Friday, October 8, 2010

A good beginning … a tasty one, anyhow

My first recipe/meal challenge ended last Sunday evening around 7 p.m. when it was plated with Dianna’s artistic flair.

Believe me, there was a heavy a sigh of relief when we took the plates out of the dining room table to the dishwasher.

Here’s the observations from this experience:
  • Professional chefs can combine foods and ingredients like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Professional chefs have a sense of humour.
  • Professional chefs can be cruel – this I actually knew from watching Gordon Ramsay’s many TV shows, but didn’t expect from Jason.
  • I’m no pro chef… no kidding.

The final hours of this 203-hour ordeal on Sunday was spent getting the rest of meal items. And that was by driving around the city looking for three ingredients – black rice, farro and champagne vinegar.

All the other ingredients, listed in a previous blog, were quite easy to find.

To make a long story short – farro was never found. It was replaced with Jasmine rice. The black rice and champagne vinegar was located at stop number four (Byward Fruit Market). As an aside, farro couldn’t be found at stores in the Glebe, most of the Market and Westboro.

The meal worked out well in the end and was quite enjoyable and entertaining to prepare. Jason Laurin, my mentor chef, did though throw me to the wolves, or pigs in this instance.

Jason, like those TV chefs, is outstanding and makes it look easier than it is. That’s a good and bad thing. It made me think I could prepare most anything.

The reality of preparing ‘certain’ meals is, it’s no different than watching your favourite team/players. On TV, in the stands and press box, it all looks so easy. You chuckle at the fourth-liners who get five and six minutes of ice-time, but the skills they have can’t compare to the best player you ever played against in your youth and beer-leagues.

But, like “The Secret Life of Walty Mitty”, being the hero in my daydreams meant donning a chef’s chapeau like a pro in my kitchen and doing my best.

My next recipe challenge hasn’t been determined yet, but this blog will next present some simple steps to making squash ravioli and a variation of Michael Smith’s easy-to-prepare frozen biscuits.

Until next time.


  1. so, what did Jason say? tell your faithfull readers! sis

  2. Phil,
    Awesome blog! I think I recognized the duck fat.
    Obviously all that reading has made you a very good writer; I like your style.
    Pretty sneaky way to make points with your mom,though.
    I think your blog needs a panel of food-tasters to give you some feedback and maybe you could match some wines and the panel could comment unintelligibly on that as well. I could think of a couple who might volunteer........

  3. Very well done Phil. I don't know about cruel. I would say I was sizing up what I was working with. And you performed very well. My chapeau is off to you. It looks deliscious. I will finish mine next week and post it for you to see how I saw the dish in my mind. BTW. not far off from yours. So way to go.
    As for the next undecided dish. You have conquered Thomas Keller's family style food, time to move on to a more upscale preparation and presentation. This will be the last one you can accomplish alone, at home.
    Now I can be considered cruel:)