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Last week I attended a class with Toben Food by Design led by Chef Toben Kochman (@ChefToben) and catering director Elana Kochman. During the class, the brother and sister team behind the catering company shared their tips and tricks for hosting summertime parties.

The class was held at the beautiful space at Andrew Richard Designs on Adeleide and Parliament. It’s a great versatile space if you’re looking to hold an event.

The class

Toben’s entertaining philosophy is all about staying away from the grill and having yourself as the host enjoy your own party. Don’t be stuck behind the grill the whole time – buy proteins that can be cooked ahead of time.

While waiting for the class to begin, we were served some hors d’oeuvres, starting with these delicious Mushroom Risotto Cakes.

Mushroom Risotto Cakes

Glazed Shrimp – with Chinese sausage

Glazed Shrimp

Braised Short Ribs – on crispy polenta

Braised Short Ribs on Crispy Polenta

Melon and Fennel-infused Lemonade – with watermelon and honeydew

Melon Lemonade

The class began with Chef Toben demonstrating the preparation of a Jerk Seared Tuna and Island Chopped Salad. It was a light, refreshing salad made of black beans, jicama, watermelon, mango, avocado, cucumber and snap peas. A beautiful salad which tasted as good as it looked.

Jerk Seared Tuna and Island Chopped Salad

If you’re planning on searing tuna, Toben had a great tip – you can sear the tuna up to 5 hours before serving it. Just leave it in the fridge to cool.

Jerk Seared Tuna and Island Chopped Salad (Individual Portion)

Next up was the Summer Nova Scotia Lobster Salad with roasted fingerling potatoes, charred corn, grilled fennel, crispy chorizo, grilled asparagus and a roasted pepper-romesco sauce with an aged sherry-grainy mustard vinaigrette.

Summer Nova Scotia Lobster Salad

Toben shared another helpful tip with us – when making a potato salad, toss the potatoes in your dressing right when they come out of the oven as that’s when they best absorb flavour.

Another great tip was to garnish salads with microgreens to add a bit of a “wow” factor to the presentation of your dishes.

Summer Nova Scotia Lobster Salad (Individual Portion)

The last salad we tried was the Seared “AAA” Angus Beef Ribeye Steak and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad. It consisted of kale, rustic garlicky bread croutons, grilled red onions, roasted oyster mushrooms, parsley and a basil-balsamic vinaigrette. Yet another satisfying salad!

Steak and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

The steaks can be cooked and sliced up to 1 hour in advance but don’t refrigerate the cooked steaks. Toben informed us that it’s best to leave it out at room temperature to prevent the meat from drying out.

Steak and Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad (Individual Portion)

We finished off with some shortcakes for dessert. The first one I tried was the Ontario Strawberry –Lemon Shortcake – with a vanilla Chantilly cream and mint cress. Tip: to save yourself time, just buy a good quality pound cake or scone…nobody needs to know!

Strawberry-Lemon Shortcakes

Chocolate Shortcake ­ – with a chocolate peanut butter ganache, mapled glazed bacon and a brûléed banana.

Chocolate Shortcake

I had a great time at the class and came away with some great inspiration for summer dishes and summer entertaining. Hope you can do the same with Toben’s beautiful dishes!

Chef Toben and Elana Kochman

*This was a complimentary class. The opinions in the post are my own.*

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