Restaurant Spotlight: Vancouver’s Re-Up BBQ

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At Re-Up BBQ, we’ve dedicated ourselves to cooking American cuisine and Southern barbeque, sourced from small-scale farms that practice ethical farming methods. The concept began as a food cart from Vancouver’s inaugural lottery in 2010, and Re-Up has since evolved into a counter service restaurant at New Westminster’s River Market. Launching Re-Up was the perfect step for me to take after graduating from Northwest Culinary Academy, and completing an apprenticeship at C Restaurant in Vancouver.

In addition to our regular menu offerings, which include a Pulled Pork Sandwich, Black Bean and Corn Chili, and Southern Fried Chicken, we offer a small selection of ready-to-go food items, including smoked bacon and barbeque ribs. With a portable barbeque and smoker, we’re also one of the few culinary companies in Vancouver to offer custom barbeque catering for events and weddings.

Check out these recipes,  that best showcase Re-Up’s culinary philosophy. All of the dishes are made with wholesome, hearty ingredients, and of course, plenty of Southern charm!

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Govenor’s Mansion Peach Tea Punch

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Country Paté

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Re-Up BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich

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Re-Up BBQ Fried Chicken

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Re-Up BBQ Oven-Baked Ribs

 

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How to Make Your Own Cereal

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Sure, we all love a fancy breakfast now and then, but the truth is, we’re quite happy starting every day with a hearty bowl of cereal.

But this simple meal can run a little pricey. If you’re eating cereal for breakfast seven days a week, and maybe for dinner every now and then (guilty), you may find yourself going through almost two boxes a week.

Cereal is actually super easy to make yourself. For about $15 a month, you can customize your morning breakfast bowl, using only six ingredients!

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All you need is the base (bran flakes are perfect), granola (I chose honey-flavoured, but you can choose cinnamon, hemp, cranberry, coconut, etc.), two toasted nut options (such as chopped walnuts or sliced almonds), and two dried fruit options (like cranberries, strawberries, or blueberries).

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The result? Endless options for a healthy, nutty, crunchy, delectable breakfast (or dinner) cereal!

headshot  Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit www.reneereardin.com, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin

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Restaurant Spotlight: Thai it up at Maenam

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For those who are looking for the best food Vancouver has to offer, look no further. Maenam, a Thai restaurant located in the heart of Kitsilano, is sure to impress even the ultimate foodie. Chef and owner Angus An has revolutionized traditional Thai cuisine, while staying true to his roots. The menu, although always changing, incorporates simplicity, innovation and exquisite balance in every dish. Fresh flavours, seasonal ingredients and locally-sourced products prove that this restaurant is the real deal.

Delectable cuisine isn’t the only notable trait of Maenam; clean, cool lines paired with warm tones throughout the restaurant, create an exquisite ambiance. With the help of Vancouver designer Scott Cohen and artist Ken Lum, Chef Angus An mirrored similar colours that are prominent in Thailand. Touches of pink, green and orange, custom lighting fixtures atop the terrazzo bar, and handmade Thai artifacts create the ultimate setting for a fabulous meal. If you’re dining out in Vancouver and looking for a great hot spot, this is the place to be!

 Check out these Thai-inspired recipes courtesy of Chef Angus An:

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Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook With Kohlrabi

salad-1 Pressed ham, quince jam and kohlrabi sounds like a nightmare-ish combination to me, but that’s what the chefs had to start out with tackling on last week’s episode of Chopped Canada. I didn’t really want to spam this site with a pressed ham recipe (see what I did there?), so decided for a more vegetable-forward route instead.  kohlrabi-app-4-(1) Growing up, kohlrabi was always something my mom planted in our garden. I’m not sure if we as kids liked it so much for the taste or just because it had a ‘cool’ name. Whatever the case, kohlrabi is no stranger to my kitchen and there are a few different ways you can enjoy it! First, when it comes to preparing these guys, you’ll find that the skin of the vegetable is very tough. Instead of getting frustrated with a small vegetable peeler, it’s a lot easier to slice off the top and the bottom of a kohlrabi and use your knife, working from top to bottom to remove the layer. As far as root vegetables go, kohlrabi is fairly light and crunchy. If you’ve never tried this vegetable before, it tastes somewhat like a sweet, milder turnip (which I realise may not be a selling feature for everyone out there!). The sweetness of kohlrabi comes out even more when it’s roasted, but I like to eat it raw, thinly sliced in a salad during the summertime. salad-4 If you’re barbecuing this week, try the vinaigrette on some potatoes or corn-on-the-cob. I mean really, what doesn’t go well with bacon?

Kohlrabi and Nectarine Salad with Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette
Serves 4
Total cook time: 10 minutes

Smoked bacon vinaigrette ingredients:
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 slices double smoked bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon caper juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons liquid honey
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoon olive oil

Salad ingredients:
2 kohlrabi, peeled, thinly sliced and matchsticked
6 radishes, thinly sliced
1 nectarine, de-stoned and sliced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Vinaigrette directions:
1. Heat the canola oil on medium heat until hot.
2. Add half of the diced bacon to the pan and cook until crispy, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Remove bacon from pan and set aside for now.
4. Add remaining bacon and garlic to pan and cook for 3 minutes.
5. Transfer to a blender or food processor with all ingredients except for the oil and pulse a few times to form a chunky paste.
6. Continue to pulse while slowly pouring in oil until emulsified.
7. Pour into a small bowl and stir in the crispy bacon.
8. Set aside until ready to serve.

Salad directions:
1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into large bowl.
3. Toss until salad is well-coated. To serve, portion out salad onto 4 plates and finish with a couple spoonfuls of bacon vinaigrette.

avatar_dan_Clapson
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.     

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Summer BBQ: All About Rubs and Marinades

Sweet Spicy Pork Chop

We all look forward to summer and the warmer weather… and also getting out the grill! Using rubs and marinades is one of the best ways to maximize the flavours of meats and proteins. There are tons of herbs and condiments to infuse into rubs and marinades; executive Chef Tawfik Shehata of The International Centre shares his favourite recipes for grilling season. Chef Shehata combines many ingredients (sometimes unconventional ones like tea or coffee) to create flavourful infusions that can be used on a wide variety of meats, perfect for grilling. Although rubs and marinades are similar in that they add more flavour, they’re actually quite different. Chef Shehata created four delicious recipes for the grill (2 marinades and 2 rubs) that you’ll definitely be adding to your BBQ line-up. If you want to achieve perfect grill marks, you don’t have to venture outdoors; opt to stay indoors and use a cast-iron, portable grill like STAUB’s Square American Grill — suitable for all cook tops for year-round grilling!

