Boot Camp Blog Cast

Monday, March 10th, 2014


 The Savour Flavour BlogCast


Welcome to our Blog Cast! This week we will be highlighting moments from our boot camp using pictures, words, and video. 


Click Here to hear our Blog Cast


This Savour the Flavour Boot Camp is an Outrageously Rural experience that leads to great food, lots of fun and a few good laughs! This chef-led, intensive, outrageous culinary training demands you to roll up your sleeves, dig in and take a fresh look at the foods you eat and how they are prepared.


MARCH 10--14, 2014: The result: a worthwhile experience that builds in-depth culinary skills and confidence as an OUTRAGEOUSLY GREAT CHEF


Here's what's happening in the Boot Camp:

·                 An opportunity to work with real professional chefs

·         An opportunity as part of a "Chef Team" to plan and cook a Culinary Tasting Event.

·         An opportunity to tell your outrageous Boot Camp stories on our Savour the Flavour blog.


Thanks to our sponsors: Ontario Trillium Foundation, Foodland Ontario, The County of Elgin and Savour Elgin, we are able to hold this boot camp. 



Boot Camp Day #3

Today was a very productive day in the Cookery.  At first we were a little shy, but we got to know each other slowly but surely over a formal, sit down lunch. The lunch was prepared by our chef teacher for the week Chef Bobby Briones.

The meal started with an appetizing soup and ended with a lemon soufflé. Everyone had a taste of at least one thing that they hadn’t tasted before. During this meal we learned about food presentation; how different colours and taste can unite different elements of a meal. The saying is true; everyone first eats with their eyes.

We then moved into the Cookery to begin to learn about the food itself. After putting on our brand new chef hats and aprons, we watched a quick demonstration on how to properly chop different types of vegetables. After that we went to work, practising the different types of cuts, such as a dice, a mince, a brunoise,  a baton/batonette, and an allumette.

All of the vegetables that we cut were put in a mirepoix, a grouping of celery, carrots, and onions. Our mirepoix was used to make a unique, homemade beef and vegetable stock. While we were simmering the sauce, we talked about the five different mother sauces; tomato, veloute, hollandaise, espagnole, and béchamel. We are going to learn more about these five sauces later in the week.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

Today was a lot like a first day of our culinary “school.” We met a lot of new people and got to know each other better. We learned the power of sitting together to enjoy a meal and the power of pairing different flavours together.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

Boot Camp Day #2

The student chefs were busy at work today! We started off working together to prepare yogurt. It was really easy and super fun! We even went outside so we could cool down our yogurt. The yogurt set in the oven throughout the day. Tomorrow, we will enjoy our yogurt for a delicious breakfast.

After we cleaned up from the yogurt making we met with John Field, Old River Farm, raises Devon beef.John brought us a something very interesting for us to taste...it was a tongue! To many of our surprises, beef tongue is very tasty.

With the help of John we were able to create 112 meatballs out of 10lbs of lean ground beef. The beef had eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and John's amazing Italian blend of seasonings.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

As the meatballs cooked in the oven and the Cookery lit up with incredible smells we worked with Chef Bobby again and made a delicious Ragu alla Bolognese to be enjoyed with our meatballs for lunch.The sauce included some mirepoux, bacon, red wine, tomato paste and puree, our brown stock and a selection of herbs and spices. The sauce and meatballs were enjoyed with some spaghetti. It was very good.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast 

After lunch we gathered in our pairs for the day and began learning the basics of making a roux. We learned the different types of roux including a white roux, a blonde roux, a brown roux and a black roux. Each team made a blonde roux as a base for our sauce that we would get to us on our tenderloin. After the roux was done we fried shallots in a skillet and when they became tender we added wine to deglaze the pan. After the pan was demi-sec, the stage where there is some liquid in the pan but not too much. We then added our homemade beef stock and added our own seasonings. The teams got really creative, there were sauces made with curry powder, brown sugar, pomegranate a BBQ sauce. All the sauces were very different but equally delicious. The last step was to add our roux to thicken the sauce.

We then set our sauces aside and began to get ready to make some STEAK! Bobby showed us how it was done first. The first step was to dry the meat off with a paper towel as our oil heated up in the skillet. It is important to dry the meat off because it helps cook it faster. Then he seasoned it with salt and pepper and then placed it in the skillet. The beef tenderloin, that John brought us, could only be flipped once so we had to be careful as to when to turn our steaks. Bobby showed us how to tell what stage our meat was at, whether it was rare, medium or well done, we all cooked our steaks to perfection. We platted our steaks beautifully and then let it rest in order to let the juices go back through the steak. Then we sat down to enjoy the tenderloins, the verdict? DELICIOUS.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

After we cleaned up we toured around The Bank and began to plan for Friday’s tasting event.  

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast


Boot Camp Day #3

Today we started by making breakfast. We made bacon, fried eggs, poached eggs, and a fruit salad.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

After that we started making our cheese. In order to make our cheese we needed to mix shredded cheese with gelatin and a few other ingredients and let it sit in a cool environment.  When our cheese was set, we made yummy grilled cheese sandwiches out of it.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

For lunch, we prepared two types of chicken; Coq au Vin, which is chicken braised in wine and Pan-Roasted Chicken with a lemon-thyme sauce.  Chef Bobby showed us how to cut apart a whole chicken into the proper cuts of meat. We used the chopping methods from day one to prepare the mirepoix that was used in the Coq au Vin.

