Category Archives: Dine Out

Cha Le Tea Merchant: Fine Chinese Teas Steeped in Tradition

Yaletown Cafe + Shop introduces premium line of high quality, single origin teas from China

In February we check out the then new Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe + Shop and sampled some very high quality teas and tasty prawn, tuna and ricotta toast. Cha Le (pronounced chah•luh), which translates to “Happy Tea,” features upwards of 20 high-quality, handpicked teas for retail sale in large tins and small boxes,  as well as a full-service tea cafe serving a rotating list of proprietary teas, blends, tea lattes, herbal infusions and a small bites menu.

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They’ve even partnered with Beta5 Chocolate to make beautiful tea-infused chocolates.

CHA LE TEA MERCHANT
Imported directly from independent tea farms throughout China’s tea-growing provinces, Cha Le Tea Merchant’s husband-and-wife owners, Charlie Zhang and Sue Wang, have selected two dozen of the finest black, white, green, oolong and pu’er teas representative of the best of a given region. Examples include:

• Edge of the City A rare, smokey black tea grown from ancient trees by the owners’ family friend high in the mountains over Sue’s native city of Chongqing.

• Moonlight Beauty 2009 This mellow, aged white tea from Simao in Yunnan Province that gets its name from its unique leaves, which are white and downy on one side, smooth and black on the other.

• Maofeng This internationally recognized green tea is cultivated on Anhui Province’s Huangshan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Cha Le’s Maofeng is especially handpicked to deliver a sweet tea with no bitterness.

• Cinnamon Rock Tea Grown semi-wild in rock cracks high on a mountain in the Fujian Province, this woody oolong tea expresses a cinnamon-like flavour. Tea from the other side of the same mountain, Narcissus Rock Tea, has a floral flavour profile reminiscent of narcissus blossoms.

• Aged Shou Pu’er Coin 2007 Processed in 2007, this aged pu’er, (named after Pu’er City in Yunnan Province this fermentation technique was invented), uses top-grade golden buds pressed into mini cakes. The earthy flavour and aroma mellow and become silkier over time, much like wine.

 

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CHA LE CAFE
While Cha Le teas are steeped in tradition, the Yaletown Cafe is not your typical Chinese teahouse. Gone are the antique teapots, replaced by a state-of-the-art, computer-controlled glass vacuum brewing system that customizes temperature and brewing times for each individual tea to ensure optimal results. Most teas can be prepared and steeped to perfection within 90 seconds, less than the time it takes to make an espresso latte.
Designed by Leckie Studio Architecture + Design Inc., the café space is maximized with full walls of custom millwork shelving and a central tea bar where customers can watch the show of their teas being brewed into ceramic mugs thrown by Vancouver Island-based ceramics artist Rachel Saunders or in eco-friendly to-go cups. A tranquil and comfortable seating nook with eight seats is also available for a more tranquil experience.

cha le tea boxes photo credit john sherlock

Cha Le is open seven days a week, 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday; 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

1207 Hamilton Street, Yaletown
Vancouver, BC V6B 6k3
604-339-9989

SOCIAL MEDIA
Instagram: @chaleteamerchant
Twitter: @ChaLeTea
Facebook: /ChaLeTea
Website: www.chaletea.com

TWG Valentine’s Day Menu and Treats

TWG Valentine’s Day – Take Time For Tea

Got plans for Valentine’s Day yet? On Friday we checked out Chef Cliff Hohl’s latest menu at TWG Tea and left very impressed with just how gorgeous and delicious the TWG Valentine’s Day menu was. I love doing afternoon tea here (TWG was previously the Urban Tea Merchant) as it gives me the chance to chat with a friend over a selection of fine tea, and what is always delightful treats; this meal was the perfect excuse to cozy up and catch up on a rainy afternoon.

TWG Tea

The menu begins with a Bain de Roses Tea-infused sparkling wine cocktail and followed by the Mon Amour Tea, a black tea blended with yellow blossoms and sweet notes of quince, known as the sacred fruit of the Goddess of Love. How perfectly romantic! You could also go for an iced tea made with a blossom-infused green tea if you would like something cold, and we tried both as well as a sorbet-infused tea.

TWG Tea

The main course is a plate almost too pretty to consume, a perfectly-seared pan-seared scallops complemented by a dashi broth infused with a white tea and served wtih steamed garden vegetables and garlic Korean brown rice; so very precious!