Rubs add flavour and colour without overpowering the meat or protein’s natural taste. Common spices used in rubs are cayenne, chili powder, paprika, and cumin. It’s important to find a good balance between mild and strong flavours and spices to ensure the rub isn’t too overpowering. When using spicy ingredients like chili powders, be sure to mix it with a mild paprika or brown sugar to tone down the level of heat. Adding coffee or loose-leaf tea to a rub is a popular way to boost flavour and variety to your grilled meats. Chef Shehata blends the tea, Lapsang Souchong Star from DAVIDsTEA with smoked Spanish paprika, chipotle chili powder and onion powder, for his Smoked Tea-Rubbed Duck Breast to create a delicious wood-smoked flavour. Chef Shehata also combines coffee with spicy cayenne, ancho chile and dark brown sugar, for his perfectly balanced Sweet & Spicy Rubbed Pork Chop.

A marinade not only enhances the taste of protein, but tenderizes it as well. A marinade differs from a rub in that it can be used on the meat hours (or even days) prior to grilling, to maximize the taste. Marinades are ideal for tougher cuts of meat to create a more tender texture. Marinades also provide protection from high heat, making it an ideal seasoning method for grilling. Chef Shehata adds oil to his combination of dry ingredients in order to create a smooth consistency. Spice level is also something to note when creating a marinade, as it’s easy to spoil the recipe with too much heat. Chef Shehata says that a marinade should lose some of its heat when cooked, so not to worry if it ends up being too spicy when made. Incorporating a tasty hot sauce, like Sriracha, is also a great way to add some flavourful heat. These Stout and Sriracha-Marinated Beef Skewers and Jerk Chicken Marinade are sure to please the spicy food lover!
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Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised VS Conventional or Industrial Farming

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BBQ season is finally upon us, and the warm weather has Canadians dusting off the grill and bringing the party outside. A good BBQ starts with good quality cuts of meat–and Canadians love their meat (eating 44.2lbs per person yearly according to Statistics Canada). A trip to the grocery store can leave you faced with a dizzying array of choices. AAA, organic, pasture-raised, grain-fed, corn-fed, grass-fed, grass-finished, free run… it’s enough to drive any wannabe grill master crazy.

Being in Toronto, I have the benefit of having a friendly and knowledgeable butcher in my neighborhood to navigate me through the options, but not everyone has someone like this on hand. Armed with a vague understanding for the benefits of pasture-raised, grass-fed meats, I hit the road searching for a family-run farm that would allow me to get up-close and personal to the pasture, and figure out what is really going on.

Luckily, Grandview Farms was willing to take on the challenge. Located in Thornbury, Ontario, they are a certified, organic property that is committed to raising animals properly (the way they would have been a century ago). The meat that is produced is considered to be 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised and without artificial growth stimulants (hormones), antibiotics or steroids.  This means small herds, old-fashioned farming techniques, and a commitment to using methods that are respectful of the environment and the animals’ well being.

Pulling up to the farm, it is immediately clear the cattle live a decent life. The small herd of Black Angus and Wagyu roam 500 acres of established pasture, each pasture equipped with an adjacent woodlot for shade, and a pond for cooling off. For the last 30 years, cattle have been feeding off of this land. The lush grass is an abundant mix of orchard, canary grass, legumes, sweet clover, Kentucky blue, wild plants and wild vetch. Each year, the farmhands supplement these grasses by planting annuals like peas, sorghum, corn and sudana for the cattle to feed on.

All animals at Grandview are fruit-finished, the Berkshire cross pigs eating thousands in their lifetimes. Local apple farms provide ground and juice apples, with many coming directly from the 150-tree orchard on site. Finishing is all about marbling. Traditional feed-lot diets are high in grain, soy, corn and other supplements. Combined with inactivity and confined spaces, internal fat (marble) is produced without effort. Animals that chomp on grass have an easier time digesting and as a result are leaner. At Grandview, the farmers use organic fruit and organic flax to ensure their animals are healthy, so the meat is well-marbled. As opposed to the starchy grain-finished animals in industrial farming, the marbling fat in these animals is a result of a healthy diet.

How healthy are these diets? Studies conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto say that Organic Grass is potentially 300% healthier. Grass-fed beef is higher in CLAs, antioxidants, and the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 in these animals is 4.9 to 1. The Omega ratio in feedlot animals is around 15 to 1. Organic grass-fed beef is also lower in fat and cholesterol. Animals raised on small, organic, local family farms, like Grandview for example, are raised without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Humane conditions also limit the production (and release) of stress hormones.

What about Cost? Maintaining lush pasture is expensive and time consuming, so generally grass-fed cuts of meat are more expensive than other selections at your local market. You can save by buying in bulk from local farms, many (including Grandview) will sell an entire side of beef, or boxes of cuts at a discount. Contact your local producer to see what they can offer. If you don’t have the benefit of a large freezer, split the cost with some friends, or try to up the veggies in your diet to cut down your meat portions naturally.

Wandering around the farm, I worked up quite the appetite. Lucky for me, the farmers had a delicious meal prepared with ingredients from local farms, and a sampling of meats produced on the farm. I can definitely say that you can taste the difference. The pork in particular, had a drastically different, sweeter flavour than what I am used to. I am not a fan of pork chops, but I found that the colour and even the fat was remarkably different–leaving me converted!

The livestock at this farm is sold direct to the consumer at donatenaturally.com, to some of Canada’s top restaurants and the remainder to Life Choices Natural Foods, a producer of organic, natural and pre-packaged foods, that use all-natural, organic, premium and sustainably-grown ingredients.

Check out this gallery of my visit to Grandview Farms:

Photos by Jason Kan

Jen Jennifer Myers Chua is an art director, Asian-food enthusiast, and all-around creative type. Obsessed with culinary pursuits and whitespace, Jennifer spends her days working as a freelance designer and contributing blogger. She spends her nights deconstructing recipes in her mostly all-white loft with her mostly all-white French bulldog. You can check out more of what she does at www.jennifermyerschua.com 

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Is the Customer Always Right?

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Anyone who has spent even a little time working in retail has probably heard at one point or another, “The customer is always right.” I have certainly uttered those words myself to a young cook once or twice and the truth is that the customer is always right, except when they’re wrong.

