In the kitchen of… Nicolas Gauthier and Daphné Caron

They are chefs, market gardeners, fishermen, hunters, photographers or winegrowers. They are all immensely curious about the flavors of Quebec. The duty went to meet them to learn about their favourites, their recent discoveries and snoop a bit in their cooking and their memories! Today, an incursion into the gourmet universe of Daphné Caron, photographer, and Nicolas Gauthier, videographer, both specializing in documentaries and culinary photography.

Professionally, you have made agri-food your signature, and for three years, you have taken root in the fields of the Eastern Townships. Through your eyes and lenses, what observation do you make about the rural environment?

Daphne: It’s a super dynamic environment, supported at arm’s length by inspiring humans for whom the future of the planet is at the heart of their way of working. We visit farmers, market gardeners and winegrowers who are constantly changing their practices, innovating to work “with” nature, despite the challenges, constraints and costs associated with their decisions. They are found to be very brave. I immediately think of Émilie Tremblay, from Pâturages du lac Brome, who produces exceptional meat according to the principles of sustainable and regenerative agriculture.

Nicolas, you were born in Alma, in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. When you were younger, what was your culinary world like?

My mother used to repeat many of my grandmother’s recipes. We ate meals for large families; the kind of thing that makes leftovers and feeds many people on the cheap. My father, on the other hand, had a great curiosity and cooked things on instinct. It was always good. When my friends came to eat [chez mon père], their parents called afterwards to get the recipes! Without realizing it, it was my father who passed on to me the curiosity and the desire to taste many things.

What dish or flavor changed your life?

Nicolas: Sweetbreads at the Le Florès inn, in Grand-Mère. It was in 2007, we started dating, Daphne and I. This is a meal I will remember all my life. It was my first culinary awakening.

What is your Proust madeleine?

Nicolas: The smell of tourtière during the manufacturing process. It brings me back to all my party from Christmas to Saint John. In my family, there is no bad time to use it.

Daphne: The smell of hot bread.

When did the importance of the Quebec terroir appear to you?

Nicolas: It happened little by little, but when I went to the Manitoba restaurant [désormais fermé], that’s when I said to myself: we have nothing to envy anyone. Our terroir has no limit, you just have to get to know it.

Daphne: I remember a long weekend at the farm It’s the goats’ fault, at Bic, where we raised lambs. We had dinner with the producers and they explained their reality and their choices to us. It made me very aware of the importance of consuming local and the unique products we make here.

You have just renovated your kitchen. What is she like ?

Nicolas: It’s a stylish kitchen modern farmhouse. For us, it was important that it be in tune with the character of our house, which is a former small schoolhouse dating from 1878. The kitchen and the dining room are open concept and take up all the space of what was originally the classroom. We have a 10-foot-long island around which we can already imagine the many moments with our friends. Since we’ve been breaking their ears with our kitchen renovations for a year, we can’t wait to let them enjoy it!

What kind of cooks are you?

Daphne: We complement each other really well in the kitchen. I am more spontaneous, Nico is an excellent technician. He makes his bread, his kombucha. He is very good at anything that requires concentration and attention to detail. When we are in the rushwe have our classics, like pizza.

Nicolas: We share this passion with friends. It is like a symbol of friendship and togetherness. We all dream of having a pizza oven in the backyard!

What is the kitchen tool you can’t live without?

Nicolas: A little peeler made in Germany that sells for a dollar. He does the job what he must do! I would be unhappy if I didn’t have it anymore!

Daphne: A cast iron skillet. You can do anything in there, it’s wonderful.

And what is your essential ingredient?

Daphne: Fresh herbs. I keep some in the kitchen all year round.

Nicolas: I’m very peppery. Among other things, I like the wild pepper from Madagascar by Épices de cru. On red meats, it’s so good!

Do you have a specialty that your loved ones ask you?

Nicolas: I think that without wanting it, we have developed an expertise for lunches! Our friends rave about our scrambled eggs — and yet, it’s just scrambled eggs! The trick is to always stir them and not overcook them.

Daphne: And Nico makes pancakes incredible!

What are your recent discoveries?

Daphne: The slush Haskaps from Les Délices du Rapide farm in Saint-Hyacinthe. After picking camerises in the blazing sun, it’s the best thing in the world!

There are also the wines of Geneviève Thisdel, En roue libre, particularly her rosé, the orange wine from Puss in Boots and the white wine from Pigeon Hill.

Do you have any favorite addresses to let us know?

Daphne: The Bolt Café in Knowlton. As ex-city dwellers and coffee fans, we missed having a little cafe to go and relax. When the Bolt opened in the spring of 2021, with the pandemic and all, it was a little balm. Interesting fact: we were inspired by their lights and their bench for our dining room, we thought it was so beautiful! There is also Atelier Tréma, in Bedford, run by a couple of ceramists. They moved their workshop and created a shop and café space. Everything is delicious! And there are several local products that you can buy there.

Nicolas: The Chez Dorville pastry shop in Eastman is a must ! We stock up on prepared meals, desserts, cheeses, breads, chocolates. The lady who works there is so nice. Each time, we are like two children in a toy store!

If you took the road, you would go…

Daphne: At the Asian Canteen of Marie-Fleur St-Pierre [au Petit Jardin du bedeau à Saint-Pascal]. It works for me!

Where would you like to be seated right now?

Daphne: On a fishing boat eating sashimi. Not a tourist thing there. A real experience with a scallop fisherman, for example, to taste the products fresher than fresh.

To see in video

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