Melissa’s hosted award-winning cookbook author and chef, Pierre Lamielle, on their YouTube channel on Wednesday, June 10, to promote Pierre’s childrens cookbook, “The Munchy Munchy.” (You might recognize Pierre as the winner of Chopped Canada, or saw him compete on Top Chef Canada.) The book features 28 fun-filled recipes for creative kids and their families to test and taste in the kitchen, as well as some helpful kitchen safety tips and introductions to new flavors for young palates.
Melissa’s virtual kitchen event was pre-recorded, but ‘attendees’ who watched the cooking demo during the premier were able to chat in real-time with Chef. Viewers couldn’t say enough about their young family members loving Pierre’s book. Throughout the segment, Chef references Melissa’s as his produce resource while preparing some tasty recipes from the book. Pierre demoed breakfast nachos and hearty chili. Breakfast nachos are by far Pierre’s absolute favorite recipe in the book, and he encourages everyone to make it.
This illustrated children’s cookbook features the Munchy Munchy Bunch, a team of fictional characters that educate young readers on the art of cooking through simple instructions, approachable illustrations and heart-warming humor. Pierre made sure that the gang received air time during the virtual kitchen event as well, so Melissa’s even caught up with them after the presentation for an interview. Read on to see what the bunch had to say!
Hi Chef! Can you introduce us to the Munchy Munchy Bunch and what makes each character so unique and helpful while navigating this cookbook?
All the characters in the Munchy Munchy Bunch are full of fun information about food and cooking. Sal is an amazing chef; she loves to follow a recipe exactly so she can perfect the technique. Pepper is super creative; he doesn’t follow recipes very well, but he still has lots of fun. Ragu loves to eat; he will eat absolutely anything and never forgets to say thanks. Ziti is really picky, but she likes being included in the group because everyone is super fun. Sage is full of cool stories; he knows really neat things like which came first: the chicken or the egg. Rose knows how things grow, she is an expert about all the varieties of fruits and vegetables. Bean has been around the world and loves to share her experiences with other cultures, especially when it comes to food.
So nice to e-meet all of you! Sal, what are your favorite types of recipes to follow in the kitchen?
I like recipes that are very simple. It takes precision to make a simple recipe perfectly. There is nowhere to hide your mistakes.
We can appreciate attention to detail as well! That’s why all of the produce from Melissa’s is as fresh as it gets. We focus on quality and flavor … Pepper, can you share a fun disaster you had in the kitchen?
Hahaha. One time Sal asked me if I would help by dicing some Serrano for her recipe. I diced a whole bunch of Serrano peppers, but she meant Serrano ham. I laughed so hard but she didn’t think it was funny at all.
Hah! We can see how the miscommunication happened! Ragu, which do love eating more; fruits or veggies?
Fruit is my faovurite. I could really go for a banana, or an apple or romaine lettuce. Oh, wait, Romaine lettuce is a vegetable. Definitely vegetables are my favourite.
Love it. If you go to melissas.com, you can find all of your favorites. Start with the Banana Sampler to find your new favorite banana variety. Ziti, why do you think you’re so picky when it comes to food?
I’m not a picky eater. I just know what I like.
Pierre’s Note: Check out the last page of “The Munchy Munchy” cookbook to find out what it is. (Hint: Ziti is an Indian Egg Snake).
Fair enough. Sage, since you’re full of cool stories, what can you tell us about mangoes?
Once a long time ago, a French pirate was smuggling a ship full of mangoes from India. He was caught by Captain Marshall from England who was on his way to Jamaica. Captain Marshall took the cargo and carried on to Jamaica where they were successfully planted and continue to thrive all over South America. Also, I grew up in Maui where I could pick fresh mangoes on my way to surfing. That way when the juice got all over the place, I could just dive in the water and wash it all off.
Very insightful, Sage! Since you appreciate produce with a good story, you should check out Maui Gold® Pineapples and Sapūrana Mangoes from Melissa’s. Rose, what’s the most recent thing you’ve tried to grow in your garden?
I love growing beans and peas because they are so sweet and crunchy and I can eat them right off the vine in the garden. Plus, they grow super duper tall and I sometimes have to fly to reach the tops.
Sounds yummy! Bean, what’s trending in food right now?
Local! Every time I visit a new place, I always order the local specialty. What is your local favourite in your part of the world? Even if you are not traveling, it’s fun to rediscover your own local specialty.
Hmm, a local favorite in Southern California is definitely tacos. We love stuffing them with as many fruits and veggies as possible. A current obsession: Jackfruit tacos. Chef Pierre, without picking a favorite … which character do you most identify with and why?
It turns out most people are a combination of three characters. I’m definitely a Pepper/Ragu/Sage combo. I like to be creative in the kitchen, I love to eat just about everything, and I love to learn about food history.
We can definitely see how you’d identify with those characters. So, summer has arrived. What seasonal Melissa’s produce would you introduce to adventurous kids in the kitchen?
I think it would be super fun to get a Melissa’s Exotic and Tropical Fruit Sampler Box and sit in the backyard and just eat all the fruit with your hands and put all the peals in your compost bin. Then, use the garden hose to rinse off all the sticky fruit juice or run around in the sprinklers.
What a great visual! And a great way to spend a summer afternoon with the kids. We’ve definitely done that with our little ones before. How would you get kids like Ziti to be more open to trying new produce?
It’s a great idea to talk about colors and textures. Who doesn’t love salty and sweet foods? Who could resist something juicy or crunchy? Another great idea is to have finishing or garnishing options. Introduce new ingredients as an optional add onto something familiar.
Great ideas, Pierre!
For more information on Chief Pierre Lamielle and the Munchy Munchy Bunch, connect with them on social @chefpierrelamielle & @munchymunchycookbook. To say up to date on future Melissa’s kitchen events and happenings, subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Instagram @melissasproduce.
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