Jeff McCourt, Austin Clement, Allan Williams



Austin Clement (left), Jeff McCourt (middle), Allan Williams (right): Co-authors of short-listed title "The Flavours of Prince Edward Island"

Flavours of Prince Edward Island is co-authored by Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams and Austin Clement. It’s short-listed in the Canadian Culinary Culture category.

Island-born Jeff McCourt is the vice president of the PEI Association of Chefs and Cooks. Jeff served as sous chef to Chef Michael Smith for five years before becoming executive chef at The Mountain Lodge and Spa at Delphi in the west of Ireland. He is now the chef at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino.

Allan Williams is president of the Association and a research chef at Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, a division of the Culinary Institute of Canada located in Charlottetown.

Austin Clement is the program manager for the culinary and hospitality programs at the Culinary Institute of Canada.

Answers provided by Austin Clement.

What was the inspiration for this book?
My inspiration has always come from the amazing ingredients we have here on Prince Edward Island. We have such a close knit group of artisan farmers, fishers and producers that play a huge role in the food we create. P.E.I. really is a chef’s paradise. Inspiration is unavoidable!

What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing/publishing this title?
Logistics! Our book was an eight-month marathon. Lining up the photo shoots, the stories and the recipes was challenging. On some days we would be lying on our stomachs in a field among a herd of cattle to get the perfect shot in the morning, and then standing in a lobster boat fifty miles away after lunch. Truly a labor of love, and love it we did!

What aspect of the book are you most proud?
The stories. I think we really captured the food stories of P.E.I.. I think readers can sense the genuine connection that chefs have with the food culture that effects us the most. Our book was a great realignment of our philosophies and the emotions that define us as chefs. The photography is also something I am really proud of. It is refreshing to find someone (James Ingram) who really “gets” our food and can translate it so accurately through a lens.

What do you wish you knew before starting the project?
How much time and effort a project like this takes. True sweat and tears!

What advice would you give aspiring culinary authors?
Jump in with both feet, but be sure you know who you are as a chef. The value is in the story and experience you bring to the food, not the recipe itself.

The winners will be announced at the Canadian Culinary Book Awards on Monday, November 7, 2011, at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

 

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