March 2018, South East Asia Tour

Well, last year, March 2017, I had the chance to go over seas from Rio de Janeiro to South East Asia to do a Canada 150 culinary tour showcasing Canadian Aboriginal fusion cuisine.  Locations consisted of Manila, Singapore and Laos with a second stop back in Singapore.

Fast forward one year later to this past March 2018, I was back again in South East Asian doing another tour, this time focusing on Canadian Beef and Canadian Aboriginal Cuisine.  Stops included, a one year reunion stop back in Manila, then off to India for my first time ever stopping in Bangalore, and New Delhi working with the team at Shangri-La hotels.  Then with my final stop in Taipei, Taiwan, where my last visit was over 4 years ago.

Lets start this post with Manila.

One year ago, I was in Manila to do a Canada 150 event and to promote Canadian cuisine and products.  This time around, I had was brought back to do a one year reunion dinner but also to focus on promoting Canadian Beef and other Canadian products available in Manila.  The dinner was a reunion with Chef Sharwin-Tee to do  a four course dinner showing our Canadian beef dishes from last years event and introduce them to an audience of select guests including professional social media experts and bloggers.

Was wonderful to come back and be a part of this project and to again work with students from the local culinary school and introduce them to some new ideas and cuisine from another country.

 

 

 

 

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New Toy.

It is officially a month and a little bit (February 10 ) since Christmas. And if you are like my family, with family members numbering to high to purchase gifts for everyone, you simply draw names and that’s the person you buy for. Another name for this is called Secret Santa.

So this year, my secret Santa reached out to to inquire as to what it was that was on the top of my wish list for this past year. So after a quick conversation and coming to an agreement, I received one of the items from my wish list.

My very own Anova Sous Vide machine.

What is sous vide you ask? Well some would say it’s a fancy way of Boil in a Bag cooking. And… Ya I guess it is. But the difference is we are cooking food at a low and precise cooking temperature in a controlled environment, to not only enhance flavour but to control and hopeful receive the best outcome in texture and even cooking to minimize food waste. At least that’s my definition.

Since receiving my new toy, I have done some playing with it, more so with beef, and I have to say, I am impressed.

This is the outcome of using the sous vide machine to cook a short rib roast.

Even cooking, edge to edge, and then seasoned and seared on the outside.

Sous Vide cooking has been around now since the 40’s it 50’s I believe, but it was not until about 10 years ago when it had exploded into the restaurant world and now, in the past 5 years, into our homes.

If this is something you have been thinking about doing or playing with, I do recommend giving it a try. Does it have to be an Anova brand sous vide machine? No, take a look on line and see what will best suit your requirements.

Have fun and let your imagination run free.

Mexico City, November 2017

The holiday season has come and gone, and with it, two trips from New York to both Mexico City (November) and Calgary, Alberta, Canada (December) for weddings.  And all with just a two week gap in between.

Now, don’t get me wrong, going back home to Canada is always great, but how many times does one get to say that were in Mexico???  Well this was definitely a first for me and it was great.

Yes, we did all the tourist things like visit the pyramids, spectacular, and checked out some of the great architecture located in and around the old part of the city.  But the food, that was something all to its self.

The four photos below show something that I thought was just so cool.  Yes, I said cool, because this machine was used to make fresh corn tortillas.  The aroma that came from the machine as it baked each tortilla was just heavenly.  How did it work, simple, at the top was a hopper that was used to feed the machine the dough that was made fresh from the corn being ground on site, as shown in the top left photo.  The dough was feed through, rolled out and stamped out into rounds.  Here, the rounds are collected on a metal belt that is roughly 6-8 feet long and runs through an oven that bakes it from both sides and it’s all collected at then, bagged, tagged and purchased faster then they can make them.  Fresh and ready to go daily for lunch or supper.

 

Food markets, OMG the FOOOOOOD MARKETS!  Yes there are all the same things that we can find from all around the world such as common carrots, celery, onion and so forth.  But what you don’t find at the other food markets around the world are items such as chilies found and grown in abundance in Mexico.  The different variations of corn that one can use to the limit of their imagination.  And mole, both wet and dried forms, all ranging in colour, flavour, heat and all representing a different region of Mexico.

 

From the market to the street vendors, sooooo many various types of food to choose from.  Chilaquiles, tamale, street corn, chiles en nogada, tostada, enchilada, al pastor,  chimichanga, carne asada, churros, the list just keeps going and to be honest, I was too busy easting to take photos of them all.  But here are the photos of the food I did take.