After lunch we tested out some recipes for our big day on Friday. We mainly focused on how we were going to prepare our drinks and which was the best method of doing so. We decided that we should make a concentrated fruit purée and freeze it in ice trays. Then we will add it to sparkling or flat water to create custom, mess free drinks. 

While day was wild outside with a late winter snow, we had fun inside!

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast


Boot Camp Day #4

Today we made our own ketchup and our own pizza including the dough!

 First we started off the day by having our yogurt from the beginning of the week. On the yogurt we put various types of fruits such as oranges, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. We also put banana and chocolate flavoured granola on the yogurt.

To begin the day, we made ketchup. The kitchen was brimming with chefs running around searching for the various elements to be in the ketchup mixture. It was not as messy as we thought it would be. We worked in pairs to create our small portion for the ketchup we would soon combine into one giant pot. Bobby helped us make the sauces into a puree.  We let it heat in the pot for about an hour.

Next we made pizza. The dough had been previously prepared the night before. We rolled it out on the flour-covered counter, and stretched it, some of us even tried to throw it in the air and spin it!

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

Then we cooked bacon, sausage, sautéed onions and mushrooms. We added different kinds of cheese, mozzarella and cheddar. We had a plain pizza sauce and white sauce, béchamel. We covered the pizzas in cheeses, meats, vegetables and sauces. While the pizzas cooked we cleaned the areas we worked at.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast

The smell of the delicious pizzas drifted through the whole building making every person in the building hungry for pizza.For lunch we set the tables, prepared juices, and chatted with people while we were working.  While we ate our pizza, small talk occurred, talking about the events on Friday.

Following our delicious lunch we headed outside for a walk around town. Upon return we set right to work preparing for our Tasting event the following day. Plating and serving ideas were thoroughly discussed. We prepared what we could ahead in anticipation of spending a large portion of Friday morning shopping at a local farm market.

Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast



Boot Camp Day #5

Today we finished preparing or started our items for today’s big event. We rushed around trying to find the ingredients, working on perfecting the creations for this evening. 

Before we started, we went into St. Thomas to the local farmers market there, Briarwood. We searched for fresh locally grown produce for our dishes.













































Click Here to listen to our Blog Cast 

Upon return everyone started preparing immediately for the big night ahead. Bobby went around offering suggestions and answering questions while we all busied ourselves independently creating our own dishes.

As we concluded the cooking aspect of the preparation we set to work decorating and preparing our venue. The theme of the evening was around the world.  Flags of various countries hung all around the building, bringing a diverse taste together in one cozy building. Miniature flags on tooth picks were carefully placed in the corresponding dish. All students anxiously awaited the arrival of the guests, and finished up last touches on the dishes.

The night turned out to be a GREAT success! Everyone had a great time and they were super impressed with the skills we learned through the week. The compliments were endless and each student chef left the building with their head held high and a big smile on their faces (After they helped with the dished of course). Stay tuned for photos of the night.

In conclusion the Culinary Bootcamp was a great success! Chef Bobby was a wonderful addition to the team and each student got something different out of his vast knowledge. The Boot Camp is encouraged to all student's with an interest in culinary, your skill level does not matter, every participant learns in a way that makes sense to them and is adjusted to what they do or do not know. Another great thanks to our sponsers: Foodland Ontario, Savour Elgin, The County of Elgin and The Ontario Trillium Foundation. Without your help a event like these would not be possible and we hope for many Boot Camps in the future. 











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The Bank in the Press

Working tht Whole PIG in West Lorne - The Chronicle - March 12, 2015

Savour the Flavour Culinary Boot Camp Dinner - The Chronicle - March 12, 2015


West Lorne woman named Elgin County Ambassador for 2011 - The Chronicle - February 23, 2012

McGartland Wins Count Award - Port Stanley News - February 23, 2012

Elgin county celebrates McGartland's dedication - St. Thomas Times-Journal - February 17, 2012

Heritage Conservation Benefits - The Lake Erie Beacon - February 3, 2012

Elgin's Culinary Flare on Display at London Wine & Food Show - January 16, 2012

2011 Year in Review - The Chronicle - January 5, 2012

Gingerbread houses - The Chronicle - December 1, 2011

World record attempt for baking cookies in West Lorn - The Chronicle - December 1, 2011

West Lorne's The Arts & Cookery Bank is Outrageously Rural - The Beat Magazine - November 2011

Have a Crostini - The Chronicle - October 13, 2011

Story Teller Legacy - The Chronicle - October 13, 2011

A summer student's story - The Chronicle - September 2, 2011

Photo Shoot-Out winners - St. Thomas-Elgin Weekly News - August 24, 2011

Savouring Elgin - A Delicious Discovery - Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance - August 17, 2011

A Food Affair - EatDrink - July-August 2011

Celebrating in style - St. Thomas-Elgin Weekly News - July 27, 2011

It's a Cake Walk and Cake Social - The Chronicle - July 21, 2011

Community Health Centre honours volunteers with heritage stone - The Chronicle - July 21, 2011

First year anniversary celebration - St. Thomas-Elgin Weekly News - July 13, 2011

Taking McSmith's All the Way to the Bank - Relish Elgin - Summer 2011

Celebrating the gals of Elgin County - The Chronicle, April 21, 2011