While there’s little in this world that upsets me more than a customer leaving our business unhappy, sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand. Our restaurant serves over 10,000 meals a week and I would be lying if I told you that we didn’t make mistakes. Even the best restaurants in the world have off nights or overcook the occasional steak. Good chefs, as hard as it is, swallow their pride, own up to the mistakes, and try their hardest to rectify the situation (before the guest leaves the building). Often these mistakes can lead to a lasting relationship with the customer, which I have experienced more than once. After making a mistake I ensure that the second plate is cooked as perfectly as possible, then deliver the dish to the table myself to apologize. This type of interaction demonstrates to the guest my sincere concern for their contentment and overall dining experience. This typically leads to turning things around for them (not always, but quite often). Most people just want to be heard and know that the server, manager, or chef is empathetic towards them. I have built a great deal of lasting guest relationships over turning a poor experience around and look at it as more of an opportunity, rather than an obstacle.

Then you have customers that you simply can’t win over, no matter what you do. Today, information is so readily available and people tend to mistake themselves for experts — at everything. The rise in popularity of chefs and food culture has unleashed a surplus of “food critics” on us poor chefs. They think they know exactly how to make borscht, or how mercilessly foie gras is actually made. Their vast product knowledge affords them the liberty to tell you, the classically trained chef of twenty years that you are wrong and your dish was prepared incorrectly. Not that long ago I had a customer tell me that my hollandaise tasted “off”. I’m sure she knew all about how the perfect balance of egg yolks, white wine reduction, and clarified butter come together to make the most delectable of the five mother sauces…
You see, a real hollandaise sauce, made with real egg yolks and real clarified butter, with no addition of stabilizers or thickening agents, will likely result in three basic problems. It could taste too buttery (although that seems ridiculous), or it could be too acidic or wine forward (meaning there is too much white wine reduction for the amount of butter), or it could have split, which you could tell after your first bite. To make the bold statement that my hollandaise was “off”, the hollandaise that I had made fresh, myself moments earlier was truly insulting. But for some reason, she felt entitled to another eggs Benedict, with hollandaise that wasn’t “off”.

Then there are customers that insist their properly cooked steak isn’t done to their liking. These are usually the same people that ask the kitchen to cook their steak between medium rare and medium, and just a little closer to medium, because they don’t like too much pink. Give me a break people. You are asking someone to take a two inch thick piece of meat that has been sitting at 34°F, place it on a grill that is likely above 900°F and stop it from cooking precisely at 138°F and then stop it, resting it perfectly and evenly cooked. That kind of perfection requires a great deal of skill and practice, and sometimes, when there are 30, 40 or even 50 pieces of meat being prepared by the same cook, at the same time, he or she could make a mistake or two. If the mistake is genuine, it should be up to the restaurant to rectify the problem and make things right. So the right thing to do would be to throw a perfectly cooked steak in trash, reach into the cooler, and cook another steak. Have you ever tried getting half way through a movie and demanding your money back because it just wasn’t quite funny enough? No, I didn’t think so.

I have heard everything under the sun in my two decades of being a chef. My hollandaise is too buttery, my pulled pork is too fatty, my fries are too greasy, and so on. Thankfully I work in the kitchen where I can throw a tantrum whenever need be. If I was a server, personally I wouldn’t have lasted a week in this business. Sure we make mistakes, it’s bound to happen, and we need to own up to it. But we aren’t the only ones. There’s a big difference between the kitchen actually making a mistake, and the customer thinking they made a mistake. Any chef worth his salt should have the dignity to admit their mistakes, because it does happen. But we shouldn’t necessarily be left to foot the bill when a customer thinks we make a mistake. So next time you are thinking about sending something back to the kitchen, ask yourself, is it really something that the kitchen did wrong or is it just something that you don’t like as much as you thought?

 

Paul Shufelt Chef Paul Shufelt is a business partner and executive chef of Century Hospitality Group. He’s competed in the Canadian Culinary Championships and Best in Chow Burger Wars, has been featured in Avenue magazine and is leading a fundraiser for the Canadian Culinary fund. 

 

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Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Instant Coffee

Coffee and mussels? What a way to start off the Chopped Canada episode last week. I’m not too sure what I would have made with the combination if I found myself in the contestants’ position. Likely I would have just stared at the basket until time ran out.
Instant-Coffee
Since instant coffee is brewed coffee that’s been freeze-dried, it is more concentrated in flavour than a spoonful of ground beans. Instant coffee will break down immediately (rehydrate) when added into any wet mixture, whether that be something like this recipe below, a muffin batter, etc. This freeze-dried quality makes it much easier to add a coffee ‘flavour’ to a recipe without adding more much liquid (brewed coffee) or a gritty texture (coffee grounds).
BBQ-Sauce
One great summer condiment that coffee really lends itself well to is barbecue sauce. Making barbecue sauce at home is so simple and (hopefully) leaps and bounds more delicious than most options you’ll find at the grocery store. Another plus to making this condiment in your own kitchen is that the majority of the ingredients are pantry staples, so no need to pick up a whole basket full of items just to make a batch. Feel free to adjust the ingredients slightly below, trying out different types of vinegar, spices and even fruit juice instead of water to find a barbecue sauce that’s all you.

As noted below, you can get the smoothest barbecue sauce possible by pushing the final puree through a fine mesh sieve, but if you don’t have that kitchen tool handy, don’t feel bad, the sauce will taste the same!
Use this sauce on anything from burgers, meatballs and pork chops to roasted baby potatoes and corn.

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Poblano Pepper and Coffee Barbecue Sauce

Yields: 2 cups barbecue sauce
Total cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 red onion, diced
2 small poblano peppers, seeds removed and diced
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Instant-Coffee-BBQ-Sauce

Directions:
1.    Place all ingredients into a large pan on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer while stirring to combine.
2.    Reduce to medium heat and let simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.    Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
4.    Transfer contents of pan to a blender and puree until very smooth (push puree through a fine mesh sieve if on-hand).
5.    Pour sauce into a container and keep cold in the refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep for up to 10 days.

avatar_dan_Clapson
Dan Clapson
 
is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated. 

 

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BBQ Restaurant Spotlight: Dusty’s of Whistler Blackcomb

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Whistler Blackcomb takes summer BBQ to a whole new level (literally — it’s located at 6000 ft), with their Mountain Top BBQ Series! It takes place June 27th to August 31st, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 5pm-8pm.

After riding up the Whistler Village Gondola, guests will experience the beauty of Whistler’s alpine at dusk at the Roundhouse Lodge. Whether you dine inside or out on the scenic patio, the whole family can relax and enjoy a delicious gourmet BBQ buffet, live music and endless views. Every weekend, the Mountain Top BBQ Series rotates through three different BBQ Menus; Whole Hog Fridays, Slow-Roasted Prime Rib Saturdays, and Pacific Seafood Grill Sundays.

