Learn to cook inCREDIBLE meals with Credible Edibles

It seems like just yesterday that Credible Edibles was one of Ottawa’s hottest veg-friendly cafés, with Judi Varga-Toth and her crew slinging tofu and ladling out soup at a record pace. 

But in a decisive move, Judi recently ceased cafe operations, and converted her business to a full-scale cooking school.  We caught up with the always bubbly Judi to find out more about the vegan cooking classes that she is offering.

Q: Credible Edibles was a pretty fab café. Why the decision to cease cafe operations and focus on the cooking classes?

A: Running a café is a lot of work and very unpredictable. While I had a lot of regular and very regular customers there was a lot a variation from day to day in the number of people who came to the café. This made it difficult to plan and schedule staff. And because the café kept me so busy I was not able to offer cooking classes. My first passion has been to teach and inspire others to create their own wonderful, healthy plant-based meals and I love to interact with people and get to know them better.

Q: What did you learn from the café experience, and how will that be applied to your business going forward?

A: Through the café I learned which dishes were the most popular and these are the ones I am now teaching people to cook for themselves. I also met many, many wonderful people who have become my friends and also participants in many of my classes. The café was a joyful place and proved to me that Ottawans are ready to eat healthy, environmentally-friendly food! I am hoping that the good reputation of the café will help spread the word about the great cooking classes we offer.

Q: Why vegan cooking classes? Who is taking your classes, and who should be taking them?

 A: There is growing evidence that plant-based eating is not only the best option for environmental reasons but also the best for our own health. While I have been vegetarian for many, many years it is the recent movie Forks over Knives that convinced me that plant-based eating was essential to good health. I offered one trial workshop called Forks over Knives last summer and it sold out. Since then I have offered it five times and the interest in plant-based eating keeps growing.

I think many people worry that vegan cooking is complicated or boring or needs too many special ingredients. My classes focus on amazing recipes that you can get on the table as quickly as 20 minutes with basic ingredients you would normally have on hand in your kitchen. I also provide participants with an essential pantry list and a list of places in Ottawa to buy what you need to make plant-based cooking as easy as ABC.

Q: Tell us about what you’re offering.

A: Every month I offer eight to ten classes that introduce people to different aspects of plant-based cooking. I teach most of the classes myself but also partner with other skilled vegan chefs in town to offer a wider range of classes. Each class lasts about 2.5 hours and includes a full meal, four to six recipes, hands-on training using both basic and more unusual ingredients, hand-outs to simplify and demystify plant-based eating and extra food to take home to share with others. The classes range from the introductory Forks over Knives class to specific classes on using soy, legumes, making soups, incorporating chocolate, seaweed and more.

Q: What is your teaching philosophy?

 A: I love to teach and inspire. I believe everyone can cook and get pleasure out of cooking for themselves and others. Every single class includes hands-on cooking rather than just demonstrations. People learn best by doing. I also share tips and suggestions about cooking more healthfully, choosing the best ingredients, where to buy things in Ottawa, where to go out to eat, what books and movies will support your journey and so on. There is also plenty of opportunity for people to learn from each other in my classes. Everyone who attends a class has some experience that benefits the rest of us so I make sure to have time for everyone to contribute. Finally, the most important element is to sit and eat together. Sharing a meal (especially one we all made together) is fundamental to experiential learning. And it is so much fun!

Q: What are your goals for the Credible Edibles cooking school?

 A: My goal is to expand the school to be able to offer more classes to meet the needs of everyone who is interested in transitioning to a more healthful, ecological way of eating. I would also like Credible Edibles to be a place where people come to connect with others making changes to their lifestyles so we can all encourage each other on this path to greater well-being.

 To view the schedule of cooking classes, click here.

Credible Edibles
Slow Food for Fast Lives
78 Hinton Avenue North, Ottawa

Join Credible Edibles for a special Thursday dinner

By Pamela

The first Thursday of every month is the only chance Ottawans have right now to enjoy dinner at Credible Edibles, a primarily lunchtime cafe located on Hinton Avenue north of Parkdale. That means this Thursday, Feb. 3.

As part of the 1st Thursdays Art Walk in West Wellington Village, Credible Edibles, which itself will feature a collection of fresh new art from local artist Stephanie Guimond. The Art Walk occurs every 1st Thursday, leaving the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) lobby at 7pm. For more info on the Art Walk, click here.

Credible Edibles’ Table d’hote vegan menu includes:

* Moroccan red lentil soup
* Spinach and sundried tomato salad in red wine vinaigrette
* Mexican tacos topped with fresh salsa and creamy guacamole
* Maple apple walnut cake
* Fair trade coffee, tea or hot spiced apple cider

The cost is $24.95 per person, and don’t forget–NCVA members get a 10 per cent discount at Credible Edibles!

