Camille Wynn has a cool resume. It boasts work at some of Montreal’s best restaurants and recording with the rock band Sunset Rubdown.
After the band parted ways, she brought her passion back to the kitchen and became one of Canada’s only Master Preservers.
Currently working on her second cookbook, Camille has felt at home in the kitchen since she was a child. She would make up recipes as a kid and serve them to her parents. She had elaborate dinner parties at the age of 16. There was no Easy Bake oven for this girl.
How did the passion for preserves arise?
A lot of people have the experience of it being very addictive. It’s very satisfying to fill your pantry. We have such short growing seasons that being able to draw out the appreciation of fruits and vegetables is pretty amazing.
Do you have any out of the box (or out of the can) recipes?
That’s mostly what makes the job fun for me: making up recipes and experimenting with different flavours. Our most popular pickle is the Caesar celery, which is like a bloody Caesar pickled celery. We also have a margarita-flavoured marmalade, with lime, tequila and triple sec.
Do you put your preserves into every meal you eat?
In my cookbook, there’s a chapter on working preserves into all sorts of things: cocktails and baked goods, for example. A lot of people just see jam as something for toast. I think it has a lot more interesting uses.
Do you taste your amazing concoctions all day long? C’mon, you can tell us.
You’d be surprised! I have a super sweet tooth but I stop thinking about the things I am making as edible. It’s weird!
Noted: we need to surround ourselves with our food cravings in order to conquer them. Congrats on your first cookbook, Les conserves selon Camilla. How did you find that process?
It was insane. The original cookbook was in French. On April 2nd they told me that the manuscript was due May 1st. It was a real whirlwind! The photographer and I finished the pictures in two weekends. Most proposals for books take six months!
Your upcoming second book will feel like a walk in the park. What message do you hope people get from your work?
I want people to realize that canning is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a lot easier than they think! Once you know the rules you can play around with flavours and put your own spin on it.
What should beginners start with?
The easiest thing to start with is canned fruit or pickles. You don’t have to check for done-ness as you would with jam. You will be so happy with a cupboard full of your own pickles.
That’s true. Last question: what do you do when you have a much-deserved day off?
The sign of a woman in the right field. For more on Camilla, check out the Preservation Society website here.