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How to feed the 150-member cast and crew of 'Kurios'

Chef Sascha Bienvenue-Blum of Cirque du Soleil dishes on how to feed the crowd.
Derek Kouyoumjian

It’s no easy task to feed the 150 cast, crew, and family members that tour with Cirque du Soleil’s "Kurios," but for their team of dedicated cooks, it’s all in a day’s work.

“Restaurants may have the same menu, but we have a different menu every single day for lunch and dinner,” says Sascha Bienvenue-Blum, one of the cooks on the "Kurios" team. “It’s more than just cooking for customers- you get to know people, what they’re like, what they need to eat.”

The "Kurios" kitchen tries to make as much as they can in-house, creating their own bread, pastas, and sausages while adapting to the produce that’s in season in each city the traveling caravan of performers lands in. They scour farmer’s markets, searching for fruits and vegetables that can work for as many as 400 people that they serve every day.

“When we’re executing the food, there’s a lot of thought that comes behind it. Our standards are the same as a restaurant,” saysBienvenue-Blum. “Yes, we’re not plating food, but we still have to have the same standards.”

For the "Kurios" acrobats, meals need to provide them with the strength to toss each other through the air by their ankles. That means high levels of protein and carbohydrates in their meals.

“They burn so much energy that even when they’re not performing, they’re still training,” Bienvenue-Blum explains.

And with cast and crew members from 22 different nationalities, being so far away from home means occasional cravings for food from their home countries.Bienvenue-Blumfinds himself making everything from Japanese and Peruvian dishes to traditional Quebecois recipes for the many French-Canadian cast members.

“They want the classic thins they grew up with,” adds Bienvenue-Blum. “Lots of potatoes, root vegetables, a lot of pickling. The nostalgia, and being away from home, that’s what they want. The greatest compliment we get is people who say ‘I love to go out to eat, but I’d rather to come here’."

If you go:

"KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities"
Through July 10
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Tickets start at $35,cirquedusoleil.com


From the "KURIOS" kitchen:

Carrot Timbale
Recipe adopted from oneperfectbite.blogspot.com

500 grams carrots peeled, diced small
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
3 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain greek yogurt

Sautee carrots with butter/coconut oil till cooked through. Color should be deeper but not dark.
Puree carrots to a smooth paste.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Cook timbales in small mould or a ramekin on a bain marie with very hot water.
Place in a preheated oven at 325'F and cook for 30-40 mins. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill in fridge.

Carrot top pesto.
( Sascha Bienvenue-Blum's own recipe)

Save carrot tops from fresh carrots used in the recipe above or replace with baby spinach.

3 cups blanched carrot tops, drained, refreshed in iced water, squeezed dry. roughly chopped.
1 cup mixed fresh herbs like mint, parsley, dill, and tarragon. Roughly chopped.
1/2 cup pistachio or cashews.
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp coriander seed ground (optional)

Place everything in a food processor and blitz to desired smoothness.

Garnishes:
Smoked paprika
Olive oil
Fresh Greek yogurt, slightly thinned down

 

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