On February 11, a group of bloggers (including me!) were invited to check out the recently launched Weber Grill Academy located in Vaughan, Ontario. Yes – grilling in the middle of Winter – doesn’t everyone do this?
This brand new facility is a fully functional, commercial-grade kitchen dedicated to gas and charcoal grilling and smoking all under one roof in a safe and secure environment. The Grill Academy will be available for private corporate events, consumer grilling classes, and retail training and includes a state-of-the-art, custom-built ventilation system (enabling both charcoal and gas grilling indoors) and four fully-equipped stainless steel cooking stations. Just look at this beautiful space…
Lasting approximately three hours, our grilling class at the Academy included learning different ways to use a grill and smoker, hands-on time grilling up a set menu of dishes and then (the best part), sitting down to dinner!
Our menu for the night consisted of Smoked Chicken Drumettes, Asparagus and Potato Napoleons, Beef Satay, Cedar-Planked Salmon and Grilled Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – pretty ambitious for three hours, right? Well, one of the nice things about learning at the Weber Grill Academy is that all the prep work is already done and waiting (along with a cool work station and tablets pre-loaded with the recipes).
We were greeted with grilled appetizers, plus examples of what we would be grilling up ourselves.
Leading the lesson was Chef Micheal P. Clive, the Weber Grill Specialist. Believe me – learning how to grill with Chef Clive is FUN! He’s energetic, engaging and absolutely hilarious – and definitely knows his way around the grill.
We were split up into groups and assigned to our workstations to work on our dishes. I had so much fun meeting my grillmates- Tara from Chopperella, Charlene from Chew Street and Rachel (and her husband Neil) from Friendly Food Snobs.
And of course, sometimes the most memorable moments are when things… don’t go exactly as planned! Our Grilled Pineapple Upside-Down Cake was the first one off the grill and Chef Clive came by to help us flip it out of the pan. Watch what happens….
Don’t worry folks – my group made quick work of that cake! As food bloggers, we’re all used to a few ‘unplanned’ surprises in the kitchen so we did what any food blogger in our situation would do:
– we laughed and laughed and laughed
– we made suggestions to salvage the cake into something photo-worthy (Hey look! Add some whipped cream and it’s now a Grilled Pineapple Trifle!)
– and of course, we snacked on the cake while we worked on the rest of our meal! Nothing bonds a team like dessert before dinner, right?!
At the end of the lesson, we were able to sit down and enjoy an wonderful meal. Although I’ve already seen how versatile a grill can be, this was the first time I had ever had a hand in creating a full meal on the BBQ. Everything was REALLY good – the wings were smoky, the vegetables were perfect, the salmon was moist and (my favourite) the Beef Satay was tender and perfectly sauced.
As a parting gift, Weber surprised all of us with our own Weber Q 1200 so that we could practice our grilling skills! Mine’s BLUE (my favourite colour – thanks Weber!) You can see the group’s reaction when Chef Clive presented us with the grills here (spoiler alert: we were excited).
I had an amazing time at the Weber Grill Academy – not only did I learn a few new tricks on the grill, I met some amazing bloggers and had a lot of fun. This would definitely be a great evening out with a group of friends and/or family or as a team building event for a company. The Academy offers a few different grilling classes so you can pick the one that interests you most.
Word of warning though – if you attend a class, you may be overcome with the urge to buy a new Weber grill, or at the very least, some fun BBQ accessories. I’m already eyeing a new smoker to go along with my new BBQ…
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was invited to attend the event at no cost and received several promotional items, including a Weber Q 1200 grill. kitchen frolic received no monetary compensation for writing this post. This sponsorship in no way affected our opinions; all opinions expressed are our own. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.