The dinner is part of a program organized by Edible BC called Cooking with BC’s Best Market Dinner. At each dinner, a renowned local chef would display his or her culinary skills and inspirations. First booked in February this year, we finally got to savour the dishes that we have been yearning for over the last six months. The chef for dinner was Lee Parsons, the executive chef at Bacchus Restaurant in the Wedgewood Hotel.
Present were Jonathan, Sherman, Mijune, Anita, and Joyce and I. The cool part of the dinner – other than having a well known chef cooking for you – is that the event was inside the after-hours Granville Public Market. The table of 20 was situated between the Stock Market and Edible BC’s retail store. On the table welcoming us were bread from La Baguette and a lovely dish of spot-prawn olive oil and balsamic vinegar (aged in a pinot noir wine barrel). Cooking out of a make-shift kitchen at the Edible BC store were Chef Parsons and his sous chef Vincent. There were literally two induction burners and one small convection oven.
The five-course tasting menu consisted of the following dishes and wine pairings:
First Course/Amuse Bouche: Chilled Essence of Vine Ripened Tomato
(Pemberton Distillery Schramm Vodka Summer Cocktail)
Second Course: Olive Oil Poached Snowpass Coho Salmon – shaved fennel salad, fennel cardamon puree
(Gray Monk Odyssey Brut 2007)
Third Course: Tortellini of Grain Fed Rabbit – crushed sweet peas, mustard cream
(8th Generation Classic Riesling 2009)
Fourth Course: Roasted Bison Striploin – golden chanterelles, fava beans, braised red beets, juniper jus
(See Ya Later Ranch Rover 2007)
Fifth Course: Orange & Cardamom Milk Risotto – lavender roasted peaches
(Quails’ Gate Optima 2007)
The tomato essence was quite refreshing, a perfect starter for a summer dinner – the use of cilantro and basil really lifted the pure flavour of tomatoes. The accompanying vodka martini was probably enough to put down a bull, but the use of herbs in the drink was quite interesting and effective. The poached salmon had an amazingly silky texture – it was soft and succulent. The puree was very delicious with a savoury note. Sherman and I tried to pinpoint where that savouriness came from but could only conclude that it was the magical taste of umami. The tortellini was tasty. The dish as a whole was simple and well constructed. The Bison striploin was cooked to perfect medium-rare. But, the flavour of those fava beans was a bit overwhelming, and the juniper jus was lost on the plate. Personally, I am not a fan of rice puddings in general. So, I am really not a fair judge when it comes to this dessert. One comment that I will make is that the peaches were not sweet and border-lining tasteless.
In addition to the meal itself, each diner walks away with the recipes and photos of all dishes they try over dinner, and they also have the opportunity to chat with the featured chef, observe the entire meal preparation and ask questions along the way. All in all, the concept for the dinner series was ingenious, but whether not it is worth the price tag is up to the diners.
One note for future patrons, remember to arrange transportation home. The amount of wine served at these dinners is generous.