TWG Tea

Dessert is just as stunning, a Bain de Roses Tea infused mousse and raspberry confit, served with scoop of Vanilla Bourbon Tea infused ice cream and fresh berries. As I am on a diet of sorts, preparing to fit into my wedding dress, I just had a bite, and that was very difficult.

One thing I managed to confuse was pouring the remainder of the broth into my tea, which made for an interesting cup of tea broth, I don’t recommend this, but do highly recommend the meal!

On until February 14 for $65 per person. TWG

Open Daily 10:00am to 8:00pm

 

 

 

Temper Chocolate & Pastry Delights For Valentine’s Day 

Temper Chocolate Hearts For Your Sweatheart

We’ve suggested a few gifts that weren’t edible in our last post, but know you’d really never think of celebrating Valentine’s Day without chocolate. We headed to West Vancouver for dine out last month and had an excellent meal at Feast. As we wandered up the street we peered into Temper Chocolate and although it was closed, spotted some divine chocolates and were reminded of what a great little lunch and sweets spot Temper is. Be sure not to miss the cookies and chocolate milk!

Temper Chocolate

Temper’s owner, Chef Hodge, hails from West Vancouver and after university he attended pastry school at Le Cordon Blue school in California. He uses only the highest quality of ingredients, to craft rich chocolates, flaky pastries and melt-in-your-mouth desserts, and Temper also offers  a selection of gourmet sandwiches, quiches, and roasted Stumptown coffee.

Temper Chocolate

Chef Hodge works personally with his team to create the most detailed, intricate designs. Creating edible art from stunning airbrush work to hand drawn details all made in house with decadent chocolate ganache. 

Temper Chocolate

For Valentine’s Day the chocolate hearts he has created are divine and it’s worth the trip to West Vancouver to shop for these delights. Stay for lunch, and those cookies and chocolate milk and you won’t be disappointed.

temper

We partnered with Temper to bring you this post, but, as always would never post without testing and enjoying.

Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto Heads to the Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Chef Amanda Ray from O & B Canteen in Toronto.

amanda ray edited photo by cindy la (002)

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Canteen is a casual restaurant by Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, located in the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Canteen is all about offering globally inspired dishes using locally sourced ingredients. I love to travel and draw on those experiences for the menu. I’ve done a lot of fine dining and French cuisine (most recently as Chef de Cuisine at Biff’s Bistro, also an O&B restaurant) in my career, but I really enjoy drawing inspiration from the multicultural landscape of Toronto, its fresh take on world cuisine, and that passion for the city’s diverse cultures.

Where do you eat in your city? 

Lots of places! I love to support friends who are chefs with their own places. Connecting with colleagues in the industry is huge, as well as sharing that sense of community.  I love different ethnic cuisines that the city has to offer.  I have a huge love for Vietnamese food, especially after travelling throughout Vietnam a few years ago. I have a few favourites spots for pho and bun cha. I also have an El Salvadoran place I’ve gone to for years. Just depends on my mood and what I crave!

biffs bistro steak tartare

What would be your ideal food day? 

Going to the market and creating a killer meal at home with amazing friends, opening up some wine, and listening to good music –that’s it.

What trend do you wish would die?

Burgers and tacos. Everyone jumping on that bandwagon.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

I think we need to be more seriously looking at food waste, which is not really a trend but more a way of life, and changing our thoughts on what is and isn’t acceptable. I’d also love to see more support for farmers, and providing the option of locally sourced food to all, including low income families.

biffs bistro steak tartare

What ingredients do you always have on hand?

Good oil, cheese, coffee, hot sauce, pasta, avocado, butter and bread.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Many things, but mostly a Rational, a Pacojet, and a Thermomix.

What gift would you suggest  for your foodie friends this year?

A Slap Chop, or maybe an incredible Japanese knife.

biffs bistro octopus chorizo salad

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

It’s not a secret! I will be preparing a milk-braised St-Canut Porcelet with curd and whey, hay smoked Tamarack Farm black futsu squash, and cotechino with apple saba turnip and crispy sauerkraut.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Cave Springs Riesling – “The Adams Steps”

Who is coming with you?

Sous Chefs Kevin Ramasawmy & Justin Kabel

Chef Garrett Thienes of Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Regina Heads to Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Garrett Thienes of Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Regina

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Chef Garrett Thienes of Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Regina.