For those looking for great BBQ food year round, head over to Whistler locals’ favourite; Dusty’s Bar & BBQ, located in Creekside Village at the base of Whistler Mountain. Dusty’s, also the host of the annual Bulleit Bourbon Canadian National BBQ Championships, is famous for its mouthwatering BBQ, crowd-pleasing Caesars, and boot stompin’ après-ski parties.

From August 1st to August 3rd, BBQ connoisseurs from all over North America will flock to Dusty’s to battle it out with their best BBQ recipes at the Bulleit Bourbon BBQ Championships. Their goal? To claim top ranks including “Best Backyard BBQ” and “King of the Grill”. For fans of a good summer BBQ meal and those that would love some great recipe ideas, this is an event worth checking out!

 

Here are four delicious recipes courtesy of Wolfgang Sterr of Whistler Blackcomb:

  1. Dusty’s Caesars
  2. Dusty’s Korean Pulled Pork Tacos

  3. Spice Cookie with French Vanilla Ice-Cream

  4. Dusty’s

    Smoked Pork Ribs

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Contest and Giveaway: EAT Vancouver! – Round 2

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Food Network Canada fans on the West Coast, listen up — we have a contest for you! From May 30th to June 1st, the EAT! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival will be taking place at BC Place Stadium and we have tickets to give away!

This is the second round of three giveaways, so make sure you check back for the last one in a few days! Some of our chefs will be making an appearance on the Food Network Canada celebrity stage, so don’t miss out on seeing your favourite culinary experts! Chuck HughesRob FeenieLynn CrawfordVikram Vij and Ned Bell, will all be there! There will also be a Celebrity Chef Throwdown on the stage, including Vikram Vij, Jackie Ellis, Ned Bell. The culinary fight will be judged by Rob Feenie – you don’t want to miss it!

The second round of the contest will be open until Thursday, May 22nd at 9am. 

 

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During round 2 of the giveaway, we’ll be giving away 15 packs of four tickets, so you and three friends can enjoy the best food in Vancouver!

GIVEAWAY: We have 15 packs of four tickets to give away. For your chance to win, email giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with the answer to the following question:

 

Name the Vancouver-based restaurant AND restaurant owner, recently featured in Season 3 of You Gotta Eat Here! The episode aired on Friday, April 11th at 9:30pm ET/6pm PT. In case you missed it, you can watch the episode online
Giveaway Rules

RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run until May 22nd, after which time no answers will be considered.

RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER

Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.

RULE 3. PRIZE

There are 15 prizes available to be won, which consist of four copies of tickets to EAT Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival (“Prize”). The approximate value of each ticket for the Prize is fifteen dollars Canadian (CDN $15).

RULE 4. GENERAL

By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.

Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.

The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.

Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.

By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.

In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway

Rules by Shaw shall be final.

The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.

Top Chef Canada Finale Recipe: Taking the Challenge Home

It seems like only yesterday I was tapping my foot impatiently waiting for the premiere episode of Top Chef Canada, season four. After 10 weeks of ups and downs, failed and successful culinary attempts, we were left with three gentlemen in the final episode. For me, it was a bit of a toss up for who was going to end up the winner, as I think all of the competitors had a roller coaster ride throughout the course of the season.
Finale-TCC-Chefs
Terry Salmond, Rene Rodriguez and Rich Francis in the finale of Top Chef Canada.

All deserving to be part of the final three, creative dishes by all chefs flowed from the kitchen through to the Judges’ dinner table. Pickled blueberries, poblano bisque and a burnt onion ‘crunch’ were just a few of the many interesting components we saw.

Since this is the final Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home piece of the year, I think it’s only fitting that it ends on a sweet note: a take on Terry’s caramelized yogurt parfait & burnt onion crunch.
Terry-Salmond-Finale-Dessert
Terry’s dessert course: caramelized yogurt parfait and burnt onion crunch.

The biggest conversation piece in my group of friends (read: Top Chef Canada fanatics) during the finale was the burnt onion component that Terry Salmond topped off his yogurt parfait with in his dessert course. I mean, really? Burnt onion? Myself, along with a lot of other viewers I’d wager, were as perplexed as we all saw Ruth Reichl be on television.
TCC-Finale-Ruth-Reichl
Guest judge Ruth Reichl said of Terry’s dessert (after trying it): “I have to say I love this. This is absolutely in my wheelhouse.”

Nonetheless, after seeing the judges’ positive reaction to Terry’s deceptively simple dessert and especially towards the burnt onion portion, I thought I had better try something like this at home.

Not typically a fan of burnt anything, I made a concerted effort to leave my biases aside and fry the hell out of some diced onion. Once it was dark brown, verging on black, I patted the crispy little chunks dry with some paper towel and had a little taste. Not surprisingly, by themselves they taste very abrasive (note: I do not know how Terry prepared this component) so I mellowed them out a bit by mixing them with some graham crackers, and salt and pepper.

The result was a sweet, almost smoky crumble that definitely had the essence of onion in a mild way. What Terry said on the finale was right, it did taste a little like bitter peanut butter.
Burnt-Onion-Crunch
All in all, once it was used to top the layers of this yogurt parfait below, it did a great job of cutting the richness and sweetness of the berry compote and maple in my home version, which I’m sure was Terry’s goal with his much more refined offering.

And, with that ends another year of Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home. It’s always fun to get into the kitchen and get inspired by the great Canadian chefs that are showcased on the show.

TCC-Yogurt-Parfait
Maple Yogurt Parfait with Vanilla Blueberry Compote and Burnt Onion Crumble
Yields: 4 servings
Total cook time: about 1 hour

Blueberry compote ingredients:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup cane sugar
¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch ground cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Maple sauce ingredients:
1 ½ cups good quality maple syrup

Burnt onion crumble ingredients:

1 cup canola oil
½ yellow onion, finely diced
¼ cup crushed graham crackers
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Honey yogurt ingredients:
2 ½ cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon liquid honey

Blueberry-Compote-Yogurt-Parfait
Blueberry compote directions:
1.    Place the first 5 ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2.    Reduce to medium heat and let cook until berries breakdown and mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
3.    In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water and add to pan. Let cook for 1 more minute. Blueberry mixture should thicken noticeably.
4.    Transfer to a bowl or container and let cool in the refrigerator.

Maple sauce directions:
1.    Place maple syrup in a small pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2.    Cook until maple syrup reduces by a third, approximately 12-15 minutes.
3.    Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, the maple syrup should be quite thick, somewhat like a caramel sauce consistency.
4.    Set aside for now.

Burnt onion crumble directions:

1.    Heat canola oil in a medium pot on high heat until very hot.
2.    Working in 3 small batches, fry diced onion until on the verge of blackening, about 6-7 minutes per batch.
3.    Transfer each to paper towel to absorb any excess oil and cool.
4.    Combine ‘burnt’ onion with remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until a fine crumble forms.
5.    Spoon out into a small bowl and set aside for now.

