Cook like a chef | The duty

This text is part of the special Pleasures notebook

Culinary workshops are not new, but their number, formats and themes have literally exploded in recent years. Now, it is entirely possible to attend virtual workshops with star chefs from the other side of the globe, as well as to get your hands dirty in the kitchens of local chefs. So, here is a sample of highly gourmet, interesting and human Quebec concepts; because there’s nothing better than learning how to create delicious dishes in person!

15 years ago, amateur cooks did not yet have much choice in terms of culinary workshops. In Montreal, for example, they could embark on a course session at the Culinary Academy (which only offers online today) or follow complete training in a hospitality school. An offer revolutionized by the opening almost in quick succession, in 2007 and 2008, of two concepts intended for general public workshops: La Guilde Culinaire and Ateliers & Saveurs.

“We wanted to democratize cooking on all levels: hours, prices and philosophy,” says Éric Gauthier, chef and co-founder of Ateliers & Saveurs with his mixologist wife, Fanny Gauthier, and their sommelier friend Arnaud Ferrand. We wanted people to learn to cook in a less academic way, as if they were participating in a big party of the kitchen. »

Proof that Quebecers were ready for this new approach, the school now operates four branches (three in Montreal and one in Quebec), has developed more than 5,000 recipes and receives an average of 70,000 people per year, rejoices Éric Gauthier. A success linked to the diversity of the formulas offered by the company, with both culinary workshops at lunchtime and other more comprehensive ones on a host of themes: tapas, fresh pasta, pizzas, sushi, cold meats, pastries, etc. Each time, participants put on an apron and collaborate with a chef to prepare what they eat and then receive details of the recipe(s) by email. Simple and efficient.

“Our concept reaches all audiences. People who want to learn about cooking, vary their everyday dishes, master specific techniques, find a fun activity or spoil someone. There are all good reasons to come see us,” says Éric Gauthier.

Neighborhood workshops

On a smaller scale, the Gus restaurant, established since 2013 in the Rosemont district of Montreal, offers culinary workshops once a month to groups of up to nine people. Participants sit on as many chairs at the counter which opens onto the establishment’s kitchen.

“I started giving workshops in 2019. Even though they represent more work for me, I love sharing my knowledge and I get a lot of pleasure from interacting with people,” says chef and owner David Ferguson. It’s also my way of contributing to the life of my neighborhood, to my community. »

During the master classes, the chef teaches participants how to make a three-course meal: starter, main course, dessert. And this, with some of the establishment’s most accessible and popular dishes, such as Caesar salad, beef steak, rack of lamb or even carrot or chocolate cake.

“I don’t just show them a recipe,” adds David Ferguson. I also give them useful tips on preparing in advance and avoiding waste. I get asked a lot of questions! »

Obviously, places for these intimate culinary workshops sell out quickly, especially since their price is barely higher than a usual outing to a restaurant. Notice to those interested!

From Peru to Bas-Saint-Laurent

Originally from Peru, Adrian Pastor arrived with his kitchen knives in Quebec seven years ago. After working for Rioux and Pettigrew in the Quebec capital, he left to support Colombe St-Pierre at Bic, before heading the kitchen at the Arlequin restaurant in Rimouski.

“I’m a big fan of fish and seafood, so Bas-Saint-Laurent is perfect for me,” explains the chef. He decided to launch Project Yaku after noticing that home chef activities and culinary workshops were not really offered on a regular basis in the region. He therefore now runs, on the one hand, cooking classes for secondary school students in French – a good way to familiarize them with products, but also Quebec history and culture – and on the other, workshops for adults at various locations.

“I don’t really give workshops on bread, but rather on treasures from our territory, with a local, responsible and sustainable approach,” he says. And since I come from elsewhere, I share through these courses my own astonishment and my own discoveries. »

Sea urchins in sashimi, dried or served with a siphon emulsion; halibut in ceviche, steamed or pan-fried in butter… Each workshop is an opportunity for participants to learn about a new product, to practice several techniques for preparing it, and to learn tips for preserving it. And all this, with a little Peruvian touch, whether for cooking, seasoning or accompanying dishes. Original, isn’t it?

Culinary workshops to discover

This content was produced by the Special Publications team at Duty, relating to marketing. The writing of the Duty did not take part.

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