Chef Garrett Thienes

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

We decided to open a 45-seat eatery and fresh market in rural Shanavon, SK.  (pop.  1,700) and focus on creating dishes that were familiar yet new and exciting.   If I had to give it a name, I would call it gourmet comfort food.

Where do you eat in your city?

No matter where I go in the world I have to have fried chicken.   There’s not a lot of options in our town for high end dining, so often the best meals we have are at a friend’s for dinner.   We have started a small dinner group once a month where everyone brings a course based around a theme.   We drink way too much wine and laugh until our sides hurt.   That’s the feeling we are trying to create at Harvest.

Chef Garrett Thienes

What would be your ideal food day? 

It would include BBQ, sushi, Vietnamese Banh Mi, wood fired pizza and a splat teeing of fried chicken and rotisserie chicken. It would end with the meat sweats. If I had to take one dish. Porchetta from the wood fired Rotisserie at Notable in Calgary.

What trend do you wish would die?

Food shows about people who can’t cook being yelled at by people who don’t cook anymore. That and intolerances. You either have an allergy or you don’t.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Less focus on the million dollar room and more focus on developing and paying the chefs. Too many restaurants with beautiful rooms and mediocre food. That includes menus that read better than they taste.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Duck fat.   ALWAYS.   And butter.   Lots of delicious unsalted butter.

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home? 

Grilled Cajun pork chops with loaded baked potatoes and tons of broccoli.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

A dishwasher.   Like one that I pay so I don’t have to wash the dishes anymore.

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

The Flavor Bible.   Every great chef needs a reference book until he/she learns to balance and create flavor contrasts and compliments on his or her own.

Chef Garrett Thienes

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

We are using bone marrow and lamb belly.   But it will be light and playful to echo the first peeks of spring we will be starting to see.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

We are proud to be serving Dirty Laundry Kay-Syrah

fb img 1485969292439 Chef Garrett Thienes

Who is coming with you?

My wife Kristy, who is the reason I am here today, will be handling our social media, my mentor and now catering/contract chef Ryan Clark and my pastry chef Elynne Poisson.

Chef Joe Thottungal Coconut Lagoon Ottawa Heads to the Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Joe Thottungal Coconut Lagoon Ottawa

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Chef Joe Thottungal Coconut Lagoon Ottawa for a few pre-competition questions.

Che Joe Thottungal

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Coconut lagoon is an Indian restaurant specialize in Kerala Cuisine opened in 2004. We were the first to bring Kerala Cuisine into the main stream and do authentic dishes without comprising the taste. We serve a lot of seafood with different layers of flavors and let our cooking spices will do the talking. We grew up with most of the spices around us and coconut is a big part of our cuisine.

Where do you eat in your city?

Love Chinese food visit and make a point every month visit  Mekong  with the family and occasionally a good Burger from OCCO Kitchen.

What would be your ideal food day? 

Creating a new dish or a food  festivals.

What trend do you wish would die?

To reserve  only at 7 pm on weekends and I wish there was less  phones on while dining .

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

More authentic vegetables and staples coming into our supply system. A more personal touch with the guests than ordering through the internet, with third party deliveries, which will loses the personnel touch we keep with our loyal guests. Less chain restaurants and more unique restaurants with different themes. I always wish people would plan more parties and eating out on weekdays, so we don’t get grilled only on weekends and instead have have a steady week.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Garam masala

Che Joe Thottungal

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home?

Grilled  Striploin marinated in Garam Masala and Yukon Gold Potato Lyonnaise

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Blast chiller so that when I make 20 litres of sauce or soup, it would chill it down very fast .

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Ottawa Cook Book By Anne DesBrisay.

Che Joe Thottungal

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

Pacific  sustainable Halibut with mutli layer of flavors that come from my roots.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Huff Estate Winery Riesling Off Dry 2015

joe thottungal

Who is coming with you?

My Sous Chef Rajesh Gopi who I’ve worjed with for the last 13 years  and Sudeep Jose.

BIOGRAPHY

Joe Thottungal was born in the State of Kerala in South India. He received his Hotel Management and Catering Diploma from a culinary institute in nearby Madras, and began his career with the five star property of Leela Kempinski in Mumbai, as a Kitchen Executive Trainee. He then moved to Saudi Arabia to take a Chef de Partie position at the 5 star exclusive Oasis resort under the guidance of Chef John R. Stevens and Chef Goivanni Telles.

