Featured, Local News

Local chef takes tips from Julia Child

By Katy Savage

LUDLOW—Peter Dickinson remembers the time he made Julia Child an omelet.

He was 17 years old and a dishwasher at the Woodstock Inn and she was a guest.

“It was total happenstance,” Dickinson said. “I happened to be cooking breakfast on the line that morning and she ordered an omelet. I couldn’t believe it was Julia Child.”

Dickinson met Child, the celebrity chef, again a few years later when he was a student at Johnson and Wales. This time, Child made Dickinson an omelet.

Child cooked about 50 omelets one day for students at Johnson and Wales College as a lecturer.

“The biggest thing I learned from Julia Child is, ‘Taste everything,’” Dickinson said. “If you taste all the parts that go into the meal then it can’t taste bad.”

Wolfgang Puck, another celebrity chef lecturer at Johnson and Wales, gave Dickinson another piece of advice— “give them the classics but turn them on their ear,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson has put what he’s learned to his own restaurant. He and his partner Desiree Gucia opened Du Jour VT on Pond Street in Ludlow July 13.

As the name suggests, the menu changes everyday.

“The chef, and his take on food, is a little bit extraordinary,” said Gucia.

Du Jour VT has an all-American food menu for those who can’t think outside the box and a Du Jour menu for those willing to experiment.

While Dickinson has worked in a kitchen for the past 25 years and trained under celebrity chefs, Gucia grew up in the business.

Her mother owns Cafe Delight, a breakfast and lunch eatery in Ludlow, which has been open nearly 30 years.

“As kids with a full-time working mother, we lived at the restaurant,” Gucia said.

Gucia started washing dishes when she was 11 years old. By the time she was 16, she helped out cooking eggs in the kitchen. When she got older, Gucia became a professional bartender. She has designed bars all along the east coast and even out west. Gucia has worked everywhere from large scale weddings to golf courses ski resorts, including the Sitting Bull Lounge at Okemo and The Loft.

Now, Gucia’s kids, ages 11 and 7, are starting to help Gucia in the restaurant business.

Gucia met Dickinson through a mutual friend. This past year, they worked together at Murdocks on the Green, a restaurant in Proctorsville.

Dickinson has also cooked for nursing homes and Lui Lui restraunt in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

DuJour VT is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Despite everything others have told Dickinson about cooking, something has stood out the most.

“Cooking from your heart is the most important thing,” he said.

Photo Submitted
A  new restraunt, called Du Jour VT, opened on Pond Street in Ludlow July 13.

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