On Nov. 18, the Restaurants Canada team attended the launch of Canada’s 100 Best: The Cooking Issue. Held at the Chef’s Table – a beautiful space at George Brown College – the evening provided an opportunity to celebrate Canadian cooking, inspired by the best of Canadian chefs.
“Canada can sometimes have an inferiority complex when it comes to food,” said Donna Dooher, President and CEO of Restaurants Canada. “Kudos to Canada’s 100 Best for making us proud of food again!” She spoke about the upcoming Restaurants Canada Show, Hospitality Unleashed, to be held on Feb. 28, 29 and March 1 in the Enercare Centre (formerly the Direct Energy Centre). The 2016 list of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants will be announced at the show, during the March 1 Breakfast with Champions event.
Jacob Richler, editor-in-chief of the magazine, spoke about what this issue meant to him. He asked the top chefs to send their favourite recipes, ones they make at home, with a story behind them – maybe a recipe inspired by a family member, or a restaurant meal they ate that sparked an idea for them.
These stories show a personal side of the chefs that share them. Justin Leboe of Calgary’s Model Milk wrote about being unimpressed by Fettuccine Carbonara at the age of eight, then realizing how perfect it was seven years later when he prepared it under the watchful eye of a chef. Scott Jaeger, chef and owner at Burnaby’s The Pear Tree spoke about eating a perfect pear for the first time, and how that inspired his Poached Pears with Caramel, Hazelnut Crumble, and Vanilla Ice Cream.
Of course an evening like this wouldn’t have been complete without samples of some of the amazing recipes featured in the magazine. George Brown culinary students in their graduating year prepared variations on several recipes from Canada’s 100 Best: The Cooking Issue. Riccardo Bertolino’s (Maison Boulud) Saffron Risotto with Marrow and Chanterelles was on the offering, as was Carl Heinrich’s (Richmond Station) Roast Beef with Pommes Kennedy, Brown Butter Hollandaise and Mushroom Jus.
Canada’s 100 Best: The Cooking Issue is available at newsstands everywhere.
Riccardo Bertolino’s Saffron Risotto with Marrow and Chanterelles
- 1 kg (about 2 lb) veal marrow bones, cut into 7 cm (3 inch) pieces
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 250 mL (1 cup) of mirepoix (equal parts diced leeks, carrot and celery)
- 3 sage leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 L (about 12 cups) veal stock
- 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g (7 oz) chanterelles, cleaned and trimmed – trimmings reserved
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Tbsp minced shallots
- 1 small sprig rosemary
- 2 sage leaves
- 30 mL (1 oz) Madeira (or white wine)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp minced chives
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 250 g (9 oz or about 1 2/3 cups) minced Spanish onion
- 350 g (13 oz or about 1 3/4 cups) Carnaroli Rice
- 90 mL (3 fl oz) white wine
- 2 saffron powder sachets (0.125 g each)
- Pinch of saffron pistils
- Salt and white pepper
- 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, diced
- 100 g (3 oz) freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 Tbsp minced Italian parsley
- 1 Tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Micro-planed lemon zest
A couple of days before making the risotto, place the veal bones in a large non-reactive container, cover with salted cold water, and refrigerate. Change the water every eight hours or so, until all the blood has flushed out of the marrow. When the water stays clear, rinse the veal bones under cold water, drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 160⁰ C ( 325⁰ F). Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium low, and sweat the mirepoix and reserved mushroom trimmings until wilted and soft. Add the sage, bay leaves, and marrow bones. Follow with the veal stock (it should completely cover the bones). Raise heat and bring to the boil. Remove from heat, cover, and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Strain the stock into a fresh pot. Discard the sage and mushroom trimmings and reserve the vegetable mirepoix at room temperature. Use a small spoon to scoop the marrow from the bones, and reserve, covered, at room temperature. Discard the bones.
Heat the oil in a skillet on medium, add the mushrooms, and sweat until they drop their liquid and it reduces to syrup. Add the butter, garlic, shallots, sage and rosemary. Raise heat and deglaze with the wine. Season, stir in chives, and set aside.
To make the risotto, first heat flavoured veal stock to a bare simmer. In a large saucepan or sauté pan, heat the olive oil on low. Sweat the onion until it begins to soften – but do not colour. Add the rice and stir frequently. Toast the rice for one minute – but do not allow it to colour. Add the white wine and stir until it is reduced to syrup. Add warm stock to cover, stirring continuously. Add the saffron and the reserved mirepoix strained from the veal stock. Keep stirring. Whenever the liquid gets low, add another small ladle of stock to cover the rice. Continue stirring and adding liquid until the rice is al dente – about 15 minutes. Season with a little salt and white pepper as you go. When the rice is done to your liking, and the consistency is creamy, remove pot from the heat and stir in the butter, marrow and Parmigiano Reggiano – and stir well, to obtain the traditional all onda texture. Finish with the parsley, olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. Taste, and correct seasonings. Serve on warm plates. Finish each portion with a scattering of mushrooms and a little lemon zes