In 1998, He immigrated to Canada.  Joe started his Canadian culinary journey at Centro Bar and Grill in Toronto and then moved on to the Royal York Hotel to work under their famous Master Chef, George McNeil, CMC, After completing two years at the Royal York, he pursued an opportunity at the newly opened Park Hyatt Hotel and helped to open the new Annona Restaurant as a Sous Chef.

His career progressed further when he moved on to Casino Windsor to accept an appointment as Restaurant Chef at Café Cache, its exclusive fine dining restaurant where he displayed his talents to the crème de la crème of Casino Windsor patrons.

While working at Casino Windsor he received and accepted an opportunity to work with Chef Wilhiem Wetscher, CCC at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ottawa as a Restaurant Chef.  He was quickly promoted to Executive Sous Chef.  While working at the Crowne Plaza he completed his Chef de Cuisine certification from SAIT Calgary and became a Certified Chef de Cuisine in May 2003.

His passion for cooking and serving guests gave birth to the Coconut Lagoon Restaurant. This is his own venture where he displays his talents and showcases the exclusive cuisine of Kerala with a modern twist. The Coconut Lagoon  is the first of its kind in the nation’s capital. After opening its doors in May 2004,  the Coconut Lagoon received many positive reviews and became the talk of the town.

Joe is active in the community and is a member of the Ottawa Chapter of Les Toques Blanches, and the CCFCC .In 2008 he was award the Chef Of the Year by CCFCC.

He was the creative mind behind the impressive annual Onasadhya vegetarian feast at the restaurant, as well as leading annual culinary tours to South India.

Joe and the Coconut Lagoon were featured in the recent, widely acclaimed book “Ottawa Cooks”, and in 2015 was invited to participate in the prestigious Gold Medal Plate competition where he won the bronze medal.  In 2016, Joe’s dishes were awarded the gold medal.

He is always willing to lend a hand to different charity events like Bon Appetite (for hunger and poverty relief), Savor the Moment (for the Children’s Wish Foundation) , and the Can Go Afar Foundation, as well as giving cooking classes at different venues throughout the city.

Coconut Lagoon Restaurant
853 St. Laurent Boulevard,
Ottawa, ON K1K 3B

 

Chef Jesse Friesen from Winnipeg’s Pizzeria Gusto Heads to the Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Jesse Friesen – Pizzeria Gusto

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Winnipeg’s Chef Jesse Friesen of Pizzeria Gusto for a few pre-competition questions.

Chef Jesse Friesen

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Our restaurant, Pizzeria Gusto in Winnipeg is a cozy welcoming Italian restaurant in the heart of river heights. We do authentic Italian with a mixture of traditional & modern techniques, while supporting local farmers and giving Winnipeg a stylish experience. We are about to expand with an additional 40 seats and complete renovation this spring.

I try to cook without recipes as much as possible. Unless I’m working with pastry, every time I use a new recipe, I practice until memorized. I find it teaches discipline & furthers skill set.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

One ingredient which I always have on hand other then the classic ingredients you would find in any Italian kitchen is a specific type of cheese; moliterno pecorino. It’s a semi sharp Parmesan made from sheeps milk, but is finished with shavings of black truffles throughout. It adds a beautiful touch to risotto, gnocchi & pizza.

Chef Jesse Friesen

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

The dish I am doing for the grand finale of GMP is my gold medal dish from Winnipeg but refined. I have practiced countless times and refined all components, large & small. We decided to run this dish as a feature for the past two months in the restaurant and as we prepped the separate components, we involved them and documented of course.

Who is coming with you?

My team consists of my sous chef from Pizzeria Gusto, one of my other employees who is a great friend and chef, who will be leaving us soon to open his own kitchen. As well as the owner of our restaurant group, the operations manager of both restaurants & the front of house manager from Gusto.

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Cookbooks recommended: Winnipeg Cooks. Winnipeg’s contribution to the series which reaches out coast to coast. The cookbook highlights the city’s best talent in the business as well as recipes from their signature dishes.

Chef Scott Torgerson the Executive Chef Radisson Hotel Saskatoon and Aroma Resto Bar Heads to Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Scott Torgerson – Executive Chef Radisson Hotel Saskatoon and Aroma Resto Bar

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships is taking place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Chef Scott Torgerson the Executive Chef Radisson Hotel Saskatoon and Aroma Resto Bar.

