The French gastronomical delights are a rewarding experience that embrace elegance. Hospitality “à la Française”, with the mouth-watering timeless sauces and creatively mixed ingredients to concoct memorable dishes, is the nonpareil decision on many occasions. The savoury indulgence of french culinary nourishes relationships, fosters interactions, builds cooperation and fuels the aesthetics of your event.
We met with Parisian Chef, Chantal Véchambre in Toronto to learn about her style in creating the elegant french cuisine.
What is your story: My story is all about a Parisian lady chef in Toronto… without a restaurant.
What qualities should a chef have apart from cooking skills: Curiosity, openmind, planification, organization, kindness towards employees.
Your “one” super power quality as a chef: Knowledge of French classic cooking skills.
Do you have a golden rule in your kitchen: No interruption and I’m referring specially to individuals who just drop by without making appointments. Certain preparations require full concentration, plus, I prefer to work in isolation and have the luxury of mental planning without disruption.
How do you choose your suppliers: Well it depends on dishes and the budget, a good balance of quality and cost. I always assess the delivery commitment in selecting my suppliers.
What elements you consider aesthetically to create harmony and balance in your menu: Color, density & ingredients.
Do you ever propose your clients “service en confusion”? If yes when and why? I think you are referring to the « ambigu » which was very popular among the French aristocracy in the 18th century. It was a manner of setting the feasting table, sort of buffet style, in the days of yore. Certainly, a regal feast arrangement is splendid, still personally I prefer butler style bouchées serving or stations with chaffing dishes with a server to help guests…. as buffets turn to a mess and a waste of food.
3 tips for serving lunch at a conference: Light, quick and easy to eat & visually appealing.
3 tips to impress your guests for wedding menus? French touch, classic recipe, sophisticated presentation.
What kind of dishes you suggest to create connection and spark conversation? An old fashioned recipe from French country culinary heritage.
One secret of French Haute cuisine: The sauces.
Your take on: “Culinary diplomacy” examines how food can be used as a tool to promote relationship-building, cooperation, and peace: When the stomach is filled and the brain is satisfied, we can talk easely about peace!
World leaders who you like to host and cook for in your kitchen while discussing exchange of ideas: Pape François, Obama, Dalai Lama, Queen Elizabeth and now Macron of course.
What is you favourite “saying”, “quote”, “idiom” with food? : En avoir plein l’assiette (have our plate full): to have a lot to do (and not need more !)
As a host of private dinner how do we choose our desert menu: savoury?Sweet?Sweet, a desert is always sweet!
Is it completely inept and far from french etiquette to serve cheese platter prior to serving dinner?
Cheese platter charges the palate before the dinner, and fills the stomach as well.
Your favourite dessert: many…. Creme Caramel, Bavarois, Opera, NY Cheese Cake….
3 French table etiquettes:
- guests to be served at the same time for a dish
- no cell phone
- no food and beverage in the mouth at the same time (yikes)
- use the knife to cut and not the side of the fork
- both hands on the table
What is your favourite movie that features great gastronomy or food : Many, les saveurs du Palais, le Festin de Babette, Ratatouille, Julie & Julia.
Your life Motto: Teach your kids to cook!
Visit Chantal Véchambre websites to learn more about her catering services.