Simply Delicious Recipes at the Chateau Laurier

Cocktails in kitchen of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Cocktails in the Chateau Laurier Kitchen! A great start to an Ottawa evening!

I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a foodie, although I do find the term slightly pretentious. Reality is I like good food, quality ingredients, and quite frankly I’m a good cook.

Most of what I do, however, is quite simple, using quality ingredients and intuitively knowing what will taste good together.  I don’t spend hours over recipes, and often find the tastiest things I create are the simplest things.

As a result I have very little time for seemingly fancy cookbooks with obscure ingredients, and where everything needs to be measured out exactly and be perfectly presented on the plate.  This is simply not enjoyable to me.

So when I was lead down to the kitchen of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, I was not quite sure what to expect.  I do love a good kitchen party, but what would the chef be like?  Would he be uptight and pretentious about his cooking?  Quite the contrary!  He was a delight, fun to flirt with (for whatever reason men that create tasty morsels tend to illicit my overly flirtatious side), and got it as far as I am concerned with food. Executive Chef Louis Simard‘s attitude towards creating culinary delights, as he informed us, was selecting choice fresh local ingredients (for which the Chateau Laurier is well situated, just steps away from Ottawa‘s Byward Market) and putting them together in simple ways that would tantalize the tastebuds.  And that is exactly what he did with me! Flushing just thinking about it!


Fairmont Chateau Laurier Executive Chef Louis Simard

Eying up Executive Chef Louis Simard in anticipation!


Here were a few of the ways Executive Chef Louis Simard teased and tantalized:


Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers


  • watermelon
  • fresh basil
  • heirloom tomatoes (ideally yellow ones, to create a colour contrast to the watermelon)
  • espelette pepper
  • olive oil



Fairmont Chateau Laurier Executive Chef Louis Simard prepares the Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers

Deneen Perrin watching on as Executive Chef Louis Simard prepares the Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers.


First Executive Chef Louis Simard prepared the basil infused watermelon by:

  • Placing a large chunk of watermelon (rind removed) into a bag with fresh basil and vacuum sealing it.
  • I’m am not sure how long he vacuum sealed the basil and watermelon, but my understanding is that the vacuum seal accelerates the marination process, so this should not take long, and will give you a fun home experiment in determining the perfect marination time.

* This also works with vodka and watermelon, if you want to pack some tasty boozy snacks for that music festival next summer!

Meanwhile Executive Chef Louis Simard had whisked a pinch of espelette pepper in olive oil and was marinating hearty bite size chucks of heirloom tomatoes in the espelette pepper and olive oil.

Just prior to serving, he:

  • Removed the watermelon from the vacuum sealed bag and cut it into sturdy bite sized chunks;
  • And on top of each chunk, he placed a marinated tomato chunk;
  • Securing the two layers together with a toothpick.


Executive Chef Louis Simard's Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers

Looking forward to tasting one of these!




Locally Cured Chorizo & Homemade Ricotta Crostinis


Cooking in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Salivating at the thought of putting these ingredients together!



  • fresh slices of ciabattas or crostinis (slices of ciabattas lightly brushed with oil and toasted)
  • ricotta (sadly I don’t have the recipe for the Chateau Laurier’s homemade recipe, but ricotta from the store will do)
  • mango chutney
  • chorizo (definitely recommend finding some locally cured chorizo)
  • radishes
  • pea tendrils


Executive Chef Louis Simard in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

… and the prep begins!




Making crostini appetizers in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Did I mention how much I love mango chutney!?!


This simple hors d’oeuvres is all about using choice ingredients.  To put it all together, simply:

  • Place an evenly distributed dollop of ricotta on the crostini;
  • Add a dollop of mango chutney on top of the ricotta;
  • Cover the mango chutney with a slice of chorizo;
  • On top of the chorizo place a radish slice;
  • And finally top the whole thing off with fresh pea tendrils.


Crostini Appetizers in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen



Bite in and enjoy!


Honey Cured Balderson Cheddar Flamed on a Cedar Plank


Honey Cured Balderson's Cheddar

With ingredients like this, how could this turn out as anything less than amazing!



  • 3 year aged Balderson cheddar
  • local honey


Cheese Torching in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Far too exciting!



Fell in love with Executive Chef Louis Simard as I watched him prepare this:

  • Prior to us arriving, he had soaked chunks of the Balderson cheddar for 24 hours in local honey;
  • When we arrived, he placed the honey soaked chunks of cheddar on a cedar plank; and
  • Slowly smoked and caramelized all of the honey soaked cheddar with a culinary blow torch!!!
  • Serving them up on toothpicks, so we could pop the ooey gooey goodness in our mouths!


Flaming Cheese in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

I think I’m in love!


This was bar none, my favourite, but then who wouldn’t be swooped off their feet by flaming hot cheese soaked in honey!  And I had no idea that Balderson Cheddar came from the Ottawa area.  Drooling just thinking about it! My only regret … that no one let me get my mitts on the blow torch, to take it for a spin.


Fairmont Chateau Laurier's Executive Chef Louis Simard and Deneen Perrin

Our two wonderful kitchen party hosts, Executive Chef Louis Simard and Deneen Perrin. Thank you both!


