From top professional chefs to trainees and home cooks, Canadian pure maple syrup makes a great store cupboard staple.
Former UCB student Lee Desanges has been cooking up a street food storm with Baked in Brick, a converted Mini which features both a wood-fired pizza oven and a charcoal-fired barbecue which sits where the engine would usually be.
At the European Street Food Awards 2017, he won the coveted Best of the Best title, as well as Best Main Dish at the competition, held at Berlin's Bite Club.
Q. Why did you become a chef – and where did you train?
A. I was inspired by cooking with my dad on a Sunday. He was a keen cook and we used to spend a lot of time together in the kitchen. It is how we bonded. I went on to train in professional cookery at University College Birmingham.
Q. What advice would you give to a trainee chef?
A. Be prepared to work hard – but do what you love.
Q. You are allowed to select four famous people, living or dead, to join you for dinner. Who are they? And where would you go?
A. Jessica Alba, Gordon Ramsay, John Legend and Kiefer Sutherland. We would go to a cabin in the woods with an open fire and a spit. We would spit roast a shoulder of lamb, cook roast potatoes in the fat dripping off the meat, maybe have a salsa verde, and drink craft beer and a nice red wine.
Q. What is your favourite dish to cook – and why?
A. Definitely a good Sunday dinner. It has to be beef rump cap with all the trimmings – roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, smashed swede, sweet corn and a rich red wine gravy. It reminds me of my mum’s cooking.
Q. Why do you like cooking with pure Canadian maple syrup?
A. I love the Dark maple syrup with IPA beer in a BBQ sauce, using paprika I smoke over oak. The sauce is lovely. The maple syrup brings out sweet, deep, slightly liquorice notes. It’s really interesting.
Q. What is the best meal you have ever eaten?
A. Sunday lunch at Cheal’s of Henley in Warwickshire. I trained with Matt Cheal, the chef director, at University College Birmingham and it is great to see how he has progressed in his career. I had a four-course menu with the main part being beef. Even though the two previous courses and dessert were fine-dine in style, the beef was meant to be a traditional Sunday lunch but it took Sunday lunch to a new level.
A sweet-sour vinegar made by fermenting maple sap and aging it in oak with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, pepper, thyme and spices.
100% pure and natural maple water is also known as maple sap and gets its authentic, fresh and delicately sweet flavour from Quebec’s majestic sugar maple trees. Ensure it’s always NAPSI-certified.
When you continue to boil maple syrup and stir it until it reaches a buttery consistency, it turns into a maple spread. Delicious on toast, bagels, crumpets and muffins.
Quebec bulk maple syrup producers are the only one in the world to have their products tasted and classified by a third party, giving a guarantee of authentic experience, taste and grading. There are four grades of 100% pure Canadian maple syrup. Varied, subtle and delicious, they’re a pleasure to explore!