Putting Ottawa on the Food Map: You Gotta Eat Here and Knives Out Ottawa

Murray Street Kitchen's Potacco with House Pulled Pork Murray Street Kitchen's Potacco with House Pulled Pork
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Want to know what makes a food blogger who covers a specific city’s food scene happy? How about not one, but three restaurants in the National Capital Region, being featured on an upcoming episode of Food Network Canada’s “You Gotta Eat Here” with host John Catucci.

You Gotta Eat Here

The restaurants are Chef/Co-owner Steve Mitton and Co-owner Paddy Whelan’s Murray Street Kitchen, Wine, and Charcuterie (110 Murray Street); Jeff Stewart’s Pressed Cafe (750 Gladstone Avenue); and Chef/Owner Marysol Foucault’s Edgar (60 rue Bégin).

Dubbed a more intelligent Canadian take on American greasy-eats hit “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”, a camera crew started filming in Ottawa last Thursday.

Special "you gotta eat at Murray" menuPauly D is One of Our Favs

Droolworthy Camera TripodMurray Street Kitchen's Potaco with House Pulled Pork

The crew will be in town until the coming Thursday, shooting additional footage at Edgar. If you are available from 8:30-10:30 am this Thursday and love Egdar, Marysol could use additional bums in seats. Drop her an e-mail at marysol@chezedgar.ca or “DM” her at @marysolfoucault or @chezedgar on Twitter

John Catucci

John Catucci

Knives Out Ottawa

Now, imagine my glee when Mitton leaked information that he started chatting with 6 other chefs at the Moon Room (a mostly cold tapas and drinks establishment in Little Italy); they representing 7 indie Ottawa restaurants. He was busy adapting Toronto’s Group of 7 Chefs concept for Ottawa, something he alluded to in May when he brought the Toronto chefs to his restaurant for an event.

On that Monday, Chefs Scott Vivian of Beast, Mark Cutrara of Cowbell, Marc Dufour (formerly) of Globe and Earth, Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour, Chris Brown of The Stop Community Food Centre, and Bertrand Alépée (The Tempered Chef) paired dishes with music.

You see, the Group of 7 Chefs invited Mitton, a little over a year ago, to Toronto to participate in one of their takeover/popup events. Mitton has since participated in their James Beard Dinner at the Jackson-Triggs Winery in Niagara.

What the Group of 7 Chefs and their invitees share is a passion for farm-to-fork no nonsense food. They hold events to leverage each others’ passions, serving dishes they know would not “fly” on their regular menus.

The following is Chef/Owner Patrick Garland of Absinthe Cafe’s “media-release” for an “inquisitive journalist” who likened Mitton’s “Knives Out Ottawa” initiative to Toronto’s Charlie Burger’s Dinners.

The Group of Seven is a Toronto thing, or a group of painters that did not include Thom Thompson, we for a variety of reasons are not going with that moniker. I suggested Alvin and the Chipmunks but that was quickly shot down, the rest of the guys quite rightly thought our name should include Bytowne somehow, so as yet we are unamed. At this point I would be remiss if I did not mention the Steve Mitton is the point man in this project brains, brawn and beauty, as it were. The rag tag bunch Steve managed pulled together are as follows: Arup Jana, [Simon Bell will represent Oz Kafe, not Jamie Stunt], Marc Lepine, Marc Doiron, Chris Deraiche, Steve Mitton and myself, I must say at this moment that I am hugely honored to be included in this list. The idea is to have a general idea or theme for the evening whether it be music, pigs, whole fish, vegetarian, whatever it could be anything and base six savory and one sweet course on the theme. The first event will be held Monday October 22nd at Murray Street and if memory serves me the theme is music and pig, the pig I am quite certain about the music maybe not so much. Each chef gets a cut from the pig and runs with it free to do whatever he chooses. Marc of Town very graciously volunteered to do dessert and will be using the belly, Steve and his sous Paul will be using the blood, skin and scraps, [Simon] of Oz fame opted for the bones, I chose the head and the piece of music I chose is Pig on a Wing by Pink Floyd. The music part I am a little fuzzy on and that may have been my own little invention, there was alcohol involved. We did not speak much about after the first event but the general idea is to take it to each individual restaurant and to different venues and possibly different cities. I myself am pretty excited about it and think its a stroke of genius on Steve’s part to bring it to Ottawa, I believe that it will be loosely based on what the T.O group is doing and that there will be co-operation between the two.

The thing is, Charlie Burger’s (AKA Franco Stalteri’s) guerrilla dining menus tend to be completely blind. And, there is a web-based lottery system to purchase tickets, not unlike local Cobra Ottawa’s “secret” supper club.

Not affiliated with Toronto’s Group of 7 chefs or their restaurants, besides Murray Street Kitchen, Knives Out Ottawa represents some of Ottawa’s best: Allium Restaurant (87 Holland Avenue), Oz Kafe (361 Elgin Street), Atelier (540 Rochester Street), Town (296 Elgin Street), The Wellignton Gastropub (1325 Wellington Street W.), and Absinthe Café Resto Bar (1208 Wellington Street W.).

The inaugural Knives Out Ottawa event will be held at Murray Street Kitchen on October 22, 2012 at 6pm. The event is already half booked. Call (613)562-7244 as soon as possible to reserve a spot.

Followup events will occur on rotation at the respective restaurants.

Aside: One of the talented culinarians behind Union Local 613 (315 Somerset Street W.), Sarah Allen (formerly of Atelier and Beckta), has threatened to create a competing group of female chefs in response. Were I a gambling man, I’d bet Chefs Patricia Larken of Black Cat Ottawa (428 Preston Street) and Chloe Berlanga of The Whalesbone (430 Bank Street) will join that group. Maybe Chef Caroline Ishii of Zen Kitchen (634 Somerset Street W).

Update: Seats are completely sold out for the October 22nd event.

Gastroposted December 15, 2012

Gastroposted December 15, 2012

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Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.