Chefx: Plates by Edgar and The Urban Element

Chefx Chefx

Does anyone remember when the Food Network were more “dump and stir” cooking shows and less “challenge a culinary professional to knacker up something edible” with leeks, tinned fish, gummi bears, and a cement mixer? Back then there was a show produced by Ottawa-local Chris Knight, called “Cook Like a Chef.” It involved following a veteran of the restaurant industry as he or she prepared dishes, explaining the ingredients and techniques along the way. Alas, such shows have fallen out of favour because home cooks no longer…well cook, like chefs or otherwise. Ever fast-paced, life... | Continue reading article

300 Dumplings for the Parkdale Food Centre

Wonton Noodle Soup Wonton Noodle Soup

Consider three-hundred sandwiches. Now, consider three-hundred dumplings. Last month, I found myself on Facebook, tapping out a comment about the blog a New York City reporter put together to chronicle her making 300 sandwiches for her boyfriend. The then viral blog involves an engagement ring. Me, I was pointing out we live in a hyper-transparent world in which people broadcast the minutia of their lives. While critics lambasted Stephanie Smith and her programmer boyfriend “E” for the blog’s seemingly misogynistic premise, I wondered if she just chose the 300-sandwich-for-an-engagement-ring schtick to contextualize her exploration of... | Continue reading article

Abby Eats a McLobster

Hope everyone had a great summer! For me, it went by all too quickly, particularly the month of August. But, summer isn’t quite over yet as autumn doesn’t officially start until September 22nd. So check out Abby’s adventure with the lobster roll. The McLobster may not be available for purchase anymore, but hopefully her recipe will inspire you to try making your own. Here goes! [Jenn] The moment I heard that McDonald’s was selling McLobsters, a lobster roll that had previously only been available in the Maritimes, I knew I had to try one. After... | Continue reading article

Mike McKenzie of Seed to Sausage: Building Homes with Bacon

Charcuterie Charcuterie

There has been much written about upstart salumi-producer Seed to Sausage, which is based out of Sharbot Lake. Founder Mike McKenzie is recognized in restauranteur and chef entrepreneur circles from Montreal to Toronto. Such may have something to do with McKenzie’s seeming cross-province speaking tour last month. Such may have something to do with Seed to Sausage’s philosophy, “local, ethical, and humble.” McKenzie believes in being able to trace his products to the “seed” that grew the grass or grain on which livestock grazed, hence “seed” to “sausage.” As much as possible, ingredients are locally-sourced... | Continue reading article

Unboring Sunday: The Ottawa Farmers’ Market’s Inaugural Black Box Competition

Essence Catering's Black Box Competition Plate Essence Catering's Black Box Competition Plate

In Ottawa, we make the best of the warm weather, our otherwise suffering through almost 6-months of sometimes bone-chilling cold. So, we organize outdoor events and festivals. In fact, there is something happening almost every weekend from June until September. This past Sunday, Tara Simpson, Communication and Events Manager of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, organized the inaugural (and hopefully annual) Chefs’ Black Box competition at Brewer Park. She invited two chefs. She set up two outdoor kitchens. Vendors donated both staples for a pantry (butter, cocao nibs, chicken stock, salt, Cave Spring Chardonnay 2010, etc.)... | Continue reading article

Canada Day 2012: Farmers’ Markets and Fireworks

Riverglen Biodynamic Farm Stall Riverglen Biodynamic Farm

Canada Day has again come and past, much of Ottawa participating. This year, unlike last, July 1st fell on a Sunday, so Jenn and I celebrated the weekend by visiting two of Ottawa’s farmers’ markets, the Preston Farmer’s Market and the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Brewer Park. On Canada Day proper, we visited a friend to celebrate his boyfriend’s birthday and ventured downtown to watch the annual fireworks display put on by the National Capital Commission. Preston Farmers’ Market At Preston Farmers’ Market, we partook of something unique to the incubator market located at the... | Continue reading article

Let’s Talk about Salumi: Seed to Sausage to Open a Retail Shop in Sharbot Lake

Seed to Sausage: Local Ethical Humble Seed to Sausage: Local Ethical Humble

How many of you are of the vintage that remembers the theme song to the classic television show The Beverly Hillbillies? Well, “Come ‘n listen to my story ’bout a man named”…Mike. Michael McKenzie, that is. Yes, there are a lot of “Michael”s in the realm of food in the National Capital Region. There’s Michael Blackie, Executive Chef of theNational Arts Centre; Michael Hay, Executive Chef of the Courtyard Restaurant; Michael Moffatt, Executive Chef of Play Food and Wine and Beckta Dining and Wine; and Michael Sunderland, artisan confectioner and trained pastry chef of michaelsdolce.... | Continue reading article

In Search of the Perfect Pig

Last year I shared my favourite pasta carbonara recipe with you. The most important ingredient in that dish, second only to the love I put into making it, is the guanciale. Guanciale is a non-smoked salt-cured pig’s cheek of Italian origins. It is traditionally made by sweating the pig or hog’s jowl in salt for a few days, before covering it in cracked pepper, and thyme and hanging for 3-4 months to cure. The texture is drier and harder than bacon, and more meaty in taste than pancetta. As the skin is left on, you... | Continue reading article