Today I attended a Mother’s Day cooking class at Kareem’s Restaurant (formerly Yasin Culinary). I have attended several of chef Ahmad’s classes; each class features amazing gourmet dishes from Syria, all with Ahmad’s own style and passion for fresh flavours.

Today’s class began with a wonderful chickpea and fava bean salad, very rich in flavor but not too heavy.

For every dish, Ahmad chopped up a jalapeno, seeds and all, to lend some subtle heat to the dishes.

After the bean salad we ate Bazinjan Miqli, baked eggplant topped with a sauteed tomato and spice mixture and yogurt. I was thankful for the cool contrast of the yogurt; the sauce was nice and spicy, but not overwhelming.

This was followed by Za’tariyya, baked halibut and vegetables. Quite easy to prepare, yet looks like a dish fit for a formal dinner!

Ahmad is always a gracious host for his classes; he always provides a lovely dessert at the end of the class. Today he shared Qatayef with the class: Qatayef is a small pastry filled with either cheese, blueberries, or hazelnuts.

I was such a glutton with these. I ate three, and could have easily eaten three more.

After each course is prepared, Ahmad invites his students to sit around his table and feel like guests in his home. Those who come to Kareem’s to learn how to prepare healthy Syrian food at home also have the pleasure of learning about Ahmad’s family recipes, the history of food in Syria, and his own unique adaptations of ancient Syrian recipes.

Chef Ahmad offers classes to groups of 8 or more; the cost is usually around $75 per person, and descriptions can be found at kareemsrestaurant.com.

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