Chef Alessandra Quaglia and Executive Sous Chef Sheldon Maloff
Makes 4 servings
Large pot of heavily salted water, with lid
2 whole live lobsters
Large pot of ice water
8 asparagus spears
1 large heirloom tomato
Salt and pepper to taste
Champagne Vinaigrette (see below)
Cover and bring the pot of salted water to a boil.
When the water is boiling drop in the lobsters, cover, and cook for 7 minutes.
Immediately remove the lobsters and plunge them into the ice-water bath.
Let them cool for 15 minutes.
Remove from ice-bath, drain and cut each lobster in half. Set aside.
Lightly blanch asparagus in boiling salted water and then quickly place into ice-bath to stop the cooking.
Remove from ice-bath and drain.
For each serving you will use 2 asparagus spears. Chop each spear into 6 pieces and set aside.
Slice the heirloom tomato into quarters and then thinly slice each quarter.
For each serving, arrange one quarter of the tomato slices on a plate and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Arrange 12 of the asparagus pieces on and around the tomatoes.
Place a half lobster on top of the tomatoes, cut side up.
Drizzle each lobster half with some of the vinaigrette and some on the side of the tomatoes.
1 cup good extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. champagne vinegar
2 tsp. clear, liquid honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 pinch salt
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together or place in a glass jar with a lid and shake to emulsify.
Alessandra Quaglia Chef/Owner
Chef, restaurateur, author, parent, carpenter, blogger and dancer are words that, when combined, accurately describe Chef Alessandra Quaglia, chef and co-owner of Provence Restaurants in Vancouver. A native of Toronto, Alessandra was born into a family of extraordinary cooks. Her maternal grandmother is a Master Danish Open-face Sandwich Maker and Alessandra credits her mother with being a “superb cook extraordinaire.”
Fresh out of high school, Alessandra went to live in Copenhagen where she landed a job in breakfast buffet prep at the Hotel Admiral. Back in Canada the next year, inspired by her Danish experience, she enrolled in Toronto’s George Brown School of Hospitality to get a diploma in Culinary Management. While attending George Brown she worked in the kitchen of Fenton’s and later went on to apprentice at the Windsor Arms Hotel in both The Courtyard Cafe and Three Small Rooms.
Wanting to gain more hands-on experience, Alessandra headed off to France where she volunteered her labour as a Stagiere working her way around the Côte d’Azure under such noted chefs as Jacques Maximin in Nice, Jean-Jacques Jouteux at Le Provençal and Bruno Caironi (former Sous Chef to Alain Ducasse) at Le Grill in the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo. She returned to Nice to become Commis de Cuisine under Dominique LeStanc at Hôtel Negresco (2 Michelin stars) where she caught the eye (and the heart) of the Chef de Partie Tournant – Jean-Francis Quaglia. She didn’t speak much French and he didn’t speak any English. Their mutual love of food helped bridge the language barrier.
In 1991 she joined Jean-Francis to work under his mother, Chef Suzanne Quaglia, of Marseilles’ famed Le Patalain. In 1992 the couple moved to Canada. Alessandra’s first job in Vancouver was Pasta Chef at Umberto Menghi’s Splendido on Robson. Next came The Raintree on Alberni as Entremetier and Saucier followed by the position of Entremetier at Chef Bruno Born’s Le Coq D’Or. When Born moved to the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel he took Alessandra and Jean-Francis with him where Alessandra became part-time Chef de Partie Saucier at Indigo Bistro Moderne. In June 1995 she left Indigo to start a family. There are now four in the Canadian branch of the Quaglia clan – Alessandra, Jean-Francis, Matisse (born July 1995) and Remi (born January 1997).
Alessandra partnered with husband Jean-Francis to open Provence Mediterranean Grill in December 1997 – a 65 seat restaurant in Vancouver’s Pt. Grey neighbourhood. In 2002 she and Jean-Francis ‘gave birth’ to their second location, Provence Marinaside in Yaletown. In 2007, to mark Provence’s 10th anniversary, the couple co-authored the book New World Provence – Modern French Cooking for Friends and Family and in 2011, Alessandra took on the challenge of completely renovating Provence Mediterranean Grill, including wielding a sledgehammer and painting the walls herself. In mid-December 2012, the Provence ‘family’ expanded once more when the coupled opened TWB-The Wine Bar adjacent to Provence Marinaside. Along the way, Alessandra has also produced and starred in a series of videos – The Dancing Chef, which combine her two passions – cooking and salsa dancing. Alessandra epitomizes today’s multi-tasking woman as she deftly juggles the multiple responsibilities of wife, mother, chef and restaurateur.
Provence Marinaside (Yaletown): 1177 Marinaside Crescent at the foot of Davie St., 604.681.4144
TWB-The Wine Bar (Yaletown): 1167 Marinaside Crescent next door to Marinaside., 604.681.4144
Provence Mediterranean Grill (Point Grey): 4473 West 10th Ave., 604.222.1980