Fall 2009 — Here I was, at Ô Chalet Restaurant near Montreal’s CBC tower, celebrating with a good friend and colleague the launch of 100 recettes, 100 vedettes Centraide, my third collective cookbook as a ghost writer.
From Cercles de Fermières’ Qu’est-ce qu’on mange ? cookbook to TV show Des kiwis et des hommes’ culinary journal, behind-the-scenes has become second nature to me. Secretly creative, often rewarding, but short on accolades, let’s face it.
So this was a party for two, my book editor and me, elbows on table, wine glass in hand, chewing the fat about everything, nothing…and a book project maybe. “How would you like to work on a cookbook featuring Quebec’s agro-touristic regions with recipes from chefs all over?” she asked. Guess the answer.
Flashforward to Fall 2010, the book is already here after a mind-boggling sprint, especially over the last few months. During this amazing past year, I have toured Quebec’s food scene virtually, bringing together top chefs and rising stars, combing the countryside to seek out the best local products, the most diverse gourmet routes. Eighty chefs in all, from châteaux to bistros to countryside inns, agreed to partake. And to share the casual, i.e. à la bonne franquette, dishes they cherish most.
This fourth book is a favourite, I must confess. I like that it spans cooking from foie gras to Cheez Whiz, Charlevoix lamb to Carnation milk, and grandma’s beans to chipotle mayonnaise. What a mouth-watering portrait of our homegrown cuisine this is, deliberately simple, occasionally worldbeat, bringing together easy weeknight meals and Saturday night show stoppers.
Because cookbooks are an invitation to share one’s love of food, I invite you to come back over the next few weeks as I treat a lucky reader, in a little “Foodie and Franquette” contest. What’s the prize, do you think?.