Yogurt directions:
1.    Whisk yogurt and honey together in a medium bowl.
2.    Place into the refrigerator to stay cool until needed.

To assemble:
1. In 4 small glasses, pour in approximately ½ inch of maple sauce, followed by a 1” layer of yogurt, ½” layer of blueberry compote, and another ½” layer of yogurt.
2. If not serving immediately, place prepared parfaits in the fridge to stay cold.
3. When ready to serve, finish each parfait with a spoonful of burnt onion crumble.

4. Say this to your guests: “Don’t worry, it sounds weird, but it tastes delicious!”

Dan Clapson Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.  
 

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Favourite BBQ Dishes from You Gotta Eat Here!

John-Catucci-BBQ

You don’t have to be from Texas to know what good barbecue tastes like, as Canadian restaurants and backyard barbecue mavericks are proving across Canada. Barbecue may have its roots in the American South, but the Great White North also has its fair share of grill masters.

Great barbecue can be simple or complicated – that’s up to you. But, it’s the smoke that imparts a depth of flavour that makes it anything but boring. More than just a cooking technique, barbecuing is an event in itself.

What do you do during the May Two-Four, a.k.a. Victoria Day, weekend? For many Canadians, it marks the beginning of barbecue season and the unofficial start to summer. With luck from Mother Nature, the weekend offers the perfect weather to be outside with good company and great food.

I think there’s a connection that many people make between barbecue and happy feelings. You don’t have to have a fancy smoker or a huge barbecue — all you need is passion, patience and some hungry people to feed. I remember being a kid and sitting in my Zia’s (aunt’s) kitchen, smelling the charcoal smoke coming through the back door as my Zio (uncle) grilled on a little, tiny, round hibachi barbecue. That was back in the 1970s and I can still picture that scene perfectly — all of us waiting in anticipation for Zio to finish. He would take his celery stalk and use the leaves to brush oil and red wine vinegar onto the meat. I can recall the smell of the vinegar hitting the meat and getting that char flavour. That’s the moment I’ll always remember; sitting in that kitchen and just seeing the smoke come in every time the back door would open.

Great barbecue is about so much more than meat on a grill, it’s about the experience: the sunshine, the smells, and four or five family members lurking over your shoulder telling you what to do. “The flame’s too high!” “Not enough heat!” “Flip that steak!” “Don’t drop the asparagus!” “Get me another beer!”

I eat barbecue like it’s my job. Seriously, I get paid to eat. (I know, I know, I’m a lucky bastard.) And I’ve been fortunate enough to eat at some of the best barbecue joints in Canada. I’ve eaten ribs on the west coast, pulled pork in the maritimes, and even a barbecued dessert or two in the middle part of the country. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some amazing barbecue chefs, true artists with wood, spice, and smoke. These folks will grill anything! Trust me, anything. (Pig tails, anyone?) If it’s delicious, Canadian pit masters will find a way to barbecue it.

Check out delicious BBQ dishes from You Gotta Eat Here! Select ‘caption’ to see the dish’s description. Click on the image to get the recipe.

When I’m not eating barbecue, I’m thinking about it. So I’ve created my ultimate fantasy barbecue day menu. All I need is a bottomless pit for a stomach, a pair of super stretchy pants, and a teleporter. Let’s go!

Barque-Smokehouse-Brunch
Barque Smokehouse Smoked Duck Panckes. Get the recipe here

Breakfast: Our first stop on our all-barbecue-all-day adventure is Barque in Toronto. Order the Barque Benedict: smoked beef brisket piled high on cornbread, topped with two poached eggs and smothered in smoky barbecue Hollandaise sauce. The brunch here is enough to fill you up for the rest of the weekend. But I’m just getting started.

Pig-BBQ-Joint

John visits Pig BBQ Joint in an upcoming episode on May 23. Schedule details are here.

Lunch:
In my dream scenario, it’s Bacon Explosion Day at Pig BBQ Joint in Victoria, BC. This is ground pork sausage wrapped in a lattice of bacon, sprinkled with more bacon, then smoked, sliced, and piled on a sandwich with tangy barbecue sauce. BOOM.

Big-T-BBQ

Check out the link at the bottom of the page to watch  John visit Big T’s BBQ.

Dinner: Now this is where the stretchy pants come into play. In Calgary, Alberta Big T‘s famous Elvis Platter is bigger than my car. It’s a ridiculous amount of food, and it’s all meaty and delicious. There are six different types of meat here: brisket, pulled pork, huge St. Louis-style ribs, a whole smoked chicken, crispy rib ends, and Andouille sausage. Barbecue is meant to feed a crowd!
Smoky Cheesecake
Get the Smoky Chocolate Cheescake with Pecans recipe here.

Dessert: You left room for dessert, didn’t you? Of course you did. We’re back to Ontario to D&S Southern BBQ just outside of Ottawa in Carlsbad Springs. How do you barbecue dessert, you ask? Excellent question. The answer is their Smoky Chocolate Cheesecake and Pecans. A tall, creamy chocolate cheesecake that gets hickory smoked low and slow, cooled, and then covered with a rich chocolate ganache. Topped with roasted pecans and caramel sauce, they serve it with some homemade strawberry chutney. The chocolate sucks in the smoke like a little sponge, resulting in one of the creamiest and craziest cheesecakes I’ve ever tasted.

And of course my “dream” barbecue day would end in a really long nap.
No matter where you eat your barbecue, all you need is great company and a little smoke and you have the recipe for a fantastic time!
Barbecue on, Canada!

Watch back-to-back new episodes of You Gotta Eat Here! Fridays at 9 ET | 6 PT.

This is an abridged version of a blog post that originally appeared in the Huffington Post Canada. To read John Catucci’s full post go here.

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Contest and Giveaway: EAT Vancouver! – Round 1

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Attention Food Network Canada fans on the West Coast, this contest is for you! From May 30th to June 1st, the EAT! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival will be taking place at BC Place Stadium, and we have loads of tickets to give away!

We’ll be doing a total of three giveaways over the next week, so make sure you keep checking back! Some of our chefs will be making an appearance on the Food Network Canada celebrity stage, so don’t miss out on seeing your favourite culinary experts! Chuck Hughes, Rob Feenie, Lynn Crawford, Vikram Vij and Ned Bell, will all be there! There will also be a Celebrity Chef Throwdown on the stage, including Vikram Vij, Jackie Ellis, Ned Bell. The culinary fight will be judged by Rob Feenie – you don’t want to miss it!