Now while these were all the tasty tidbits that Executive Chef Louis Simard demonstrated his culinary prowess with, I did do a bit of culinary sleuthing and heard a few rumours on how the chefs at the Chateau Laurier make their drool worthy maple butter!  It is quite simple from what I understand – an equal part maple syrup to butter, whipped together.  It was served over their scrumptious crepes warm, so I suspect they heat up the maple syrup a bit and then whip in the butter.  Will most definitely have to try my own experiment with this in the kitchen!


Kitchen Party at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Our Kitchen Party (almost) in it’s entirety! … now how to get invited back for another kitchen party?!?



Emme  xoxo

PS. In Full Disclosure: As always, the opinions and thoughts shared here are my own and honest ones. I am bought out by no one. In the spirit of disclosure, it should be noted that on this trip I was a guest of Ottawa Tourism.

Ross Neilsen Singing the Solo Blues in Ontario

For those of you reading along here and on Roamancing, you’ll know that over the past few months I have crossed paths a few time with Ross Neilsen and taken a bit of a fancy to his music.  He’s none to shabby either.  What kind of gal would I be after all to turn my back on a dark and mysterious stranger that gives damn fine hugs. I certainly wasn’t brought up that way.  The more hugs the merrier!

So given that I’m in Ontario and he’s in Ontario this month, I’ll just have to stalk him for more hugs.  I encourage others to do the same, as really who wouldn’t want to hug this man (especially after listening to the last song in this set)?



So how does one find him?  Just follow this schedule, and stay the Hell out of my way when I go to hug him at the Casabah in Hamilton (I introduced him to you, so I get to hug him first … so there!):


Ross RAWKS the Casbah


Who wouldn't want to hug a man with such cool boots?


Lucy Duck RAWKS out to Tunes from the Road with Ross Neilsen

For those of you that have been following along with my adventures Roamancing, you may have already met Ross Neilsen & the Sufferin’ Bastards from my #CrossCanada road trip this Autumn, and Lucy Duck whose flown in to join us on the road from the UK.  You may also be aware that the first adventure we took Lucy roamancing on was to catch the tail end of the Sufferin’ Bastards #CrossCanada Autumn Tour at the Oasis in Cobourg, Ontario. And one Hell of a good night of RAWK it was, as the boys schooled Lucy in a bit of Bad Boy Canadian Blues with Anyway I Can.



We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the boys third last performance together.  So glad we caught it, as they were damn fine. Looking forward to seeing and hearing what comes next with Ross Neilsen Music.  Might call for another road trip for Lucy and I!


Emme  xoxo

Hot Flushes from the Brott 2011 Music Festival

A have been very fortunate in life in that I have had the opportunity to enjoy much of the beauty in this world, having had a love for the Arts fostered in me from quite a young age, thanks to my parents and grandparents.   One area of the Arts that I haven’t appreciated and thus haven’t attended as much has been the Symphony.  It is for this reason that when the opportunity to attend the Brott 2011 Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario presented itself, I jumped at it. It was time to discover what I’d been missing.

‘Missing’ is very much the right word, because I had no idea how intoxicatingly sensual and sexual the Symphony could be.  Had I known, this would have been one of my Date Picks and I may have found two very different dates for the evening, although I must say their beautiful curves added to those of the Strings.



Now I can only imagine what must happen at Band Camp.  Clearly my youth on the Sports Pitch was sorely misspent.

For more on the actual performance and less on my newly found hot flashes for men playing the Strings (hmmm … that probably means that they are exquisitely skilled with their hands too … and I haven’t even got to my new found fantasties for conductors … the poise … the passion), check outDiscovering Carmina Burana at the Brott 2011 Music Festival‘ on Roamancing.


Emme xoxo


Out & About Covering the Arts Across North America

You may have noticed that despite this site bearing my name, our list of writers writing here is growing, this is partially as I have so many talented friends, like Brie and Rob Jones, who enjoy writing here; partly due to Ahimsa Media’s goal of fostering young storytellers, like Alyzee, Summer and Kelly; and as we are getting set to launch Roamancing, which will involve a number of storytellers, but has been temporarily delayed by the ups & downs that life throws at you.

With this, we have found our writers have spread out across North America for the summer, which means opportunities for us to cover the Arts beyond Vancouver.  While our core team will still be in and around Vancouver this summer, I (Emme) will be based in Southern Ontario, Hamilton to be specific, and Brie will be in LA.


Stacey Robinsmith and I at the Canadian Premiere of Nixon in China at the Vancouver Opera.


So if you have an arts event (theatre, music, fashion, food & beverage …) that you’d like one of our writers to attend and weave a tale around, fire me a note at and I will see if someone is eager and available.

As for me, you know I absolutely adore theatre, music, the opera … and would love to check out this scene in Ontario, along with looking forward to checking out the Gimli Film Festival for the first time in Manitoba in a little over a week’s time.

Brie loves theatre and music too, but she also adores dance and fashion, and with Young Master Mason and Little Miss Mason in the wings, I know would enjoy taking in some events that are suited to families with 9 – 12 year olds too.

Vancouver – you are already, of course, familiar with the types of storytelling that our Vancouver Cats, like Rob Jones and Alyzee Lakhani, are capable of for music and theatre.


Hanging with Ron Sexsmith & Rob Jones - two of my music legends.

Looking forwarding to sampling a few new flavours this summer.


Emme   xoxo