a home chef’s paradise

Sometimes I need more than an amazing meal to inspire me to go home and toil in the kitchen. Sometimes I need to be surrounded by beautiful cooking instruments, hand made clay pots, exotic spices, cappuccino makers, and french linen tablecloths to get in the cooking mood. And that is why I decide to pop into Toque Blanche on Main Street.
Toque Blanche, which means “white hat” in french, is a home chef’s paradise. My eyes wander from the extensive spice collection to the novelty cooking instruments. Whoever came up with the Fusion Poach Pod, cute little silicon cups where you nestle an egg and then poach in simmering water, is a genius. I know, not technically poaching since water doesn’t fully encapsulate the egg, but it sure solves the problem of the disappearing egg whites. Even with the vinegar and frenetic swirling of water, I still end up with more yolk than whites. Professional chef I’m not, and with these cups, I can “poach” four eggs at a time, and have softly cooked eggs with marshmallowy whites and silky yolks. This is more than I expected to write about poached eggs, but for many including myself, an oozing egg over butter soaked toast, or better yet, over kimchee fried rice, is a religious experience.

Back to Toque Blanche. The place oozes(poached egg still in my head) charm, and is packed with culinary gadgets and tools. Their La Chamba collection is impressive, and incredibly beautiful. La Chamba cookware, named after the town in Colombia where they are hand crafted, is created using ancient techniques which are applied to native Colombian clay. Their distinctive ebony color along with the imperfect finish are the result of the mineral rich clay which is used by the artisans. But don’t let the traditional process fool you, La Chamba cookware is perfect to use in the modern kitchen; it is incredibly functional going from microwave, oven, to table flawlessly.
Unfortunately, I will have to skip on making any houseware purchases today as I am preparing for a kitchen renovation in the next month. Very soon, I will be packing up my kitchen and testing out recipes using my outside grill, which will open up a whole new realm of cooking for me since the grill is my husband’s domain. But for now, I am drawn to the specialty food area, where olive oil, spices, salts, and a myriad of other edible goods are on display. Under one arm is my sourdough baguette which I purchased earlier at the HMB Bakery, and keeping the bread in mind, I decide to buy a jar of Half Moon wildflower honey. Normally I’d pick up a jar of local honey from one of the fruit stands along highway 92, but like I mentioned earlier, sometimes a home chef needs a little trip to a cute culinary store with a black and white awning to get inspired.

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