Tag Archives: Gold Medal Plates Victoria

Chef Morgan Wilson Q at the Empress

 

Chef Morgan Wilson from the Fairmont Empress Hotel doesn’t have far to go to compete for Gold Medal Plates, as he’s Victoria-based, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We learn a little more about his thoughts on trends before the competition.

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

Q at the Empress is focused on local flavors of the Pacific North West, with a focus on seafood and seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers, fishers and markets.

Where do you eat in your city?

I like to discover smaller restaurants, one that I’m fond of right now for breakfast is Jam Café, great vibe and food.

What would be your ideal food day?

Somewhere in France enjoying all the great cheese and wine

What trend do you wish would die?

Gluten free baked goods, eating gluten free can be achieved by simply avoiding foods that have flour.

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What trend/s do you wish would be next?

A return to simpler cooking. We, as Chefs, with the rise of molecular cuisine, sous vide etc., have gotten very good at the technical aspects of cooking food and have been exploring that for quite some time. I would like to see that better understanding of how to perfectly cook a piece of meat or a vegetable focused into fewer ingredients on the plate, with less fuss the flavors that are there will shine.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Onions, this is a building block for so many recipes I really can’t live without them.

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

A good old spaghetti Bolognese.

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Time machine

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

Give grandma a call and get a copy of her recipes, always the best food at grandma’s house!

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

Quack quack

cab franc

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

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Cabernet Frac

Who is coming with you?

Mark Butschler from Tinhorn Creek will be pouring, I will have a great team of our cooks from the Empress assisting.

Chef Sam Chalmers North 48

 

Gold Medal Plates competitor, Chef Sam Chalmers, is based in Victoria, and I just may have to go for the French Onion Soup he describes below.

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

North 48 is a modern comfort food restaurant. We take classic dishes and put our own spins on them. For example, our French Onion Soup: I salt cure half the onions, caramelize the rest, and put them in a mason jar with bacon & duck stock and cook that for 5 hours. We serve that tableside poured over a slice of toasted baguette & melted white cheddar.

french onion

What trend do you wish would die?

Trends are important to keep food interesting to the diner. I don’t overly wish any of them to die. From every major food trend we get pieces of them, ingredients, philosophies or techniques that will stick around and thats how food and cooking keep evolving. The one thing I do wish is that cooks, especially young cooks, try as hard to master the classic techniques and dishes before trying to master new trends.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Sustainable food has been a trend for a while now and I hope it keeps growing. People are more aware than ever to where their food comes from. I think its very important to always think sustainable and local as much as you can. I think we need to remove some negativity that is around farmed seafood. There are people out there doing right and we have to make that the norm, not the exception.

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

I will be preparing Northern Divine Sturgeon. I feel its important for people to understand the stress that we have put on our oceans and our seafood population. Northern Divine is farming fish the right way. This is the future of fishing and I want to showcase that.

Chef Mark Filatow Waterfront Wines Kelowna

 

Our next interview is with Chef Mark Filatow from Kelowna who’s also on his way to Victoria to compete in Gold Medal Plates Culinary Competition.  He’s competed before and taken the gold so it could be a repeat performance if all goes well! Filatow answered a few questions about ingredients he always has on hand, and who’s coming with him.

waterfront wines restaurant kelowna make a reservation 352x299

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

We really focus on the seasons and use our travels and research to combine for new ideas. 

What trend do you wish would die?

Picture perfect food that tastes like nothing!

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Salt

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

Pizza…or meatballs waterfront wines

What equipment do you wish you had in your kitchen?

Wood Oven 

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

Worldy Inspired, locally sourced .

chard

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

Tantalus 2014 Chardonnay 

Who is coming with you?

Pretty much the entire kitchen!

Bio – Mark Filatow – Executive Chef & Sommelier

With over twenty years of experience, Mark Filatow represents the pinnacle of culinary excellence and is the driving force behind Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar. After graduating with honours from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute, Mark honed his culinary skills at some of the most prestigious restaurants in BC including Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver’s Bishops and Diva at the Met and Kelowna’s Fresco Restaurant.

