Cuisine et Chateau, an interactive culinary centre which opened in Kensington Nov. 17th, aims to change the way people think about food.
“I think that Calgary is ready, and that there’s a market,” said pastry chef Marnie Fudge.
Fudge has worked in the food industry for 18 years, both as a business woman and a pastry chef who graduated from SAIT’s Baking and Pastry Arts program.
“There aren’t a ton of resources for people to learn and be entertained in an environment with professional chefs. You can be entertained but it’s not by professionals, or you can go and take a class.”
There are two sides to the business that is Cuisine et Chateau: culinary tours throughout southwest France, and personal or corporate classes that have taken place in rented buildings or clients’ homes.
The new culinary centre will house an array of classes, everything from wine and cheese pairings, bread baking, and meat preparation, to “cook and dine” classes, where students prepare and eat a three-course meal.
The cook and dine series is made up of themed events such as “Simply Italian” or “Southeast Asia.” Every participant goes home with an apron, all the recipes, and a full belly.
“It’s a great cooking experience that’s also a night out,” said Fudge.
Special event nights include guest chefs and themed dinners, currently focussing on different regions in France.
On a typical day, Fudge’s partner and head chef Thierry Meret does most of the cooking, he was also Fudge’s instructor when she was a student at SAIT.
Some of the ‘hands on’ classes are very specific, such as bread baking. Participants receive a light meal and then a full class time of instruction.
“Bread baking is really popular, it’s hard to just self- teach,” said Fudge.
The business side is also flourishing by offering customizable classes for corporate groups.
Fudge works with human resources departments of companies to tailor classes that will accomplish career objectives.
“We get a lot of repeat business from that,” said Fudge.
Fudge is no stranger to the business world. In 1995 she started a whole fresh produce business in Calgary and Banff, and in 2002 she started Palette Fine Foods, a gourmet food manufacturer.
One of the objectives of the centre is to allow people to replicate the recipes they learn, which is why every appliance used is “residential style equipment,” items people would have at home. The same is true of the ingredients.
While it may not be restaurant style, the new space has top of the line equipment, with induction style cooktops provided by Wolf.
“It’s efficient, it’s safer, and everybody’s going to be seeing way more of it,” predicts Fudge.
Induction ovens run on a magnetic circuit, and only work with a certain type of pot.
The metal in the pot closes the circuit to create heat and by removing the pot, the heat dissipates.
At the moment, the high-end cook tops are sitting among construction supplies, waiting to be installed for the grand opening, an event where people can sample food, taste wine, or even try their hand at cooking.
Fudge and Meret have been working hard to see the building through to completion, ready to finally have a venue in their city to call their own.
“We need help with the flooring, so I’m doing the flooring right now,” she laughs.