By Julia McKinnell - Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 0 Comments
For the faithful, the Bible offers a wealth of wisdom, including nutritional advice
Christine Andrew, a nutritionist from Vacaville, Calif., has a pet peeve: obese preachers who rail against the sin of adultery while ignoring the sin of gluttony. “They’re quick to talk about licentiousness and alcoholism,” Andrew said in an interview on the phone. “But how come they don’t talk about food and health? Churches want you to pray for [parishioners’] kidney disease and diabetes complications—and they continue to eat their cakes, cookies and pies. I think they’re in denial. That’s why I wrote the book.”
Andrew, who was raised Presbyterian, is a devout churchgoer and author of a new diet book for Christians called Food Isn’t What It Used to Be: A Biblical Approach to Health. Gluttony, lack of self-control and junk food are the main reasons people are getting sick, she says. “The Bible says to deny yourself. Gluttony brings consequences.”
In 2008, Andrew began researching her book by sifting through the Old and New Testaments for references to food and teachings on self-control. “Christians are to bear the failings of the weak,” she writes. “If someone who is overweight eats at our table, we shouldn’t put soda and doughnuts before them any more than putting wine in front of someone who is struggling with alcoholism.” There are examples in scripture of those who go astray, she points out. Samson in Judges 13:24-25 gave in to his weakness, lust, leading to his downfall. “If doughnuts or soda are your downfall and you know this, apply the principle of self-control.”
By Amy Rosen - Monday, November 12, 2012 at 2:15 PM - 0 Comments
The combi oven can bake pizza, sear salmon and grill steak at the same time
There’s a revolution simmering in the kitchens of the nation’s restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, hotels and even prisons. Electric stoves, gas ranges and convection ovens are being ripped out to make way for the Rational, a German-made beast that can bake, roast, broil, steam, grill, fry, dehydrate, poach and perfectly reheat food.
It’s called a combi oven, and it uses both dry heat and moist heat to cook large quantities of food precisely the same way. It can also bake a pizza, sear salmon and grill a steak at the same time. The programmable Rational is popular in Europe, where more than 85 per cent of commercial kitchens use combi ovens, but the company is just beginning to make inroads in Canada. Most of the units, which cost from $15,000 to $55,000, are sold to high-volume kitchens, although they do have a few well-heeled clients who have a smaller version at home (the most famous is the White House).
At the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver this summer, executive chef Darren Brown took a visitor on a tour of his vast cooking empire, passing staff making chocolates, pickling cucumbers and checking on charcuterie before stopping in front of the Rational oven and declaring that it had revolutionized his kitchen, especially on catering jobs. They can compose and chill up to 120 meals on mobile racks, then roll them into a Rational and “reheat them to the perfect temperature in exactly eight minutes.” Continue…
By Kate Lunau - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:50 AM - 0 Comments
You can make a wood-fired oven here, but restos find the real thing is like bling
When lifelong friends John Dawson and Todd Vestby decided to open an Italian restaurant in Toronto, they figured they’d need a wood-burning oven. So they imported one from Italy made from special heat-absorbent clay. “It came in six pieces,” says Dawson, sipping coffee at F’Amelia’s butcher board-topped bar on a recent morning. “It took eight guys just to unload it from the truck.” Two days later, the oven was assembled; after, “we fired it for seven days to dry the clay slowly, starting with a small fire and doubling it every day.” The oven turns out delicate Neapolitan-style pizzas, blasted for just 90 seconds in intense 650° F heat; it sits behind the bar, where diners can watch the flames inside.
F’Amelia is just the latest to install a wood-burning oven, which have been popping up in restaurants, parks, and backyards across the country. Of course, local builders are perfectly capable of making them, but for some restaurateurs, only Italian-made will do. Transporting one of these monsters across the Atlantic isn’t for the faint of heart. F’Amelia’s competition, Pizzeria Libretto, has brought over three for its two locations; unlike the oven at F’Amelia, theirs were assembled in Naples. “The last time we shipped two ovens over, they got to Montreal, and we were randomly chosen to search for weapons and drugs and pornography,” says owner Max Rimaldi. “That held us up a couple weeks.” When the ovens finally arrived they were a bit banged up, so Rimaldi flew in the man who built them to do the repairs.