In 2001 Mark was accepted into the coveted Sommelier Guild, making him one of the only chefs in Canada with this level of skill in food and wine pairing. By 2005 Mark’s culinary prowess was acknowledged by Enroute Magazine when they recognized Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar as one of Canada’s best new restaurants. With these awards and continual stream of industry accolades from Vancouver Magazine, The Calgary Herald, San Francisco Chronicle, Eat Magazine and more, Mark still manages to keep his feet on the ground… and in the kitchen as Executive Chef/Sommelier of Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar.

Recent Accolades:

  • Western Living Magazine – “Top Foodies under 40″
  • Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards
  • “Gold” Best Restaurant in the Okanagan – 8 years running (2009 – 2016)
  • Southbrook Award for Food Day Canada – “Best Wine Paired Menu”
  • Recommended in Phaidon’s New Restaurant Guide “Where Chefs Eat”
  • Winner 2012 Vancouver Gold Medal Plates
  • Food Day Canada – University of Guelph, Good Food Innovation Award 2013 & 2014

Chef Alex Chen Takes Top Spot At Gold Medal Plates Victoria

Pairing of Local Pork Terrine with Foxtrot Vineyards’ Pinot Noir Earns Chef Coveted Title as BC Representative 

PR NEWS – Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Executive Chef Alex Chen set the gold standard at the 10th annual Gold Medal Plates in Victoria, BC Thursday night, winning the top regional spot among 10 chefs selected to compete in the prestigious culinary competition and earning the right to represent BC at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, BC Feb. 5-6, 2016.

Gold Medal Plates Victoria

Chen’s pairing of Local Heritage Warm Pork Terrine, ‘Head to Tail’ Chestnuts, Foie Gras, Perigord Truffles and Umami Jus with Foxtrot Vineyards’ 2012 ‘Henricsson Vineyard’ Pinot Noir from Naramata, BC impressed attendees of the event, which was the BC regional stop on the Gold Medal Plates 11-city culinary tour across Canada. The Foxtrot Pinot Noir was also crowned as Best of Show Wine at the competition.

Gold Medal Plates Victoria

Chen was joined on the podium by Forage Executive Chef Chris Whittaker, who won silver, and YEW seafood + bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver Executive Chef Ned Bell, who took home bronze. Each dish in the competition was judged out of 100 points and based on visual presentation (20%), texture (20%), taste (30%), wine compatibility (10%), originality (10%) and ‘wow factor’ (10%).

“The top four (chefs) were very close,” said Gold Medal Plates national head judge James Chatto, who was joined on the judging panel by senior judges Sid Cross and Andrew Morrison, as well as Gary Hynes, Sinclair PhilipShelora Sheldan and 2014 Gold Medal Plates regional winner, Kristian Eligh. “The three that won were ahead of the pack and in the end, Alex’s technique and flawless terrine showcased the best wine pairing, which really lifted him to gold. It was a very impressive year, with chefs really utilizing local products at their best.”

Chen is no stranger to high-pressure culinary championships, having led Team Canada to a top-10 finish at the renowned Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France in 2013.

Gold Medal Plates Victoria

“I am extremely honoured, humbled and grateful to accept this award, but this is by no means an individual achievement,” said Chen. “The real credit goes to an incredible Boulevard team that helped prepare and plate more than 400 dishes for this event. It was truly an entire team effort and we all share in this win together.”

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Billed as the ultimate celebration of Canadian excellence in food, wine, athletic achievement and entertainment, the Gold Medal Plates raise funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, supporting programs like Own The Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Excellence Fund. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has generated more than $9.5 million for Canada’s Olympic athletes.

 

Chef Luca Paola Sunset Organic Bistro Competitor Gold Medal Plates

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna in February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s our answers from Chef Luca Paola from Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna.

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

The kitchen at the Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery is not like any other place I have ever worked in. It is unique thanks to the onsite gardens and the people who have invested so much into the land. We strive to be organic, local, sustainable, seasonal and fresh. My style of cooking is mostly Mediterranean with some international influences and flare.

Where do you eat in your citchef luca photo 2y?

Being a chef, I naturally work long days and late nights, so it sometimes leaves me choosing fast food or take out. On days off I like to spoil myself and eat food from great local spots like Waterfront Wines, Mission Hill, Raudz Regional Table or Bacaro.

What would be your ideal food day?

An ideal day of food for me would bring me back home into my mom’s kitchen where I could eat some of her homemade pizza or pasta.

What trend do you wish would die?

