Knight School presents the Teachings of Tourtière

Posted by Ivy Knight, September 08, 2017

The Drake's first ever cooking classes launch this month at Knight School at Drake Commissary. To kick them off, veteran culinary instructor, chef and food writer Deborah Reid will lead a class in how to make the classic French Canadian tourtière. Here, she talks to us about how the meat pie played an important part in her culinary education, and her family's holiday reveillon.

How did you get started in cooking?
The only way to have any credibility in my family was to make delicious things to eat (and hold your own in a raucous discussion of Canadian politics). I wanted to belong. One of the first things my mother taught me to make was pie. She was a master of the pie crust and I’m happy to say it’s in my DNA.

What type of cooking is your passion?
I had a rigorous French apprenticeship, so I have a soft spot for that precision and technique. Give me a perfect beurre blanc sauce any day.

When did you become a teacher?
In the early 90s, I was a teaching assistant to Eleanor Kane and James Morris, Directors of the Stratford Chef School. I eventually took over teaching a class called Larder from Chef Chris Woolf (owner of Little Red’s in St. Marys). He was a wonderful chef-instructor and such a good cook. I wanted to be like him. I was a teacher for 20 years and often still connect with people I taught.

You make the tourtière every year for your family's reveillon, for folks who aren't familiar - what is a reveillon and how important is the tourtière?
Reveillon is the best birthday party ever, held annually for the baby Jesus. On Christmas Eve the extended family gathers. As kids, we’d choke our way through the clouds of frankincense at midnight mass. At home around 1:30 a.m., the adults would crack stubby bottles of Molson Golden and mix up Harvey Wallbangers or Manhattans. Then we’d sit down to a wee-hours-of-the-morning feast of tourtière, baked beans, homemade relishes and pickles. After dinner, the presents were opened. Everyone would fall into bed sometime after daybreak, drunk on the festivities. Tourtière is the French Canadian equivalent to turkey at Christmas. There’s nothing that excites me about a bird with such a disproportionate amount of tasteless white meat that’s cooked beyond reason. I never had an Anglo Christmas turkey dinner growing up.

Get your tourtière on! Tickets are on sale here. Limited spots available.


Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: cooking class  drake commissary  food and drink  knight school