June 18, 2024

Bruno Feldeisen and Tori Wesszer share fall cooking, kids’ lunch tips

From the perfect apple pie to 5 tips for packing school lunches

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Moms, dads, and packers of kids’ lunches everywhere, Tori Wesszer feels your pain.

“I’ve had a few years of packing lunches under my belt,” said the dietitian, lifestyle blogger, and mom of two preteen boys.

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“And even as a registered dietitian, honestly, it’s a no-joke situation. I think most moms want to cry when it comes to packing lunches.”

Never fear; at the end of this article, you’ll find Wesszer’s five tips on packing school lunches.

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Meanwhile, visitors at this year’s Vancouver Fall Home Show can see the Kelowna resident in person when she gives a presentation on the cooking stage on Sept. 30.

Also appearing on the Home Show cooking stage is Bruno Feldeisen. A French chef and restaurateur, Feldeisen is best known as a judge on CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show.

For home cooks, he has some tips on fall cooking, particularly if it involves an apple pie.

“It’s tricky, because if you don’t use the right apples, the pie can be too runny. And I don’t like an overly spiced apple pie. It takes away from the apple.”

Feldeisen uses a mixture of fresh apples, cooked and uncooked, as well as dried apple and apple compote.

Bruno Feldeisen
Bruno Feldeisen of CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show will be at the Vancouver Fall Home Show 2023 happening Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre – West. Photo by Supplied

“That gives you the perfect texture and the perfect flavour. Because a dry apple acts like a sponge and absorbs any excess moisture.” This helps avoid the dreaded sunken apple pie syndrome.

The compote acts as a stabilizer.

“I’m looking for that fusion between moisture, texture, and flavour. An apple pie sounds simple, but if you want to make a good one, it takes a lot of skills.”

When using cinnamon, he recommends a cinnamon stick.

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“There is cinnamon, and there is cinnamon,” he said. “Grated cinnamon stick is 20 times better in terms of flavour. It’s more peppery. With ground cinnamon, it’s been ground who-knows-when. A lot of flavour escapes in the process, and you tend to use more than you need. Because grating cinnamon is such hard labour, you usually use less, which I think is better. Too much cinnamon is just overpowering and kills everything around.”

In other fall dishes, if a recipe calls for maple syrup, he tends to use maple sugar. “I like to use maple sugar because it’s a good substitute. The only problem is that it’s very expensive. So then I say, okay, use maple syrup because you can still find some decent pricing out there.”

For canned apple or pumpkin, he suggests buying local. “Check the label. Make sure it’s processed in North America and not faraway countries. That has an impact on the environment. For me, that doesn’t make sense.”

At the Home Show, Feldeisen plans on making something savoury, probably baby back ribs, and something sweet. He’ll be onstage Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m. and Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

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At press time, Wesszer was still determining what she was going to make for her 1 p.m. demo on Sept. 30.

“I am very passionate about helping people eat better at home,” said Wesszer. “That’s really my mission in life. And I’m gonna have a lot of fun with whatever I ended up making there and sharing some stories from the trenches of getting healthy meals on the table.”

She can be found as @fraicheliving on social media and her website, where she covers topics like recipes, meal planning, and kitchen must-haves.

Tori Wesszer’s 5 Tips for Packing School Lunches

Tori Wesszer
Tori Wesszer Photo by Fraiche


I love a bento box-style lunch for kids. Eating a variety of foods helps ensure that kids get all the nutrition they need to grow and learn, and I love the visual reminder those boxes provide to mix it up.

Get kids involved

The best way to learn is to do. Get the kids involved, starting with the grocery shopping all the way to cooking and choosing what will go into their lunches. Watch them actually eat what they pack!

Have a formula

Try cycling through a few basic “formulas” for lunches that you know the kids love to take the decision-making off your plate. You can mix up the smaller compartments week to week to add variety. Who needs more stress?

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Prep ahead

You can easily prep and freeze lunchbox-friendly snacks ahead of time to make those rushed mornings a breeze. Muffins, healthy cookies and energy bites are all great things to make ahead!

Skip the stress

Nutrition is cumulative; one single meal won’t make or break it. Aim for as much balance as you can, but don’t stress about packing the perfect lunch!

The Vancouver Fall Home Show runs from September 28 to October 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.

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