Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Kitchissippi Kitchens

I just realized I was winging it at spelling kitchissippi. Hope I got it right. Anyhow, feel free to visit us at Tom Brown Arena on June 2nd. We would love to see you there.

OAG auction

On Thursday we provided food as one of the restaurants and caterers in Ottawa helping in the OAG (ottawa art gallery) fundraising auction. Several artists donated peices of work and 15 or so restaurants and caterers took part. For us at Essence this was our second year to help out. As it was last year, this event was very fun. I had the pleasure to meet some new people, discuss new ideas and then go peruse the art I could not afford. Oh well maybe next year.
This year we served 2 dishes. The first was a fig with blue cheese mousse and fig chutney in a Phyllo cup with 20 year old port reduction. The second was vanilla potato foam on whiskey sweet potato mousse also in a phyllo cup. The cup for this one was supposed to be a house made sweet potato pringle, but alas I ran out of time. We had 2 events and 1 drop off for the same day.
All in all a fun evening. And to all those I met for the first time, I hope to see you again next year.

Don't eat dirty snow......

Have you been down Bayswater ave. lately? Well if you have not you probably have not noticed the BIG UGLY pile of unmelted snow covered in chemicals and debris. And if this sight doesn't bother you then maybe a quick glance North on the horizon is the Ottawa River. A mere few blocks. Sad really that not only is the area where they pile this snow unfit for public recreation (when the snow is not present) but that as it melts (which will surely run into June or even July) and fouls everything in it's apth. Ultimately ending at the river. Where we have had record closure days on our beaches for the last couple of seasons. Gee I wonder why.
And that snow is just sitting there melting. Why? Someone please tell me there is a better way to deal with this. Surely world water shortages are going to hit close to home soon. Better to have a plan now, than wait till it's upon us and too late. As we are prone to do. I feel pretty certain that there is a fair bit a grey water just sitting there begging us to do something constructive with it.
The picture pretty much says it all for me.
What do you think?

My garden

It's funny how you change as you grow older and hopefully wiser. When I first started as a chef, I didn't inquire as to where my food came from. Let alone was it organic, free range, and so on. Now some 12 years later, I need to know everything I can about the food I use, and feed to my family. If you know me you would know that I am slowly becoming a food activist. Not over the top or anything, but seriously concerned about our food chain. There are just too many disconnects for my liking.
So this year I started my own garden. Nothing grand. Just a raised bed measuring 4'X8' and several buckets for tomatoes. I have planted runner beans, cucmbers, red onions, chili peppers, fennel, and several lettuces. I am about to figure out how to pest proof my little Eden. Any suggestions from those at this longer than I would be greatly appreciated. I will hopefully post pics of my progress throughout the growing season and maybe just maybe get to harvest my bounty.
Wish me luck...

Friday, May 9, 2008

More TGM fun

I recently made some shrimp chorizo. These were made using the basic ratios outlined at "Ideas in Food". I wrapped them in a prociutto skin. The one on the left has been poached and cooled an the other raw. The taste was really smoky form the smoked paprika and other spices I used. I will have to try actually smoking one to taste the outcome. The prociutto creates a really nice crust when slowly roasted. All in all a fun little exercise. Even crusted a piece of Sable fish with the raw chorizo. The fat melts down into the fish and creates a really nice flavor and texture.
The chicken was just an attempt to make a tighter ballotine in different shapes. Skin on both the top and bottom> I would next time cover the sides too. It was slow roasted and sliced. Served with various garnishes left over form an event that day. I just can't stop having fun with this enzyme.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Herve This

I was fortunate enough yesterday to attend a lecture by Herve This. For those who are not aware of him, he is a French food chemist. He is also the person who coined the term "molecular gastronomy". Which he asserts can only be performed by scientists and not chefs. His lecture was very engaging and informative. Not really what I thought it would be, but rather a looking back to look forward. I have read his books and found them to be excellent reads. Even tweaked the way I do a few techniques to ensure a better product with less failure.
One thing that did stick with me was a statement he made. "Kowledge without sharing is not worth knowing" or something to that effect. He encouraged the chefs in attendance to start their own group to search out answers and to ask questions about food and food culture. Wow that really hit home for me. So I am proposing to haev anyone who wants to know more about all facets of gastronomy to meet once per month. At these meetings we will discuss and experiment with a different technique, tool or product to see what we can come up with. I have been doing something similar for a couple of months now with friends, but would like to open the doors to more people.
If you are intersted in attending, just leave a comment or email me. We will set up a date when we have more people involved. Hopefully we can do it on the same day each month.