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Chef Jacqueline Laurencelle

Chef at The Chopping Block since: 2013

Favorite class to teach: Anything with French Cuisine or Pastry.

Training/education: Boston College, BA 1993 : French Culinary Institute, NYC 2006-2007.

Cooking since: 4 years old

Favorite childhood food experience: Coming home from school and opening the door to the smell of my mom's cooking, especially her Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops.

What made you want to become a chef? My desire to be creative, work with my hands and to see the joy on people's faces when they take the first bite of a food or dish that rocks their world!

What is your signature dish? Beef Bourgignon

What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Tomatoes, Garlic, Tarragon, Chocolate, Butter 

What do you love about cooking? It's the only art form where you use all five senses.

When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Food that is accessible, not too complicated or fussy and just plain yummy!

What advice would you give a new cook? It's all about the knives! Make sure they are sharp and you learn how to hold and use properly.

What are you doing when you're not cooking? Working on my business. It's called Delicious Design -- "Good for you Gourmet". I work with people on specialized diets.

Describe your perfect evening. Chill in the air, fire in fireplace, fabulous bottle of California old vine Zinfandel or a French Chateauneuf de Pape, cheese, pates, baguette and my sweetheart.

If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? French – Bistro Bordeaux in Evanston; Italian – Merlo on Maple; Burgers – Etno

Where are you from? Royal Oak, MI – a suburb of Detroit

What was your favorite vacation? Napa, Sonoma, and Russian River Valley April 2013 for my 42nd birthday – with an evening at The French Laundry.

What are your hobbies? Tennis, Yoga, Dance, Cookie Decorating, Wrapping Gifts

What is your favorite band? Marc Anthony for Salsa, Frank Sinatra for Standards, and I'm a big fan of Pink right now.

What is your favorite sports team? Boston College Football and Hockey

If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? My mom – she passed away 15 years ago.

What are your guilty pleasures? If I told you, they wouldn't be guilty anymore!

Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Ina Garten

What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?

  • Microplane
  • Fish Spatula
  • Liquid and Dry Measuring Cups/Spoons
  • Lots of mixing bowls
  • Ability to laugh at oneself

What resources would you suggest for Chopping Block clients? 

  • Knife Skills class
  • America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated Recipes because they give explanations and why they choose ingredients and techniques.
  • Any/All Barefoot Contessa Recipes – They are foolproof, and will build your confidence in cooking.
  • Buy good quality pans/knives – stay away from specialty tools and gadgets.

List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.

  • Clean as you go in order to make cooking and final clean up more pleasant.
  • Write out (in order) a prep list on a big sheet of paper and tape to your cupboard. This keeps you on track, and you don't have to worry you may forget something.
  • Chop once, use multiple times – work in an assembly line fashion – completes tasks much more quickly.
Jacqueline's Favorite Cookware

LCBraiserRedEven though I have cooked for over 20 years, and been a professional chef for nine years, I only started using Le Creuset at The Chopping Block. It is the most versatile cookware we sell!

You can buy one pot - the braiser, for instance, and you can literally make hundred of dishes in it. Of course, you can braise in it as the name would suggest, but you can also make risotto or paella, sear meat, roast fowl, poach fish, prepare soups and sauces, and even bake a cobbler, fruit crisp or cake. It is truly a one pot wonder!

While it is not inexpensive, it is an investment piece that will last a lifetime.