Valentine Kitamura Explains the Joy of French Cooking

Born in France, Valentine brings authentic French cuisine to Vancouver

Chef Valentine Kitamura from Tartine & Maple doesn’t just cook French cuisine, she can teach you how to make it too. Born and raised in France, authenticity is guaranteed for these French cooking workshops.

We asked Valentine  about the magic of French cooking. As it turns out, making it from scratch is not as difficult as you think.

Book one of Tartine & Maple’s French cuisine workshops here.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in France, in the Champagne region, lucky to have enjoyed the vineyard countryside for most of my childhood. My love for food started early with my father being a very well-known caterer in the region. As soon as I was old enough to work, I went straight to the kitchen! I Moved to Paris when I was 18 to pursue Hotel Management in school. Then I traveled to work in Hotels in Singapore, Paris, New Orleans, Toronto, and I’ve now settled in Vancouver.

What is the vision behind Tartine & Maple?

I wanted to share my passion for homemade food. I enjoy good food—whether it’s good for your body or for your soul. I love exploring all kinds of foods, but always go back to my French roots. There is something I will always stick to: HOMEMADE! Cooking from scratch is my motto. I take pride in making it from zero, and using quality products (translation: loads of butter). I want to show everyone that cooking is accessible and in the classes, you can expect a relaxed atmosphere, no chef jargon, tricks and tips to make it easier and lots of fun.

Tell us about your upcoming workshops.

Our Upgrade Thanksgiving: Brioche and Galette workshop is an introduction on how to make easily Brioche and pie dough. We will make 2 recipes for Thanksgiving, or for any occasion. We will create the best dinner rolls halfway between bread and dessert, those buttery rolls can be used to sauce, layer with jam, or to eat on its own. With the pie dough, we will make a rustic Apple Galette. Easy and beautiful, it’s a simple dessert that is sure to satisfy.

We also host a Petits Gâteaux class where guests learn to make three types of delicious French patries: Madeleines, Cannelés & Palmiers.

Making Brioche is one of our most popular classes, where this versatile classic is explained, demonstrated and used in 4 different recipes.

What is the biggest myth about French cooking?

That it is hard, complicated, sophisticated. It can be, but not all of it! Not every French household is cooking fancy kitchen concoctions every day. I will show you tricks and tips to make French cooking accessible and fun, so you can recreate the recipes easily in your own kitchen, without fancy equipment and ingredients. You don’t need previous training to cook what I will show you.

What are you inspired by?

The Epicureans. Nothing makes me happier than cooking for and with people who love to eat! I love to see people taking pleasure in eating. Eating is such a social experience! It should always be shared with people that you love. I also really get inspired by the seasons and fresh products. I try to adjust my classes to reflect what is readily available at the moment.

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