Canadian Culinary Federation President’s Gala Dinner

February6

D and I were invited to attend this prestigious event by Jennifer and Ellen of the Manitoba Canola Growers.  They were the perfect hosts and we had such a surprizingly, hilarious evening.  Before the evening was over, I felt as if I had made new lifelong friends.  See how food connects us together?

I could never do the Chefs of the Canadian Culinary Federation justice by trying to describe, in mere words, what each element of their artistic food creations were like.  There are not enough superlatives for the eleven course masterpieces.

So instead, I hope you will indulge me as I take you on a picture tour of the evening:

Appetizers were served in the lobby and although we missed out on Shish Taouk Wrappers, Scallion Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Wasabi, Arepas with Blue Cheese Pico de Gallo and Greek Style Quesadillas, we did sample Barbequed Oysters, Inside Out Sushi and Lebanese Chicken Wings. The wings were our favourite and we had wished that we had a vat of them to serve on Superbowl Sunday.  Chef Carl Oman and his students from Red River College were the creators of these offerings.

The Fish course was Farm- raised Saskatchewan Steelhead Trout Gravlax with Pickled Cucumber Orange Basil  Mayonnaise and Ceviche of Ahi Tuna with Mango Jalepeno Salsa and Micro Greens.  This was served with a Riesling to offset the saltiness of the Gravlax. I was especially drawn to the Ceviche.

I was relieved when the Game Course was Smoked Duck Breast with Roasted Beet Salad, Vegetable Chips and Beet Canola Vinaigrette.  Tiny slivers of the duck meant that we would have room for all that was still to come. Chef Joe Lindhorst and students from College Sturgeon Heights Collegiate handled these offerings beautifully.

The Soup Course turned out to be my favourite of the evening.  The Chicken Vermouth Soup was topped with a Seared Saffron Medallion, a swirl of Spinach Canola Oil and Tomato Concasse.  I applaud Chef Raymond Czayka & students from Kildonan East Collegiate.

The Sorbet Course provided us with some challenges.  We were not sure what was intended to be edible and what elements were simply the base to present the sorbets, but the Blackberry Merlot  and the Lemon Rosemary Ice were heavenly.  These were prepared by Pastry Chef Ainsley Long, staff & students from Kildonan East Collegiate.

We took a break just as we were to tuck in to the Main Course of Beef Tenderloin, Mushroom Duxelle & Puff Pastry served with Veal Jus, Mixed Bean Cassoulet and Assorted Baby Vegetables to go on a kitchen visit were we were able to congratulate Team Manitoba in person.

The Salad Course was a Mixed Herb Canola Salad with Toasted Mixed Seeds and a Herbed Parmesan Strip. Chef Andy Ormiston & students of Lord Selkirk Regional Secondary School beautifully assembled this offering.

One of the members of our table squealed in delight when the Dessert Course was served.  Red Velvet Cake Square, Napolean Torte, Cognac Truffles and Orange &  Pomegranate sauce.  Chef Helmut Mathae & students of Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre presented this sweet art.

A variety of wines were poured all evening long.  I was so fixated on the food details that I spent too little attention on the wine selection.  Suffice it to say, some were Canadian selections and all were perfect pairings.  Cognacs and creme liquers were served next.

By this time, we were given permission to taste Le Cirque au Chocolate Centrepiece that Pastry Chef MJ Feeke of Benjamin’s Gourmet Foods had created.

And lastly was a Bothwell Cheese Station.  I visually searched and found my favourite Black Truffle selection which was perfectly enhanced by Homemade Crackers prepared by Baker Terry Willerton & students from Tec-Voc high school.

By this time, we were shocked to know that it was 11 pm.  Hugs and good-byes were shared, knowing that the bond created on that night would connect us in the future. 

How blessed we are to live in Manitoba, with so many amazing local food choices right at our finger tips; made even better by the skill of world class chefs!

Kath’s quote: “You ought to have seen Frédéric with his monocle, his greying whiskers, his calm demeanour, carving his plump quack-quack, trussed and already flamed, throwing it into the pan, preparing the sauce, salting and peppering like Claude Monet’s paintings, with the seriousness of a judge and the precision of a mathematician, and opening up, with a sure hand, in advance, every perspective of taste.”
-Leon Daudet describing the preparation of pressed duck at the restaurant, La Tour d’Argent


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One Comment to

“Canadian Culinary Federation President’s Gala Dinner”

  1. Avatar February 7th, 2012 at 6:48 am bellini Says:

    It sounds like a truly amazing way to spend some time!


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