Olivier Reynaud, who owns Rouge Restaurant in Calgary, emigrated to Canada in 1999. He used to have a restaurant in Andorra (between France and Spain) with a wood-burning oven, and making pizzas was one of its many jobs. “At the end of the night, I would let the oven cool down and, just before leaving, I’d put in an iron pot of cassoulet and leave it overnight,” he says. “It would be done in the morning, with a nice smoky flavour.” Reynaud doesn’t have a wood-burning oven at Rouge, known for its upscale French food, but he installed an Italian-made one in his backyard. “I cooked a 20-lb. Thanksgiving turkey in it,” he says. “We had it brine overnight,” then cooked it at a low temperature, covered in foil. “It was very juicy, and not at all dry.” F’Amelia uses its oven to bake bread, too.
By Jacob Richler - Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:20 PM - 1 Comment
Maybe it’s sexism—or maybe it has something to do with women’s own expectations
In Calgary recently, catching up with star chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson over some small Latin plates (chorizo, gallina, oxtail empanadas, etc.) and drinks at Ox and Angela, a trendy downtown tapas bar, the conversation turned to the related topics of women in the kitchen and role models. For DeSousa is that rare commodity: she is both.
She achieved a national profile earlier this year as one of the final contestants on the inaugural season of the series Top Chef Canada. Meanwhile, in a highly unconventional arrangement, she is co-executive chef with Jackson at the enormously successful Charcut Roast House in Calgary, as well as its co-owner (with Jackson again, along with their respective spouses). Also in Calgary, where the New York and L.A.-spawned gourmet food truck trend is catching on fast, they operate a mobile burger truck called Alley Burger.
Recently a young girl, no older than four, turned up at the food truck to deliver a little homemade sculpture of a heart. Other days, mothers bring their young daughters by the restaurant proper in the hopes of introducing them to the high-profile female chef. A decade ago it was Iron Chef that got young kids interested in being chefs; now it appears to be the Top Chef series. So I asked DeSousa and Jackson who their own role models had been back in their shared, formative early days in the 1990s, when both worked in a Calgary restaurant called the Owl’s Nest.
By Julia McKinnell - Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:41 AM - 0 Comments
A U.S. chef whose courses cater to the fearful says the No. 1 problem is recipes
“Fear of cooking is a real thing,” says chef Todd Mohr from his home in North Carolina. “It’s called mageirocophobia.” He immediately starts to spell the word as if it’s something he’s often asked to do. Mohr may be the only chef-teacher in the world whose classes (at webcookingclasses.com) are designed to help phobic cooks. “The people I’ve seen in my cooking school and the thousands of people who take my classes online tell me basically the same four or five things.”
First off, says Mohr, “They fear undercooking things and making people sick.” Because “it’s a lot worse to serve a chicken breast that’s pink in the middle than it is to serve a rubbery one, people just keep cookin’ it and cookin’ it. Then of course the food is lousy.”
To solve the problem, Mohr tells students, “Buy a thermometer. No really,” he stresses. “This old wives’ tale: if the steak or chicken is as soft as your cheek, it’s rare. If it’s a little firmer like your lip, it’s cooked medium. If the item is as firm as your chin, it’s well done.” But everyone’s cheek, for instance, isn’t the same. “Does this mean that the steak I’m cooking is still rare on my cheek, but well done on yours? Well, you can quantify your cooking with a $5 digital thermometer. I have a steak number. It’s 128° F. I don’t have to gash it, poke it, do anything. I put a thermometer in it. When it reads 128°, I take it off. I say this about a hundred times in class.”
