Competitor Q&A: Alcide Desveaux


At 74 years old, Alcide Desveaux maintains you don’t need fancy spices or trendy techniques to deliver a fantastic home-cooked meal.

Originally from Cape Breton, N.S., he’s lived in Montreal, Vancouver and Sarnia where he really began developing his skills in the kitchen.

“At the beginning I said no way, I can’t do that,” he says of deciding to audition for Recipe to Riches. But now he’s “thrilled to pieces” to share some traditional-style cooking with the audience at home.

In our backstage interview, we find out what this “traditional” home cook likes to serve to hungry guests.

Where did your love of cooking come from?

I’ve been cooking off and on all my life, just at home. But where it started more is when a bridge club in Sarnia opened and they needed food so I used to cook for them. That’s where I developed a love of cooking. I joined the club in 1990 and retired from it in ‘96.

What kind of food would you make?

I would make meat pies and fruit pies. I tried to stick to old-style cooking. So I would make steak and kidney pies and I used to make tourtiere for people around Christmas time. That’s when they were in big demand.

Who did you learn to cook from?

When I first started out, I made all kinds of traditional foods like blood sausage and I made my own bread. In those days I would often call my mom for pointers when things didn’t go right.

What type of food do you like to make these days?

I like cooking stuff that people can’t get anywhere else, like blood sausage. I make my own bread. Everyone thinks I use a machine but I don’t.

I love smoking salmon, making corned beef, and montreal smoked meat.

What advice do you have for cooks just starting out?

I would tell them to cook the old fashioned way.

I think today there’s too much stuff on food. I mean, it looks good - the presentation and all this stuff is there. But I’m a down-to-earth person, so I like food to taste natural. If i’m eating chicken I don’t want it to taste like herbs and spices and all kinds of things. I want to taste chicken.

What do you like so much about cooking?

I enjoy food and I enjoy eating my own food.

Watch Alcide make his savoury pie and face the Recipe to Riches challenges this week on Wednesday at 9pm on CBC.

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