A Pair Of Gourmands

by - Story: 11431

More men in the kitchen!

He says:

Recently, many of my customers have been men wanting to learn more about cooking. It varies, as I get asked to teach everything from simple basic meals all the way to the fancy stuff.

Last weekend I was teaching a married guy who has a new interest in cooking how to plan, prepare, cook and plate a 5-course dinner for 6 people. The idea is simple: I go there, teach him, and leave before the guests show up, letting him take the credit for the whole meal. We had a blast. I kept the food simple, but I placed an emphasis on presentation and timing of the whole meal, knowing that I would be gone and he would have to fly solo at mealtime.

First we went shopping for two hours, and then we came back home and started to make dessert. During the course of the day, we went through the basics of planning a meal that would make it easy on the chef allowing him to be able to mingle with his guests during the night.

We then went on to prepare the rest of the food, including many garnishes that would make the meal look smashing. The big difference between restaurant kitchens and house kitchens is the look of the final product, so with a few tricks up my sleeve, I set up some simple things for him to do once I would be gone.

I came home that night and my wife had cooked up a nice Chocolate Banana Cream for us. I had a great day.

I spoke to the guy the next day, and the meal was a total success! The guests loved it and he had a great time doing it. I love being able to help people eat better.

She says:

Weekends are of course the time when we most often have our special treats, or splurge on a bit of something decadent. This past weekend was no different, and I must say that the chocolate banana cream pie was inspired. The pieces left that we had on Monday night made the day seem more like a weekend.

Decadence is a learned experience, and it requires practice to truly appreciate. But it doesn’t always have to be expensive or complicated. We are constantly looking for new things to combine and try… The swiss chard that Martin finished with sage butter the other night for a bed on which to sit a fresh salmon filet was decadent, I thought. And the vine leaves I took from the vineyard we live in and filled with mint, rice, pine nuts and a bit of feta were truly decadent after grilling, as we munched them on the patio at sunset.

Presentation can make a dining experience more decadent as well. Even a picnic can feel decadent if you want it to, and I suppose that is where women tend to step in. I enjoy a meal more if the dish that sits on the table is a nice one, with an interesting or elegant serving utensil. (Sometimes chefs can be a bit utilitarian, using large metal bowls and spoons when that hand-painted dish you got as a gift is crying out to be used. J) Like I said, it is a practiced experience, and we can all use more practice!

As I have said before, I am not the professional cook in the house I just love food. Once I discovered the definition of a gourmand, I knew I was one! As a result, I am always looking for something new to prepare or taste. I am happy to be Martin’s guinea pig, as it gives me the opportunity to sample all kinds of new food adventures, and to offer my own two cents worth of inspiration whenever possible. He says I am his muse, but I just like being part of it all. In our kitchen, we don’t need more men, but I sure do love the one I have in mine!

Chef Martin’s Tip 24: Caesar rule!

Caesar salad is one of America’s favorites. Whenever I need to have a crowd-pleasing menu, I make sure that Caesar salad is part of the party.

There are many different recipes for this salad, but this one is the easiest and tastiest I have found over the last 20 years.

2 egg yolks
½ cup of top quality vegetable oil
2 tbsp of top quality Dijon mustard
Fresh garlic to taste
¼ cup of fresh lemon juice or to taste
¼ cup of capers
6 whole anchovies
¼ cup Parmegiano Regianno
Cracked black pepper
Freshly made croutons

Serves 2-4 people

Make the dressing:
Mince and mash the garlic in a bowl, then whisk together the garlic, lemon juice and mustard. Add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the anchovies, capers, parmegiano and a few drops of the brine from the capers.

In a large bowl toss the clean romaine with the croutons and the dressing until the salad is combined well. Sprinkle each salad bowl with more capers, anchovies and a few Parmesan curls if desired. Serve right away…

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

These are the stores where I shop, go visit them and tell them I sent you...

Hooked on Seafood, 1951 Harvey Ave, Kelowna 860-2541
Discover Wines, 2080 C Springfield Rd, Kelowna 868-3990
Matterhorn Bakery, 103 - 3640 Gosset Rd, Westbank 768-3302
L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997
Quality Greens, 3717 A Old Okanagan, Westbank 707-1420
Valoroso Italian Market, 1467 Sutherland Rd, Kelowna 860-3631
Kitchen Niche, Orchard Park mall, Kelowna 860-3637

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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