Another manifestation of cooking phobia is “fear of it not being perfect,” says Mohr. He describes a dinner he was once invited to at the home of a “Martha Stewart-type” woman. “You could see she didn’t really enjoy it.” At one point, Mohr told the host’s husband, “ ‘Boy, this is really wonderful.’ He turned to me and said, ‘You know she made it three times and threw out the first two.’ I thought, oh my, that does sound like a pathology worthy of a long Greek word.”
By Rebecca Eckler - Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 11:27 AM - 1 Comment
The Ghost Chef makes dinner, then slips out and lets you take all the credit
He’s hidden under beds. He’s had to sneak out back doors. He even provides cheat sheets so your secret won’t get out. Forget Iron Chef and Top Chef. Meet the Ghost Chef. That’s what chef Matt Kantor now calls himself, the result of cooking for numerous dinner parties across North America but leaving all the credit to the host. “It started by accident,” Kantor explains. “One of my guy friends wanted to impress his girlfriend, so I helped him out.” Word spread, and now the Ghost Chef has cooked for some of the most famous and wealthiest people in Canada, without, of course, any credit.
Most recently, he was the Ghost Chef at a Toronto party for 18. “These people had a rotating supper club and whoever hosted had to come up with the meal and the theme. This woman picked New Zealand as her theme. She wanted to put together a four-course meal and called me in a panic the day before. One of the rules of their club is they’re not supposed to get any outside help, including buying prepared foods,” explains Kantor.
He headed to her house at noon the next day—the day of the dinner. “I had written down recipes on scrap pieces of paper to make it look like she had written it down. Then I just cranked out the food. While I was doing it, I explained to her why I picked the dishes and how to braise the meat. I needed her to look credible, so I didn’t make the fanciest dishes, because her friends know she’s not the best cook.” He also showed her techniques she could demonstrate.“I told her not to do it until her guests arrived, so they could see that it was her doing it.” Then he scattered dishes and pots and cookbooks around the kitchen to make it look as if she had been slaving away all day. At five o’clock, he left her with instructions and his phone number “so she could text me with an emergency question.”
By Julia McKinnell - Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
A lot of people don’t realize that high above sea level you need to make adjustments
For Chip Olver in Banff, Alta., it was the soft-boiled eggs that foiled her. When she first moved from sea level in Hamilton to the high altitude of the Canadian Rockies, she had yet to figure out that water boils at a lower temperature the higher up you go. (Baking also requires adjustments in both oven temperatures and ingredients.) In Banff, as in Jasper, Alta., and Whistler, B.C., foods like eggs and pasta take longer to cook. Rice often needs more water, and for a Canmore, Alta., resident, making split pea soup is an all-day affair. Olver yanked the eggs from the boiling water too soon. “I cooked them but they weren’t done and I’d cut already cut the tops off. I had to start over,” she laughs, recalling the incident from 30 years ago. Olver and her friend Myriam Leighton went on to co-author a collection of high-altitude-tested recipes for a cookbook called A Taste of the Canadian Rockies.
Cecilia Lortscher, Canmore’s Cookie Lady, says, “Lots of recipes just won’t work here.” Lortscher runs a cookie business called Sweet Madeira. Her cookies are exquisite. She’s mastered the knack of baking at high altitude, but it’s been a trial-and-error process: “Buns like hockey pucks and cookies that run!” she explained in an email to Maclean’s. “A really fudgy chocolate cookie with lots of sugar and fat, that probably wouldn’t work here,” she says. Same goes for the cinnamon buns she once tried to make. “I just couldn’t do it.”
In Santa Fe, N.M., at 7,000 feet above sea level, chef John Vollertsen runs a cooking class (offered through the Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe and Cooking School) called “High Altitude Baking.” The ad reads, “Bring your high-altitude frustrations.”
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM - 3 Comments
How Gordon Ramsay’s embattled empire came to include a down-at-the-heels Montreal chicken joint
Recent news that Gordon Ramsay had become a “partner” in a fabled Montreal chicken joint should have elicited one and only one response: the guy who helped put British cuisine on the map is now doing takeout in the colonies? What the @#$%^!?
