I’ll be the first to admit I’ve been remiss in my postings here, and although the last month and a half has been hectic, there has been some cooking going on in my life. I’ve collected some recipes together from some of the extracurricular activities that have been on my plate and shared them with all of you today.
January marked the start of a busy season, getting ready for upcoming trade shows, conventions, and such, as well as being invited to be one of 6 guest Chefs in the BC Hospitality Foundation fundraising dinner on the 28th. Never being one to decline an honour to cook alongside some friends (old and new) for a cause, I was paired up with Hills Foods to prepare a couple of appetizers and the main course. For starters, a wild boar pate was suggested, so we made a nice recipe that included dried cranberries and boar bacon, topped it with spiced beet relish and served it on pumpernickel toast. There were a variety of vegetables offered as well as some wild huckleberries, so the other hors d’oeuvre was a winter vegetable fritter with huckleberry compote. The main course was to be venison, so a simple, yet elegant preparation including roasted venison loin, caramelized vegetables, and herb gnocchi was decided upon.
The first order of business was a press dinner the week prior, a chance to meet the others involved and see the menu in its entirety. A resounding success, there was everything from local scallops, wild mushrooms, an exquisite study of local duck, the venison, and a selection of cheeses, followed by an exceptional dessert courtesy of Greg Hook at Chocolate Arts. My colleagues (Lisa Aheir, Ben Genaille, Rob Feenie, Daryle Nagata, Greg Hook, and myself) represented the province in great fashion, co-ordinated masterfully by Daryle Nagata at the Pan Pacific and his exceptional team.
The main event the week later, following on the heels of a busy weekend at the foodservice expo was also without incident, and a successful event for the foundation. February rolled into view and along came several events in close succession, all involving classes. I had been invited out to Wellbrook Winery, a fruit winery close to home to do a class in the evening, and did a nice light late winter menu of a prawn hot pot, goat cheese and beet salad, trout with mussel chowder, and pears poached in one of their wines with hazelnut shortbread. A lot of fun, good food, and a good time was had by all (including the teacher) To finish the week, I had back to back classes, first an all day seminar with 30 high school teachers for a professional day, also a blast. We packed the agenda with deboning chicken and trout, making about 10 recipes all together varying from mushroom risotto to creme brulee. Saturday’s class was a birthday dinner for a group of dedicated foodies, and we had a nice relaxed evening making goat cheese pate, grilled quail with mushrooms, a citrus and avocado salad, the roasted venison dish from the hospitality dinner, and chocolate souffle. All in all a busy week, but a great time and some great food was the theme of the week, and I had a chance to meet some great new people.
My family has not starved throughout this period, I’m glad to report, and I have catalogued a few dinner recipes to share soon, I promise. Until then, there are some new recipes to try, all of which have been a part of the last month’s events, some more than once!