Mar 19, 2009

Festival of Chefs 2009: George Brown

We initially intended to visit Festival star Chef John Higgins, director of the George Brown Chef School, at The Chefs’ House. However, by delicious coincidence, the school’s "Marriage of Food and Wine" gala took place this week, on March 18th. With one golden gastronomic ticket you got the chance to cruise tables laden with bite-size savory treats created with a specific wine pairing in mind. The sight of a room overflowing with food filled us with Willy Wonka-like excitement (not that it was dessert and pastry event, though there was one delicious dish that was drizzled with a cocoa sauce – cocoa and Sichuan peppercorn crusted duck breast on crispy taro root chip - I was originally timid to taste a combination of chocolate and meat, but it was scrum-diddily-umptious).

Student cooks mingle with the crowd in the George Brown foyer

The Promising future-chefs were out to impress with their eye-catching displays of appetizers. With so much selection it was really tough to choose what to nibble, especially when some were so very good that we had to have two of them…maybe three...ok finnnne, four.

Seared Ahi Tuna and Avocado Aioli

Fresh spring rolls

Pulled pork in a boat

A glimpse of student chefs hard at work in one of the kitchen facilities

Bison Carpaccio with Root Vegetables puree (thinly sliced Bison cured with Juniper berries)

Chef John Higgins stops to chat with Breemer

The atrium was filled to the brim with hungry foodies who bustled from table to table. We fought our way through the crowd and ate and ate until we were completely stuffed (I’m talking after a large Thanksgiving meal full!). While we were buzzing around we had the pleasure to run into Chef John Higgins. We stopped to chat while tasting succulently sweet honey ginger chicken skewers. Between bites he told us how proud he was of all the students. And of course he should be. Almost every morsel that entered our mouths caused a reaction of “ooh”, “mmm” or “ohmygawd, you have to try this!”

Crunchy, creamy balls of goodness.

Spicy pork dumplings with water chestnuts and sesame and tasty dipping sauce

It was an event we will keep our eye on in the future and one that’s revving us up for the Festival, mouths watering with anticipation of what Higgins will create.

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