True, the famously profane chef had promised to expand his embattled empire to Canadian soil: on the CBC’s The Hour in 2009 he said “definitely Toronto first,” and that he’d scouted locations. Still, “the most unexpected foodie news of 2010,” as the Montreal Gazette put it when the paper broke the story in November—that Ramsay had joined forces to remake Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ, a family-style restaurant in Outremont—was a head-scratcher.
Was the move part of a shrewd diversiﬁcation into casual dining now that the fine-dining market is under siege? Or was the 44-year-old’s 25th restaurant venture a symptom of early onset “Wolfgang Puck syndrome,” wherein a talented chef stops cooking and starts shilling, thereby diluting his identity to the point he’s best known in the frozen-food aisle? For an example, one need only look at Ramsay’s own mentor, Marco Pierre White, the original bad-boy chef who’s now a pitchman for Knorr bouillon cubes and processed “Turkey Twizzlers.”
Ramsay’s surprising association with Rôtisserie Laurier BBQ grew out of his licensing deal with Danny Lavy, CEO of Elite Group Inc., the Montreal-based company that distributes Gordon Ramsay-branded goods—toasters, pots, blenders and such. Last year, Lavy bought the ochre building housing the restaurant, Quebec’s first roasted-chicken outlet when the Laporte family opened it in 1936, and seized the opportunity to revitalize a faded Montreal landmark. Over the years, clientele thinned as more fashionable restaurants popped up (the third Laporte generation closed the upstairs). Today, it’s a charming anachronism on an affluent stretch of Laurier, drawing diners of all ages, evident by the crayons at the front desk. The menu is displayed on paper placemats. The food—chicken, coleslaw, ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese—is hearty, if unmemorable. No one is photographing their plate. Desserts—sugar pie, “Hello Dolly” cookies, carrot cake—are unironically retro, as is the wait staff of older women. More than half of the business is takeout and delivery.
Lavy, a restaurant newbie, teamed up with Danielle Lord and Marie-Christine Couture, veterans of the Montreal hospitality scene, to run the day-to-day. He turned to Ramsay, for his input—and name. “It’s a real estate investment and it made sense to go with comfort food,” Lavy says.
By Kate Fillion - Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Two young girls, ages 11 and 12, teach other kids how to embrace healthy eating
Very early one Saturday not long ago, Katrina Pacher and Sloane Wilson put on clean aprons and headed into the kitchen at Ritorno restaurant in Oakville, Ont., to make chicken parmigiana. While her father got in position with his video camera, Katrina, 11, adjusted the black scrunchie in her ponytail, and Sloane, 12, got some last-minute coaching from her mom, Donna Wilson: “This time, maybe read out the list of ingredients.” It was the girls’ second video of the day for their 18-month-old website. “But,” Wilson observed wryly, “now, they look awake.”
After more than 100 videos, the girls, friends since preschool, no longer get nervous before a shoot. Fitforafeast.com started when they learned about the childhood obesity epidemic in health class, and decided to use the Internet to teach kids how to embrace healthy living: they provide tutorials on popular dance steps, receive fitness instruction from experts, and demonstrate how to make kid-friendly meals—with a little help. Katrina’s parents have Web-based jobs, and Wilson used to work in film production; together, they built the site and a YouTube channel, which has had 6.7 million views so far.
By Julia Belluz - Wednesday, December 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 1 Comment
A top British food writer turns the ‘stars in my pastries’ into the saviours of his savoury dishes
Fruit usually makes its debut in the third act of a meal. But in Tender Volume II: A cook’s guide to the fruit garden, British food writer Nigel Slater brings apples and pears into the main course, exploring a neglected pairing: fruit and meat.
