Les Petits Chefs cook from “Burma” with Naomi Duguid

Naomi Duguid working with Les Petits Chefs on eatlivetravelwrite.comI’m always blown away by the generosity of Toronto chefs and food enthusiasts who come out to work with the Petits Chefs and this week we can add “award winning author” to the lineup.  That’s right, Naomi Duguid, just back from a trip to Iran and headed to the Taste Canada awards (where her book “Burma, Rivers of Flavor” won in the “Regional Cultural” category took the time to come out and work with the boys for which we are so grateful.  A food writer and photographer based in Toronto, Duguid has coauthored six cookbooks including the recently published (and beautiful!) Burma, Rivers of Flavor.  She won Cookbook of the Year from the James Beard Foundation in 1996 and 2001 and Cuisine Canada Cookbook Awards in 1999 and 2004.  I was so excited to have her come and work with the boys and teach them a little bit about Burmese cuisine. One of my favourite parts of my trip to Burma last Christmas (and there were many), was the food and I knew the boys would enjoy the salad chapter (lots of chopping!) so we settled on three different salads – a Mandalay grated carrot salad, a Burmese chicken salad and a shrimp salad.

Naomi introduced the class with a brief description of Burma, its geography and some of the more typical ingredients used – we had three more unusual ingredients in play this week – toasted chickpea flour, dried shrimp powder and fried shallots (which the boys dubbed “worms” – they kind of look like them! – but which they loved – “like onion rings only crispier!”).

Shallots are used a lot in Burmese cuisine and one of the groups learned how to thinly slice them. They were not fans (“My eyes!”) but it’s a skill worth mastering and the more practice they get the faster they are and the less their eyes will water.  At least noone put their fingers in their eyes this week after chopping the shallots (in my experience they only do this once!).

Kids chopping shallots on eatlivetravelwrite.comOver at the shrimp salad station the boys learned to beautifully julienne the cucumbers…

Julienne vegetables on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids julienning vegetables on eatlivetravelwrite.comand finely chop green onions…

Chopping green onions on eatlivetravelwrite.comand juice some limes… (such great flavours, wouldn’t you agree?)

Kids cutting limes and green onions on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe carrot salad station was a veritable carrot grating machine

Kids peeling carrots on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids grating carrots on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd over at the chicken station, the boys were happy the chicken was already poached (many of them are not fans of working with raw chicken!)

Kids cutting chicken on eatlivetravelwrite.comNaomi taught the boys a fabulous technique for getting the most juice out of limes…

Naomi Duguid showing kids how to squeeze limes on eatlivetravelwrite.comAfter you’ve rolled them on the countertop “to squish them up and make them juicier” (in the words of a Petit Chef!), you slice the lime into small segments then squeeze them with your fingertips.

Kids squeezing limes on eatlivetravelwrite.comSqueezing lime juice on eatlivetravelwrite.comYou get so much more juice out of them that way!

Gotta love the recipe-following group below who are squeezing into a tablespoon to measure the juice 😉

Measuring lime juice on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe recipes in “Burma” whilst not complicated, do include a number of ingredients and steps so it was a great lesson in recipe-following all round.  Cooking is about so much more than food – so many life skills involved and reading and following a recipe is such a valuable one.

Kids measuring oil on eatlivetravelwrite.comKids mixing chicken salad on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd the final results?

Three salads from Burma on eatlivetravelwrite.com

(just iPhone photos this week – we were kinda rushing at the end!)

Delicious, fresh, pretty and actually pretty easy. My kind of salads 🙂

Naomi, thank you so much for taking the time (even when jetlagged!) to come and work with the boys. And congratulations on your well deserved Taste Canada win. I know “Burma” takes pride of place on my bookshelf and is a wonderful way to relive a special trip from the comfort of my own kitchen.

Get the recipes:

Mandalay grated carrot salad
Chicken salad Burma style
Shrimp salad

Burmese pantry staples

Dried shrimp powder
Toasted chickpea flour
Fried shallots and shallot oil




Buy Burma, Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid for yourselves on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.






I’m thrilled to share that one of my Petits Chefs will be cooking the Drop In Dinner at the Depanneur this Friday. He’s 10 (soon to be 11). He’s cooking for 20-30 people. He’s cooking the gnocchi we learned to make with Massimo Bruno. I can’t tell you how proud I am!  Read about Ben’s drop-in dinner here.

9 thoughts on “Les Petits Chefs cook from “Burma” with Naomi Duguid”

  1. Your classes for Les Petits Chefs are so much more than cooking classes and I think it’s wonderful that you are exposing these young boys to places, people and experiences that they may otherwise never have a chance to experience. Receiving support from your peers and from local chefs must be so encouraging for you and your young chefs.
    Continued success with this program Mardi. I think you are such an inspiration.


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