What Does a Chef and a Cook Have In Common?

Kitchen Class May 2013
Last night I attended a fundraising event for the Toronto Teachers’ Center of Torah Umesorah, ‘Taste for Success’, the ‘Kosher Chef Challenge’. The Teachers’ Center provides all teachers in the Jewish Day Schools with resources, equipment and professional development. It was an excellent evening with lots of fun, surprises and culinary instruction. A raffle was held and the winner got to join the judges on the dais and sample the chefs’ creations. Imagine my surprise when out of this packed hall of women, my name was announced! It was a sincere honour and thrill to be on a stage and join celebrated individuals who have devoted their careers to culinary excellence.

While I was sitting up there in front of everyone, (and hoping that I didn’t spill anything on myself while tasting) I got to thinking. I wondered what united these chefs and judges, who possess a very high level of knowledge and expertise, with the hundreds of devoted home cooks in the audience? I heard the answer from one of the competing chefs, Ayelet Or. When questioned by the culinary moderator, Executive Chef of the Park Hyatt, Joan Monfaredi, what Ayelet was using in her dish, she replied; “Love”. I thought a truer word was never spoken.

Every last person in that vast, packed room shared the desire to educate ourselves in the pursuit of feeding those we love.

Every food professional, from which we hope to be inspired, all learned to cook from someone. I bet if you sat down over a glass of wine with each one of them, they would admit that their desire to cook came from home.

I don’t think the quality of the dining experience is provided by the excitement of the ingredients, or the latest piece of equipment, but rather with what dedication and commitment the cook infused the food.

This week’s recipe is for Squash Galette. A galette is a roughly formed tart. No need for a tart pan or pie plate. Simply follow the directions and prepare on baking sheet.

Let’s change the world one recipe at a time,

Nancy Weisbrod, Culinary Education Director, Kashruth Council of Canada

PS Please join us for two new exciting classes. See the above poster for details.

Onion and Squash Galette
Serves 8

6 ounces margarine/shortening
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons ice water

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Add ½ the flour and salt together in a mixer. Cut the shortening in and blend for a minute or two. Add the rest of the flour and mix until the it resembles a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle on the water and mix until the dough comes together.

Let the dough rest for 1 hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place squash chunks on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until softened.

Sauté onions in a skillet and season with salt and pepper and then set aside until cool.

Roll out the pastry into a rough circle, approximately ¼” thick. Mound the squash filling in the centre leaving a border of 2-3” all around. Scatter the onions over and sprinkle with the walnuts, if using. Gather up the dough around the filling leaving the centre open.

Bake the galette in a 375 oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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