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The Red and White Event: A Culinary Event Not to be Missed [and Giveaway] – updated

Chef Sarah Allen Chef Sarah Allen
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Christmas presents have been exchanged. The New Year has been toasted with bubbly. By now, most have returned from their holiday excursions. Many took down the Christmas tree on the first, carefully packing away the ornaments. Ours came down after we returned from a brief escape to Toronto, but more on our respite in the Big Smoke in another post.

Loyal readers will recall, our recommending two local food events to gift foodies for Christmas: Carefor’s 9th Annual Chocolate Competition and Harmony House‘s Red and White Event.

With a week to go before three chefs, Caroline Ishii of ZenKitchen (634 Somerset Street W.), Katie Brown of Beckta Dining and Wine (226 Nepean Street), and Sarah Allen of Union Local 613 (315 Somerset Street W.), pull out their knives and share recipes and techniques, tickets for the Red and White will soon be difficult to come by.

The event sells out every year.

Red and White Event

Last year, Michael Blackie of MB Cuisine (formerly Executive Chef of the National Arts Centre (NAC)) and Lora Kirk of Toronto’s Ruby Watchco participated, demonstrating and serving two dishes each at St. Bridgid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities (302 St. Patrick’s Street).

Chef Blackie served dishes with smoked sea scallops and lobster; and short rib and feta.

Cohiba cold smoked sea scallop, lobster and Israeli Couscous Toss

Cohiba cold smoked sea scallop, lobster and Israeli Couscous Toss

Short Rib with Clarmell on the Rideau Feta

Short Rib with Clarmell on the Rideau Feta

Chef Kirk served equally tantalizing dishes with prosciutto-wrapped veal tenderloin and bacon-wrapped trout.

Prosciutto wrapped Veal Tenderloin

Prosciutto wrapped Veal Tenderloin

Bacon Wrapped Trout with Warm Fingerling Potato Salad

Bacon Wrapped Trout with Warm Fingerling Potato Salad

This year, the Red and White will be held at Ashbury College (362 Mariposa Avenue) on January 16, 2013 (from 7:30 pm until 10:00 pm). Ashbury is a much larger venue than St. Bridgid’s. It has been donated by the school’s administration to host the annual fundraiser for Harmony House Women’s Shelter.

Harmony House is Ottawa’s only second-stage shelter. For 25 years, it has provided affordable transitional housing for women and children who are survivors of violence.

Besides creative food, the Red and White will also feature wine and beer from Eastern Ontario producers. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., Rosehall Run, Sandbanks, and the Grange will return to showcase their libations.

Tickets are $60/person (not including an online transaction fee). Click here to purchase.

Sarah Allen and food blogger Kirsten Duke

Sarah Allen and food blogger Kirsten Duke

Now, Chef Charlotte Langley of Toronto’s Hooked (formerly of Ottawa’s Whalesbone Oyster House) was scheduled to participate, hence her name and photo in the original poster. Unfortunately, circumstances have made it impossible for her to attend. Sarah Allen of Union Local 613 (formerly of Beckta: Dining and Wine and Atelier Restaurant) generously stepped up to fill in.

Allen is an organizer of Clam Jam. Clam Jam is a group local chefs who come together to collaborate on themed events. This past fall, their inaugural event, consisting of cocktails, appetizers, a multi-course dinner, and a silent auction at Union Local 613, raised $5518 for Harmony House. Serving staff even donated their tips.

Red and White will actually reunite Allen, Brown, and Ishii, who worked together with Chefs Patricia Larkin of Black Cat Bistro (428 Preston Street), Anna March of Urban Element (424 Parkdale Avenue), Harriet Clunie of Navarra (93 Murray Street), Marysol Foucault of Edgar/Odile, and Sonia Marwick of Union Local 613 to prepare and serve seven courses, inspired by childhood memories. And yes, the menu that evening was printed on clam-shaped paper.

