Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Stocks, Jus, Béarnaise, Demi-Glace, Béchamel... no mysteries here!

Everyone tonight had the chance to work on classic vinaigrettes, make their own aïoli (for a steak frites, heaven!!!) and work on basic sauces for savoury dishes (a delicious Bleu Bénédictine Mac'n'Cheese anyone? How about fresh vegetable ribbons with a tomato and herb sauce then?) and some delightful desserts (Pampushky with a cranberry sauce, homemade pumpkin ice cream with a caramel sauce, strawberries and hot fudge!!!)

I send out emails to staff before each event and I have to admit that I hadn't been this excited in quite a long time...give me some more bread to finish that sauce please!

If you missed the class, keep your eyes opened for our upcoming Fundamentals, we will include a sauce workshop for you to stay away from the packaged stuff.

Some highlights...

Stock, beautiful and rich. Always roast the bones first!!

Mirepoix and bouquet garni?

Béchamel, whisk it slowly and constantly.

Garlic peeling and chopping contest!!

The vinaigrette station! So many ingredients to pick from and experiment with! We told the guests to go wild and try combinations that they had not tried before or go for ingredients that they did not have at home...

The pampushky before being smothered in sugar, spices and dipped in caramel sauce... yummy salted caramel sauce.


artisanal bread

Here are a few shots from last night's class...
Yummy bread from Aux Deux Frères Bakery in Aylmer.

This is Etienne chatting about bread. He spoke with such passion, I loved how he said: Bread is living. Makes you think right?

The blob. It kept growing in our fridge and I saw it through the glass door, gave me the giggles!

The guests shaping their dough

...and the finished product!

You can go up to Aylmer to sample their wonderful breads... or wait until Etienne comes back!


anything and everything can be done on the grill...

We had a very special visit from Ted Reader on Monday night, it was one very lively evening!!!
We took no pictures as we had enough paparazzi that night - we know when to leave it to the pros!

The Omnivore blog resumes it quite well, enjoy the pictures!

Big Teddy blows into town (don't overdo the Jack Daniel's and no one will get hurt)

Monday, October 12, 2009

how do we feed a city?

I am not one to watch television much, in fact, mine is hidden, but I do love little web capsules... I few months ago I discovered Ted Talks, talks on all subjects, always very interesting, always has you thinking some more.

Last night I listened to a talk by Carolyn Steele about how food can shape our cities, how it used to be a center and how, in the last decades, we don't even value food anymore, we throw so much away.

She was saying that 5 big corporations control the food situation nowadays - very unsustainable. 5 corporations for the whole world.

Food used to be social, we gathered to buy it, we traded, exchanged knowledge - now many people stare at the freezer section... and sometimes go to stores only selling frozen food. It makes you wonder if people going there even question where each ingredient comes from.

To quote Carolyn Steele:
We used to cook, now we just add water, maybe an egg if we bake a cake.
We don't smell food anymore, we just check the expiration date.
How sad.

Then she spoke about a certain minority, and I was quite pleased that I fit in:
You think ahead, you plan, you can actually recognize what vegetables are.

Take 20 minutes to watch and listen to this. Embrace food. Embrace sustainable.
Ted Talk by Carolyn Steele: How food shapes our cities.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

mini venison pot pie

the absolute cutest and most desirable hors-d'oeuvre ever.
introducing the mini venison pot pie

what else would you want to snack on on a chilly fall evening?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

4 hockey players, 2 pumpkins pie, no recipes!

we had the great pleasure of hosting a pumpkin pie bake-off for 4 players from the Ottawa 67's team.

these guys were actually really good!
they came in the kitchen and had access to different ingredients, no recipes and just a bit of direction: canned and fresh pumpkin, eggs, chocolate, orange, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice, brown sugar, cream, milk, ganache, pecans, crushed ginger cookies + 2 different pie doughs.

after getting over the initial shock of not even having access to measuring spoons or cups, they really got into it - carefully adding ingredients a little at a time, tasting, adjusting. It was nothing like the tv show 'Just Like Mom', do you remember that???

Their mini pies came out lovely.

We had the tough job of tasting and judging, it was a close call!
We won't tell you who won, tune in next Monday on Rogers TV.
The Ottawa 67's show.

Friday, October 2, 2009

wine tastings and wine dinners and mmmmmm, wine.

obviously, wine is a an important part of what we do.

i truly hope that people attending our wine classes are less intimidated by the time they end an evening with us... there was a time when people were somewhat scared of the great big world of wines and stuck to one kind, it went in waves: merlot, chardonnay, chianti, pinot - it seemed like a trend to drink a certain type of grape, regardless of the quality of it and sadly, regardless of the meal to come.

nowadays, we tend to search for the best in each region and pair accordingly with the meals - thank goodness for both the food and wine!!! this week, we discovered a few treasures from California...

Pooch Pucilowski
is a certified wine educator from Sacramento, California... he is an absolutely stellar speaker, very charismatic, and certainly very knowledgeable. we had the great honor of hosting two events on Wednesday with him: one for trade, one for public.

for the trade event, Candice brought out her preserves

she has been working hard in the past weeks to can her own special chutneys for cocktails and wine tastings. no sad storebought pickled veggies! no lackluster olives!

along with these preserves, our lucky day guests sampled some delicious Niagara Food Specialties prosciutto, bresaola and salami. obviously, i had to sample too and can certify that they are the best.

as for the evening, i could not have described it any better than Rachelle, a lady who has now attended a few of our classes, take a peak at her blog entry.