Canada Diaries Part I: ChefOnTheCouch

Last month my fashion-blogger-partner-in-crime Mon Petit Chou Chou and I had a wonderful adventure spread across three nights in Canada. We paid a visit to the delightful Eastern Townships then the city of Montreal – where were were fortunate to sample a great deal of what these regions have to offer guests.  With the help of the fabulous folk at the Quebec Ministry for Tourism quite an adventure was had!

I want to share my trip highlights with you since touring the region was my very first experience of Canada.  I had an amazing time filled with fun and laughter and felt at ease with the perfect mix of American/French/English influences on the Canadian culture we explored.

Trip Highlight: Cookery Lesson at Ateliers & Saveurs, Montreal:

Regular readers of this Blog will know that StyleOnTheCouch is not known for her enthusiasm in the kitchen.  In fact, given that most things I attempt tend to arrive on the plate as an over-seasoned, under-cooked mess, I am usually allocated to the somewhat ‘supportive’ role of sommelier where meals are concerned.

No such getting-out-of-it at Ateliers & Saveurs, however, not least with Mon Petit Chou Chou on hand to direct me in all manner of knife and chopping techniques.

Ateliers & Saveurs is the first cooking, cocktails and wine school to open in Montreal (my main complaint from the start that cocktails would have been more fun fell on Mon Petit Chou Chou‘s deaf ears).  We got started on “Food and Coach“, a cookery class set up by the founders of the school to help you increase your culinary know-how through interaction with chefs and fellow students within a friendly environment.  Friendly it was – with the passion of our chef and tutor shining through from the outset, infecting us with his love of food and desire for us all to eat well.

The menu:
Appetiser: Salmon tartare with parmesan crisp, salad leaves and crouton
Main course:  Steak served on a bed of mashed potato with salsa dressing
Dessert: Panna cotta with red berry puree

Working closely with the chef each step of the way (with a pause to eat in-between, naturellement!) different steps within the menu were taken to perfect each course.  Using gelatine for the first time was um interesting (who knew it came in sheet form? Not me, I thought that was plastic wrapping left over from the salmon, ahem) as was perfecting the technique of cutting an onion without crying (to the poor gentleman allocated this task because all other students wore mascara – I am truly sorry, but you need to work on your technique).

The key things I learned at the School were; to pay attention to the quality of the ingredients of a dish, because the success of your creation often rests on this, and to be less concerned with the outcome and more interested in the fun process of cooking.

Whilst I cannot claim to be the next Jamie Oliver, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Ateliers & Saveurs, and would highly recommend this experience if like me you are a “can’t cook don’t cook won’t cook” type.  You might find you leave the School with a new enthusiasm for the subject, as I did.

For more adventures in Canada, you can read Mon Petit Chou Chou’s account of our trip here.  I’ll also be posting further highlights on the blog over the next week or so, so please check back!
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5 Responses to Canada Diaries Part I: ChefOnTheCouch

  1. This class was definitely one of the top highlights of the trip! I like to think I know my way around a kitchen but I learned a lot from our chef for the evening. Tartar has been on my shortlist to make for quite some time, so I can’t wait to recreate these dishes at home. Definitely check out this place if you make your way to Montreal, so much more fun than another night out for dinner.

  2. Jeanne says:

    We were very happy to welcome you to our cooking workshop and were delighted that you have enjoyed !! All the team of Ateliers & Saveurs is thankfull for your words !!
    See you a next time for a cocktail workshop !!! a very very fun activity !!!

  3. Ritournelle says:

    The plate looks great, like a dish in the restaurant. I’m impressed!
    Soooo… when are you inviting me in East Village to test your new skills? ;-b

  4. I cook almost every day out of necessity. While I don’t really enjoy the process (the waiting! the chopping! the peeling!), I do somewhat insist on nice and healthy food so I kinda have to. Maybe I should go to find my ‘enthusiasm’ to make it more enjoyable.

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