From European travel, to cooking for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, to hosting two state dinners, chef Alain Bosse has done it all. He’s seen the highs and the lows: he’s cooked with some of the world’s top chefs; and, he’s also cooked in a strip club. Known as ‘the Kilted Chef’ — one of Atlantic Canada’s most beloved culinary ambassadors and consultants, Bosse’s philosophy centres on the farm-to-table approach.
The New Brunswick native started cooking in the Boy Scouts as a teen, eventually attending L’Ecole Provinciale d’Hôtellerie in Edmundston, N.B., where he received a diploma in Culinary, Food & Beverage Administration, Accommodation. Bosse went on to spend 15 years as the general manager and corporate food-and-beverage/chef manager for the Wandlyn Inns’ 11 corporately owned and 10 franchise properties, as well as 10 years as general manager of Pictou Lodge Resort in Pictou, N.S. and director of Food-and-Beverage Operations for Maritime Inns and Resorts.
He also runs a busy consulting business, which helps restaurateurs and producers with everything from menu/recipe development and restaurant makeovers to product endorsements.
A champion of Nova Scotia cuisine, Bosse has worked alongside top chefs from around the world, including Jamie Oliver, Chuck Hughes, Anna Olson, Michael Smith, Frank Widmar and Michael Reith. He’s also a regular guest instructor at Louisiana’s John Folse Culinary School and has taught at Le Cordon Bleu schools in Florida, Boston and California. He’s served as the president of Taste of Nova Scotia for five years and is an active member of its Board of Directors. He’s also a collaborator with Select Nova Scotia — a buy-local organization.
The accomplished chef is currently working on a new cookbook, The Acadian Kitchen, Recipes from Then and Now — an ode to his mother and grandmother that is full of the authentic Acadian recipes he grew up with. Bosse began work on the book after he found his late mother’s old recipes tucked away. He decided to preserve the Acadian fare of his ancestors and infuse a sense of nostalgia into the hard-cover cookbook, which features classic Acadian dishes such as rabbit fricot, salt-cod cakes and jam-jam cookies.
He says this new cookbook is not only an opportunity to honour his family and educate Canadians, but also to pay homage to his heritage. With more than 35 years of experience under his kilt, this was a very personal project for him.
“There’s no question it was very emotional. It was like stepping back in time in a big way,” Bosse says. “My mother could make a meal out of nothing. We were not a very wealthy family, so we were able to get by with whatever we had. In my younger days, I always thought my mother couldn’t cook because everything was always so simple. But, at the end of the day, that was the key. It took me a long time to figure that out.”