At 21 years old, Michael Sabourin has accomplished more than many chefs double his age.
The Crescent Beach native has an impressive resume, including his Red Seal Certificate in Culinary Arts from Vancouver Community College’s apprenticeship program in 2008.
At an early age, Sabourin had a passion for food that came before everything else – even school.
“I remember I would fake sick so I could stay home and watch Food Network all day long. I would watch Jamie Oliver and write down his recipes and then try to make them. I think I was about nine years old,” he said, laughing.
In Grade 12, Sabourin participated in Semiahmoo’s Culinary Co-op, foregoing chain restaurants for renowned Ladner restaurant, La Belle Auberge, after seeing an article in the Georgia Straight.
“I knew I didn’t want to do Milestones or The Keg, and then I read that chef Bruno Marti trains young chefs,” Sabourin said.
Working with Marti and executive chef Tobias Mcdonald was an invaluable experience, he said.
After four months of apprenticing, Sabourin was hired in February 2008.
During his time at La Belle Auberge – which he alternated with VCC studies – Sabourin participated in competitions, including the 2008 Culinary Olympics, where he and Mcdonald placed fifth.
After graduating at the top of his class, Sabourin took on the executive chef position at Five Corners Bistro. He stayed on in the position for six months until his passion led him to pack his bags this past summer and fly to Bern, Switzerland for an apprenticeship at Restaurant Meridiano, which boasts a Michelin Star.
After returning home for the holidays, Sabourin said he is already gearing up for his next challenge at the Mariott Hotel in Bristol, England.
“I just want to learn as much as I can, and find a place that is best-suited for me,” he said.
Despite the change in landscape, Sabourin has a recipe for rum raisin bread pudding that will impress people in both countries.
“I love bread pudding, it’s so easy, and who doesn’t like rum-soaked raisins with bread and custard?” Sabourin said.
Rum Raisin Bread Pudding
- 3 cups milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons rum
- 1/2 raisins
- 7 (1/2-inch) slices brioche bread, cubed or torn*
- 4 eggs, beaten
*If brioche is unavailble, you may substitute with white bread of your choice.
For best results, allow the bread to dry overnight. The more dry the bread is, the more moist the bread pudding will be.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In a medium-sized pot, on mid-high heat, bring your milk to a simmer with the cinnamon and vanilla.
Make sure to stir occasionally so it does not burn.
Soak the raisins in the rum and set aside.
In a medium-size bowl, add eggs and sugar and mix.
Afterthey are mixed well, add 1/3 of milk to eggs, slowly, while stirring constantly.
Add the rest of the milk and pour on top of the bread in a large mixing bowl.
Add the rum and the raisins and mix well.
Let sit for 30 minutes.
Pour the contents into a 1.5 litre buttered baking dish and cook at 325 F for approximately 50 minutes, or until the custard is set.
This dish is best served warm, with a scoop of ice cream, fruit and caramel.