Culture & Entertainment

My weekend at Christmas boot camp: Day 2

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

My weekend at Christmas boot camp: Day 2

As I mentioned in yesterday's blogpost, I'm spending the weekend at Deerhurst Resort in the Muskoka area of Ontario for the first annual 'Twas The Night Before Christmas event—essentially a holiday boot camp with celebrity chef cooking tutorials, decor and style seminars, book signings and lots of tasty food to eat. Today, Saturday, I wake up in my cozy white bed (how I love crisp hotel sheets) and quickly dress for an early breakfast. Being the sleep lover that I am, I decide to skip 7 a.m. yoga. Good thing, because I have a jam-packed day to look forward to. 8 a.m. - Breakfast is continental style with fresh fruit, cereals with milk and yogurt, and a variety of baked goods. Chefs Michael and Anna Olson cooking demonstration Mini cheesecakes with preserves 9 a.m. - I have my first session with husband and wife duo Michael and Anna Olson, who teach us to make a variety of Christmas-worthy recipes including New York cheesecake, cranberry-raspberry-pear preserves, sticky toffee pudding (all done by Anna) with sausage and jalapeno appies and stuffed pork roast (created by Michael). Michael is, of course, full of jokes. My favourite (while filling the jalapeno halves with sausage): "You want to pack it in so it's spilling over, like a C-cup trying to fit in an A-cup." All of the presentation is filmed so we can see up close. Afterwards, people trample over each other to get samples of the cheesecake and appetizer. Christmas wreath decorating 10:45 a.m. - I head into a room across the hall for Christmas crafting with Stephane Aubin, a props stylist from Toronto who tells us about his life styling ad campaigns (a recent President's Choice ad involved a trip to Nova Scotia and a shoot aboard a lobster boat with a 16-foot Christmas tree). For him, there aren't a lot of crafting rules. He takes a couple of simple items at a time (e.g. a wreath form, some wire and some greenery) and shows how they can quickly be made into a pretty accessory for the home. 11:45 a.m. - We stop for a quick lunch of sandwiches, salads and desserts. Chef Michael Smith baking demonstration 12:15 p.m. - Michael Smith, chef extraordinaire, is one of the highlights of the day. It isn't so much about the food that he shows us how to make (sparkle cookies and an attempt at butterscotch sauce before the stovetop loses power), but about his stories. He talks about his life, cooking for his kids, what he likes to give to people for Christmas, and his philosophies for cooking: "If you aren't screwing up on a regular basis, you aren't living." It is such a pleasure to listen to him. Karl Lohnes teaches decor 1:45 p.m. - Decor expert Karl Lohnes discusses Christmas decor trends, from colour palettes to tree toppers and great buys depending on personal taste. He also takes out a flip pad and takes decor questions, proclaiming that everyone must start their question: "Karl, what's the rule for...?" And then he will tell them the rule (also known as his opinion) for any home design quandary. 4:30 p.m. - I purchase two copies of Michael Smith's new cookbook, Back to Basics, and he signs them for me. He also tells me that he's a "sucker for red hair." So are they all, Michael. So are they all. 5 p.m. - The events continue, but I break for a nap. I'm not a machine, people! Mixing Christmas cocktails 7 p.m. - I return to the main building for the "interactive dinner," which is actually insanely fun. We start off with choosing four people from our table and giving them a title: the Bartender, the Novice, the Fearless Chef and the Rockstar. The Bartender makes us Christmas Tree G + Ts, the Novice carves our turkey (one for each of 40 tables!), the Fearless Chef (if chosen) sabres a bottle of champagne and the Rockstar instructs our group when the entire room sings a rendition of "12 Days of Christmas." We also have to decorate a mini tree with play-doh. Play-doh Christmas tree The meal is delicious—a mix of recipes from Michael Smith's Back to Basics including Banana Rum Bread Pudding, Apple Cinnamon Fritters, whipped cream and butterscotch sauce. Even though I'm stuffed, I save room for the dessert (obviously!). Bread pudding and apple fritters 10 p.m. - Music starts to blare and couples move towards the dance floor. Can you guess what I do? Head straight to my room and fall into my sheets... and then write this post... and then go to sleep. Tune in tomorrow for my final day at the resort!
Comments
Share X
Culture & Entertainment

My weekend at Christmas boot camp: Day 2

Login