The first round of the contest will be open until Monday, May 19th at 9am .

round1

During round 1 of the giveaway, we’ll be giving away 25 pairs of tickets, so you and a guest can enjoy the best food Vancouver has to offer!

GIVEAWAY: We have 25 pairs of tickets to give away. For your chance to win, email giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with the answer to the following question:

 

Name the Vancouver-based chef from tonight’s episode of Chopped Canada! The episode will be airing on Thursday, May 15 at 10pm ET/7pm PT. In case you miss it, you can watch the episode online.


Giveaway Rules

RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run until May 16th, after which time no answers will be considered.

RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER

Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.

RULE 3. PRIZE

There are 25 prizes available to be won, which consist of a copy of two tickets to EAT Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival (“Prize”). The approximate value of each ticket for the Prize is fifteen dollars Canadian (CDN $15).

RULE 4. GENERAL

By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.

Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.

The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.

Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.

By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.

In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway

Rules by Shaw shall be final.

The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.

Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Dates

CC-Episode-19-Dates

After last week’s Chopped Canada Champion, Jessica Pelland (and Calgary’s first winner, rock on!) opened her basket of mystery ingredients for the dessert course, she pointed out that dates are kind of boring. Honestly, I would have to agree. The majority of ways we’ve seen dates are likely limited to muffins, loaves and, of course, dessert squares. Tasty, yes, but also predictable.
Jessica-Pelland-Winner

Jessica Pelland’s reaction when the judges announced she was the winner

Having said that, one of the nice things about dates is that they are quite healthy for you. High in fiber and minerals, like iron, they are also great energy boosters. If you’re feeling a little tired halfway through the workday, try popping a date or two instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or can of pop…or at the very least, a date square.

Exploring the versatility of dates a bit more, I decided to sidestep their ability to work into a dessert and tried something savoury. Making a big batch of bacon-wrapped dates definitely popped into my mind, but I don’t think any of us need an actual recipe for that vintage appetizer! The pitted and packed dates that you find in the baking aisles of grocery stores are quite hard and dry, so it’s always nice to rejuvenate them with a bit of liquid. That is why I wanted to work them into some sort of sauce or condiment.

Cooked down with some red onion and diced apple, this chutney is really easy to make and is a welcomed addition to a bowl of rice and vegetables, served on the side with a roast chicken or even with a soft cheese like Brie or Camembert.

Date-Chutney
Date, Apple and Red Onion Chutney
Yields: 2 1/2 cups chutney
Total cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
1 ½ cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons liquid honey
2 teaspoons tandoori masala powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pinch cloves
1 spartan apple, peeled, cored and diced

Directions:
1.    Place all ingredients except the apple in a large pan and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2.    Reduce to medium heat and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.    Transfer half of mixture to a blender, puree until very smooth and return to pan.
4.    Stir in diced apple and continue to cook until the apple is tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.
5.    Transfer to a container, let cool, cover until needed.
6.    Will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

  avatar_dan_Clapson
Dan Clapson 
is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated. 

Related:

Watch Chopped Canada Episode 19: Snakes and Batters
Read Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook with Quail Eggs

Q & A with Top Chef Canada Season Four Winner

*This post contains spoilers about the Top Chef Canada season four finale.*

 

TCC-Finale-Rene-Terry-Rich
Terry Salmond, Rene Rodriguez and Rich Francis went into last night’s Top Chef Canada finale but only one emerged with the title of Canada’s Top Chef.

After 10 episodes and 20 challenges, Rene Rodriguez became Canada’s ascending culinary star.
Rene is the chef and owner of Navarra restaurant in Ottawa, ON. His Mexican and Basque heritage inspires his cooking and he received his culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. Food Network Canada (FNC) chatted with Rene to talk about what inspires his cooking, which guest judge gave him his most valuable lesson and what he wants to do next.

TCC-Rene-Winner-Finale
Rene pictured with his son and wife (on his right) celebrating his big win

FNC: So tell us about your finale menu, what inspired it and how did you prepare for it?
Rene: What really inspired me to create that menu was to trace back to my heritage. You know having a Mexican and Spanish background, I really need to take a step back and look at who I am as a person, as a chef and as a cook.  This was what I was going to create for my final menu. It all came together.

Steak-Tartare-Rene-First-Course

Rene’s first course: steak tartare with blue corn tortillas

 

Tuna-with-Mushrooms-Rene-Second-Course
Rene’s second course: coriander-crusted tuna with mushroom ragout and pickled chayote

 

Lamb-Shank-Mole-Poblano-Bisque-Rene-Third-Course
Rene’s third course: a roasted poblano bisque with pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts (top right) and Oaxacan lamb black mole garnished with fried mealworms

 

Chocolate-Mouse-Rene-Fourth-Course
Rene’s fourth course: dark chocolate mousse with berries and frozen lemon curd

FNC: Which challenge was the hardest for you (aside from the finale)?
Rene: I think that the hardest challenge for me was the one before the finale where we had to do molecular gastronomy [Episode 9: The Science of Food]. There was only one spot left for one of us to make it to the finale. So you know it was Vittorio, Jesse and myself, and I was really nervous and we all wanted to be in the finals. This challenge was hard and really stressful for me.

FNC: Did you have a lot of experience using molecular gastronomy?
Rene: I have experience with molecular gastronomy, but when you deal with that kind of cuisine, you never know what’s in store depending on the type of dish. For me, it’s not a (ground) that I’m really familiar with. I do molecular gastronomy, but it’s not my forte, so I had to do something overly creative, and cool, a lot of elements of surprise to impress the judges. It paid off in the end.

FNC: There were many guest judges this season. What were the most valuable lessons you learned from them?
Rene: I think if we go back to episode number six, Restaurant Wars, we had Chef Morimoto as one of the judges. He gave me a word of advice, which was don’t try to over exceed yourself — sometimes less is more. You need to stay focused on what you’re doing. That’s really great advice. When dealing with food most of the time the ingredients make it taste good so don’t try to do too many things at once.
TCC-Rene-Chef-Morimoto
Chef Morimoto signing Rene’s knife in episode six

FNC: How did you prepare for coming on Top Chef Canada? Describe that process.
Rene: Before I sent in my application, I watched season three. I thought this show is a cool thing. I’m a huge fan of Danny Smiles [season three runner up]. I can relate to his style. Then I really wanted to submit my application and I get picked to do season four. Danny was a bit of an inspiration for me.
TCC-Danny-Smiles-Episode-8
Danny Smiles was a guest judge in episode eight

FNC: Did you have a chance to talk to him when he was a guest judge in for the school lunch challenge in episode eight?
Rene: I did have a chance to talk to him a bit. He was down to earth, super nice. I was very happy, I finally got to meet someone who was part of season 3.