I feel the trend that is least attractive to me is having a starch on a plate. I would like to stray away from meat, potatoes, and veggies. It is an old school idea that all three live exclusively on a plate together. I love plating a piece of fresh fish on top of some risotto or duck breast with some local beets. That’s the simple, tasty and complimentary style of food you will see on my menus.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

This is a growing “trend” to some people and in some areas of the world, but ideally I would love to see everyone try to transition all the way to organic food, that is local and sustainable. I don’t understand why anyone would order blueberries from half way across the world when they are just around the corner from you in your own town or province. I think that 100-mile diets are an inspired way to feed your guests.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

It is probably a cliché answer but I am going to say salt or possibly a good quality olive oil.  And butter. I also love butter!

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

Our go to meal isn’t so much a recipe but something we can slap together in a few minutes. Meat, cheese, pickles and spreads is all we need with a great glass of BC wine.

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress? Recipe please.

Granola bars

3 cups of oats toasted
1/2 cup of coconut toasted
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dates chopped
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of apricots

(you can substitute just about anything you like for this part. Say if you don’t like pumpkin seeds just add more sunflower seeds or if you are allergic to coconut you can increase another item like sesame seeds or replace it with something like spelt kernels)

5 oz butter
5 oz brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup corn syrup

– Toast all dry goods except the fruit

– Mix toasted nuts and grains with dried fruit in a large bowl big enough to hold everything.

– Bring all the wet ingredients to a simmer in a small pot and you have a smooth consistency.

– Working quickly, pour butter sugar mixture over dry ingredients and mix well

– Press into sheet tray or baking pan and roll with a rolling pin to insure that it is packed down.
– cool until set and cut into desired shapes

– drizzle with white or dark chocolate to finish

pacojet australia 

What do you want for food/food equipment gifts this year?

I have been hoping for a Pacojet for a while now.  But a truffle slicer would be nice.

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

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook is one of my favorites.  There are a lot of good recipes that one could potentially do from home if they have some knowhow.

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

It is a dish I like to call Duck, Duck, Goose. It has smoked duck breast and confit duck leg, and some foie gras. You’re just going to have to wait to see what accompaniments finish the dish.

What country/city would you travel to just for the purpose eating?

New York City! So many wonderful places that I need to try before I die.

What inspired you to get into this industry?

The fact that I have always held a kitchen job and I didn’t want to become an accountant. My mom too, I guess.

What is your secret to perfect scrambled eggs?

Separate the egg yolks and whisk the whites until light and fluffy. Reincorporate the yolks, season with salt and pepper and pour into a non-stick pan with a little bit of butter. The pan should be almost smoking hot. Stir vigorously until just barely set. The carry over heat will finish cooking the eggs. Perfect!

 

Interview with Castro Boateng Castro Boateng Private Catering Competitor in Gold Medal Plates

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna in February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s what’s new with  Castro Boateng of Castro Boateng Private Catering in Victoria BC.

Castro Boateng

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

I am a private chef who caters to all types of events from small dinner parties, cooking classes, foraging tours, wine pairing dinners, weddings and corporate events. Your vision of your event combined with my food and service, equals a perfect combination!

Modern French technics, influenced by African & Caribbean flavors combined with local ingredients.

Where do you eat in your city?

Stage, relish café, Caribbean Village

What would be your ideal food day

Breakfast cooked by my wife, lunch at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Dinner at Noma Copenhagen Denmark, Late night snack of my Mom’s Spicy peanut and Goat Soup especially after a few drinks!

Castro Boateng

What trend/s do you wish would be next? 

Fine dining restaurants of African & Caribbean Cuisine

What ingredient do you always have on hand? 

Confit Garlic, Vanilla & Curry oil, home made smoked shrimp & Chili Paste,

Castro Boateng

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

Braised Oxtail

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress?

Cinnamon Spiced Cashew nuts

What do you want for food/food equipment gifts this year?

Anti-griddle

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

The Soul of a new Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson

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

My dish is called “Dancing With Spices”, that’s all for now!

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. Here’s some of the answers.

How do you find the work ethics today of young cooks just getting out of culinary school compared to 10-20 years ago?

Not the same as 10-20 years ago but I am sure if you asked Chef’s when I was coming up, they would say the same about my generation!

