My must-haves: A few of Celebrity Chef Lynn Crawford’s favourite things


Crawford joins fellow top chefs for Canada’s biggest kitchen party

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Lynn Crawford , Food Network celebrity chef and bestselling author, is pitchin’ in to support a cancer fundraiser. And you’re invited.

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This weekend’s Eat to the Beat , presented by KitchenAid Canada, brings together the talent of top female chefs to support those affected by breast cancer. The annual gathering, which has raised $4.7 million and counting over the past 25 years, will go national for the first time this year. 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Saturday Oct. 23, 1 to 6 p.m. ET

Join Canada’s largest kitchen party here. 

Join the virtual Kitchen Party when it goes national this weekend.
Join the virtual Kitchen Party when it goes national this weekend. Photo by Canadian Cancer Society

Your ticket ($60) gives you an online access pass to make delicious culinary creations with Canadian chefs who will create their signature dishes. All funds will go to the Canadian Cancer Society and its efforts to support the thousands of Canadians diagnosed with breast cancer. You will get exclusive access to four different cooking classes led by renowned chefs and the opportunity to interact live and ask questions during each livestream class. 

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THE LINE-UP

Chef Crawford , a Food Network celebrity chef and bestselling author will be making her signature mushroom risoniotto. 

Chef Nuit Regular making her sour and spicy chicken laab. 

Chef Renée Lavallée making her roasted heirloom carrot salad. 

Chef Mijune Pak creating petits farcis niçois. 

Sign up now to get the recipes and shopping details for the event emailed in advance. 

Bonus: Your registration to Eat to the Beat until Oct. 23 at 11:59 a.m. ET enters your name for a chance to win a KitchenAid Artisan Mini Stand mixer (valued at $479.99). If you don’t win (sad face), here’s a KitchenAid you can buy. 

WHAT’S COOKING WITH CRAWFORD THESE DAYS? 

We were lucky enough to catch Crawford for a few minutes at her acreage outside of Peterborough, Ont. for a chat about life, her approval of too many cooks in the kitchen and commitment to giving back to her community. 

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For many Canadians, the celebrity chef , author, restaurateur and Canadian food ambassador, requires no introduction. But by way of some background we present Chef Lynn Crawford; she has more than 25 years of culinary experience, including many years as executive chef for the Four Seasons Hotels in Toronto and New York, three best-selling cookbooks and a contagious passion for cooking.  Chef Lynn, who competed on Iron Chef Canada and Iron Chef America,  currently stars on Food Network’s Wall of Chefs and Junior Chef Showdown.

Crawford’s kitchen is undergoing a massive renovation and her KitchenAid and a fridge are in the living room, as we speak. But they are working around it as they patiently wait for the transformation to be complete. And, no, there is no such thing as too many chefs in the kitchen.

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“We have a huge island, which is what chefs have for an opportunity to put more people around the table to help prepare, cook and share,” Crawford says. “I think, to me, that’s probably the heart of our home. My wife is also a chef and we love cooking with our two girls. So, the more the merrier.“

Her life-long connection to all things culinary began at home. And the mother of two girls, aged five and three, is carrying on the tradition with her family. 

“I do remember as a kid growing up my father was more of the chef in the kitchen… I remember cooking alongside him and getting dinner ready. It was a super fun, highlight that I got to spend time with dad,” Crawford says. “He loved cooking and had a wonderful repertoire of recipes. His beef bourguignon was wonderful. And I remember something as simple as fish and chips, making the batter and dipping the haddock into the batter. And he made hand-cut fries, not one was the same size.”

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Some of Crawford’s cookbook favourite cookbooks

You won’t find Crawford curled up with a work of fiction. Instead, her reading choices are of the culinary kind, when she is not penning her own. Her latest is a collaboration with her partner and fellow chef.

“Every single room has a cookbook in it,” Crawford says. “My favorite cookbook is Hearth and Home by Lora Kirk and Lynn Crawford.”

Life partners and co-authors of Hearth and Home.
Life partners and co-authors of Hearth and Home. Photo by Amazon

Mastering the Art of French Cooking , by Julia Child

The Art of Simple Food , by Alice Waters

On Food and Cooking , Harold McGee

Larousse Gastronomique Julia Child once wrote, “If I were allowed only one reference book in my library, Larousse Gastronomique would be it, without question.” Crawford loves the reference book because it contains details on everything culinary from A to Z.

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Some of Crawford’s favourite kitchen essentials

Some must-haves in Crawford’s kitchen include respecting ingredients, minimal waste and cleanliness. But there is no need for Marie Kondo. Crawford and her wife have that covered in their “extremely organized,” kitchen where you can find labels on everything. Taking it up a notch, they also have a beverage fridge, a dairy fridge, a cheese fridge and a vegetable fridge.

