Laura Calder is everything you’d expect a television host to be – perky, funny and charming. But the Canadian celebrity chef and food writer, whose culinary expertise is in French cuisine, draws the line at slamming pots and shouting at the camera, like certain well-known chefs. “I really don’t think I need to swear to get through my vinaigrette,” she quipped, pausing a moment. “Well, maybe sometimes.”
Laura hosts French Food at Home, which airs on the Asian Food Channel (AFC). In Singapore to give one in a series of cooking demonstrations, she managed to field our questions while whipping up three traditional French dishes - Asparagus served with Orange Sauce and Shallots, Steak Au Poivre with Potato Gratin, and Apple Cream Tart.
Do you see yourself owning a restaurant?
I don’t think I could do that, I already feel nervous cooking for a live studio audience. I can’t really cook for people whom I don’t know. Imagine, a restaurant turning away customers because they aren’t personally acquainted with the chef!
What was your most disastrous experience in the kitchen?
It was a meal I cooked for my parents. I can’t remember the specifics, but one of the courses ended up being boiled eggs. I was very 'chic' about it though – I lopped off the tops and poured in a sauce.
What do you love the most about cooking?
I love seeing how food brings people together. When I left France, all my friends started complaining that they stopped meeting up because I wasn’t there to throw dinner parties.
What would your last meal be?
All my friends and family would have to be present. They’d each bring a dish that reminds them of a memory we shared together.
|Laura Calder's tips for modern French cooking:
1) Don’t make the mistake of associating French recipes with the cooking from the last Century. You shouldn’t be slaving away in the kitchen for days. Cooking is meant to fun and enjoyable.
2) Do use whisks and spatulas, as opposed to electric food processors and mixers. It helps you get a feel for your food.
3) Don’t fret over every minute detail of the recipes. They’re meant to be a guide, not a set of rules. Learn to adapt your recipes.
4) Don’t worry about getting it wrong.