When did you last cook at home?  

I cook on my days off but my kids like my wife’s meals better. She says because her cooking is more bland.

Castro Boateng

What inspired you to get into this industry?

Art and the life style (late nights, sleep ins, although with kids there are no sleep ins anymore, just late nights!)

Who has had the most influence on your development as a chef?

Chef Colin Watson (my Chef for life).

Braised Oxtail, Root Vegetables & Steamed Rice 

3 kg Oxtail (remove excess fat)
2 tbsp ground allspice
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
6 sprigs fresh Thyme
4 Green onions, chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ tbsp ground Black pepper
2 Scotch bonnet peppers or chili peppers, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
1 cup tbsp canola oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
2 plum tomatoes(chopped)
2 cups chicken stock or beef stock
2 bay leafs
1 medium carrot (peeled & medium diced)
2 parsnip (peeled & medium diced
1 small squash (peeled & medium diced)
TT Salt

The day before making the dish, blend together allspice, garlic, ginger, thyme, green onions, brown sugar, ground black pepper and soy sauce & 1/2 the canola oil until smooth, pour marinade over oxtail. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or minimum of four hours.

Remove oxtail from marinade dredge oxtail in flour and shake excess flour off. Place a Dutch pan or a sauce pan over medium high heat. Gently place oxtail in the hot oil to brown on all sides. Remove the oxtail from the pan once the meat is brown all over. lower the heat and add chopped onions, sauté for two minutes, add tomatoes, then add oxtail back to the pot, add the excess marinade, add the chicken stock then bring to simmer.

Simmer on low heat for 2 ½ hour. Add the diced root vegetables to the oxtail, stir together, continuing simmering for another hour or until the meat can fall off the bone and the vegetables are tender. If there is not enough sauce, add ¼ cup of stock and continue to simmer it until thicken. If the sauce is too thin, keep simmering until it thickens.

Alternatively, you can cover the pot after all the ingredients have been added and bring to simmer then place the pot into the oven. Braise at 300* for 2 ½ to 3 1/2 hours or until the oxtail is tender and comes off the bone

Steamed Rice

2 cups rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
TT salt
2 sprigs Thyme

Rinse rice in cold water three times. Combine Stock & Coconut milk, then add to the rice, add thyme and season to taste with salt. Over medium heat, bring rice to simmer then lower the heat to allow the rice to steam & absorb all the liquid about 20-25 minutes. Remove thyme, fluff rice using fork, serve rice with oxtail and root vegetables.

Caribbean style Carrot & Guinness beverage
2 lbs of peeled carrots or 1 liter of Carrot Juice
1 cup Guinness
1/4 cup of condense milk
1 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp fresh ginger (finely grated)
½ tbsp. cinnamon powder
2 tbsp. coconut oil (optional)
Using a juicer, extract all carrot juice and strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Combine the carrot juice and the remaining ingredients except the coconut oil into a blender and blend for a minute. Slowly drizzle the coconut oil to emulsify.
Chill for about an hour. Shake well and serve on Ice
Note:
In the Caribbean this is considered by most to be a man’s drink!

Interview with Stephan Drolet Camille’s Gold Medal Plates Competitor

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna in February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s what’s new with Stephen Drolet of Camille’s in Victoria

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

Our food is fresh & seasonal products, prepared with a nod to classic techniques and a bent for the modern. A sparse, relaxed, easy elegance in the dining room focused on the guests comfort.

Where do you eat in your city?

At home, mostly.

What would be your ideal food day?

We would start the day by making eggs benedict, my son making the hollandaise, for breakfast, following that with an outdoor lunch of a selection of meats, cheeses and a fresh, warm baguette. For dinner, we would have a dish of home made pasta, and, to finish the day, I would enjoy a variety of small snacks and a bottle of wine in a romantic location of my wifes choosing.

Camille's

What trend do you wish would die?

Jumping on bandwagons.

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

I would like to see the focus towards eliminating food waste and using everything continue to gain momentum, wether in restaurants, grocery stores or households.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

White soy sauce, or Nama Shoyu (raw, unpasteurized soya sauce) and white balsamic vinegar.

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

Pate Chinois. The Quebecois version of Shepherds Pie. Seared ground meat, mushrooms, onions, topped with creamed corn & then mashed potatoes. Baked in the oven until a nice crisp topping develops.

