There is no reasonable excuse I could give for not getting around to posting these photos earlier, because the dinner at Great Cooks on Eight with Top chef Canada competitors Andrea Nicholson, Todd Perrin Steve Gonzales, Mike Stauffer and Patrick Wiese took place on June 30. I know, I am a deadbeat.
And despite knowing a couple of the chefs involved from eating at their restaurants or interviewing them for TasteTO, I have to admit that I’m not a huge Top Chef fan. I lost interest in the middle of the 2nd US season, so while I kept track of who was doing well in the Canadian competition, I was not a weekly viewer. I joked on Google + recently that I’d happily watch “Top Chef Historical” where modern chefs had to cook Careme-style banquets without gas or electricity, but my reality-TV watching does lean towards the historical stuff anyway. (And I suspect potential competitors would have my head if such a show actually came to fruition.)
In any case, 5 of the Canadian competitors got together to do a dinner – here’s what they cooked.
Yeah, we thought we’d bring back the SalivAte column, because there’s so much good food going on in our city and it’s fun to share. Above is the soon-to-be-infamous duck confit French toast from Origin (107-109 King Street East). The toast is a soft cinamon-ny brioche style bun with plenty of tender duck meat, pickled blueberries, hoisin sauce and crème fraiche. Maple syrup on the side. It’s a fantastic combination of sweet, savoury, salty and tart.
The Day of the Dead is not a day of mourning in Latin America, but a day of celebration. Families gather at the graves of loved ones who have passed and have a party. They bring the deceased’s favourite foods, music and things in a celebration honouring their life. This annual event, which takes place on November 1st and 2nd (coinciding with All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day), is a day of feasting and joy.
To coincide with this year’s Day of the Dead, 7 local Latin American chefs have joined forces for a one-night extravaganza that is sure to have diners jumping and the dead wishing they were here to take part.
OLA – Of Latin America (“7 chefs, 1 kitchen, 1 hot night”) will take place on October 26th at Caju Restaurant with proceeds from the event directed toward the charity Youth Link which allows street kids to make a new start. Tickets are $100 or $140 with wine pairings.
The evening is also a celebration of local Latin American cookery, with the participating chefs hailing from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela. Each chef has taken on a course in this 7-course meal but everyone is pitching in to help each other in the spirit of co-operation. During the media preview, at one point we all stopped mid-bite as the chefs started singing together in Caju’s kitchen. And if that’s what happens at the preview luncheon, just imagine how much fun the dinner itself is sure to be!
Each dish will be accompanied by Latin American wine pairings selected by sommelier Drew Innis.
The OLA – Of Latin America event is sold out as of publication of this article, but don’t let that stop you from checking out the work of the participating chefs at their own establishments.