There’s a good chance you know as much about cooking lamb with quinces as you do about Slater, though he is arguably Britain’s finest food writer. The BBC host and long-time Observer columnist has written a dozen books, including the acclaimed childhood memoir Toast. But while Jamie Oliver has been crusading internationally about eating well, and Nigella Lawson has built a lifestyle brand that rivals Oprah’s, Slater has shirked celebrity-chef culture, even refusing most press requests (including several from Maclean’s). “I put as much effort into keeping a low profile,” he has said, “as most cookery writers do in publicizing themselves.”
By Peter C. Newman - Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Peter C. Newman on a restaurateur to the rich who now wants to build schools in Africa
Toronto has more great restaurants than great chefs, but of the many places where the empire city’s first-rank power brokers hang out, none is more socially significant and brazenly chic than Canoe, which occupies most of the TD Bank Tower’s 54th floor. Toronto Life originally dismissed its look as “understated butch elegance,” but decor is not what keeps this particular canoe afloat.
Regulars occasionally glance across Lake Ontario to enjoy a horizon view of Niagara-on-the-Lake, but mainly they come to gaze at one another or, more specifically, at each other’s dining companions, to see what mergers or acquisitions might be coming down the pike. Peter Oliver, who along with his partner, über-chef Michael Bonacini, owns the venue, credits Canoe’s popularity to the creation of a club-like atmosphere. “The new-style executives,” Oliver contends, “want restaurants, like everything else in their world, to be direct extensions of themselves. That means slightly ‘hip’ and fashionable, yet unpretentious and understated.” (That lack of pretension has not been translated into Canoe’s à la carte offerings, which include a starter plate comprised of screech-marinated foie gras, B.C. honey mussels and chilled Yarmouth lobster.)
By Elio Iannacci - Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The ebullient British cooking show star reveals a few of the things that really bug her
In Nigella Lawson’s new book, Kitchen: Recipes From the Heart of the Home, the preface to a beer-braised pork-knuckle recipe reveals a fierce side to the usually amiable British cooking show star. Lawson writes of the humiliation she felt when a German talk show interviewer introduced her with a joke about how the English have a reputation for being the worst cooks in the world. Instead of laughing at the condescending jab, Lawson decided to give her bully a serving of piping hot honesty and replied in a self-described “graceless” manner.
“I told him that as far as the world was concerned, German cooking didn’t accord much respect either,” she says on the phone from her home in London. The program’s live audience went dead silent. Still, Lawson, who has been communicating about food on TV and in magazines and books for more than two decades, refused to smile for the cameras. “I’d heard that bad quip over and over again,” she says. “I’m not one to lash out or confront, but it was a direct insult and a very outdated opinion.”
Lawson’s opinions—which have helped her amass a $25-million empire since writing her bestselling first book, How to Eat: Pleasures and Principles of Good Food, in 1998—have proven to be nothing to laugh at. Now 50, she’s the author of nine bestselling cookbooks. On top of her literary achievements, Lawson has starred in and co-produced nine world-syndicated television series, and has designed her own line of cookware to boot.
By Julia McKinnell - Monday, September 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM - 0 Comments
Movie reviewer Roger Ebert shares his enthusiasm for his favourite kitchen appliance
Shortly before Roger Ebert got sick with the cancer that cost him his ability to speak and eat normally, the once-pudgy movie reviewer lost 100 lb. the old-fashioned way, his friend Yvonne Nienstadt explains in the foreword to his fun-filled new book. Nienstadt, who runs a spa in Mexico, writes that Ebert once confided he was miffed “that most folks thought he lost all that weight because of his illness. I am here to testify that he worked his fanny off by self-discipline and by making profound lifestyle changes.” Cooking low-sodium, low-fat one-pot meals in his rice cooker was one of those changes. The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker includes Ebert’s favourite recipes, as well as charming musings on food and life. “Even though I stopped drinking in 1979 and, for that matter, stopped eating in 2006, I cook for others,” writes Ebert, “partly to make myself useful and mostly because I can have dinner on the table while most people are still spinning their wheels.” His book is for “You, person on a small budget who wants healthy food.”
