Inside Hugue Dufour & Sarah Obraitis’ Kitchen

4th June 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Sean Santiago

The couple behind M Wells on maple syrup to drink by the glassful, a family bread saw and the Mexican cookbook that everybody loves


 Rockaway beer »
“We have so many local breweries, it’s insane,” says Sarah. “Really good ones too. The Rockaway brewery right here is really fun, funky, and their beer is very good.” Sarah also namechecks a local brewery called Big Alice.

Maple syrup from Les Sucreries Beaurivage »
Hugue takes the Canadian love of maple syrup to an extreme. “I drink whole glasses of it,” he says. “I get home at night and pour myself a glass of syrup.” He talks about maple terroir: although there are great producers in Maine and New York State, he’d rather have the real deal from Canada. “My family will come and visit and bring me cans and tubs of syrup. I use it in everything.”


Figaro olive oil » 
“For a while we didn’t have a whole lot of money so we would buy cheap olive oil. This is very cheap Spanish oil but it does the job and it’s great for everyday. I keep trying other things but I always go back to Spanish oil.” – Hugue

Ungava gin » 
“Lately I’ve been enjoying this gin. It’s made in Quebec with native herbs and stuff, it’s very unique.” – Hugue

 Nikka Yoichi 10-year-old single malt whiskey » 
“A friend of mine who used to work at Bushmills is really into scotch and he brings me stuff. This is very delicious. The Japanese are making the best whiskey now[footnote]Last year, the World Whisky Bible awarded its highest mark to a Japanese single malt, Suntory’s Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013. Not a single Scottish whisky made it into the top five. [/footnote].” – Hugue


Hugue’s grandfather’s bread saw
“My grandfather invented this. He used to grow cucumbers and tomatoes and put them in sandwiches using pain fesse, which has a hard crust but very delicate flesh. With any other knife you’d crush the shell and end up with just a ball of bread, so he made this bread saw. It’s very sharp with a serrated edge, it’s ambidextrous so you can use either hand, and because of the wooden guard there’s only a certain thickness of bread you could cut. My mum makes them now and ships them over. I’ve sold hundreds of them.” – Hugue

Splatter screen »
There is a gigantic circular wire mesh hanging from a hook in the kitchen. What is it? “No idea,” says Hugue. “It’s a splatter screen,” says Sarah. “Haven’t you seen one before? It’s for when you’re cooking bacon, so the grease doesn’t splatter all over the place.”

Le Creuset frying pan » 
Hugue holds up his pan for the camera like a tennis racquet and asks whether he should do forehand, showing the top of the pan, or backhand showing the base. We opt for backhand.


Gran Cocina Latina, Marisel Presilla »
“Everyone loves this book. We’ve been making a lot of Mexican food and this is where we go for inspiration. It’s very thorough. Hugue can speak to that, he reads it a lot.” – Sarah

French Feasts, Stephane Reynaud »
“We used this book a lot while we were doing our wedding. It’s Lyonnaise cuisine, very cool. People had forgotten about it, now it’s everywhere.” – Hugue & Sarah

Larousse Gastronomique » 
“The cookbooks I actually use these days are dictionaries, reference books, technical books. This one gets used a lot in the restaurant. You open it and it links you to somewhere else. And it’s useful if you put something on the menu and the staff want to know the history behind it.” – Hugue

Charcuterie, Michael Ruhlman »
Aidan takes out his phone and shows me his collection of e-cookbooks. “There are quite a few,” he says, “but I only use three of them: Michael Ruhlman’s Charcuterie, the St John Nose-to-Tail book, and the Daniel book is pretty good too.”


Posted 4th June 2015

In Things


Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Sean Santiago

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