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress? Recipe please.

Cretons. Sweat a diced onion in a little grapeseed oild until translucent. Add ground pork & cover with chicken stock by about a half inch and simmer. Add salt, pepper & mulling (or winter) type spices of your choice and stir. Allow to cook until thickened and tip into several non reactive dishes. Allow to cool and, when ready, spread on bread or toast with a mustard of your choice. Enjoy with an apple.

What do you want for food/food equipment gifts this year?

Paco Jet, Thermo Mix, Freeze Dryer. Come on, Santa! I*ve been good!!!

Camille's

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

I am really enjoying the premise behind the book Relea at the moment but Sean Brocks Heritage is also fun. Dan Barbers The Third Plate is an absolute fave!!

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

Smoked Scallops, Kiwi, Crab, Caviar.

What inspires you in your daily work?

The people I get to spend my days with. The cooks, the service staff, the guests. The farmers and suppliers. The writers and event organizers I get to meet, as well as the media people I get to connect with.

If you could only have one small kitchen appliance what would it be?

ummmmmm….slapchop?

What is the one dish you never tire of making?

Wild Mushroom Pappardelle. A mix of wild mushrooms, house smoked pasta, creme fraiche, Oyster fritters, truffled aioli. Subtle flavour changes, rich in umami and a touch of dijon mustard.

 

Interview with Ned Bell YEW Restaurant Gold Medal Plates Competitor

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna in February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s the scoop on Ned bell from YEW Seafood + Bar at Four Seasons Vancouver.

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

We are a Seafood Restaurant, a Sustainable Seafood Resto! And, its tasty!

Where do you eat in your city?

I eat a lot of sushi, (Zest) pizza, (Via Teverre and Nicli) ramen and veggies!

What would be your ideal food day? 

An early morning on the boat fishing followed by the Farmers Market and then a family dinner with the bounty!

What trend do you wish would die?

Non. I like the idea of food trends as they show evolution in food tastes and peoples inspirations

What trend/s do you wish would be next?

Sustainable seafood being the only conversation we have. 100%

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Vancouver Island Sea Salt. Great salt is a flavour enhancer, and Van Isle Sea salt makes my fish dishes rock and roll with simple clean flavour

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

My wifes turkey spaghetti

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress? Recipe please.

crab tacos

Dungeness Crab Tacos
SERVES 2 (3 small tacos)

Ingredients:

Juice and zest of 1 lime, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) miso paste
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
2 tbsp (30 mL) maple syrup (may be substituted with honey)
1 cup (250 mL) canola oil
1 ripe avocado
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup (180 mL) fresh cooked Dungeness crab
6 crispy wonton shells
2 radishes, thinly shaved
1/2 cup (125 mL) radish sprouts
Togarashi spice (Japanese chili powder with nori, sesame & orange zest) 

Method:

  1. Set aside 1 tsp (5 mL) of lime juice for the avocado.
  2. Mix remaining lemon juice with lime zest, miso paste, mustard, maple syrup,
  3. Canola oil in a blender to make the dressing.
  4. Mash avocado with a fork.
  5. Season with 1 tsp (5 mL) lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix about 1/4 cup (60 mL) dressing into the crab meat and taste, adjusting as needed. Refrigerate the remaining dressing for up to two weeks—it is great on salads.

To Serve:

  1. Put crab-meat mixture into the wonton shells so they are bursting with crab meat.
  2. Spoon the avocado mixture onto a plate and place assembled tacos on top.
  3. Garnish with radish slices and sprouts.
  4. Garnish with Togarashi spice

What do you want for food/food equipment gifts this year?

Ha, well, an entirely new home kitchen 😉

true north

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

True North by Derek Dammon and Chris Johns. Hands down.

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

I am calling it ‘Sea Stars’ 

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.

Why do you cook? Fame? Love? Pleasure?

I cook because of what it does, brings people, family and friends together. That’s why I started cooking, for my brother and sister, its still the reason I cook. To gather around a table and share the day.

What do you think of yelp?

I don’t pay much attention to these sites. I love SoMe but its can be too much sometimes.

What’s your favourite dish, at home or out?

Bella Gelateria Gelato. Its my indulgence when I am alone after a long day in the kitchen.