Reservations are available between 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and can be made in person at Credible Edibles (78 Hinton Avenue North), by phone, 613-558-7569 or by emailing info@credible-edibles.ca

For VegOttawa’s review on Credible Edibles, click here.

In-Credible Edibles: A Restaurant Review

By Erin

First off, I must apologize to Pamela for what is going to be a very un-funny blog entry. My sense of humour is fueled by my bitterness and cynicism, both of which my fabulous lunch at Credible Edibles have temporarily suppressed.

I had to drop off their NCVA window decal (in honour of our new 10 per cent discount – see previous post), so Neil and I decided on an impromptu lunch date. As is our adorable and not-as-unhygienic-as-it-appears way, we got a single meal and shared everything.

“The Quattro” was a four course lunch consisting of soup, salad, sandwich and dessert.

The Quattro plus cider!

First, the salad. I have the impression that it consisted of a nice variety of fresh vegetables, and probably dressing of some kind. I can’t be too sure, though, as my attention was wholly absorbed by what were probably the most delicious carmelized pecans the world has ever known. Sweet, with hints of what may have been balsamic vinegar and chili pepper, they tasted like Sahale Snacks, only made by god.

Pecans with salad!

The generous portion of Senegalese peanut soup was also fantastic. The flavour seemed a fusion of African and Indian, while the texture was rich and velvety smooth, reminiscent of an Ethiopian stew.

The sandwich was Credible Edibles’ answer to the BLT: smoked dulse, lettuce, tomato and vegan mayo on whole grain bread (with lots of gomashio added from the little bowl on the table).

Neil and I had reservations about the dulse at first, having recently been traumatized by a fish-flavoured smoothie (courtesy of Vega’s ill-conceived dulse-rich “Smoothie Infusion”). The staff of Credible Edibles, however, apparently accustomed to such dubiousness, let us sample the smoked dulse before ordering. Though a bit twiggy, the taste was quite nice (more like a smoked salmon than a bacon analogue), and the assembled sandwich did not disappoint.

Finally, dessert. We opted for a blueberry green tea cookie. I chose it over the cupcake mostly for novelty’s sake. Frankly, it was a bit homely, with that dark and broody look that many vegan baked goods have right before they leave you with a mouthful of sand. But it turned out to be one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. With a soft, cake-y texture, it was substantial without being heavy, rich without being greasy, and sweet without being cloying. Seriously, this was Edelweiss’ shortbread calibre good.

Oh, I almost forgot the apple cider, which, like everything else at Credible Edibles, was markedly above average.

I’m running a bit long here, but I should also mention that the staff was friendly and very fast, and that the space itself has a great atmosphere.

Inside Credible Edibles

My only complaint about Credible Edibles, I suppose, is that there are not more vegan options. On the bright side, though, owner Judi is moving towards veganism herself so she may expand the vegan offerings. And there’s no better way to encourage her to do so than to head over there for an awesome vegan lunch!


Bring me back a cookie.

Another new NCVA member discount: Credible Edibles

Credible Edibles, a local, eco-friendly business, has approached us to offer NCVA members a 10 per cent discount on their purchases.

One of the lunchtime accessories offered at Credible Edibles.
“Credible Edibles is Ottawa’s first explicitly environmentally-friendly and healthy café and caterer. We aim to offer convenience without compromise. Busy people can get a healthy, earth-friendly lunch quickly and not too expensively,” explains its proprietor, Judi. “We opened on Earth Day 2009. We focus on unique, globally-inspired, locally-sourced seasonal menus which are 80 per cent vegetarian and 40 per cent vegan, as these are the most earth-friendly.”

Judi is a committed vegetarian and aspiring vegan, who wants to recognize and encourage others who are on the same journey. “I think the NCVA does great work and this is a way to support the organization,” she says.

In addition to the lunch time café Credible Edibles specializes in green catering for breakfasts and lunches. It uses no disposable items in our catering service. It also offers cooking classes, workshops and private consultations, and sells environmentally-friendly lunch time accessories.

Its menu features a mostly plant-based selection. For the winter months Credible Edibles is offering vegan choices including Senegalese peanut soup with ginger and fresh cilantro, red and napa cabbage salad with spiced pecans, local cranberries and apple, toasted dulse, lettuce and tomato sandwich, grilled veggie wrap, New Orleans-style Muffuletta, and many of its dessert options are vegan and/or gluten-free.

For more information:

Credible Edibles
Slow Food for Fast Lives
78 Hinton Avenue North, Ottawa