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Les Petits Chefs visit The Gallery Grill (Toronto)

Chef Suzanne Baby at The Gallery Grill Hart House Toronto by eat. live. travel. write.

“Best. Field. Trip. Ever.”  Seriously, guys, everything can’t always be the “best”. Except it seems that being a Petit Chef these days is pretty darned awesome so maybe they are right! On Monday we headed to The Gallery Grill whose Chef Suzanne Baby just happens to be the sister of our own Ms Baby in the school office.  Apart from being a beautiful location (from the website: “the vaulted ceiling, hand-painted stained glass windows and bird’s eye view of the oak-paneled Great Hall bellow creates a dining atmosphere like no other.“), the food is “comforting yet cosmopolitan” and the restaurant’s menu  supports local producers of organic and/or naturally-raised foods whenever possible.  When you’re in the dining room it feels like a special, secret place but the truth is it’s a not-so-well-kept secret here in Toronto.  It might be a little tucked away in the campus of the University of Toronto but it’s most definitely worth seeking out.

At the Gallery Grill Hart House Toronto by eat. live. travel. write.

When I contacted Suzanne to ask her for ideas of what we could do with the boys in the restaurant’s admittedly tiny kitchen, I made a few suggestions myself. I’m a little ashamed to say I picked “easy” dishes, very aware of the timing and space restrictions. When Suzanne came back with “I’m thinking of doing a hands on crash course in pâte à choux“, I knew we were speaking the same language.  I know myself how easy pâte à choux is – I’ve made goat cheese mini puffs, éclairs, gougèresprofiteroles, twice and heck, I even led a pâte à choux workshop at La Cuisine Paris last summer – but so many people think it’s complicated. Honestly – check out these ingredients…

Ingredients for Choux Pastry by eat. live. travel. write.

The boys were a little unsure about working with so few ingredients but they watched Chef Suzanne with great interest…

Working with Chef Suzanne Baby at The Gallery Grill Toronto by eat. live. travel. write.

And then they got to work…

Cooking with kids making choux pastry organising ingredients by eat. live. travel. write.

Cutting, measuring, sweeping, cracking

And they were pretty excited to work on induction burners. “Hey Mlle, we need to get some of these for the science lab!” Indeed.

Baking with kids choux pastry by eat. live. travel. write.

Before we knew it, we were ready to pipe out our puffs. Or whatever shapes we wanted. So. Much. Fun.

Cooking with kids piping choux pastry by eat. live. travel. write.

Right, our shapes weren’t quite as, shall we say, consistent, as Chef Suzanne’s but the boys certainly had fun and the great thing about this pastry is that if it’s made right it will bake up ok.  As the boys’ trays of pastries baked, Chef Suzanne presented them with puffs and éclairs to fill and coat in chocolate. Can you say “Best. Field. Trip. Ever.”?

Baking with kids making choux pastry by eat. live. travel. write.

The photos I took aren’t the best but they show joy and enthusiasm which is worth a whole lot more  in my book….

Cooking with kids filling eclairs and cream puffs by eat. live. travel. write.

Chef Suzanne had all sorts of toppings and fillings including a balsamic caramel cream. “Pretty good” according to more than one Petit Chef. Such sophisticated little palates!

Baking with kids filling cream puffs by eat. live. travel. write.

Can you say “focus”?  (Well, except for the Petit Chef below who’s left his mini éclair in the chocolate dip as he offers advice to his friend on how to “get the most chocolate on top”. Ha!

Baking with kids filling eclairs and cream puffs by eat. live. travel. write.

And hey – Petits Chefs I have my eye on you. You are so busted!

Baking cream puffs with kids by eat. live. travel write.

Chef Suzanne – thank you. For showing the boys how easy pâte à choux really is. For showing them all manner of interpretations (pastry swans, réligieuses, churros – all unphotographed because there was a moment that needed to be lived in!). For empowering the boys. For showing them that fancy doesn’t mean difficult.  I have no doubt that a few of the boys will be making these at home very soon.  The idea of little boys making choux pastry makes me so so happy :)

The Gallery Grill
Hart House, University of Toronto
7 Hart House Circle,
Toronto
Weekdays
Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday
Cocktails: 4pm – 7pm
Sunday
Brunch: 11am – 2pm

Gallery Grill on Urbanspoon

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15 Responses to Les Petits Chefs visit The Gallery Grill (Toronto)

  1. yummychunklet April 17, 2013 at 08:41 #

    The kids’ puffs look great!

  2. Mr. Neil April 17, 2013 at 09:25 #

    Hey! How come none of these made it home to the Mr. Neil Inspection?!?!

    Especially intrigued by the balsamic caramel cream filling. Mmmmm.

    Not really a “wine pairing” post. And it would largely depend on the filling.

    A Cabernet Franc icewine comes to mind with the chocolate, or perhaps a Vin Santo. Otherwise, a nice crisp dry bubbly of some sort would suit me just fine…

  3. Colette @ JFF! April 17, 2013 at 16:00 #

    You’re the best teacher ever, Mardi!

  4. K A B L O O E Y April 17, 2013 at 19:34 #

    Wow, do I love this post. Best trip ever + black and white shot of boys from behind + “accidental” leaving of puff pastry in chocolate for maximum coverage. I’d prefer a bowl of chocolate with a pastry island floating in its midst, so I heart that little guy’s technique.

  5. Paula April 18, 2013 at 16:20 #

    I dare say that the young chef believed it was totally worth getting busted. What an enjoyable field trip for Les Petits Chefs. How they must dread when these classes come to and end. Hopefully you are able to continue working with Les Petits Chefs in your science/kitchen lab for many more semesters.

  6. Liz April 19, 2013 at 07:24 #

    I want to be a Petit Chef! Such fun!

  7. Geoff April 19, 2013 at 22:09 #

    What LPCs are doing is such a long way from my boyhood cuisine which consisted of overcooked meat, boiled-to-mush vegetables and (at boarding school) congealed, cold eggs & bacon on soggy toast….
    And, their hands-on experience with real food and doing real things with it reminds me of a small function which I attended recently involving the dairy industry and a presentation to primary school children…. one young boy, in answer to the question: “where do you think milk comes from?” said with all candour: “From the fridge in the supermarket.” Yes, but how did it get there. “Trucks bring it.” And where do the trucks get it from then? “I don’t know.”
    LPCs – great initiative, great results, great boys.

    • Mardi Michels April 26, 2013 at 20:35 #

      Oy! That is scary re the presentation to the kids!!! And thanks!

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