Alumni Feature | Carrie Rau | Class of 2004

April 28, 2020

Originally from Stratford Ontario, Carrie Rau graduated from Stratford Chefs School in 2004 and has worked in notable Stratford kitchens such as Pazzo and The Church Restaurant. After moving to Toronto in 2010, Carrie continued her career running a cooking school for 5 years before falling in love with the wine industry.

For the last 7 years she has worked her way through International Sommelier Guild Level 2, Court of Master Sommelier Introductory course and completed the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma in 2019. Carrie is currently enrolled in the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers (CAPS) Sommelier program with completion in September 2020.

Carrie works on the Innovation team in a test kitchen for a large corporation, conducting recipe research and development and following food and beverage trends. She is also part of the Inventory Department at George Brown College.



What is your favourite restaurant?

La Palma and Alo Group in Toronto, Noble Rot, UK are a few, but a chef should have many favourites. One place cannot embody all the beautiful flavours out there.

What is your favourite cookbook?

Ottolenghi series is food for the eyes and such simple flavourful home cooking. Chez Panisse for nostalgia; but truthfully there are too many to count.

What is your guilty pleasure food?

Nachos: endless ingredient deck to match any food mood.

What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?

Mexican cuisine in my younger years, when I truly believed it was the North Americanized version. Once I learned about the complexity of flavours and the honest, beautiful kind of cooking it is, I can safely say it is one of my favourites.

Favourite knife or kitchen tool?

Benriner mandoline: invaluable if used carefully.

What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating but is actually really easy to make?

When I was younger in my career, classic dishes like Beef Wellington were time consuming and complicated to organize, but when you acquire the skills, puff pastry, mushroom duxelles and plates become easier once you’ve learned time management, knife skills and watch points for doneness. Cooking should be organic and enjoyable in the end, I rarely use recipes at home.

Favourite ingredient you can’t get enough of right now?

Anything crispy or crunchy in texture to finish off a dish whether it is crispy shallots, crunchy nuts, fried grains, crispy rice, chicken or pork skin… it should be there.

What is a new technique/flavour you are experimenting with currently?

Tons of plant-based creations using starches, alternative flours and binders to see how they create structure for vegan and gluten free food trends.

Are there any recipes from SCS you still use?

Spiced ice milk ice cream from Neil Baxter. I love the flavours of it and use it in simple syrups for cocktails, fruit salads etc.

What is your best SCS memory?

First day of school in practical poaching lamb’s tongue. It was exciting to a 25 year old who had never cooked it before and felt like the program was starting off with a bang!

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