Interview with Alex Chen Boulevard Restaurant Gold Medal Plates Competitor

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna in February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s the scoop on Alex Chen from Boulevard.

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

At Boulevard, I draw upon my personal experiences, my childhood memories of cooking with my family, and of course my training with some amazing chefs throughout the Pacific Rim and West Coast. These experiences all influenced my cooking style, my love of seafood and my desire to always use fresh, local ingredients. I also like to use a very balanced flavour profile, which is something I picked up from cooking with my Mom.

Where do you eat in your city?

I like to eat in Richmond (where I live) because it’s convenient to take the whole family, and there are a wide variety of cuisines available.le crocodile

What would be your ideal food day? 

For breakfast, I would start with the double-baked almond croissant from Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie. It’s one of my favourite things to have when I’m craving a treat. For lunch, I recommend dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace in Richmond. And for dinner, there’s nothing like Le Crocodile, which is one of my family’s favourite spots for traditional French fare. Chef Michel Jacob is one of the city’s most respected chefs and he consistently serves dishes that I love and admire.

boulevard

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Shallots. They add flavour and texture and I put them in everything from sauce reductions to foundations for stocks and soups.

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

Depending on the requests that I receive from my wife and kids, there are a number of comfort-food specialties I enjoy cooking at home. My favourites range from a slab of meat slow-cooked to tender perfection on my Big Green Egg (a Hamada-style ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker), to roasted chicken with all the fixings, to meatballs and spaghetti to Hainanese chicken and rice and various styles of traditional Chinese-style soups.

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress? Recipe below.

Butternut Squash Velouté with Apple Cider, Allspice and Crème Chantilly, served as part our Sunday Pig Roast Series which runs each Sunday until the end of November.

I also surveyed our facebook followers as to what questions they would like answered by chefs when interviewed and here are some of these answers.

Who is your favourite supplier, and why?

My favourite supplier is Joe Salvo, president and founder of Ponderosa Mushroom. We buy all of our mushrooms — wild, cultivated or dry — from him and they are extremely organized, reliable and passionate about their work.

What’s your favourite dish, at home or out?

Bouillabaisse. I love classic French cooking, and the Bouillabaisse perfectly exemplifies what we like to do at Boulevard, which is to take a classic dish and make it as authentic as possible using local ingredients.

What inspired you to get into this industry?

My love of food was developed early on, when I learned from the aunts on my mother’s side of the family who would all cook for big family gatherings such as Chinese New Year celebrations. Everyone would get together once every few months at the home of my grandma, who was a great cook as well. An integral part of the Chinese culture is looking forward to getting everyone together and sharing meals.

Butternut Squash Velouté with Apple Cider, Allspice and Crème Chantilly

1 medium size butternut squash
4 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 large white onion, julienne
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 fennel, julienne
1 small leek, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
2 cups cream
8 sage leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and black pepper
juice of  ¼ lemon
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

 

  1. Peat oven to 350 F
  2. Cut butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds
  3. Season squash with salt and pepper
  4. Spread 2 Tbsp of butter on squash
  5. Sprinkle all spice and cinnamon on squash
  6. Add thyme and garlic
  7. Wrap squash with tin foil and roast in oven for 30 minutes, or until very tender
  8. Remove from oven and let sit in room temp for 20 minutes
  9. Open tin foil and scoop out flesh away from butternut squash skin, discard sage and thyme
  10. Heat pot over medium-high heat, add oil and 2 Tbsp of butter
  11. Add onions, fennel, leeks, carrots and celery.
  12. Sweat mirepoix for 3 minutes
  13. Add squash, chicken stock and apple cider, let simmer for 20 minutes
  14. Add cream and simmer for another 20 minutes
  15. Season to taste and puree into squash soup until smooth

Interview With Jonathan Chovancek Bittered Sling Gold Medal Plates Competitor

Chefs from across British Columbia will meet in Victoria on November 19, 2015 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates for the BC spot in the Canadian Culinary Championships which is held in Kelowna this upcoming February.  We’re heading over to check out the event and as a prequil have interviewed the chefs. Here’s some of the questions we posed to Jonathan Chovancek of Bittered Sling Bitters.

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

I’m the chef behind Bittered Sling Bitters — an award-winning retail line of artisanal bitters that provides an array of unique flavours for cocktail and culinary creations — which I co-own along with my life and business partner, Lauren Mote.

My cooking philosophy is that food needs to be delicious, preferably in season and sourced from somewhere with high ethical and environmental standards. Food is about sharing and creating memories. Quite often a dinner is less about what you are eating and more about whom you are eating with.

maenam room

Where do you eat in your city?

I enjoy everything, but for Thai food I always think Maenam (1928 W. 4th Ave.), where I can enjoy the four-course menu paired with wines and cocktails and really dig into some of the fresh seafood owner and chef Angus An keeps in his restaurant fish tank.

What would be your ideal food day? 

I like to head to Granville Island with my sweetie for charcuterie at Oyama Sausage Co. and Benton Brothers Fine Cheese in the Market, then a cheeky gin tasting at The Liberty Distillery before picking up a bottle of Joie Noble Blend to drink on Sunset beach as the sun sets.

What trend do you wish would die?

Fast food — the highly processed, out-of-a-bag-and-into-the-fryer type of high fat, high sodium, high glucose fast food, which has overrun our food culture. The same goes for television programming that glorifies gluttony.

What ingredient do you always have on hand?

Coffee

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

Black garlic and black vinegar short ribs with onions and parsnips. First, sear the ribs with a heavy amount of salt and pepper, some star anise and cinnamon, then cover with hot stock, place a handful of black garlic and whole, unpeeled parsnips with the ribs and braise in a 250 F oven for 12 hours. Let the meat rest in the liquid overnight, then remove the meat and vegetables, finish the broth with black vinegar and reheat the meat for unreal, jaw-on-the-floor flavours.

Chovancek Squash

With the holidays coming up, could you give us something easy to prepare that would impress? Recipe please.

Festival Squash, Bacon and Swiss Chard Frittata with UBC Farm Squash. Recipe featured in The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine and Cheese Maker By the Sea by Jennifer Schell. Thanks to Jennifer Schell for sharing the recipe and photo!

Festival Squash, Bacon and Swiss Chard Frittatawith UBC Farm Squash

Ingredients

2 festival or acorn squash
2 small potatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup Swiss chard, chopped
1 tbsp Manchego cheese
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
1/4 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
6 whole eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 rashers double smoked bacon
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Season with vegetable oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350F until the squash is tender.
  2. Use the deepest half of the roasted squash as a bowl to hold the frittata.
  3. Dice bacon and render over medium high heat until crispy. Keep fat, and sauté the other half the squash, diced, along with the Swiss chard and potatoes. Add toasted fennel and coriander seeds.
  4. Distribute evenly into the squash bowls.
  5. Use a blender to combine the eggs and cream
  6. Strain and pour the egg wash into the squash bowl. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Bake on a sheet pan in the oven at 300F until set.
  8. Serve with a side of lightly dressed arugula.

What do you want for food/food equipment gifts this year?

I would love a new set of Staub enamel cast iron pots from Cook Culture please!

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

true north

True North by Chris Johns and Derek Dammann – an extraordinary book on Canadian cuisine.

The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine and Cheese Maker By the Sea by Jennifer Schell.

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

You’ll have to attend the event to find out!

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. Here are some of them answered.

chovancek&lauren

What inspires you in your daily work?

My amazing wife Lauren Mote! Everyday I’m inspired to impress her.

If you could only have one small kitchen appliance what would it be?

There’s two: A coffee maker!

A Japanese Mandoline slicer. You can cut almost anything into translucently thin and uniform slices and it stays very, very sharp.

Who is your favourite supplier, and why?

UBC Farm is great for a multitude of social and environmental reasons, but quite frankly their soil is incredible and their produce tastes delicious. They grow 12 different varieties of squash and pumpkin alone, and the flavour, sweetness and texture they achieve is amazing.

What is the one dish you never tire of making?

Seasonal spicy vegetable chowders.

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

Turkey. I am looking forward to travelling with Lauren to Istanbul with Chef Deniz from Cafe Medina to eat all of the things!

What is the trick you use in the kitchen that is a hack or if it saves you the most time?

I take the peels, seeds, juice and scrappy bits from charred, roasted peppers — the stuff most people throw away — and add tea and vegetables to make a tasty broth. Or steep it out, strain and ferment it into a delicious vinegar.