Chef Scott Torgerson

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

My cooking style is Scandinavian/French with Asian influence. At the hotel we try to highlight prairie ingredients with classic techniques and modern attributes.

Where do you eat in your city?

I eat mostly Vietnamese and Chinese when I dine out. I also like to support local Chefs at places like Ayden kitchen and bar, the Hollows, etc.

What would be your ideal food day? 

My ideal food day is spent at home cooking/baking with my children and my wife.

What trend do you wish would die?

“Photo made” food, I believe that there is absolutely a place for photos to showcase food, but it is becoming too easy for photos to take priority over food. Customers today are also concerned with taking photos of the food rather than tasting it first.

Chef Scott Torgerson

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Make the food that you enjoy eating.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

My Sous Chefs would say that I have an attachment to Lavender but I would say Kombu

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home? 

Swedish Meatballs

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

I am extremely fortunate in my kitchen, but a green egg charcoal grill would be nice.

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Perfection in Imperfection

Chef Scott Torgerson

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

Elk and Highland Beef

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

See Ya Later Ranch 2015 Unleashed Pinot Noir

Who is coming with you?

Two of my extremely talented Sous Chefs Christopher Corkum and Nicholas Smelland. There are no better chefs to have along side me in this competition.

I also surveyed my Facebook followers (many are chefs as well) as to what questions they would like answered by chefs when I interview them.

Colleen McClean What inspires you in your daily work? Working with food and the pursuit of food knowledge is constantly inspiring. Being challenged daily to find new ways to do things and new flavours to work with is why I do what I do.

Colleen Tsoukalas Is there potential for school garden programs and chefs to collaborate? Ideas? Absolutely, there are many culinary schools that have incorporated product growth and development into their programs. I believe that there is a place in every kitchen for chefs to be involved in gardening and product generation no matter how small of steps are taken.

Heather Watson What’s your “ketchup”? (I don’t mean literal ketchup, I just mean the one ingredient you use most often.) Pickling Liquid is my ketchup

Chef Scott Torgerson

Scott Torgerson started in the Food Service Industry at the age of 14. He received his professional training in the Culinary Arts program at Red River College in Winnipeg, Manitoba. From there he worked in some of Manitoba’s premiere kitchens including St. Charles Golf and Country Club. Scott was the Executive Chef of the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club, before moving to Saskatoon in his role as Executive Chef of the Radisson Hotel and Aroma Restaurant. Chef Torgerson has received numerous culinary awards on Provincial, National, and International levels and was a member of National Culinary Team Canada 2016. He maintains a strong working relationship with the producers of Saskatchewan, highlighting local ingredients with flavors influenced by his Scandinavian background.

Chef Mark Gray from Halifax’s Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery Heads to the Canadian Culinary Championships

Chef Mark Gray – Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery in Halifax

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Halifax’s Chef Mark Gray from Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery for a few pre-competition questions.

Chef Mark Gray

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery is a casual eatery, with bar style seating and a playful, bar centric menu that changes 4-5 times per year.

Where do you eat in your city?

Field Guide would be my favourite spot in the city to eat.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Fermentation / Pickling / Preserving / Curing ( it is currently on its way back )

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Sriracha

What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home?

A simple white fish, with rice and green vegetables (my daughters favourite)

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Rotary Evaporator

What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Food & Beer by Daniel Burns

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

For the 3rd competition I will be recreating my dish from the Halifax competition.

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

I have crafted my own beverage, Kombucha (or fermented green tea), which has a mixture of white, green and black fermented teas that had an additional fermentation over wild NS apples & french oak chips. It will then be “seasoned” with Ironworks Gin.

Who is coming with you?

My sous chef this year will be Chef Stephanie Ogilvie from The Brooklyn Warehouse (our sister restaurant).

I also surveyed my Facebook followers (many are chefs as well) as to what questions they would like answered by chefs when I interview them.

