London Chef Dan Hayes Lunch and Learn Victoria BC Cooking School

Spicing Things Up at The London Chef in Victoria

As you might have suspected, cooking your own food from scratch is an essential component of “The Life Nostalgic.” But lest you should be seduced by all the cute imagery out there implying that retro goddesses only eat cakes and homemade jam, well….you best be loosening your apron strings! We’ve got to think about mains, too.

Cookbooks are a personal weakness and my go-to for inspiration. My all-time favourites are Jamie’s Food Revolution, Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course (re-branded in the US as “Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking”) and The Great British Book of Baking.

However, sometimes even maniacal cookbook enthusiasts need to emerge from their caves soak up some guidance from the real world. There’s a cookery school here in Victoria called The London Chef and, well, I don’t know if you noticed a theme in the cookbooks listed above, but let’s just say it seems unfathomable that I’d never been there until last week.

Enter my friend Sarah to make things right in the world. She treated myself and our besties Helga and Tasha to an Indian-themed “Lunch & Learn.” This is a fantastic concept – without wasting a precious second, The London Chef himself (Dan Hayes), whips up multiple dishes in less than 45 minutes and serves them with a side of education. A traditional cooking class this is not – the only utensil you’re touching is a fork.

Lunch & Learn suits both beginners (who want a hands-off introduction to cooking) and experienced home cooks (who just want to learn a few new tricks and don’t necessarily need a two hour course). Bonus: even if your signature dish is charcoal, you’ll be chowing down on a top-notch meal at Lunch & Learn.

Lunch & Learn at The London Chef is $28.50. The next class is June 17 and the theme is Tuscany. Click here to see the calendar.

Retro School Sweater A to Z Cardigan knitting Andi Satterlund

Knitted: Varsity Sweater

The varsity sweater: peer of the poodle skirt, wholesome, All-American and fun. It’s the quintessential 1950s teen look (see pic below, which I will translate to: “I can’t believe I’m wearing his sweater! Jeez Louise, when’s the last time he washed this thing, it’s a little ripe…but no mind. We’re going all the way at the Drive-In tonight for sure.”).

The Varsity – or “Letterman” – sweater was a status symbol that indicated the wearer had achieved some level of excellence in a school activity.

Traditionally, the letter referenced your school. However, when I saw the opportunity to knit my own fake varsity sweater I decided to be a little more narcissistic, like Joan here: 

I think this pattern, by Andi Satterlund, is super boss. You can make your sweater in any colour combination that you fancy – reinvent your high school experience why dontcha, especially if it involved mean girls elbowing you in the stomach on the first day of school (yep).

Retro School Sweater A to Z Cardigan knitting Andi Satterlund

After swaying back and forth, I suppressed my urge to do something crazy and went with the versatile black and white Andi modelled in her original. The monograms are included in the pattern as well, so no need to fear your “R” will come out looking like an ink stain.

Pattern: From A to Z by Andi Satterlund

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in “Cloud” and Black

Ravelry page here.


Out of the Closet: Confectioner’s Dream Dress

It’s not every day that you stumble upon a secret meadow full of flowers (or maybe some people do, if so please forward your longitude/latitude), but when Billy and I found this magical place we knew we had to rush back before these purple flowers turned geriatric and limp.


Silly still from our pitch video.

It just so happened that we needed to shoot some scenes for a pitch video we’re making for a music video grant. The location was a no-brainer; we rushed back to the magic meadow with our camera and were delighted to find that no steamrollers had ploughed through the area in the interim.

Confectioner's Dream Retro Dress ModCloth

In the pitch video, I wore the Confectioner’s Dream Dress from ModCloth, and we decided to be opportunistic and take a few extra snaps for The Life Nostalgic. The dress, with its Peter Pan collar and soft polka dots, is all yesteryear sweetness, which is what I’m all about on this here blog.

Confectioner's Dream Retro Dress ModCloth

Toward the end of our stay in the meadow, the clouds turned ominous. To my astonishment, I found myself falling down a rabbit hole shortly after this next picture was taken, and the cries of the Jujub bird seemed to mock me from above. Thankfully, I emerged unscathed – not a single bandersnatch bite!

Confectioner's Dream Retro Dress ModCloth