Chef Dez: Even Clarence knows how to have fun in the kitchen

April Fool’s class all about the joy and creativity of cooking

  • Mar. 29, 2020 5:00 a.m.

More and more companies every year seem to be getting on the bandwagon of pulling April Fool’s Day pranks.

WestJet has been doing this for a number of years, and I especially enjoyed the one from Honda Canada last year with the “polite horn” for Canadians. If you haven’t seen these yet, they are a search away on the Internet.

Last year I decided to join in the fun. Along with my regular schedule of cooking classes, we scheduled one for Monday April 1, with the following menu listed:

Cooking Class: Classic Dishes Re-Invented!

No April Fool’s Joke here… or is there? Chef Dez puts a twist on classic dishes to make them easier and tastier than ever! Tonight, in the YES CHEF Kitchen we take the mysteries out of the best Caesar Salad, Broiled Seafood Mac & Cheese, Roasted Chicken a l’Orange, and for dessert the ultimate Chocolate Lava Cake! You don’t want to miss this class – this willchange your home menus forever!

…and instead of Chef Dez showing up to teach the class, my alter ego “Clarence” (I jokingly call him my cousin) showed up instead.

I created “Clarence” years ago as a Halloween costume when I worked in an office environment, and over the years he has made a few Halloween appearances. However, this was the first time I taught a cooking class as this character.

Clarence can be described as a simple person who doesn’t seem to have a grip on fashion or what an acceptable appearance in today’s world is. He talks kind of funny, looks very different, has very bad eyesight, and the most ironic thing is that he doesn’t know how to cook very well.

Nobody in the class knew what was going to happen until Clarence walked in, late of course. The owner of YES CHEF, Waltraud Neufeld, stalled the group and before Clarence made a dramatic appearance, stumbling into the store carrying bags of groceries.

“April Fool’s” we then proclaimed and continued to tell them that the class would be free of charge. Every attendee got their choice of a full refund, or a credit in the store for the same value to do some shopping.

All the food and wine was graciously donated by Save-on-Foods and by a local vineyard: Mt. Lehman Winery. I donated my time, and YES CHEF donated the facility and staff to pull off this stunt.

Clarence then bumbled his way through the menu with ingredients such as boxed Kraft Dinner branded macaroni & cheese with cans of seafood, whole roasted chickens with oranges squeezed over them, bottled salad dressing, and pre-made chocolate cakes that he shaped into a volcano with red “lava” raspberry jam coming out of the top.

The main message we wanted to get out to people is to have fun in the kitchen no matter what your level of ability is. Food is life quite literally, and unless you win the lotto (and hire somebody to do it for you) you are going to be cooking for the rest of your life, so you may as well find a way to make it fun and enjoyable.

Overall it was a great time had by all, but I don’t think Clarence will be making any more repeated cooking appearances anytime soon. Chef Dez will take it from here.

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