Alchemy Initiative’s review of Chez Nous’ Gluten-Free Baking Class!

Rachel Portnoy, a pastry chef, and her husband Franck Tessier, a French chef, used to eat a diet filled with gluten. But after learning that Franck’s blood glucose levels were too high and he was at risk of developing diabetes, they cut gluten from their diet. Being chefs and restaurant owners, Rachel and Franck have done lots of research and experimentation to perfect gluten-safe and gluten-free recipes.


Rachel graciously welcomed us into their kitchen and shared three of her recipes and the tricks she has gleaned from the last couple years of serious gluten-free baking experimentation.

mixing macaron

We started out with macarons. Macarons are a classic French confection – a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two meringue biscuits. They are light and oh-so heavenly!

French baking is notoriously difficult- requiring delicacy, precision and finesse.  Now French gluten-freebaking… that is a real challenge! Luckily Rachel is super passionate about what she does and she seems to like a good challenge. 
whipped macaron

Rachel encouraged everyone to be hands-on… You have to feel it to know if it is just right. Here we are testing the stiffness of the merengue. Looking good!macaron piping4

Piping was a new technique for most of the class and everyone took a turn. While Rachel’s tray was filled with straight lines of perfectly-sized and shaped circles, ours was of a lovely art piece of learning! They did seem to smooth out as they baked…


We filled half with a passionfruit filling and half with chocolate ganache. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and just the right burst of sweetness. Divine!macaron1

Blondies were up next. The Blondie Sundae (with rum raisin sauce) is the most popular dessert on Chez Nous’ menu- and they have a gluten or gluten-free option. Rachel’s gluten-free blondie recipe is below.blondies-rachelblondie mixblondie1

Our last dish was profiteroles. A profiterole is a cream puff or choux à la crème- a choux pastry ball filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, custard, or ice cream.

We got another chance to test out our piping skills- definite improvement!  piping profiterole2