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Blog : What I Know For Sure Blog : What I Know For Sure

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What I Know For Sure

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Love on a Plate Table 600wWhat I know for sure is that, when it comes to cooking - in a three-star restaurant, a roadside diner, or at home - it all boils down to putting love on a plate.

What I know for sure about Canadians who cook is that, we are indeed lightening up in the kitchen.   We are loosening our hypersensitive apron strings and coming clean about food and fun and family and friends, and how all that fits into our personal and shared culinary experience. We apologize less for what we don't know - the technical and chemical aspects of food and wine, and speak unabashedly about what we do know - providence, preparation, passion, presentation and participation.  Especially participation. 

We can thank rough-around-the-edges, down-to-earth chefs like Jamie Oliver, Chuck Hughes, Dale MacKay, and even the somewhat-less-terrifying-and-formidable as of late Gordon Ramsay, for kicking it down a notch and including reality in their multi-media teachings.

I admit to being a professional-kitchen junkie and huge fan and supporter of Canada's many talented and highly-trained chefs. My heart however, is in my own kitchen where I unabashedly cheat or short-cut traditional culinary techniques in the name of putting good food on the table more often, quickly and with great passion and enthusiasm! 

Since we started and ChefBenefits, more than a few people (those who know me primarily/solely as a suited corporate communicator, or mum, or fundraiser) have looked sideways at me, saying (or telepathically communicating) 'and what do you know about it?'  It meaning food and wine, and cooking and chefs, and restaurant kitchens, artisanal growers, etc...  Fair question.  I am a very good cook so I'm told, but by no means a certified chef.

What I know for sure I learned at the knees of my grandmother and mum, from growing up with one foot in the restaurant supply business, from fabulously talented chef clients and friends, from cooking for legions and often, from reading a cookbook a day (sometimes more), and finally, over decades of studying Canadian culinary history and culture.

I know for sure that what we put on the table for ourselves, our families and our friends, is important beyond measure.  That, our intentions and love manifest themselves on the plate in a way that ties us together in experience and memory, like nothing else does.  

I also know that it's absolutely okay to cheat in the kitchen. Do friends and family really care that the niblets in the cornbread were frozen and not fresh-off-the-cob?  No, and if they do, toss them.  What they really care about is that we care about them in that authentic, primal, most basic of ways - by feeding them love on a plate.

The incredibly talented and equally charming Chef Stephane Istel (Chef and co-owner Bar-Roque Bar & Grill, Singapore), an Alsatian native who worked many years for Chef Daniel Boulud in New York and here in Vancouver where we met, is overt in his expression of the sustaining power of food.  Love on a Plate was in fact the (fantastically accented) name he used to describe DB Bistro Moderne's braised coq au vin, the base recipe for which came from Daniel Boulud's own family farm kitchen in Lyon, France.  

Stephane Istel Love on a Plate 600w

I had the privilege of preparing coq au vin and Alsatian apple tart alongside Stephane in the DB Bistro Moderne kitchen (recipes soon to be posted).  Admittedly, the ingredients and the wine were of the very finest, artisanal quality, and the French methodology could intimidate - mirepoix, déglacer au vin rouge... but the technique itself was incredibly, beautifully simple.  

And incredibly, beautifully simple is what aims to be.  Our goal is to share what we know and continue to learn about how everyday gourmet of all ages can put good food and beverage on the table more often, quickly and with great passion and enthusiasm.  To that end, we developed a KitchionaryTM of culinary terms that, unlike conventional dictionaries, puts terms into context and very often offers quick and easy (and inexpensive) work-arounds or subsitutes that offer more than good enough results when time is of the essence.

Kitchionary 600w

In my house, we are crushed for time most every weeknight.  I've learned to compensate through compromise - hundreds of concessions, short cuts and make-doos that help me prepare wholesome food that my family and friends love to eat.  Food that looks beautiful and tastes delicious, and keeps me well within budget and far away from the processed foods aisles.

So next time you are disuaded from trying a new recipe or technique because you aren't familiar with (or are intimidated by) a culinary term, check in with our KitchionaryTM.  I know for sure that, we can demistify and simplify, so you can get on with the business of putting love on those plates; of putting good food on the table more often, quickly and with great passion and enthusiasm!   

If you have a KitchionaryTM shortcut or work-around of your own you are willing to share, we'd love to hear about.  We'll put it in writing on our website and give you the everyday gourmet credit you deserve. Reach us by email.

Special thanks to the talented Tracey Kusiewicz of Foodie Photography for taking pix with Stephane.

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