Monday, March 30, 2009

FoodMODE at Ottawa Home Show


Robin Duetta of FoodMODE

I found out that FoodMODE magazine was hosting a series of kitchen demos at the Ottawa Home Show, so I decided to go check it out today. I was not disappointed, and was actually surprised at how well organized things were.

The FoodMODE kitchen demos helped folks gear up for the summer time by creating presentations with a BBQ and grilling theme. Each demo consisted of a chef/local farm pair, so that you could eat good food and be educated on why eating local is better, all at the same time.

Today's line up was a great one. It was:

- Ron Eade of the Ottawa Citizen and Omnivore's Ottawa blog teamed with Keith Salisbury from Natural Lamb Farms cooking gourmet lamb burgers, and

- Marc Lepine of Atelier Restaurant paired with Aartje den Boer of The Pickle Patch cooking kurobuta pork belly (photo of Marc and Aartje below).

Marc Lepine with Aartje from the Pickle Patch

I didn't get to Ron's demo early enough to snag a front row seat for photo opps, but believe me when I tell you that his lamb burgers were amazing. They were very moist and lean, but more importantly, the burgers didn't have that overpowering lamb flavor you normally get when eating lamb dishes. The burgers were served with crostini, aioli, and a balsamic syrup reduction. The Katahdin lambs at Natural Lambs Farm are grass fed, and have a lower cholesterel content compared to domestic or New Zealand lambs.

Marc Lepine was up after Ron Eade, and he made a sous-vide kurobuta pork belly with a black olive caramel sauce, fizzy apple slices, and BBQ bread. The pork belly was first cooked for 18 hours in his kitchen, and then lightly grilled at the show as a finishing touch. His dish also tasted great.

Kurobuta Sous-Vide Pork Belly

In Marc's presentation, he explained the concept of his "molecular gastronomy" restaurant, and also explained how Atelier is different from others. He brought his sous-vide machine for show and tell, and was truly excited to be educating the audience on the different techniques used at Atelier.

In the photo below, Marc is torching rosemary while explaining how scents can trick your brain into thinking you are tasting something you really aren't.

Marc Lepine Torching Rosemary

For those that are not familiar with the term 'kurobuta pork', it is very similar to the idea of Wagyu beef and meat marbling. Aartje revealed that her pigs are fed beer to help with the marbling effect, but it is still too early to see if her technique is working. Either way, I think it is extremely cool that our local farms are employing techniques that I always thought were foreign.

Overall, I really enjoyed myself. The presentations were informative, and I am now inspired to eat more local.


alfie said...

Excellent post,I will make an effort to go next year. What did the audiences think about the pork belly? Did it turn off a lot of people?

katy said...

Marc Lepine is a great chef. I would have loved to see that.

nooschi said...

The audience loved the pork belly and was not turned off at all! The pork belly combined with the apple and BBQ bread create a very tasty and unique flavor.

I agree. Ottawa is lucky to have a chef like Marc.