In the kitchen with Élyse Marquis, it's a title that suits her like a glove, she who hosts the show Les chefs!, broadcast on Radio-Canada, for several years now.
As a mother , she loves to cook for her daughter, Alice, as well as for her friends, for those she loves, for the pleasure of pleasing. Élyse is also a member of the jury for the competition for the best apple pie in Quebec to be held at the Marché des Halles d'Anjou on September 17th. She is thrilled, she says, because a sweet memory reminds her of her grandmother. Gourmet portrait of a woman of heart.
In the morning, tea or coffee?
I need a coffee in the morning. Ideally a café latte, which I sip slowly, as I like to get up very early. And the rest of the day is tea. My little everyday tea is lady grey. It's like an earl gray with less power.
My special occasion tea is a jasmine green tea.
I really like English tea services in restaurants. I went there several times, to the Hôtel Reine Élisabeth, to the restaurant Rosélys and to the Château Laurier, with my daughter, my mother, my aunt and my cousin. I love the tea ritual, the scones and the little cucumber sandwiches. You feel like you're somewhere else and you want to take your time.
Croissant or oatmeal, fruit…?
All that! I love lunches. I would eat breakfast three times a day.
I discovered last year the oatmeal that you leave in the fridge all night with chia and lots of fruit. I love it!
I also like to make pancakes and French toast. When my daughter was little, we often turned the day upside down with breakfast for supper.
Sliced bread or baguette?
Baguette, baguette . I buy them very often, so I make a lot of bread pudding so I don't waste them.
Cheese or dessert?
Oh ! I'm clearly dessert. I would only eat that. I love all desserts. Especially what is frozen. My favorite dessert of all time is the citrus blancmange from the Leméac restaurant.
Meat or fish?
I like a lot of fish and I often choose fish when I go to a restaurant. I love discovering new fish and new ways to prepare them. On the other hand, I do not eat seafood at all. I have never been attracted by their flavors and textures.
With steak, salad or fries?
Ideally both. But otherwise… fries, matchstick fries, in particular.
Vegetable or meat?
In recent years, I have eaten much less meat. I am not a vegetarian, but I tend towards this diet. I try to incorporate tofu and legumes into my diet and I eat a lot of vegetables. I want to eat at the country table of the Bika farm in Fisun Ercan. She showcases vegetables from her garden and products from local producers in her region.
Caramel or chocolate?
Without a doubt , toffee. I'm crazy about caramel. I would put it everywhere. I also really like white chocolate.
Cake or cookie?
Hmm, good question… I make a lot of cookies because they're easier to store and transport. Since my daughter was very young, I have been making orange, cranberry and white chocolate cookies. She had a lot of it in her lunches. I've tried a few times to make cookies that are more “healthy”, but each time it failed. I also love cakes. My favorite is the strawberry shortcake. My friend, Isabelle Deschamps-Plante, makes the most beautiful and the best cakes.
Beer or wine?
I hardly drink any alcohol. But I would never say no to a glass of champagne! Or even a meal with food and wine pairings.
I really like the apple must from the orchard and the Denis Charbonneau cider house. I go there every year to pick my apples and stock up on excellent products.
Tell me about your favorite kitchen accessory and why did you choose it?
My favorite accessory is my Le Creuset casserole dish. This is a gift from my mother and my daughter that I received for Christmas a few years ago. I love him so much. I cook everything in it. My dream would be to own several Le Creuset pieces one day.
Do you have a little ritual when you prepare meals? Small glass of wine, background music, are you singing?
I often cook late at night and prepare several dishes at the same time, while dancing. I realize that I'm quite “academic” when I cook. I have a huge collection of cookbooks and continue to buy them regularly. I love cookbooks and read them like novels, cover to cover. I really understand the basics of cooking, but when I stray from the original recipe, the result is often disastrous.
A favorite recipe or cookbook?
My most precious cookbook is The Red Notebook by Josée di Stasio, which she had autographed for me. I read it every year at the beginning of the holiday season.
Tell me about the culinary achievement you are proud of
Me, I'm proud when I manage not to waste. For example, yesterday, I made poke bowls and I had some tofu left that I transformed into tofu rillettes this afternoon. I'm proud of myself when I don't waste food. I also remember being very proud of my first sushi. When my daughter was little, this was her favorite dish. So I bought a book to learn how to make sushi and I didn't think I could do it. But with the right ingredients and the right tools, it's relatively easy.
What did your kitchen smell like when you were little?
It smelled so good in my house when I was little. My mother made cookies or muffins just before I got home from school, just to make it smell good. I kept this tradition with my daughter when she was in elementary school. When you cook for someone, it's a way of saying I love you.
Your favorite restaurants ?
There are several. I really like Leméac. For a business dinner or a meeting with friends, the salmon stew and for dessert, the citrus blancmange. A delight.
For special occasions, it's at Toqué that it happens. The cuisine is absolutely perfect every time and the service is impeccable.
I also really like Beaumont for its fresh produce and creative cuisine.
Bouillon Bilk is another safe bet. Everything is good there.
And of course L'Express. You have to take the lemon tartlet for dessert, it is perfect.
Favorite restaurant outside of Montreal?
I can't believe I haven't been to Chez Boulay or Le Saint-Amour yet. I promise myself to go there this year (but not on the same day) (laughs)!
Pampered food shop?
Markets. I like the Jean-Talon market. I like being close to producers, being able to chat with them and having them talk to me about their products. I also like going to the Halles d'Anjou, it's a spectacular place, all these product stalls, the pastries, stocking up for the week of vegetables and fruits from Quebec, I love it.
Favorite culinary products?
I really like fruits and vegetables from Quebec. For several years, I have subscribed to an organic farm: Arlington Gardens. They are located in the Eastern Townships. The owner writes to us every week to describe the contents of our basket and also to tell us about his week. I love them.
Favorite restaurant dish
I tend to go for fish dishes, especially cod. I think you can never go wrong with that. In fact, I often choose a dish that takes too long to make at home, such as ravioli with pumpkin puree and sage butter, a delight.
A culinary favourite?
My best culinary memory was a meal at Toqué for my birthday, with food and wine pairings and where you never knew what dish was going to come. I had tears in my eyes of happiness it was so beautiful and tasty. I will remember it all my life.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128