Corn Hill — Put tasty stuff in a bowl, mix it up, and usually you’ll get something that’s super-tasty. That’s the recipe for being a nationally renowned chef according to New Brunswick’s newest Food Network Canada star, Fabrice Gourmandises. The former dairy farmer has gone from milking the cows to bilking the crowds at his southern New Brunswick bistro.
“Every day, someone asks me how I make such delicious meals and decadent desserts,” said Gourmandises. “Well, it starts with getting a bunch of yummy ingredients. Then, you mix them together. Usually you put it in something hot — that creates a chemical reaction that people call ‘cooking.’
“If you put enough good-tasting things together in the right way, you’ll end up with something that tastes great! You can even sell it with a huge markup. It’s quite the gimmick, really.
“Really, the hardest part is how much of each delicious thing to put in the mix, and how long to cook it. That takes a little trial and error, but usually you can still eat your mistakes,” he laughed.
Gourmandises, a native of northern New Brunswick, moved to Kings County in 1995 to take over a dairy farm. After working dawn to dusk every day for more than 20 years and just scraping by, he decided there had to be a better way.
“I was cooking food every day for myself anyways, so I already knew how to do that. Then, I heard from the neighbours that there’s a TV channel just about cooking. When I found out that there was a job where people record me cooking food and I get money for that… I was like, ‘Sign me up!’ Beats the hell out of shoveling manure at 5 a.m. The rest is history.”
Gourmandies sold his cattle and turned his barn in to a 5-star bistro/studio nestled in the lush pastures of Corn Hill, located about 30 minutes outside of Sussex. “People call it ‘a rustic setting’ and ‘full of down-home charm’… Umm, it’s a barn, OK? These foodies will buy anything as long as it sounds fancy,” he confided.
He started recording himself while cooking, talking to the camera the entire time. “I felt a little silly, but I guess that’s how it done so who am I to argue?” He posted his videos to YouTube and emailed the link to The Food Network Canada.
The culinary channel bought the show immediately. “Our channel runs 24/7,” explained executive producer Felicity Camembert. “Our audience has an enormous and relentless appetite for cooking shows that must always be sated, so to speak. When I saw Fabrice’s demo reel, I was like ‘Yep, that’s definitely a show about cooking food.’ We signed a deal the next day.”
The farmer-turned-TV star also explained what not to do when cooking cuisine. “If you take a bunch of ingredients that taste gross and mix them together, you get something that also tastes really gross. Those aren’t popular because people don’t like food that tastes bad — they like the good-tasting food. Am I dumbing this down enough?”
His show called I Can’t Believe I’m Getting Paid For This premieres in September on The Food Network Canada.