Monday, August 24, 2009

Toronto, part 2. Food and Wine Classic.

The main reason for our trip to Toronto was the Food and Wine Classic.

It was held in the historical Distillery District, each restaurant hosting a different Ontario region: of course, we represented Ottawa.

This was the first Canadian event of it's size to be so eco-friendly: each guest was handed a wine glass to save and reuse during the evening, all 'disposables' were sustainable. No garbage cans that evening, only special bins that held all used biodegradable dishes and flatware.

Recipes and food items to be showcased (Le Coprin Mushrooms, Alpenblick Farm, Suntech tomatoes) were first chosen by our resident chef, Candice Butler.

The supplier info and detailed recipes were sent to chef Eric Pless (executive chef of The Boiler House, Archeo & Pure Spirits), his team then prepared all the food and we just had to come in, taste, adjust seasonings and enjoy the evening!

I have to admit that I was immensely impressed by the whole organisation...
Here are a group of people who have never done such 'events' and pull it off with ease and grace. It was huge, thousands of invites, hundreds of people walking in and out of restaurants, staff out of their comfort zones and interacting with a very hungry and thirsty crowd!

Chef Eric Pless handing out lamb skewers with salsa verde & polenta with wild mushroom ragoƻt

This is something we do on a weekly basis. Interact, answer questions, smile, customize. But for restaurant staff, who all have their routine, this is different.

Here is chef Kyle MacNeil (one of ours!) with a Pure Spirits sous-chef-master-oyster-shucker!

Kyle was totally in his element, interacting with all the passers-by, working his maritimer charm!! From this station, they served chilled gazpacho with a lime and cilantro cream & some crunchy corn + smoked chicken fritters with ancho chili sauce.

It was a great opportunity for us to discover new products:

maple sugar on a stick, yippee!

...and to reconnect with old friends:

devilishly tempting cheese plates that Gurth Pretty was serving

We had to have a glass of wine to end the evening and found the most beautiful spot. The architecture and design of The Boiler House left us speechless...

...well, it didn't end there. No real kitchen people would end the evening without late night snacks!!! Chef Eric joined us for Moo Shoo pork, spare ribs, lemon chicken...

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