Marin Laprise - The Chef in Stead
Marin Laprise - The Chef in Stead

A Pair of Gourmands

by - Story: 7210

Chef Martin’s Tip 2:

Planning is the difference between a good cook and a great cook.

Whether in a restaurant cooking for 200 customers or having 6 people over for dinner at my house, I use the simple technique of visualizing every step of the meal. It really makes me see the details of the meal all the way down to how long does it take to cook a single poached egg, for example. I have also found that it limits the possible screw-ups before they happen, allowing me to be extra-prepared for success!

Don’t get caught without a plan!

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

Good food, good friends!

Comfort food recipe for success:

Take a few friends, add 1 aperitif per person and a few funny stories and let simmer for about 45 minutes.

Using any kitchen equipment available and with a minimum of ingredients, cook something warm, simple and tasty. At the same time, it is very important to slowly pour a bit of wine in glasses and make sure that you keep the funny stories simmering.

Recently, Kristin and I went to friends’ house for an afternoon. This couple happens to be French and have traveled and lived all over the world. She is a nurse by trade and he has been a professional chef for the last 40 years. I have always really enjoyed the company of other chefs, because it reminds me that I am not crazy and I could always relate to their food stories. Those restaurant anecdotes happen all over the world, and are the very reason why we stick to this insane industry.

The whole day was just wonderful. After driving for an hour and half in the Okanagan, we arrived at their house deeply ensconced in the forest behind Oliver. The beautiful log cabin was surrounded by a nice wood-fireplace smell and a top-of-the-mountain view that just stopped you in your tracks!

We started chatting about everything over a glass of apple Mistelle (an aperitif made from apple juice fortified with alcohol). It made us all think of winter days in Quebec, warming by the fire. Almost as if on cue, the snow started to fall, and we had a perfect winter scene! Not long after, we soon found ourselves gathered around a cozy pot of Swiss Cheese Fondue and nice bottle of Riesling Auslese (a sweeter one) from Germany. I have to tell you, this is what life is all about - friends, food, drink and sharing stories.
Thank you to Dominique and Maryse for some great memories.

I wanted to share this story with you and give you a Simple Swiss Fondue recipe that could help you experience your own comfort food memories.

Cheese Fondue

One clove of Garlic
400 ml (1/2 regular bottle) dry White Wine
20 ml (1-1/2 tablespoons) Kirsch (buy at your local liquor store - it’s worth it for taste)
15 ml (1 teaspoon) Cornstarch (optional)
Nutmeg to taste
Cracked fresh Black Pepper
400 g (1-1/2 cups) Gruyere cheese, grated
300 g (1-1/4 cups) Emmental cheese, grated

In a flame resistant earthenware pot (the French call it a “Caquelon”) or a non-stick pot, cut the garlic cloves in half and rub the bottom of the pot. Keep an eye on it to make sure that you will not burn the garlic.

Add wine and bring to a boil.

Slowly add grated cheese and stir with your favorite wooden spoon.

When the mixture starts to bubble, if you want your fondue a bit thicker, add the cornstarch dissolved in the Kirsch. (If not, just add the Kirsch and stir.)

Add nutmeg and pepper and remove from the stove to place on your fondue burner.

If you used a non-stick pot, you can now transfer it into your cheese fondue pot. Serve with cubes of fresh bread. (baguette or peasant style loaf works best)

Stir the fondue every so often with your spoon, to avoid scorching at the bottom.

“I really hope that you will teach your kids, friends and family that comfort food is the basis of life.”

The Chef in Stead - Marin Laprise. You can contact Martin at (250) 712-4440 or Email. Check out their website.

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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