Saturday, June 9, 2012

overheard in the kitchen at march break kids culinary camp: “you guys never update your blog!”

I hate to admit it ... but this social media-savvy kid was correct in his assessment. it seems as though i blinked and last november turned into june!

one of the things us event planners never get around to doing is documenting our events, whether it be photographs or blogging (seems we are always running around putting out fires instead)! but carley and i are determined to change our ways. as summer approaches, we are committing to a new blogging schedule; each week we will endeavor to add - at the very least - a snippet of ue happenings.

and so my catch-up begins!

it’s been a busy first half of the year with classes and private events. we’ve been riding the spring-wedding-wave as of late with three in the last six weeks. it’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know these wonderful couples and their family and friends.

in ‘people-news’, lots to report! urban element assistant chef tara rajan started her wildly-popular series of indian cooking classes in january– everything from vegetarian to regional fare to spice blends. chef kyle macneil is back at ue, sharing his excellent teaching skills and good vibes. covering a wide range of subjects including family dinners, flavour profiles and arabian cooking, kyle’s classes always wow ue clients. ben shewelt, having arrived at our doorstep a few months ago from london, england, has also become an inspiring addition to our team. as i sit in the kitchen writing this, ben is prepping for ‘pass it on’ – a celebratory class saluting jamie oliver’s food revolution day. ben spent five months at jamie’s restaurant Fifteen working under the renowned chef and food activist.

if you’ve found yourself dining at the urban element lately, you may have also noticed a few new (and fabulous) hosts kicking around. joanne joined us earlier in the year – she’s a cook, nutritionist, gardener and all-around-food-lover. hospitality-wiz lynda (former manager at metropolitan and play) has also been pouring wine and charming guests behind the ue bar. all of us feel pretty lucky to welcome these like-minded individuals to our team!

lots of events to talk about as well ...

february 27th was an exciting day at the kitchen. the larger-than-life duo of david mcmillan and frédéric morin, co-owners of montreal's beloved bistro Joe Beef, paired up with shawna wagman from ottawa magazine’s citybites to present an evening of great food and storytelling. some well-known local chefs were on-hand to pay homage to the guys and their art of living according to joe beef cookbook including matthew brearley from castlegarth restaurant and food shop, steve mitton from murray street cafe, marysol foucault of gatineau’s edgar and odile, along with ue’s own candice butler. an unforgettable evening of delicious food and conversation!

the talented chefs of the Whalesbone Catering and Whalesbone Oyster House led an amazing dinner on march 26th. our mix and match series had them lending their unique style to a scrumptious four-course menu of shrimp, scallops, beef short rib and banana ‘goodness’. kate klenavic, chef of catering presented an hors d’oeuvre version while chef chloe berlanga created the plate ‘a la whalesbone restaurant’ style. chloe’s banana cream pie in a mason jar was over-the-top! kate’s short rib spring roll was an unexpected delight. the food was paired with some great ‘dueling’ wines courtesy of sommelier derrick ruston. his informative yet fun presentation was the cherry on top of the evening!

the california wine dinner on may 9th with ‘pooch’ pucilowski and scott adams of Benny’s Bistro was a spectacular wine and food dinner that educated, entertained ... and had guests wanting to lick their plates (actual words heard at the table)! a five-course dinner was paired with mcmanis family vineyards wines (chardonnay, viognier, petite sirah and cabernet sauvignon). pooch was a real treat to listen to as well – along with co-sommelier lauren hayes, he presented a very down-to-earth, captivating and engaging presentation.

ted reader blew into town in may and fittingly, seemed to bring a wicked but fleeting spring storm with him (we almost didn’t get the bbq’s lit)! the weather however, didn’t dampen any moods. ted was in fine form in the kitchen sharing recipes from his newest book, along with his no-holds-barred philosophies of cooking and life. the menu was all about meat and beer. the big wheel buttered smoked brisket, served with fresh tomatoes and a charred birds-eye chilli sauce (the most sought-after condiment of the evening!) was my favourite. the amuse was a tasty surprise ... pork tartar. it was made from local tenderloin, and served in a tasting spoon atop a chunk of cheddar smokey. six different beers were available for sampling and each guest received a copy of beerlicious – the art of grillin’ & chillin’, which ted graciously signed at the end of the evening. we are already looking forward to next year’s ‘ted-event’!

enough reminiscing about the past ... let’s talk about what’s coming up!
this week (june 11th), mix and match is back with chef trish larkin (Black Cat) and chef matt carmichael (formerly Side Door and Ei8hteen). these two will present a ‘raw versus cooked’ menu, and derrick ruston will be back with some unique wines and wine-chat.

in celebration of ontario craft beer week (june 17th to the 23rd), ue presents beau’s beer dinner on monday, june 18th. six of beau's craft beers will be paired with an equally awesome menu. brewery co-founder steve beauchesne will be on hand to answer your most sought after beer questions.

the cave springs wine dinner scheduled in july promises to be a memorable event – sommelier tom pennachetti and lauren hayes will pair wines with frank romano’s (executive chef of Jordon Village’s Inn on the Twenty) sure-to-be-exquisite menu.

we are bringing back our grilling classes again this year, including a ceramic grill class with michael shannon, the ‘grateful griller’. and the pitter-patter of little chef-feet will once again be heard this summer as we host our much-loved culinary camps for kids.

these are just a few of the upcoming urban element events we're looking forward to.

i’d go on ... but i better save something for carley to write about!

happy start-of-summer!


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