Canada’s 100 Best - - Q +a -

Yes, it’s true—Ed­mon­ton has a fine patis­serie. It is called Duchess Bake Shop and it is thriv­ing. Some con­sid­er­able part of its suc­cess is at­trib­ut­able to its size­able se­lec­tion of (yes, still) trendy mac­a­roons—the main­stay flavours (le­mon, pis­ta­chio, salted caramel) al­ways com­ple­mented by a per­pet­u­ally ro­tat­ing of­fer­ing of orig­i­nals (black se­same, black licorice, pump­kin pie, etc.). And it is mac­a­roons that fea­ture on the cover of its el­e­gant new cook­book. The recipes in­cluded for du­pli­cat­ing these—and their su­per-sized brethren, “mac­arons gâteaux”—are painstak­ingly thor­ough. But it is the ac­com­pa­ny­ing step-by-step pho­to­graphs, matched to each im­por­tant phase of every foun­da­tion recipe, that make this book such an as­set for the am­a­teur pas­try chef. Like the shop, the Duchess book is fo­cused on the best-loved clas­sics of French pas­try, re­pro­duced du­ti­fully rather than with a twist. And for home cooks just start­ing to get se­ri­ous in the pas­try kitchen, this is ideal (learn how to make this ba­sic bûche de Noël this year, and maybe next year—maybe—you can tackle Pa­trice De­mers’). From puff pas­try to pâte à choux, éclairs to Paris-Brest, pas­try-shell mak­ing, crimp­ing and lat­tice tops—and even a good tar­ti­flette—it is all here, spelled out in eas­ily fol­lowed recipes and vis­ual guides that all but guar­an­tee suc­cess. It is a com­pre­hen­sive but man­age­able col­lec­tion of French pas­try es­sen­tials.


Ned Bell thinks about fish a lot. His pas­sion and ex­per­tise in sus­tain­able fish­eries is rooted in his re­cent stint as Ocean Wise ex­ec­u­tive chef for the Van­cou­ver Aquar­ium. Long be­fore that, though, he had as­serted him­self as a su­perb seafood chef, most re­cently over six years as ex­ec­u­tive chef at the seafood restau­rant YEW, at the Four Sea­sons Van­cou­ver. His two joint im­per­a­tives (sav­ing fish, eat­ing fish) are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. And in these pages, he shares his highly in­formed path to do­ing it right. The species are mostly West Coast and all cer­ti­fied sus­tain­able, but in his hands this does not feel lim­it­ing (think ling cod, sable­fish, hal­ibut, Dun­geness crab, but­ter clams, skate, stur­geon and var­i­ous species of Pa­cific salmon, just to start). He wants you to cook more of it so goes to great lengths to ex­plain how to do it right— from stor­age to fil­let­ing, and to ex­plain­ing what makes some fish grill-ap­pro­pri­ate and oth­ers bet­ter for sear­ing. His recipes are ap­proach­able, con­tem­po­rary, possessed of a char­ac­ter­is­tic West Coast light­ness (smoked sable­fish and ap­ple chow­der, say, or sar­dines with pre­served lemons, herbs and but­ter let­tuce). They of­ten veer into Cana­di­ana (salmon with sushi rice and maple miso glaze, or baked oys­ters with maple Béar­naise, or even a Cae­sar with sea­weed vodka and prawns), but never gra­tu­itously. Trendy and health­ful sea greens make fre­quent ap­pear­ances (there’s even a “(sea)weed brownie”). Seafood afi­ciona­dos should not do with­out it.

Davin de Ker­gom­meaux, Ap­petite by Ran­dom House, $25.

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