In Season: Peas



Francois Gagnon, the Quebec native and alum of Lumière, Feenie’s, Blue Water Cafe, and CinCin, has started a revolution in the Teahouse kitchen. As executive chef, he’s driving the long-standing room back to its French roots, simplifying the menu, lowering the prices, and refocussing on fresh, local ingredients, like the English peas that come into season in May.


“Peas are best at the start of the season when they’re sweet; as the season wears on they lose their starch and become wrinkled and flavourless. Similarly, peas should be picked in the morning when it’s cool because by the end of the day the sun will have drawn the starch out of the veg. Split pods mean that the peas are overripe. They should be bright green in colour and ‘pop’ as they are being shelled.” Gagnon gets his from Gabriel Fernandez at the Sapo Bravo Farms stand at the Trout Lake farmers market.


“Peas should be boiled in heavily salted water—salty like the ocean—and then shocked in a bowl of ice water to stop them from overcooking. Bacon and peas, salty and sweet, is a classic flavour combination that I always come back to. Peas dressed with truffle oil is awesome, too, or if you’re feeling fancy, shave fresh truffle on top.” Look for a sweet pea, walla walla onion, and watercress salad with buffalo mozzarella and aged pedro ximenez vinaigrette on Gagnon’s spring menu. VM  

For a video of executive chef Francois Gagnon demonstrating his sweet pea salad, and the recipe visit: