May 29, 2010

FoC-2010: Finale

The 5th and final weekend of the 2010 Festival of Chefs happens today and tomorrow. On the roster is Keith Froggett, Scaramouche, and on Sunday, Jonathan Gushue, Langdon Hall. 12- 4 pm.

The past week was very work heavy so after this weekend--expect a super pic posting from the last two weekends showcasing the activities post event.

Also,
Luncheon chef table bids is officially over for this year's silent auction but there is still three items remaining to bid on for until end of the month. The Zoo has donated some package adventures that is fun for everyone. Bidding must be done at the store, hope to see you come out and enjoy the weather...and the food!

VIP Tour of the Toronto Zoo for 6 guests

Valid between April 1 2010 ~ October 31, 2010
Visit the African elephants for their bathtime!
This fabulous opportunity allows six guests to experience the Zoo, in comfort, on a limousine golf cart.

Biding ends May 31, 2010 at 6:00 P.M.

VIP Tour of the Toronto Zoo for 6 guests
Valid between April 1 2010 ~ October 31, 2010
Meet Charles the silverback gorilla!
This fabulous opportunity allows six guests to experience the Zoo, in comfort, on a limousine golf cart.

Biding ends May 31, 2010 at 6:00 P.M.


Lladro Chef Hat Trophy--on display at the festival
Collectible Porcelain – Lladro
One of a kind, custom design direct from Lladro’s Spain Headquarters

Biding ends May 30, 2010 at 6:00 P.M.

May 21, 2010

Chefs under the tent May 22-23

Quick reminder that this weekend is the 4th weekend of the Festival of Chefs. On the roster for Saturday, May 22, Chris MacDonald from CAVA.

Sunday, May 23, Chef John Higgins, Director at George Brown College.

A reminder that this is the last weekend for the silent auction bids on the chefs table:

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 29th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Keith Froggett of Scaramouche.
Wine from Tawse Winery served by Paul Pender.

Biding ends May 23, 2010 at 6:00 P.M.

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware May 30th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall.
Wine from Tawse Winery served by Paul Pender.

Biding ends May 23, 2010 at 6:00 P.M.

May 17, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: reds bistro and the Drake Hotel

Warm spring weather returned for the weekend and the grill was fired up to celebrate. Prawns and Veal Whistle Dog for tasty afternoon eats... next weekend if you're stuck with Gardiner closures and hell traffic--I propose a detour to Cheese Boutique and let the afternoon traffic ease while you relax under our tent!

May 15: Mike Steh
--reds bistro
Prawns!

Steh and the reds team.


BC Prawn Chrostini, Pork Geil Bacon, Under the Tuscan Sun, with Tomatoes.


May 16: Anthony Rose
--The Drake Hotel

Anthony with the Drake Hotel team making Veal Whistle Dogs wrapped in Bacon.

A cheese plate review from Afrim Pristine at the Chefs Table.

Up next week: Chris McDonald, Cava and John Higgins, George Brown College

May 14, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: reds bistro

Mike Steh
reds bistro
at the Festival May 15

This is Mike Steh’s third consecutive visit to the Festival, so the anticipation from a seasoned presenter is going to raise the presentation ante this year. I’m hearing gossip that prawns are on the menu. In the meantime you may recall our post on the restaurant experience from last year about reds. This year we popped in for something quick during lunch...upon Chef’s recommendation I settled for a tasty Grilled veal....

My server Carol recommended the Chardonnay and with that my lunch was quick and hit the spot for an on-the-go experience. Surprising that I was able to do that within a fine dining establishment which is not always my first thought when on the run and hungry.



A very tasty Grilled Veal tenderloin and seared scallop. Smoked bacon and butternut squash risotto, red wine jus.
This was paired with Flat rock Chardonnay. 2007 from Niagara Peninsula to match with the
Scallops.

Catch Mr. Steh at CheeseB tomorrow from 12-4pm, and on Sunday May 16 we have Anthony Rose of the Drake.

Wine will be provided by 13th Street Winery.

Silent Auction
Two items will be closing to further bids this Sunday at 7:00pm:

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Chris McDonald of CAVA.
Wine from Norman Hardie Winery served by Norman Hardie.

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 23rd, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.
Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef John Higgins of George Brown College.
Wine from Norman Hardie Winery served by Norman Hardie.

~the Big Cheese

May 10, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: Auberge du Pommier and Tutti Matti

May 8: Jason Bangerter
Spring Soup: Peas, fava bean, and wild leeks with first-season burrata and prosciutto

A visit from the charitable group "Growing for Grannies"

Wine provided by Cave Springs


Bangerter in the CheeseB kitchen
Jason Bangerter and team

Cheese course at the VIP Table

May 9: Alida Solomon

Tortelli with asparagus, mint and ricotta

Tutti Matti Pasta at the VIP table

Silent Auction: that could be you

Chef Solomon in the CheeseB kitchen

Alida Solomon and some of the Tutti Matti team

May 7, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: Auberge du Pommier

Jason Bangerter
Auberge du Pommier
At the Festival May 8th

There is probably several pages worth of praise I could gush forth over my first meal at Auberge, if they would let me. I will have to show a little restraint-- suffice it to say that it's a good thing the chairs were uber-comfortable, because we were eating and enjoying for nearly 4 hours. The time flew by, not only because of the amazing quality of the food, but the sincere attendance of the staff making the entire evening quite memorable.

First of all, the bread. An assortment of O&B signature breads, with a petite pot of sweet French butter (I hear they get it from CheeseB ;) and an assortment of olives.
O&B Signature breads

Barely had we begun to bite buttery bread when the massive plank of charcuterie arrived. Arranged for two, this was an assemblage of drool-worthy items such as seared duck heart, foie gras, spruce tips, bacon-wrapped chicken liver mousse (ohhh man that was good),  wee mushrooms, spruce jelly, brioche, and all was paired with a flute of no-alcohol Quebec Spruce Beer (think ginger beer).

Charcuterie

So began this light-show of tastes, aromas and textures. Awestruck, we sat back for that last drop of spruce beer, giddily anticipating the next adventure.

 One of many possible combinations of the charcuterie: brioche, mushroom and prosciutto

Fricassée d’Escargots
"Escargots and wild mushrooms perfumed with brandy and thyme on Jerusalem artichoke velouté"

Cut into these neatly contained little bombs, and a tidal wave of herbs, garlic and butter ride out, carrying succulent escargots with it. Then, the magic really begins-- when you take that first bite.
Fricassée d’Escargots

Steak Tartare
"hand cut beef tenderloin, slightly spicy, with classic garni et petit baguette"

With a fresh anchovy filet, perfect quail egg, a milkweed pod (very interesting, astringent taste) and petite radish. This paired beautifully with a rich "black wine" from Cahors.

The Steak Tartare

St. Jacques et Joue de Boeuf
"Caramelized sea scallop and braised beef cheek with sweet peas, morels and summer truffle Champagne cream."

This dish springs to life in the mouth with essences of mushroom, and the beef cheeks were oh-so-delicate and juicy -- seared scallop played as sweet counterpoint-- the cherry on the parfait of all these heady flavours.

 Scallops, Beef Cheeks, Morels: St. Jacques et Joue de Boeuf

For dessert-- a Cheese plate! served with raw organic orange blossom honey, thinly sliced house-baked breads. and a few celery leaves to effectively clean the palate.

Arranged from mildest to strongest, with a bonus cheese recently acquired for the restaurant:
Fromage Calvados du Matin. Fifth Town’s Calvados made exclusively for Auberge du Pommier; washed morning milk cheese.

Also on the plate was the wonderful 1608 raw cow's milk cheese from Quebec, Prestige unpasteurized ash-covered chevre, and Carles Roquefort. It's crazy-- an insanely pungent cave-aged sheep's milk blue.


 La Carte des Fromages

To our great pleasure, Chef Bangerter himself came to the table between courses. He makes a mean terrine. Experienced in many top European restaurants, still he believes that Auberge is an exceptionally unique place, from the decore, to the staff, to the customers, allowing a freedom to test an innovative fusion of classical French culinary art and kicking it up with contemporary (and local/seasonal) flair.

My take? This is an establishment of true artistry.

Flavour notes, just like music, when used in the right combination are keys with an ability to reach the soul. I guess I'm just the newest convert of the Church of Auberge.

~Oreagano 

Just a quick reminder that bidding is closing this Sunday for the following Silent Auction items:

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 15th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Mike Steh of reds bistro.
Wine from 13th Street Winery served by Peter Bodner Rod.
Biding ends May 9, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. 

Lunch for 4 set with Cheese Boutique’s linen, porcelain and silverware on May 16th, 2010 at 1:00 p.m. Tasting menu to be prepared and served by Chef Anthony Rose of the Drake Hotel.
Wine from 13th Street Winery served by Peter Bodner Rod.
Biding ends May 9, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. 

Hope to see you at the Festival and wishing all a great weekend!

May 4, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: the Drake Hotel

Anthony Rose
Drake Hotel 
At the Festival of Chefs on May 16th

The Drake Hotel-- design-district flair bringing us a wealth of music and art events, and great food to boot. Walk in and find the spacious main dining room, as well as their Raw Bar, the "Sky Lounge" rooftop patio, and a street-level patio. 

On this evening we found a nice table in the main dining lounge.  Our bread comes out right away, and it's here that the Drake and I get off on the right foot. It's a sourdough style baguette, warm and chewy, served with a fresh cheese spread instead of butter-- topped with olive oil and a few chili flakes.

The Raw bar in action-- Shellfish, Sushi rolls and Sashimi salads!



BC oysters

Appetizer: We start with 6 beautiful oysters. Fresh within a few hours of catching, they taste as clean as a diamond. They're served with apple cider "mignonette" to add a tangy accent to that sweet "oceanic" oyster essence.

"Sexy Simmered Brisket" 
The brisket looks and tastes as sexy as described in the menu. Especially so is that creamy horseradish and grain-mustard sauce, the completion of this rib-sticking dish. The brisket is fork-tender and permeated with a rich and wonderful gravy. The side is simply potatoes and root veggies, but they're roasted to perfection. This is what I would call a great marriage of nostalgic, home-cooked food with a trendy Hotel menu.
 Grilled Steelhead Trout
An elusive catch, this Steelhead Trout (so I hear from fishing enthusiasts) we landed one at the Drake, and it makes for a meaty fish entree. The flame-grilled crunchy skin tastes amazing, and for those who discard skins, I implore, taste it this time if no other! The trout comes a white bean chili,  applesauce, bitter watercress, and roasted brussel sprouts.



A jazz band was just settting up at the front of the house as we prepared to leave. Naturally, we're inspired for another round of those fantastic oysters and a drink, to sit back and enjoy the music, Drake-style.

May 3, 2010

Festival of Chefs 2010: Canoe and Frank (AGO)

May has arrived and the Festival has begun, kicking off to a scrumptious start this weekend with Anthony Walsh and Anne Yarymowich. Attendees were greeted with tasty samplers prepared from local, seasonal ingredients like fiddleheads, wild ramps, and heritage pork belly, paired with a red or white wine from Cattail Creek winery.


May 1: Anthony Walsh of Canoe
Basil, Heritage pork belly... Canoe BBQ sauce... Cookstown beets

Anthony Walsh and Team

Wine provided by Cattail Creek

Heritage Pork belly


Fresh Figs and Cheese


Tasting Lunch at the Chef's table


May 2:
Anne Yarymowich of Frank


Spring Paella! Rabbit, chicken, fiddleheads, asparagus, ramps, and artichokes

Anne Yarymowich, Afrim, and team

Festival Tasting Lunch

Toronto Zoo exhibit