Posts Tagged ‘Nice Bistro’

Pining for a little sous vide duck confit…

Gearing up for sous viding with my culinary boyfriend PHOTO: Jason Chow Photography

My culinary boyfriend, Chef Bernard, has been on my mind today. Warm memories of great times back-of-house learning sous vide from the master dance in my head.

I’m eyeing those pastured Svetec ducks I’ve got on ice. And even though it’s plus 12C today, I think I’ll confit the legs, pan sear the breasts, and stock the rest. Once I’ve had my fill I’ll take the leftovers to Chef to bag in his wacky sous vide machine.

And that, dear warriors, is how I’m spending the rest of the day.


Love my job!

Saturday with Jake: part 2

You may recall that last weekend I spent time with my nephew Jake at Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day whole foods cook-a-thon at T.O.’s Studio Kitchen hosted by Mardi M of EatLiveTravelWrite fame.

Between school, sports, friends and the occasional video game, Jake’s a pretty busy guy. I suspect the least likely thing he’d want to do in his free time is hang with his 50-something auntie. But food is the tie that binds and it’s always been “our thing.” And I had such a fantastic morning and afternoon with him that I didn’t want the day to end.

So as we were cleaning up and thanking Mardi for all her hard work pulling off this event, my foodie wheels were turning. What else could we do that would be fun and unique and, hopefully, provide indelible taste memories that my 10-year-old date would recall with clarity when he was 50-something.

The answer: a visit back-of-house at Nice Bistro.

Chef Bernard showed Jake his $40K+ Rational oven and his prep station with all its stainless steel bins of freshly chopped vegetables and herbs and garnishes and his eight burner gas cook top and grill, and the Fry-O-Lator and the Sous vide station and, to Jake’s delight, Chef’s French crepe machine.

As Jake was taking pleasure in each bite of his maple crepe a la mode, he discussed with me the differences between Chef Bernard’s offering and the one’s he and his mom make at home. Innately, Jake understood the reason why Chef’s crepe was lighter and more multi-layered was due to the large surface of the professional crepe machine, easily three times larger than the pan he uses.

See why I love this kid!

Duck Confit 101

Duck Confit PHOTO

My time in the kitchen at Nice Bistro making DUCK CONFIT is now available for your viewing pleasure.

My heart-felt thanks to Chef Bernard; videographer Jason Chow; the team at King Cole Ducks; and my most amazing, wonderful, creative, smart, handsome son Jeff, for taking three hours of running tape, working his magic, and creating an 11-minute how-to-duck-confit video that’s entertaining, informative and truly captures my time in Chef’s kitchen.

For all Fridge Whisperer how-to cooking videos, click HERE

Move over trendy cupcakes.

I’ve been pining for Brittany’s kouign-amann (Breton butter cake to you and me) since first trying it in France in 2005.

Problem is, I don’t bake.

I mix. I cream. I fold.

But autolysing, de-chalazaizing, and making feuilletage from scratch?

Not so much.

Kouign-amann (EVERYBODY: koo-WEEN a- MON) — a speciality of the town Douarnenez in Finist√®re, France where it was first created in 1865 — is a slow baked cake, made with copious amounts of butter incorporated into the bread dough and sprinkled with lots of sugar in between the folded layers. The resulting cake is puffed and caramelized, crisp on the outside, chewy inside. And it’s friggin’ delicious.

So, what to do when one is pining for kouign-amann but the closest one can get to it on this side of the pond is in Montreal at Patisserie Kouign Amann on Mount Royal St East?

NO, silly. If I were going to, I’d have baked at least one since 2005.

But I will start trending kouign-amann on Twitter and see if any commercial bakeries or pastry shops in Toronto are up for the challenge.

Failing that, ROAD TRIP!

If all else fails, I will go to my boyfriend’s French restaurant and have my way with his recipe and stand mixer.

Happy Friday, my darlings.



He likes me. He really likes me.

Sous-vide with Chef Bernard and Chef Deb PHOTO Jason Chow Photography/Gourmet Image

The “he” is my culinary sweety, Nice Bistro‘s executive chef Bernard Alberigo, who — culinarily speaking — I’ve been fooling around with this past year. Suffice to say, he had me at sous-vide.

And our love affair with food is not over yet. Especially after Chef takes time out of his busy day to send me love notes like this one…

Dear Deb,

I was just reading your new cookbook “Lusciously Local” and was very impressed with your culinary writing and professionalism.

The book is very interesting and informative. And I also like the way you represented the Slow Food [Movement].

Martha Stuart could learn from you!

Congratulations, Bernard

Next Monday Chef and I will get down and dirty again, this time creating duck confit from scratch. A three-day process, Chef warns, but assures me with some advance prep and his fancy, schmancy Rational chef-saver oven, we’ll be sitting down to eat in about four hours.

The duck legs and duck fat come via third generation Murby Family of King Cole Ducks fame. With family members over-seeing 140 staff on 14 farms that total 1200 acres throughout York Region, it’s safe to say the Murby’s know a thing or eight about ducks.

Of note, King Cole Ducks is the only fully vertically integrated farm of its kind in North America. From R&D, to breeding, to hatching, growing, processing, product development, cooking and shipping, every step in their process is truly in-house and hands-on.

King Cole Ducks even has its own feather processing plant, water treatment facility, maintenance shop/staff, separate Asian-style processing plant, on-site federal inspection facilities, separate product development/cook plant, and compost fields.

Now that, my dear FW warriors, is responsible farming!

Stay tuned for my and Chef Bernard’s steamy duck confit video, to be posted here next month.

In the meantime, enjoy our sous-vide video.

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