Karen Wipf Van Vloten If you could only have one small kitchen appliance what would it be? Vitamix Blender

Colleen McClean What country/city would you travel to just for the purpose of eating? Prague

Chef Mark Gray

Sean Haffey What’s your favourite dish, at home or out? Oysters or cured meats

Heather Watson What’s your “ketchup”? (I don’t mean literal ketchup, I just mean the one ingredient you use most often.) Sriracha

Nigel Clarke Do you follow Bourdain….. Yes or No. Yes

Chef Jinhee Lee From Foreign Concept Calgary Heads to Canadian Culinary Championships

Jinhee Lee – Executive Chef Foreign Concept

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships is taking place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 3-4, 2017. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We caught up with Calgary’s Chef Jinhee Lee and are cheering her and all the chefs on as they battle for gold!
jinhee lee sous chef at hotel arts raw bar
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR RESTAURANT AND/OR STYLE OF COOKING

Foreign concept is modern pan Asian restaurant celebrating ingredients and flavours from countries such as  Vietnam, Korean,China and Japan. My cooking style is clean, uncomplicated and flavorful food that is driven by Technic and ingredients.

foreign concept

WHERE DO YOU EAT IN YOUR CITY?

Anju!! one of my favorite restaurant in Calgary. Anju is a Modern Korean Tapas. Nice ambiance, great food and good service.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR IDEAL FOOD DAY?

Sunday Korean BBQ with some of my closest friends.

WHAT TREND DO YOU WISH WOULD DIE?

The overuse of micro green for garnishing

WHAT TREND/S DO YOU WISH WOULD BE NEXT?

More ethnic food.

WHAT INGREDIENT DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND?

Onions and green onions. I love playing with green onion and onion and like to confit, roast, grill, sous vide, puree, braise or char them. One of my favorite menu that I created for Foreign concept is charred onion with doubanjang sauce.

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO RECIPE WHEN YOU’RE EATING AT HOME?

Stir fry vegetable or meat with Gochujang sauce (Korean fermented chili paste). Of course with rice.

grill

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU WISH YOU HAD IN YOUR KITCHEN?

Binchoten grill. Binchotan is high quality charcoal from Japan. It create high temperature(about 1000 degrees Celsius) then ordinary charcoal so  it creates really good charcoal flavour and smell.

 

WHAT COOKBOOK WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR A GIFT FOR YOUR FOODIE FRIENDS

THIS YEAR? I fell in love with Vietnamese flavors. Slanted door is a great cookbook to assist cooks in understanding Vietnamese flavors.

ANY HINTS ON WHAT DISH YOU WILL BE PREPARING FOR GOLD MEDAL PLATES?

“Cha Ca La Vong” This dish is about my travelling experience in Vietnam and specifically my visit to Hanoi. I found a restaurant that served one dish and I fell in love with it and its flavors. I will bring that experience to my dish.

WHAT WINE/BEER/LIBATION ARE YOU PAIRING WITH THIS YEAR?

Bartier Brothers 2014 Gewurztraminer, Okanagan Valley,BC

 WHO IS COMING WITH YOU?

My biggest mentor in my culinary career is Duncan Ly. I helped him Culinary Championships 2014. We brought the Silver medal home. This year Duncan will be my sous chef. It means a lot to me.

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More About Chef Lee

With fierce passion and a natural talent for cooking, Chef Jinhee Lee inspires the innovative culinary creations exciting her dinners where ever she goes. Hailing from South Korea, Jinhee first moved to Calgary with sights set on a corporate profession before finding herself in SAIT’s professional cooking program.

Over the years of her cooking career, Jinhee has impressed many with her inventive and refined approach to food where she continues to draw from the cuisine of her heritage as well as other Asian influences. Known for creative flavours and thoughtful dishes, she earned a spot on Avenue Calgary’s Top 5 People to Watch in Calgary’s Food Scene in 2016.

Collecting numerous accolades, Jinhee was the winner of the 2012 Calgary Stampede Dueling Chefs competition and the 2013 Art Gallery of Calgary Cooks critics’ award. Notably the only female chef at the 2015 Gold Medal Plates competition, Jinhee took home an impressive silver and recently took home gold at the 2016 Gold Medal Plates. Her style is clean, uncomplicated food combining exceptional ingredients to develop incredible flavors that respect tradition.

Jinhee had been a chef de cuisine at Raw Bar over 3 years. During the time, Raw Bar had earned a spot on Avenue Calgary’s Best Top 10 Restaurants 2015 and 2016. She is set to take over as executive Chef of Foreign Concept. A new modern Pan-Asian restaurant Set to open this December of 2016.

Read more about the newly opened Foreign Concept on Daily Hive here. Or on the Calgary Herald here.