Chef Regina Charbonneau teaches cruise passengers how to make her famous biscuits. // (c) 2013 Marilyn Green
By Marilyn Green
“Guilty,” I said to myself, as celebrity chef Regina Charboneau told guests to plan ahead and not to exhaust themselves in the kitchen when entertaining.
“Your guests want to spend time with you,” Charboneau added.
“Oops!” said the woman behind me, making me feel better, while another whispered, “Can you believe a chef like her is saying that?”
Charboneau, television chef, author, restaurateur and Chef de Cuisine for American Queen Steamboat Company, showcased a wealth of humor and practical advice that produced a lively dialogue among guests onboard the American Queen. In a demonstration, Charboneau demystified her signature biscuits for a theater full of fascinated passengers. Charboneau said she added the biscuits to her San Francisco restaurant as an afterthought, only to find that they were being devoured by the hundreds.
Scattering flour with a liberal hand over a dish towel, she told her audience how she integrated her training in croissants in Paris with the traditional Southern biscuit. With projection on the screen showing her technique to guests in the back and balcony, she gave guests these tips:
- Put the biscuits close together in a pan for lightness
- Freeze the scraps together to make cobblers
- Always use equal amounts of sugar and baking powder to offset the tinny taste of the powder
Stories about Charboneau’s restaurants and home entertainment made the guests feel like she was a personal friend. Men and women from Australia, Scotland and all over North America peppered her with questions about how to convert measurements, freeze and bake, as they munched flaky biscuits straight from the oven.