Chef and cooking instructor Nicole Anne Gagnon explains the importance of sharing knowledge and skills.
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The title Yesterday and tomorrow appears. Nicole Anne Gagnon, head chef and instructor at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ), speaks into the camera.



In the past, recipes were passed down from mother to daughter. The eldest especially would take care of the kitchen chores and cooking. But, through the years, the transmission slowed, and we lost some of our culinary heritage.



Women of my generation cook less and less on a daily basis. They work outside the home and have less time for household tasks. This is why ready-to-eat foods began to appear. Men, on the other hand, started cooking more, especially what’s become known as weekend cooking. For a young man, cooking skills are definitely a plus!



That being said, maybe because of television, young people are increasingly interested in cooking techniques. There are cooking day camps and cooking lessons for everyone. People are revisiting those skills and notions. So, in a way, it’s as if the transmission was reversed: kids are showing their parents new recipes, techniques and ideas.

Yesterday and tomorrow

According to Nicole Anne Gagnon, chef and instructor at the Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec, traditional cooking roles are changing significantly. There was a time when recipes were only passed down from mothers to daughters. Today, men are more involved, and young people will even share their knowledge with older generations!

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Food heritage is a fine blend of the short and long terms, of continuity and change. Each day, we prepare meals based on knowledge passed down through many years and spur-of-the-moment whims. It is by letting a food age, using a new tool or reinventing a recipe that our gastronomy and heritage are created.

What is our food heritage? It’s preparing marinades whose flavours will meld through the winter months, using your father-in-law’s sieve to make his pink apple sauce or asking your mother for her sugar pie or paella recipe and then tweaking it the way your youngest likes it. Even bequeathing the family china is part of our food heritage.

These actions and objects are witnesses to the past that we wish to transmit to the next generation. Through them, our tastes journey through time and people.