Grey Owl 2013



This past Friday, I made a road trip to Brandon, Manitoba.  I lived in Brandon for a short time and had heard of the infamous Grey Owl dinner but had never had the opportunity to attend.  The event is a very special and prestigious opportunity.

 The year at MICA  (Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts) culminates with the hosting and organization of the four-week Grey Owl fine dining restaurant. Students and staff come together to present a fusion of nouvelle and classic cuisine in the historic Grey Owl dining room at the institute. This annual tradition has enthralled the community for years. Culinary Arts students present a stunning fine dining menu to members of the public, while Hotel and Restaurant Management students practice their hospitality skills with tableside service. Tickets for the Grey Owl sell out every year and are eagerly anticipated by the community. Running this student-run event provides a practical component to both programs that is highly beneficial to their training.

You have likely heard the expression “the honour is all mine”.  This is so true when it comes to my associaton with the Manitoba Canola Growers who were my gracious hosts for the evening.

I am honoured:

  • to have been one of 24 guests invited to the 2013 Grey Owl dinner
  • to be considered a friend of the amazing Canola ladies: Ellen, Jen and Leanne.  Their hospitality, thoughtfulness and attention to detail is nothing short of stellar.
  • to have become acquainted with Isabel Wendell of Wendell Estate Honey, whose product was recently pitched on the CBC The Dragon’s Den
  • to have been sat a table with Dori Gingera-Beauchimen, Assistant Deputy Minister, Manitoba Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives (my Daddy would have been proud).
  • to have been set next to one of the Manitoba Recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal: Bruce Dalgarno and his wife Carol.  I have even had the pleasure of a field supper on their beautiful farm in Newdale, MB.
  • seeing Donna Jackson of High Bluff Stock Farm again.  I am continually impressed by her style, warmth and savvy.
  • to have acquainted and reacquainted myself with members of the Manitoba Canola Growers Board of Directors including President Ed Rempel and Vice-President Brian Chorney (the other Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal winner).
  • Spending time again with Getty Stewart, Pat Orsak and Joanne Ross of Agricilture in the Classroom.  By the way Joanne, if you are reading this, I want to volunteer for a Manitoba Breakfast. All of them, passionate women.

But speaking of passion, I was blown away with the expertise of the student chefs and dining room managers.  The food was visually stunning and the word delicious, is grossly inadequate.  This is one of those times when I am not going to be able to find enough superlatives, so I will let the photos do the talking: 

 Amuse Bouche (amuse or delight the mouth) and it did.

Spinach pumpernickel with a fiery kick and crunchy sweet crust topping.  They had me at the bread……

One of the many talented table side chefs (full of confidence and so personable). 

I can always recognize the hands of an artist.


 Don`t try this at home.

 My prawns and scallops in Pernod sauce.

 A nest garnish.


Stuffed Mushrooms.


Isn’t this pulled pork flat-bread, simply gorgeous (my question mark is not working on my keyboard today).

I do not know what these were but they came with a shooter of vodka.

My pomegranate salad.


The garnish of my fabulous steak.   

Ratatouille deconstructed and reconstructed.


Butterfly garnish on the rack of lamb. 

Stuffed chicken.

Prawns skewers on the side of planked salmon.

The dessert tray.


 My peanut butter ice cream.

The garnish on these strawberries remind me of the Caribbean sea.

The evening was quite simply-perfect:  new and old friends to share the time with and exquisitely prepared food which was obviously made with passion and love. 

Kath’s quote: “If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony.”-Fernand Point 

These hand made chocolates were served on an edible heart shaped platter.  Not being able to determine the heart shape in this photo is the fault of the photographer (me), not the skill of the pastry chef.

Love-that is all.

9 Comments to

“Grey Owl 2013”

  1. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 1:53 pm Jenn Says:

    Kathryne you are so sweet and so kind! It truly was an amazing night and the room was filled with passion, ambition, friendship, food and all things good.
    Thanks for sharing your re-cap and so glad that you were able to make the trek out to Brandon. Even the weather cooperated for highway travel! It was a night that was meant to be.
    Be Well…
    PS. You will love volunteering at a Made in Manitoba Breakfast. ;)

  2. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 2:13 pm rebecca Says:

    The appetizer that came with the vodka was a beet-cured salmon on blini with creme fraiche, capers and caviar. And it was spectacular.

    I was so impressed with the quality and attention to detail that the students put into everything. Such a memorable meal!

  3. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 2:40 pm Getty Says:

    Excellent recap, Kathryn. It was a wonderful night. Thanks for keeping me company on the drive and for the awesome fruit and cheese snacks.

  4. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 3:02 pm Johanne Says:

    Kathryn, I love your words, they are perfect! I too was thrilled to be included and always realize how lucky I am to be working with such passionate, fun, dedicated and inspiring agriuclture people. And I meet new ones everyday! Each time I am introduced to new people over incredible food (I ususally choose that meeting theme!)I realize how we are all connected no matter what we do with our lives. Agriculture just binds us all together in ways we never even thought of. Thanks to MCGA for bringing this particular group together….a perfect match made, surrounded by heavenly food! And Kathryn, I WILL be calling you to come for a Made in MB breakfast. We would love to have you!

  5. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 3:31 pm Jody @ Mommy Moment Says:

    Kathryn, Thank-you so much for sharing – the photos are wonderful and it sounds like it was an evening to remember. I am sad that I had to miss out on such a great event.

  6. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm Jeanine - the Baking Beauties Says:

    LOVED your recap, Kathryn! It was a pleasure to meet you. A memorable night indeed!

  7. Avatar January 28th, 2013 at 4:40 pm Ellen Pruden Says:

    Kathryn, you can feel the love of the post. What a beautiful night and thank you for coming and being part of our Be Well connect event. It was a great night of connections, food and fun! It was inspiring to me to hear everyone’s passion and I feel blessed to be part of such a great group and knowing you!

  8. Avatar January 30th, 2013 at 8:29 am Trina Says:

    So great to see you again! Loved reading your highlights from Friday night’s dinner. I’m still full!!

  9. Avatar January 30th, 2013 at 8:36 am Kathryne Says:

    Just read your recap too. Aren’t we blessed to have been on the invite list?

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