What's into the icebox..?
Thierry Meret and Marnie Fudge, both of Cuisine et Chateau, with their fridge in their home in Calgary.
Photograph by: Calgary , Herald
The force behind Kensington’s recently opened culinary centre Cuisine and Chateau, Marnie Fudge and Thierry Meret sit — artfully poured whipped cappuccinos perched before them — at the island in their tidy northwest Calgary kitchen. There’s no question that food, as in everything that’s hiding inside their KitchenAid fridge, forms the epicentre of the couple’s home culture. And why wouldn’t that be the case? After all, Fudge is a pastry chef and Meret, formerly from Paris, is a chef de cuisine. “For me, when you come home, the first thing you do is open the fridge. It’s part of life. It’s a good way to switch your brain. Some people come home and turn on the television to do the same thing,” says Meret. “But for us, this is where you talk to family members. It’s like the office water cooler. Sometimes, the kids come home and look in the fridge as if there is some kind of god in there. I ask, ‘What are you looking at?’ and they answer, ‘I don’t know. I’m just looking.’” Refrigerators, if you query Meret, reflect the personalities of the people who own them. “In our fridge, you’ll see that I love going to the markets. I get up early every Sunday to go. Sometimes Marnie pulls me back into bed and I’m like, ‘Hey, I have to get going!’” says Meret with a grin. “To me, the market is the most romantic place. The life. The smell. The people. Sometimes Marnie will say, ‘Why did you buy that?’ when I come home because I tend to buy a lot. I find myself saying, ‘It’s not my fault. These baby beets were just talking to me!’”
Q. Marnie, tell me about your fridge. Does this style work for you? A. We’ve got a stainless steel KitchenAid fridge with French doors and a freezer drawer on bottom. I like that we don’t have a huge door swinging out into the kitchen taking up space. But I’m short. I’m only five foot two, so I can’t see what’s in the top back of my fridge.
Q. Thierry, what will always be in your fridge? A. Fresh herbs. Tarragon, for example. I put it on everything — ice cream, omelettes, mushrooms, lemon tarts and vinaigrette. I love Italian parsley which I use in stir-fries and green salads. I love oregano. Cook some shallots in a bit of olive oil. Brown them. Add a teaspoon of chopped oregano with a splash of good quality balsamic vinegar. Put it on a little toast and take it with a glass of wine. Now, there’s a love story.
Q. Marnie, what about you. You’re the pastry chef in this partnership. What do you always keep in your fridge? A. Cultured butter. It has a more diverse flavour profile because it has bacterial culture in it. It’s less processed. My favourite comfort food? Cultured butter on a fresh baguette with a little bit of sea salt on it. By the way, you would never put butter on bread in France!
Q. Tell us what you’ve stocked on the shelves of your fridge. A. Lemon grass. Leeks. Green beans. Fennel. Baby potatoes. Thai coconut soup from Happy Planet. Rhubarb jam made by Thierry. Pumpkin seed butter. Preserved lemons. Key limes. Pistachio paste. Eggs. We have lots of eggs.
Q. How about your freezer? A. A half-baked baguette from the Ace Bakery. It’s a beautiful product with no additives at all. You can get it at Superstore. Duck breasts. Duck fat. Unpeeled garlic.
Q. Thierry, can you describe to us what your dream fridge would look like? A. It would have temperature-controlled meat and vegetable drawers. And it would be full of market vegetables and fish. Halibut and cod. And fresh Alberta lamb. A couple of bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and always, always a bottle of Champagne or prosecco. Cheese, too. I like Roquefort and goat’s cheeses. And, of course, my dream fridge would have to have French ketchup — otherwise known as Dijon mustard.