Chef Ishii at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Ishii at Union for Clam Jam

Ishii's Plate, assembled and awaiting serviceIshii's Plate

Ishii, who has been proclaimed the “Queen of Pickles”, created a plate that was inspired by Japanese home cuisine, incorporating comfort foods she grew up with: pickles, rice, and tofu. She dedicated it to her father who had just passed away.

"Memories Inspired by Japanese Home Cooking"

“Taste memories inspired from Japanese home cooking during my childhood”

Her plate consisted of kimchi with leek pickle (a beer pickle); a matcha salt dusted lotus root chip and orange teriyaki grilled tofu; a rice pouch (inarizushi) with bamboo and enoki mushrooms; and a yuzu spinach roll topped with miso and sesame.

Chef Brown at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Brown at Union for Clam Jam

Brown's Plate being AssembledBrown's Plate, awaiting serviceBrown's Plate; smoked tomato and parmesan broth was added table-side

Brown grew up in a busy household with a lot of French cuisine, so there was always a stock pot on the stove-top. But, when her friends came over, her mother would prepare pizza soup, something more accessible.

"Mom's Pizza Soup"

“Mom’s Pizza Soup”

Her plate consisted of black olive confit king oyster mushrooms; bison pepperoni meatballs; tomatillo and green pepper salsa verde; micro basil; smoked tomato and Parmesan broth; and a “stuffed crust” cheese stick

Chef Larkin at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Larkin at Union for Clam Jam

Skilled Hands, assembling Larkin's PlateAdding the yuzu gel to Larkin's PlateLarkin's Plate, assembled and awaiting service

Larkin grew up in a tight knit neighbourhood in Ottawa, her street having an annual lobster party. Her family always brought Caesar salad.

Lobster and Caesar Salad

Lobster and Caesar Salad

Her plate consisted of lobster crudo with a Caesar garnish (Parmesan, soft boiled Quail egg, pickled ramps), charred romaine, bacon and panko crumble “croutons”, and yuzu gel.

Chef March at Union for Clam Jam

Chef March at Union for Clam Jam

Skilled Hands, assembling March's PlateMarch's Plate

For March, mac and cheese is a staple comfort food, something her mother made best. Though, her mother claims she is capable of cooking much more.

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Her plate consisted of breaded and deep fried mac and cheese, mushroom pickle, basil, scallion, and tomato ketchup.

Chef Clunie (Left) at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Clunie (Left) at Union for Clam Jam

Skilled Hands, assembling Clunie's PlateClunie's Plate

When Clunie was growing up in Kanata, food allergies were emerging. There were “all sorts.”

While her friends’ parents packed ham sandwiches for lunch, hers sent her to school with a thermos of lamb curry.

[Apologies to Clunie we did not get a better photo of her in the kitchen. However, our friend, Justin van Leeuwen, who is a talented professional photographer, shot a great portrait of her at Navarra for her profile in Ottawa Woman magazine.]

Lamb Curry

Lamb Curry

Her plate consisted of spicy curried lamb, wilted greens, mango pickle, raita, and spiced roasted chick peas.

Chef Foucault at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Foucault at Union for Clam Jam

Foucault's Plate, awaiting serviceFoucault's Plate

Foucault grew up with a fascination about rabbits. According to her, spotting one “made your day better.”

Her mother used to cook rabbit for her on special occasions.

Rabbit Three Ways: Stuffed Saddle and Liver Mouselline

Rabbit Three Ways: Stuffed Saddle and Liver Mouselline

Rabbit Three Ways: Rillette Cromesqui

Rabbit Three Ways: Rillette Cromesqui

Her plate consisted of stuffed saddle of rabbit, rabbit liver mousseline, and rabbit rillette cromesqui.

