How to Host a Tasting Party in a Small Space

As Seen in ZOOMER SEPT 2015

As Seen in ZOOMER SEPT 2015

Jean Paul Guerin thinks he has the best office views in Canada. On any given day, in his role as executive chef on board the Rocky Mountaineer, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the 50-something-year-old takes in the magnificence of the Canadian Rockies with its rushing rivers, tranquil lakes and abundance of wildlife.

Not that he gets to sit and gaze out the window all day. On the trains, Guerin and his culinary team collectively cook up, among other things, some 45,000 pancakes, 22,000 short ribs, 20,000 chicken breasts and 4,500 dozen eggs annually. And they do it in the train’s galley kitchen measuring a mere 8 feet by 18. Last spring, I moved into a spacious apartment but with a long narrow kitchen that is significantly less than that size. When my kids dropped by to see my new digs, they were thrilled until they saw my condensed culinary space.

“I don’t know if you can handle this, Mom,” my son said to me gravely as though I’d been sentenced to the gallows, not the galley. “The kitchen is your turf. How are you going to have a party?” I raised my family in the suburbs in a spacious home that featured a huge open-concept kitchen-family room perfect for entertaining. Since moving to the big city, I’ve hosted several get-togethers in the various condos in which I’ve lived, but the units were open concept with ample cupboard and counter-space. My galley presents new challenges, but as many a brave boomer who has downsized will tell you, wee spaces can equal wow parties. It’s all about mind set, says Guerin. “Cooking is an adventure. Having fun is the most important part, and keeping a positive attitude helps.” In small spaces, he stresses that organization is key.

“Everything should have a place and, in our galleys, everything is labelled. Ensure too that commonly used items – salt, olive oil, your favourite seasonings – are in easy reach. And when every inch of space counts, prep all of your ingredients before you start to cook. Assemble your mise en place (a French phrase used in professional kitchens, which means having all your equipment and ingredients together, prepped and ready to go before you start cooking).” Read more...

This articles was published in ZOOMER SEPT 2015 to read the full article please Click here for PDF version