We all seem to be suckers for sourdough these days, and the overall trend towards baking seems be on the rise. Whether you’re a novice baker or a junior Julia Child, we could all use a new repertoire, and Chef Bruno Feldeisen, from CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show, cookbook recipes are ripe with fresh takes on French classics. Libby chats (from a distance!) with this dynamic culinary mind.
Libby Roach– This is your first cookbook, why was curating a baking book important for your first foray into the cookbook industry?
Bruno Feldeisen– It just happened that way. I am extremely grateful to my publisher who saw an opportunity and gave me a multi book deal. The two books lined up for 2021 and 2022 will be different.
LR- How has your time as host of The Great Canadian Baking Show influenced your recipes or what recipes appear in this book?
BF– It helped me understand how important the narrative has to be and how people perceive recipes. As Chefs, we sometimes live in a culinary cocoon and believe people should know on how to make recipes. A good recipe does not have to be complicated. Yet it has to create an interest in the reader’s mind. So, I had to pay more attention on how to bridge what I know and what people perceive and need. A book that is exciting and yet easy to read, with recipes with the right amount of interest, that you could make with almost no equipment or in a small kitchen.
LR– What words of advice do you have for the average home baker just getting started?
BF– Read the recipe like you would read a story. It has to make sense in your mind before you start the process. Then if you fail, that’s fine. Do it again, and don’t be afraid to make a few changes to your needs. ie if a recipe days “bake at 360F for 20 minutes” but you think 350F for 15 minutes is better, then trust your feeling. With the pandemic lockdown, more and more people are finding comfort in the kitchen, particularly for baking.
LR– Do you see an intersect at play of why there’s an uptick in baking specifically? Do you perceive this change to shift back once the restrictions are lifted?
BF– I think for a long time people thought that food was cheap, with easy and ample access to it. For the past 50 years we let large food conglomerates decide what we should eat and how much we pay for it. Now people realize we have to control a bit more of that chain. Is my ketchup made in Canada? And what about that pasta? Do I need to buy canned fruit processed far away? I think people value the local food industry and how it impacts our life. Eating local, regaining those seasonal eating habits are more important than ever. We’ve got an amazing Canadian food companies. Small and big. Let’s support them.
LR– Tell us about working with Henry Wu and your collaborative process. The images are gorgeous! When reached for comment, Henry had this to share about the process- “Bruno was clear in his vision and articulated it precisely. Beyond that, he allowed the photography team – the food stylists and me – to execute his recipes without drama or micromanagement. Combined with his affable demeanor and personality, that was critical in making the long photo sessions enjoyable and always creative.” Sounds like a baking bromance!
BF– I have known Henry for over 20 years and always loved his photography work. So for me it was a natural fit. We assembled a great team and found a great shooting studio in Toronto. From there everything flowed so naturally.
Chef Bruno Feldeisen’s first book is available (online) at Indigo and other book retailers.