about cooking food is that you can never stop learning. There is always more information, better technique, and more inspiring dishes out there. So when I was invited to check out Weber Canada’s new Weber Grill Academy with a group of bloggers I was all too thrilled to make sure I cleared my calendar to attend.
Visiting Weber’s new facility in Vaughan was a little bit like sending a kid into a candy shop. A big giant candy shop for this big giant kid…
Weber has been reaching out to Canadians this past year. After storming onto the the backyard grilling scene over 60 years ago, Weber-Stephen Products LLC, recently expanded its global operations and opened the first Weber-Stephen Canada office in Vaughan, Ontario. In addition, the company proudly debuted the Weber Grill Academy, Canada’s first and only cooking school dedicated to the art and skill of grilling. As I walked through the doors I felt like I’d walked into my second home. Visitor’s can either sign up for a pre-scheduled class or book the Weber Grilling Academy for corporate events. Grillers of any level can take part in one of Weber’s scheduled classes such as their beginner’s couples class all the way up to more challenging grilling adventures such as smoking and desserts! As Weber Grill Specialist Chef Michael P. Clive will proudly tell you “If you can cook it in your oven, you can grill it.”
Chef Michael clearly has a passion for all things grilled and his smile and ease with guests make the entire experience a real treat. Presented with a slew of recipes at various complexities guests are challenged to stretch their use of the grill and really make full use of the array of Weber products in pulling together delicious dishes during the course of the class.
For this experienced griller it was a great chance to talk with Chef Michael about our shared passion and hear his thoughts on grilling, smoking and their endless possibilities. The versatility of the grill as a mixed-use cooking device is limitless. There are not many appliances that mix conduction, convection and radiation cooking all at one time. The perfect reason for grillers of all levels to head to the Weber Grilling Academy to help hone their skills. It’s not everyday you get to watch dessert slide perfectly out of its pan, still hot off the grill!
If you want to expand beyond burgers and hot dogs, try out this recipe I learned on my visit to the Weber Grilling Academy for Asparagus and Potato Napoleons with Tarragon Vinaigrette. They were grilled perfection!