“First, get the pot,” he instructs readers. “You need the simplest rice cooker made. It comes with two speeds: Cook and Warm. Sometimes Warm is named Hold. Not expensive. Now you’re all set to cook meals for the rest of your life on two square feet of counter space, including an area to do a little slicing and dicing.”
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
Taking the meat out of classics like rack of lamb proves challenging
Annie and Dan Shannon knew “vegan-izing” every recipe in The Betty Crocker Cookbook wasn’t going to be a piece of dairy-and egg-free cake. Six months later, and one-third of the way through the “Betty Crocker Project” chronicled on their website, meetheshannons.net, the couple have faced big challenges. Devising “bones” for “spareribs with three different types of glazes” was tricky, says Annie from their home in Norfolk, Va. —popsicle sticks saved the day. There have been triumphs: a poached “egg” with runny “yolk” (tofu and a “flavour injector” were required). Now Dan’s ramping up for “rack of lamb.” “It’s going to require blueprints,” he jokes.
If the Shannons’ venture appears a tempeh-ish twist on Julie Powell’s cooking and blogging through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, there’s a reason: Julie & Julia, the movie based on Powell’s book, is their inspiration. Nor are they pioneers in “vegan-izing” an unlikely source: one blogger has recast recipes from the carnivorous, vegan-bashing chef Anthony Bourdain.
By Jacob Richler - Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Our writer is inspired by TV host Steven Raichlen’s latest book–and a battery-operated rotisserie
As is implied by the title of his latest book—Planet Barbecue!—the bestselling author and popular television host Steven Raichlen subscribes to the big picture view of what barbecue really means. In other words, he rejects the chauvinistic Texan and Carolinian view that real barbecue must by deﬁnition be smoked and slow cooked, and instead embraces the term as an umbrella for anything at all that is cooked over or near a live fire.
I respect that, because like pretty much everyone I enjoy cooking outside over these summer months, and if I made ribs or brisket every time, my doctor would soon relegate me to one of those battery-powered wheelchairs conceived for those too fat to walk. In any case, my palate abhors monotony—and so does Raichlen’s, with the exception of the flavour of smoke.
By Jacob Richler - Thursday, October 8, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 10 Comments
There’s no kneading and practically no work: these loaves are the slow food of your dreams
At first glance, My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method, by American baker Jim Lahey (with Rick Flaste), appears to be peddling yet another made-in-America miracle, akin to one of those eye-catching Cosmo covers on how to eat pasta eight times a day and lose 90 lb. But hang on. There are a few things you should know: one, Lahey is the owner of the extremely well-reputed Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan; and two, I’ve tried his method and found it to be as effortless as advertised. Lastly, be advised that it works, and then some.
This is the thing. For most home cooks, bread-making is a drawn-out, messy and often tedious affair. There are many steps and even at its most basic it goes something like so: mix flour, salt, water with yeast or a starter, knead for 10 minutes or so, let rest, let rise, knead again, let rise, knead a little more, shape, let rise again and, finally, bake and hope for the best. Continue…
Famed Julia Child editor Judith Jones on her new book, ‘The Pleasures of Cooking for One,’ and why she felt the need to write it
By Anne Kingston - Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM - 2 Comments
A conversation with Anne Kingston
Legendary book editor Judith Jones is renowned for discovering and editing Julia Child’s first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961. But she was also the literary muse behind many gastronomical luminaries, among them Jacques Pépin, James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey and Edna Lewis. Jones also co-authored three cookbooks with her husband, the food writer and editor Evan Jones. Now widowed, the 85-year-old is about to publish another, The Pleasures of Cooking for One.
Q: You write in the book that after your husband died in 1996 you didn’t think you’d ever enjoy preparing and eating a meal alone. How did you come to rediscover the pleasure in cooking for yourself?
A: I just did it and found that it was so—and at the little table that we always ate at with the candles and nice napkins. He was always a great one for respecting the things that make something pleasing for the eye. He’d never let us put a ketchup bottle on the table, for instance. So I just found it was respecting and honouring something that had been a part of my life. And there was this sense of the past and the present melding.