Chef Marwick at Union for Clam Jam

Chef Marwick at Union for Clam Jam

"Candy Apples"Marwick's Plate, assembled and awaiting serviceAmanda Last with Funnel CakeMarwick's Plate

Marwick introduced herself as she who makes the desserts at Union Local 613. She used to spend her $5 allowance on candy. Some of her fondest memories were of going to the carnival.

"Candy and Carnival"

“Candy and Carnival”

Her plate consisted of funnel cake, candy apple balls, green apple “jolly rancher” caramel, and lemon “sour patch” cotton candy.

Natali Harea of Gezellig (337 Richmond) baked the bread served. Sarah Feagan of Union Local 613 prepared pre-dinner appetizers. Also in the kitchen (and a number of the photos above), Amanda Last of Union Local 613 and Caroline Murphy of Black Cat Bistro.

After the Clam Jam event, we caught up with Chef Ishii.

It has been several years since we last interviewed her. These days, the restaurant she opened with her husband and sommelier Dave Loan continues to draw mentions in travel books and magazines. Ishii won back to back silver medals at Gold Medal Plates (2010 and 2011).

Much has changed.

ZenKitchen has “grown up a bit”; something Ishii credits her regular customers and staff, especially her Chef de Cuisine Kyle Mortimer-Proulx (formerly of Perspectives at the Brookstreet Hotel (525 Legget Drive)).

“Our food is better than before,” she told us. “Dave and I had a dream and a vision. Then, we got a reality check.”

Having cultivated a reputation as a strong community supporter, Ishii finds it difficult to choose between charitable events to participate in. All charities tend to be worthwhile.

“I pick the neglected ones; ones, I can be most passionate about.”

This is why she agreed to participate in both the Clam Jam event and the upcoming Red and White.

“Women and children, fleeing from their homes, [isn’t something] many people want to hear about.”

About Harmony House events, Ishii points out the Board of Directors attend. They are approachable and happy to explain how the funds raised make a difference.

About the Clam Jam event and working with Chef Brown and an all female kitchen, she said it was quieter than other event kitchens she has worked in. It was more conducive to collaboration.

“At the end of the night, everyone scrubbed down the kitchen. If there was a job to be done, someone would step up to do it, even washing plates for service.”

About Chef Allen, Ishii said she was invaluable even though Allen was outside of her comfort zone, working as a member of the front of house. Because she has so much experience working back of house, she knew how to keep the kitchen informed.

Keeping track of food allergies was particularly tricky.

As a diner, I did not notice any hiccup. Food was served efficiently. Plates were tasty. Dishes were personal and heartwarming.

If anything, the kitchen seemed overly flexible, accommodating so many dietary restrictions.

Did you miss the inaugural Clam Jam event? Tickets sold out very quickly.

Consider the Red and White. It’s for the same great cause. Some of the same chefs are participating.

That said, Harmony House fundraiser Tracey Gainforth-Lafleche has generously given us two tickets to give away.

Here’s the deal: Leave a comment at the end of this post with your favourite food from childhood. We won’t ask you to follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page. Just jot down what you most liked to eat as a kid, something that is likely comfort food to you now.

Supply us a viable e-mail address (it won’t be shared), so we can contact you.

One entry per person, please!

At noon (EST), next Tuesday (January 15, 2013), we will use Random.org to choose a commenter to receive two tickets to the Red and White event. We will contact the winner by e-mail and connect he or she with event organizers. Tickets will be held at the door for him or her.

Update: This contest is closed!

We received 19 viable entries. They follow:

  1. Devin
  2. Amanda
  3. C. Chiu
  4. Jen
  5. Mai
  6. Tony
  7. Brittany
  8. Kimberly Seguin
  9. HollyStar
  10. Sasha
  11. Alexis B.
  12. Clair
  13. Alison McDonald
  14. Amanda
  15. Sarah
  16. Patrick
  17. Jill Woodley
  18. Judy
  19. Danielle
Random.org Generated Value

Random.org Generated Value

Congratulations Alison McDonald, an e-mail will be dispatched to you shortly!

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.