Twice Blessed: Essence Catering Partners with Sarah J’s Cupcakes for Winning Chocolate Combo

Chocolate and Cherries from Essence Catering Chocolate and Cherries from Essence Catering

Last Saturday, the Centurion Conference & Event Centre (170 Colonnade Road) saw the 10th annual Carefor Chocolate Competition come to pass. There were 400 attendees. Eight local establishments submitted sweet confections for the competition: last year’s “Judge’s Choice” winner Essence Catering (430 Parkdale Avenue), Fratelli Restaurants, Hilton Garden Inn (2400 Alert Road), Les Fougeres (783 Route 105, Chelsea), National Arts Centre (53 Elgin Street), The Joy of Gluten Free (250 Greenbank Road), Todric’s Restaurant and Catering (10 McArthur Avenue), and Truffle Treasures (314 Richmond Road). Chef Jason Laurin of Essence Catering teamed up with Sarah... | Continue reading article

Noodle Noodles Rah Rah Rah: Noodlefest Aftermath

Barbecued Duck Ramen by Jonny Korecki Barbecued Duck Ramen by Jonny Korecki

What can I say about a noodlefest I bought tickets to attend ($10/person), but ended up working at as a volunteer hand for one of its vendors, Tarek Hassan of Gongfu Bao? Well, the venue’s kitchen at the Ottawa Convention Centre is enormous. A paragon of cleanliness, the gleam from well-cared-for stainless steal surfaces blinded me. The centre’s executive chef, Geoffrey Morden, was also very patient, working with Sip ‘N Slurp’s vendors to prep, heat, and assemble dishes for event-goers. His fryolater station was particularly popular. It saw hundreds of spring rolls and churros. Pots... | Continue reading article

Three Dog Winery + Harmony House = The Red and White

Imagine sitting at your dining room table, sipping a wine from a vineyard you helped plant, or knowing that you were there at the beginning? John and Sasha Squair are Prince Edward County’s biggest supporters. Residents of the county, involved in every good cause, found at every local event, they have been promoting the County’s bounty for many years. In a tremedous act of “going for broke” and “living your dream”, John and Sasha Squair started their very own winery: Three Dog Winery, in 2013. A few of us headed down there in June to help plant... | Continue reading article

Canadian Cheese – an evening with a “Savvy” Cheese Sommelier

Canada recently announced a free trade deal with the European Union and, as with any such deal, there are likely to be winners and losers. One item of concern was the possible increase in imports of French cheese. While I love a good Brie, it is fair for Canada’s smaller, less established cheese makers to be concerned; can they compete in a larger market? Canadian cheeses, as I have written before, are all kinds of yummy: from aged cheddars to soft barely-born ricottas, there is something for everyone. A great way to learn about cheese... | Continue reading article

Relatively Wordless Wed…I mean Thursday: Happy Halloween from Hooch Bourbon House

Hooch Halloween at Oz Hooch Halloween at Oz

It is always an honour to partake of meals made by chefs for their peers. Michelin Stars, AAA/CAA Diamonds, and listings published by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine are nice and all, real boons to business, but it’s often judgement from your peers that count. Who else beside those that brave the heat of a commercial kitchen to put intricate plates of well executed food on the pass for service truly understands what you do? Members of Ottawa’s restaurant and catering industry cooking for their own is what makes the exclusive “Chef Appreciation” night at Oz... | Continue reading article

Thanksgiving, giving back and Lumière Gala at Brookstreet Hotel

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family and reconnecting. It is also a time for reflecting on the bounties of the land, and the blessings in our lives and for giving back. Every year, the Brookstreet Hotel holds its Lumière Gala. This fundraising gala is quite the event with “le tout Ottawa” gathering for an evening of Jazz music and Jazz-themed dishes in support of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and the Wesley Clover Foundation. Local chefs pitch in to create an assortment of small dishes and this year was not different: I spotted Chef John... | 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

The Nova Scotia Eatery Returns to Ottawa

The Nova Scotia Eatery The Nova Scotia Eatery

It’s always been my dream to visit every part of Canada. The physical landscape is so diverse and stunning that it would take some time before I could see it all. And, of course, to sample all the cuisines each region has to offer. Having spent much of my childhood exploring the mountains, seeing the Pacific Ocean, and eating the best Vancouver has to offer, I hope to someday visit the Atlantic provinces and sample some great food. But, until then, Don and I will just have to be satisfied with some tasty offerings from... | Continue reading article