Q: It seems the stereotypes of people eating alone are someone gulping down something over the sink or eating in front of the television. What is your ritual?
A: I almost always listen to music, either a classical station or something I put on myself. I don’t like the distraction of talking voices. I do often read, though, either a newspaper or The New Yorker. And I always have a glass of wine. Continue…
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 10:40 AM - 2,010 Comments
It doesn’t hurt that the chef who’s explaining deglazing occasionally cooks for the PM
Jonathan Collins hums as he butchers a beef tenderloin. With one hand on a strip of fat and the other on his knife, the 36-year-old chef shakes his head, grins and recalls a fond memory: “At the Prime Minister’s residence, the maître d’ plays the violin like an angel. I’ll be cooking and he’ll just be playing. If that’s not paradise . . .” The 42 people here for his cooking class at Lakeview Gardens in Eagle, Ont., a hamlet about 45 minutes southwest of London, smile back. They know that on occasion Collins cooks for Stephen Harper, his family, and anybody else who gets invited for a meal, including President Barack Obama.
When he’s not in Ottawa, Collins is busy as executive chef at Lakeview Gardens, a labyrinth-like complex of greenhouses, gift shops and dining rooms owned and operated by his parents. The father of four is also co-owner and executive chef of Shutters on the Beach in Port Bruce, Ont., at work on a food-related TV show, and an aspiring MP. On most Saturdays, at Top Chef Culinary School, he leads the cooking class we’re here for. It costs $25. And that includes a tasting menu.
By Julia McKinnell - Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 1:40 PM - 2 Comments
The recipes in chef Jamie Oliver’s new book were inspired by food-rationed Britain
Jamie Oliver says he wasn’t thinking of the economic crisis when he put together his new cookbook full of rock-bottom-budget recipes for dishes like hamburger pot roast and leftover curry casserole. The British celebrity chef told Maclean’s he rewrote the cookbook four times. “When I started writing it, no one had any clue about the credit crunch so it’s a complete accident.”
He was thinking instead about waging a war on obesity. Oliver’s new target demographic is the fast-food eater who doesn’t know how to cook. He hopes that his simple, cheap-to-make recipes like “A Cracking Burger”—ground beef patty with crushed-up crackers on a bun—will satiate the taste buds of those accustomed to McDonald’s and frozen dinners. His aim is to get packaged-food eaters to drop their steady diet of pre-made, high-fat meals and to start cooking affordable, tastier equivalents at home.
By Jacob Richler - Thursday, April 30, 2009 at 10:20 AM - 5 Comments
Chef Marc Thuet hires freshly paroled ex-cons for his restaurant and lets the TV cameras roll
Chef Marc Thuet has led a colourful life, but all the same, what he got up to this Monday past was something altogether new: shaking hands with a gang of freshly paroled ex-cons, and offering each of them jobs at his flagship Toronto restaurant—with a full television crew on hand to capture the deal. It was the first day of shooting for his new TV series tentatively entitled Criminal Dinners.
“I told some customers about it last week and they all said I was f–king crazy—but then maybe they never really thought any different about me before,” Thuet volunteered over the phone from his restaurant, which with more aptness than taste is named Bite Me! “Some asked about my insurance.”
By Jacob Richler - Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The culinary process ‘sous vide’ is now available to the home chef. We tried it out.
This fall Thomas Keller’s long-awaited ode to cooking things in plastic bags, Under Pressure, went on sale at bookstores coast to coast. Thanks to the Internet it is also now possible to have immersion circulators and chamber vacuum packing machines shipped to your home address. What all this means is that the revolutionary culinary process known as sous vide, a favourite of hospital cafeterias and three-star Michelin restaurants everywhere, has at long last entered the domain of the domestic cook.
Most methods of cooking—from roasting to grilling, frying, poaching or steaming—involve the application of extreme heat to something raw. And more often than not the trick of getting things right comes down to separating the two, a long time before the core temperature of the food reaches the same level as the heat source that is cooking it.