FNC: Which fellow competitors inspired and impressed you and why?
Rene: I think the chef that impressed me the most with their food, I would say was Vittorio. We’re friends now, after the show. I really like Rich, his approach to Aboriginal food, his passion, his roots and his heritage. I would say the two of them I think were the most impressive.
TCC-Rene-Rich
Rich and Rene teamed up in episode five’s quickfire challenge

FNC: Now that you’re a Top Chef, what are you plans for the future? How do you see your career changing or moving forward?
Rene: I’d like to take a few days to relax if time will allow it! Things are going to be really busy for me, being Top Chef. Eventually, I would like to do a trip across Canada – buy a motorcycle and just do a trip. And maybe have my own TV show eventually.

FNC: What cities would you look forward to seeing  across Canada and trying their food?
Rene: I’ve never been to Calgary so I’d like to go there.  I’ve never been to Vancouver. I’ve never been to Tofino.  So it would be a long motorcycle ride. But those are places I’d like to see in this country. With a motorcycle you can stop anywhere, you can do your own thing. You’re not constrained to any timetable and you can just be yourself. So, eventually I’d like to do that.

FNC: Can you describe a few of tattoos from your food travels?
Rene: I’m a huge believer in Slow Food. Slow Food started in Rome, Italy and every time I go there I get inspired by all the agriculture, all the farming. Everything is super fresh and super clean. The food tastes so good. The food there is grown on farms 10 minutes, 20 minutes outside of the city. To me, having that connection with Slow Food, being passionate about food, being a chef, I always come back from Rome with a little tattoo. Whether it’s writing in Italian or Latin, or a part of a building in Rome. That reminds me of Slow Food and why I chose to become a chef.
TCC-Rene-Plating-Restaurant-Wars
Rene’s tattoos on display as he plates dishes in episode six

FNC: Which chef would be your dream to cook with (dead or alive)?
Rene: I really, really like Morimoto. He’s the ultimate chef, he’s the Iron Chef. Eventually if I get a chance to cook with him or maybe do a challenge with him, that would be amazing.

FNC: Can you give home cooks some simple cooking tips that can make a difference in their meals?
Rene: I would advise to really, really think about what they want to eat that day. What is it that you’re craving, that you really want to eat? That’s what you should buy and cook. Don’t make pasta if you want to eat steak! I And just enjoy it. Put some good music on, cook — have fun, have a glass of wine. If you’re not enjoying it, the outcome is not going to be good. So you have to enjoy it and connect with what you are doing.
And always, always try to support your local farmers whenever possible. Fresh is always best.

 

Congratulations to Rene on his big win! We can’t wait to see what he does next!

 

Related:
Watch Rene meet his hero Chef Morimoto in Top Chef Canada Episode 6: Restaurant Wars
Watch Top Chef Canada Episode 10: The Finale’s Taboo

Read about Mark McEwan sharing his thoughts on Top Chef Canada season 4

Squamish Líl’wat Cultural Centre in Whistler, BC

bbq food

Image by Mike Crane Photography

In the fall of 2013 the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre’s Ambassador led tour was named a Canadian Signature experience by the Canadian Tourism Commission.  The tour, which is led by a member of the Squamish or Lil’wat Nations, guides guests through the Great Hall’s towering carved welcome poles, ocean-going canoes and feature exhibits that complete this remarkable Cultural Centre. The guides also share songs, stories and legends as they make their way to the traditional longhouse where guests can make a cedar bracelet.

Plan your trip so that  you’re in Whistler on a Tuesday night; this way you can not only take part in the guided tour but finish your evening at their First Nations BBQ.  Cedar Grilled Salmon and Bison Sausages top the menu list and are complemented by a variety of salads made with local traditional ingredients and plenty of Bannock – traditional fried or baked bread.
The setting for this BBQ is on their south facing mezzanine patio, where guests can take in some end-of-day sun while also looking through the traditional buildings – the Istken and the Longhouse.  For those with a green thumb, you will be delighted to see the many traditional plants scattered throughout their gardens or talk to the guides about the plants that were traditionally used for food.   This BBQ is truly a cultural experience, which brings together traditional drumming, storytelling, art and cuisine.

Complete your trip to Whistler with a First Nations BBQ dinner and tour of the award-winning Squamish Líl’wat Cultural Centre for a truly First Nations experience, happening every Tuesday from 5pm – 8pm (May 13th to the September 23rd).  

Check out the SLCC’s website for information about the BBQ and to make sure the night has not already sold out!

Recipe images by David Buzzard Photography

Related:

 

 

 

Mark McEwan Dishes on Season 4 of Top Chef Canada

Mark-McEwan-Lisa-Ray
Top Chef Canada head judge Mark McEwan pictured with host, Lisa Ray

Top Chef Canada will crown its fourth Canadian Top Chef tonight, Monday May 12. As we get ready for the finale, head judge Mark McEwan shared his thoughts with Food Network Canada (FNC) on the celebrity chefs that joined him at the judges’ table, what he thinks about this latest season and his best Susur Lee impersonation.

FNC: What are some of the male and female chefs that inspire you and you admire, and why?
Mark: Well you know, you take Anthony Walsh and the Canoe group. I think he is one of the best cooks on the stoves that I know. And I’m good friends with Lynn Crawford. I look at the career Lynn has had, from hotel chef to restaurant owner, to working TV and managing all the categories beautifully. I’m old enough now to really be able to reflect back on my relationships these people and they go back 20 years. That’s the best part.
Lynn-Crawford-Top-Chef-Canada
Lynn Crawford as as guest judge in Top Chef Canada episode 6: Restaurant Wars

FNC: This season has some really diverse culinary backgrounds for the chefs: vegan, Thai, and Aboriginal.  How do you think that kind of diverse culinary experience manifested over the season?
Mark: You see a definite character to their cooking right out of the gate. And what happens when you’re under pressure, or time constraints and sort of limited ingredients, you tend to lean on what you know. So, often times they get stuck in that rut as well and it takes them a few challenges to get out of it and to express themselves, and to be able to do something a little bit different. Sometimes it takes me coaching them a little bit, to get them out of that. So it can be a bonus for them, if they land it well, and it can be a bit of a rut for them if they don’t manage it well.

FNC: How was this season different from all the other Top Chef Canada seasons?
Mark: It was very intense. We had some amazing cooking, we had some pretty lousy cooking. We had people that fell apart and we had people that rose up, that I never have imagined would. So we had all sides of it. It was complicated and it was forever changing, but it got better and better and better, and I think it landed. The way it ended, to me, was fantastic.