That said, the chef likes to keep it simple. 

“You don’t need to have a million gadgets, just have things that you utilize on the day-to-day prepping,”  she says. “I remember a great aunt of mine had a tool that would take a string bean and julienne it and you individually put a green bean into this gizmo and it would sort of sliver it. I never understood that.”

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A great high-speed blender ( here’s one we tried and love )

Some of the basics in pans include a cast iron, non-stick, stock pot and sauce pots in various sizes. Look for excellent quality. KitchenAid has always worked for her home.

(May we suggest this pan which is an Internet favourite.)

“Cutting boards are like pots and pans, to have a variety is key because you are using them for multiple different (means.) You have one for vegetables, one for meat and one for fish. I have a million different types. I prefer wood,” Crawford says.

(We talked to a cutting board expert and retailer and here’s what they had to say.)

  • Crawford refers to her Nespresso as “a bit of a dream machine.” (There are so many to choose from, but the Nespresso Inissia Espresso is a mid-price range option.)
  • “You have to have a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, for sure, because they have all the great attachments,” she says.

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Oster Pro 1200 blender.
Oster Pro 1200 blender. Photo by Amazon
  • Rice cooker, absolutely. (This one can make up to 20 cups, is dishwasher safe and gets good customer reviews.)
  • Lemon zester, cheese grater extraordinaire. Crawford says it is a wonderful tool for adding aromatics to a dish and great for cashew and chocolate, too.  
  • Wooden spoons, for eating, mixing, stirring and if you are in Crawford’s home they also serve as drumsticks with pots for the kids’ rock band.
  • Crawford says you, of course, need a variety of knives in your kitchen. She says it’s key when shopping to go with a brand that has a reputable history and willingness to help assist you in the selection of a knife.  “You want to have an opportunity to have it in your hand and make sure it fits your hand the first time,” she says.

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More than a room in house. Chef Crawford is at home in the kitchen.

Kline six-piece knife set features knives with ergonomic grip and boasts great customer reviews speaking to value and quality (we’re talking 4.9 out of 5 stars.) The Canadian-owned company does free returns. 

Crawford is a huge fan of local ingredients, supporting farmer’s markets, ranchers and fishermen and cooking with ingredients that are in-season. She also keeps a steady supply of maple syrup on hand. 

“Maple syrup is a pretty iconic, premier Canadian ingredient. Whoever invented maple syrup is genius,” she says. “It’s great in a bourbon cocktail, it’s great on pancakes, to sweeten up a brine for roasted turkey for Thanksgiving, it’s great in desserts, in a vinaigrette.”

(Editor note; sorry, this isn’t maple syrup. It’s a maple-syrup candle tin . But it brought back all the memories of growing up Canadian and celebrating Voyageur Day, so we are sharing. It’s scented and a great, little gift.) 

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It’s a candle which promises to deliver a little Canadian flavour into your world.
It’s a candle which promises to deliver a little Canadian flavour into your world. Photo by Amazon

Crawford finds meals are about more than filling the belly. They feed the soul. Her family loves to make a roadmap for what they are preparing for the week and includes everyone in making meals happen. Married to a fellow chef, Lora Kirk, the two share a love of cooking with their two daughters. At ages five and three, they don’t bring much to the table, yet. But they certainly are excited about the process.

“Our big project this past summer was to dig up a huge vegetable garden. It was wonderful to see the two little chefs participate in the stewardship of the garden … just the sheer delight of seeing our young kids pull carrots from the garden and take a bite … and be able to harvest and get it to the kitchen to prepare and cook. You’ve got to get the kids in the kitchen at a young age. There is something very wonderful to have kids helping prepare a meal,” she says.

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The fried-egg sandwich. A go-to comfort food snack

Crawford’s simple recipe ; Take two slices of bread, some butter, an egg and some cracked pepper

Super fancy option; A slice of peameal bacon, aged cheddar and maybe do a dill-pickle relish

Favourite comfort food ; pasta. “Right now, butternut squash, Applewood smoked bacon, some sage and some toasted walnuts.”

SIGN UP NOW TO JOIN CRAWFORD FOR EAT TO THE BEAT THIS WEEKEND

Follow this link to join the virtual, hands-on culinary experience and Canadians’ largest kitchen party hosted by four top Canadian chefs this weekend. Crawford is on the roster.

“I’m very, very fortunate I’ve been so blessed in my career and I’m in the position I can to help and it is important for me to give back,” Crawford says. “It’s all about giving back to the community. I’m very passionate about that. That’s why we are chefs. Chefs are givers. We love to share. It’s what we do.”

Shopping Essentials is a new category that features highly-researched products, new and exciting launches or behind-the-scenes info — learn more .  All prices are accurate on the day of publication.

NMoharib@postmedia.com

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