 

All in all, I would go back in a heart beat.  The three full days that we spent in Mexico City was just wonderful, the people are pleasant, I don’t kneed to mention the food, and as long as you do some research and are open minded to new customs and traditions, all will be well.

 

 

 

March 2017, a whirlwind of opportunities. Singapore, Part 2.

Final stop on the month long campaign was back to Singapore.  This time to represent Canada and First Nation cuisine on a global stage at the 2017 World Gourmet Summit in Singapore as the Canadian Master Chef.

Presenting a total of five different menus with two of the menus running four days straight during lunch and dinner service, defiantly a bit of a challenge when you have limited time and space to prep.  But luckily for me I was paired with a great restaurant, Wooloomooloo Steakhouse, with a great kitchen team lead by Chef Dinesh Nagalingam, to help insure that prep went well and on point.

First big event, the WGS 2017 Opening Reception.  Number of expected guests to come through close to 300.  This night we were featuring to three dishes, Pickled Baby Shrimp| Wapato Puree|Smoked Salmon Roe, Canadian Red Fish Crudo|Roasted Strawberry|Pemmican, and Sous Vid Canadian Beef.

 

Canadian Flavours, this was then next day and probably the biggest night out of the week.  One night to showcase not just Canadian ingredients but to show in six courses a story of Canada with Indigenous insperation.  A couple photos of some of the dishes that night.

 

Following the next couple of days, we delivered a great lunch and dinner menu and got things ready for the closing night.  Another evening of small plates featuring all the other participating chefs.  Only this time we were expecting up to 800+.  By this point of the trip, fatigue was defiantly starting to take a grip but in the end it was such a great experience and such a highlight for me for 2017.

March 2017, a whirlwind of opportunities. Laos.

Stop number three on the list, Laos.  Another first for me, and probably the county that was top of my list for this trip to visit. The Capital city of Vientiane was to be the stage of this trip, not just for joining a local restaurant owned by a Canadian from Quebec to deliver a menu to supporting Canada 150, but to bring a spot light to Canadian Indigenous culture through its cuisine.  Especially to people who may have  never heard of nor seen a Canadian Aboriginal.

A late arrival into Vientiane and straight to Le Silapa restaurant to meet with owner and fellow Canadian Frederic Dionne-Vachon, to take a look at mis-em place and a quick little tasting.

With a two night plated dinner and relying completely on how well I was able to put together recipes with procedures and the ability for the kitchen team and chef to translate and prepare everything without knowing my envisionment, I have to say, it turned out great.

 

 

The team that I had the pleasure of working with.

 

The day after, had the chance to do another cooking demo.  The first Westerner/Canadian to come to the school and what a privilege it was.  An great opportunity to share with such young minds filled with curiosity, especially with a youth that until this day, never even heard of Canadian Aboriginals.

 

After class, the instructors treated me to some local cuisine, so like home, we all piled in the truck and off we went.  Literally!  But such a great bunch of people with big hearts, all wanting to help educate the youth of today, the chef of tomorrow.

 

Defiantly, at the end of this leg of my journey, probably one of the best experiences I have had in a long time.  Thank you Laos!

March 2017, a whirlwind of opportunities. Singapore.

Next stop, Singapore.  Never before have I ever set foot in Singapore, not to mention never before did I ever imagine that I would be in Singapore.  But here I was, for the first time in Singapore.  Not to mention that I would be back here again in just under two weeks.

To continue the celebration of Canada 150 through the celebration of First Nation culture, I was partnered with local catering company LAVISH, who also just happen to make up Singapore Culinary team with three gold medals at the World Culinary Competitions.

So off the plane and straight into a taxi and off to the tasting at LAVISH went.  Any major changes??? Between my hard work and organizing of recipes and their ability to follow and make small adjustment where needed, we maybe made one or two changes.  That was all.

Two days later, the event took place and it was a grand success.  Unfortunately I was unable to snap any shots of the evening, was too busy with making sure things ran properly.

On another note, STREET FOOD!!!!  With some time available, what better way to take in the culture then through its food.  And that I did.

 

The following day after the event, there was no rest for the wicked.  Up early to go to a local culinary school for another presentation and cooking demo.  Had a great bunch of first and second year students that were very interested in learning more about Fist Nation cuisine.  Really enjoyed sharing my version of Cedar Plank Salmon and Parsnip Puree with the students and always enjoy sharing what I love with the future.