Amir-Johnson-Top-Chef-Canada
Amir Johnson (top left) joined the judges’ table in Top Chef Canada episode 5: Game Set Match

FNC: What were some of your favourite moments with the guest judges that were on the show?
Mark: Well Amir [Johnson], he’s like the gentle giant. I felt really short standing next to that man. But he was a lot of fun, very classy, a gentleman, and very soft-spoken. Susur [Lee], who I’ve known for 20 years, has actually developed this really funny sense of humour. I actually imitated him and I sent him the photo of me being Susur. So it took three fans and a hair extension, with my arms folded and my hair flowing.
Mark-McEwan-Susur-Lee
Mark was kind enough to share with us the photo he sent Susur!

Mark: Lynn [Crawford] is always fun and David Chang, you never know what you’re going to get with David Chang. He’s a pretty intimidating guy. He was more relaxed and down to earth than I thought he might be. He’s always come at it that way, like head on. It was really fun to meet him.
David-Chang-Top-Chef-Canada
David Chang joined Top Chef Canada as a guest judge in Episode 2: The World According to Chang

 

Watch tonight’s finale at 9ET/10PT and let us know on Top Chef Canada Facebook and Twitter if you agree with Mark McEwan about who won!

Related:

 

Top Chef Canada Episode 9 Recipe: Taking the Challenge Home

Sous vide machines, pressure cookers and anti-griddles are not kitchen tools that most people have at home. I don’t even think I have baking powder in my cupboard right now, let alone some liquid nitrogen to freeze something on a whim. The elimination challenge equipment on this past episode of Top Chef Canada far exceeded my abilities as a home cook. For this week’s Taking The Challenge Home post we’ll stick with a recipe from the quickfire challenge where the chefs had to bake one ultimate cookie and one classic cookie. We all know everyone loves cookies. Also, so sad to see Jesse Vergen go this week. So sad.

Top-Chef-Canada-Episode-9-Cookies

Rich Francis and Jesse Vergen in the Top Chef Canada kitchen for episode nine’s quickfire challenge.

Top-Chef-Canada-Terry-Cookie

Terry’s ultimate cookie for episode nine’s quickfire challenge: roasted tomato shortbread with toasted fennel seeds.

Since sun-dried tomatoes are already so sweet, it’s not really that much of a stretch to think of using them in a shortbread-style cookies.  I would probably have to file these sun-dried tomato shortbread cookies in the category of something that sounds completely strange, but tastes surprisingly good. Next time, I think I’ll shave a little bit of parmesan cheese on top of each cookie before baking them for a nice golden topping and little extra savouriness.
tomato-shortbread-cookies-dan-clapson

My ultimate cookie attempt, a sun-dried tomato shortbread cookie.

Now, onto the classic cookie side of things: I haven’t made a batch of chocolate chip cookies in years – likely the last time was under my mother’s supervision in elementary school. I focused more on making an interesting beer ganache to serve as a sweet dipping sauce to complement these easy-to-make chocolate chip cookies by the lovely Anna Olson.  Her recipes never let me down! What a lady!
Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-Beer-Ganache

Inspired by Vittorio’s ultimate cookie from episode nine: chocolate chip cookies with a maple porter chocolate ganache.

When you’re cooking with beer, it’s always good to find a great brew that matches the flavours you’re working with in a particular recipe. The maple porter in this ganache has a sweet after-taste, and has some mild coffee notes too. Both work well with the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. This specific brand aside, maple porters are easy to find almost anywhere across Canada these days.

Sun-dried Tomato and Black Pepper Shortbread
Yields: 24 cookies
Total bake time: 18 minutes

 

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
5 sun-dried tomatoes, patted dry to absorb excess oil, diced
1 ? cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Whip the butter, sugar and tomatoes together until light and fluffy.
3.    Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
4.    Slowly mix dry ingredients in with the wet until a soft dough forms.
5.    Transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll out to approximately ½” thickness.
6.    Cut into desired shapes, place onto prepared cookie sheets and bake in the oven until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned, about 16-18 minutes
7.    Place onto rack to cool slightly before serving.

tomato-shortbread-cookies-dough

Maple Beer and Chocolate Ganache
Yields: 2 ½ cups ganache
Total cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups Fernie Brewing Co. Maple Porter (or your favourite maple flavoured porter)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:
1.    Bring porter to a simmer on medium-high heat in a medium pot and let cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
2.    In separate heat-safe bowl, combine remaining ingredients over a double boiler, stirring until melted and smooth, about 10 minutes.
3.    Pour reduced beer into chocolate mixture, stirring well to incorporate and let cook for another 5 minutes.
4.    Transfer to a container, let cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge to use are desired.

 

Dan Clapson-img Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated. 

Related:
Watch Top Chef Canada Episode 9 Online
Top Chef Canada Episode 8 Recipe: Taking the Challenge Home

16 Ways to Eat Corn on the Cob

corn on the cob

Grilling season is underway, and there’s nothing like a perfectly grilled corn on the cob, oozing with butter and salt. This traditional version of corn on the cob can be a perfect addition to any meal, but it can be used for more than just a delicious side!

So take a trip to your local farmer’s market, pick up some fresh sweet corn, and start grilling!

 

Check out these tasty and versatile ways to use corn on the cob:

 

 

 

 

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Chopped Canada Season 2 Announced

Chopped-Canada-Season-2

Fans will get a second helping of Chopped Canada with yesterday’s announcement of the network’s #1 series of 2014 being renewed for its second season!
Dean McDermott returns as the host of this high-stakes culinary competition. Renowned chefs Susur Lee, Lynn Crawford, Michael Smith, Roger Mooking, John Higgins and Anne Yarymowich will continue as judges for next season. They will be joined by three new additions to the rotating panel of judges: Massimo Capra, Antonio Park and Eden Grinshpan.

Massimo Capra appears on Food Network Canada’s Restaurant Takeover and is the Chef co-owner of fine contemporary Italian restaurants in Toronto. Antonio Park is a South American of Korean descent who is the chef and owner of Montreal’s Restaurant Park, where he pairs traditional Japanese cuisine with his South American upbringing and Korean heritage. Eden Grinshpan, originally from Toronto, is the host of Cooking Channel’s Eden Eats, where she takes viewers on a city food adventure, and Log On and Eat with Eden Grinshpan, where she visits food bloggers and YouTube sensations to find out their favourite dining spots.

Chopped Canada is a culinary competition show where four chefs compete against the clock and before a panel of expert judges. The chefs need to turn mystery ingredients into an extraordinary three-course meal. Course by course a chef is chopped. The chef who survives the chopping block wins a $10,000 prize.

Find out more about the judges on the Chopped Canada bios page here.