A Night to Remember

Presented by the Slaight Family Foundation

A fractured arm while sailing in Newport, Rhode Island did not stop me from attending this star-studded event last night. Our chefs today are stars! Budding Michelin stars that is. We have to partly thank the Internet for connecting so many ‘foody’ connoisseurs around the world and share some great food! Our blogs open the window to these talented chefs. George Brown College has great culinary courses with the talented Chef John Higgins (Director) at the helm. This evening of extraordinary food made by extraordinary chefs was held in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for education and training new chefs at George Brown Chef’s school!

“Appetite for Change. One bite at a time”

Thursday September 22nd 2016
7:00pm – 11:00pm
George Brown College Waterfront Campus, 51 Dockside Drive, Toronto

The Canadian Chef’s Menu is mouth-watering!

What’s best at the waterfront is seafood. Chef Anthony Rose, Rose and Sons prepared this feast.
I eagerly tasted the culinary treats from most of the chefs that night!
Chef John Higgins (first chef awarded the Toronto Arts Culinary Award) believes in the FORMULA:  Passion + Hard Work = A Very Good Chef! You have to love food. Only a true foody need apply. Otherwise, it is not fun because of the long hours in the kitchen, chopping, simmering and arranging fresh market delights.

Chef John Higgins and Eva, with my broken arm

Chef John Higgins and Eva, with my broken wing

Chef John Higgins and G.B. Chefs in the Making

Chef John Higgins and G.B. Chefs in the Making

The environmentalist Chef Michael Stadtländer was one of the great chefs that night. Chef Stadtländer promotes and believes in farm to table dishes. Take a pilgrimage to his Eigensinn Farm where the freshest dishes are available for your  dining pleasure. An internationally celebrated destination for gourmets.

Chef Michael Stadtländer and Eva

Chef Michael Stadtländer and Eva

Chef Stadtländer made a butternut squash soup just in time for thanksgiving celebrations. The pickled beet garnish was the pièce de résistance that really did it.  Also, the meatball stuffed with cheese which came gushing out was divine .
I have been wined and dined this evening. Now it is time to hobble home.
Bon appetite!


Thomas Keller ~Michelin Star

THOMAS KELLER:  World-renowned chef, entrepreneur and mentor to young chefs.

“His cooking career began in the mid-1970s at the Palm Beach Yacht Club. His mother managed the restaurant, and his older brother, Joseph, helped teach him in the kitchen. published by www.sfgate.com”

Today, Thomas Keller’s restaurants on both side of the US coasts have won many awards. There is a screen in the kitchen of the French Laundry in California that is hooked up to Per Se in New York. The two kitchens can talk to each other.  Each kitchen can see the other kitchen’s operation.
With the magic of the Internet allows you to see a Chef Thomas Keller Cooking lesson!!!

Thoma Keller and Chef Eva (me)

Chef Thoma Keller and Chef Eva (me)

Both the Michelin three-star Per Se in Manhattan and The French Laundry in California have been on the list of top restaurants in the world.
While visiting New York, Thomas Keller  did a book signing.  In this photo Thomas Keller is signing all four of my cookbooks:
1) The French Laundry
2) Bouchon
3) Bouchon Bakery
4) Ad Hoc
I enjoyed his signature dishes while I was in Manhattan. That iridescent light in the picture was a camera flaw. But how appropriate it was. A glowing day!

In Manhattan

Thomas Keller Restaurant Per Se In Manhattan (Tuna Tartare -cornets)

Back home in Toronto (Canada) I recreated Thomas Keller’s Cornets with black sesame seeds from Thomas Keller’s very first cookbook:  The French Laundry Cookbook.  “Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche” pg. 6

At home in Toronto

Thomas Keller’s Cornet Creation Recipe – at home in Toronto


A lot of chefs talk about Thomas Keller. When you simply speak his name, your credibility as a chef is elevated. There was a great vintage TV commercial (1970-1980). “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen”. This statement applies to Thomas Keller. Dinner at his restaurants will run you about $600. You must be able to demand these prices, and his restaurants are always full.

One of 11 Cookbooks written by Thomas Keller

One of 11 cookbooks written by Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller has been a mentor to some of the greatest 3 star Michelin chefs today (Grant Achatz).  Great chefs that come from great mentors occurs when a willing chef has the curiosity of blending foods that accentuate taste and bring various flavours to your palate. Trying to make food art is part of it. That is why the phrase “The eye does half the eating” is true. And tastes so good that you have to enjoy this meal another time. (alas the spawn of cookbooks.) Food needs to be enjoyed at all levels. Thomas Keller is a master in the culinary world, who stays on top each and every year. What I personally like about Chef Thomas Keller is his willingness to work with his staff. They are all Chefs in Keller’s kitchen. They all contribute. That is how he brings out the best from his chefs. They want to please the palate of a true master Chef like Thomas Keller.  First thing in the morning, Keller would grab his mop out for the floors and wipe down his workstation. Those days are over.  Keller is still in the kitchen. Now, his role is more of a mentor, overseeing food preparation in the kitchen. Thank goodness!

I wanted to learn everything I could about what it takes to be a great chef. It was a turning point for me...quote by Thomas Keller

Sotto Una Buona Stella – Under a Lucky Star

BUCA Restaurant in Yorkville
And it was a lucky star tonight for those who gathered at Buca Restaurant in Yorkville to enjoy having Michelin star Andrea Berton from Milan present a dinner with resident Chef Rob Gentile, Buca restaurant.  It was a full house for a magnificent meal. It was our great pleasure to enjoy an evening with such fine chefs and staff to assist them.  The spectacular dish of the evening was Chef Burton’s Uovo (Egg). A white chocolate shell which had a somewhat rough texture and appeared to be sprayed on a very lightly texture yogurt mouse    and exposed a brightly coloured mango yolk when you broke into it. It was not too sweet, had a lot of flavour and perfect texture. The yogurt mouse was almost ethereal in its lightness and texture.
Enchantment by the SEA
The second runner up was Chef Andreas’ black cod with russet potato, sweet pea, brodo di prosciutto.  Honourable mention must be given to the raw B.C. spot prawn crudo by Chef Gentile. This event benefited Community Food Centres Canada for low income communities.  A wonderful evening was had by all and for a good cause.


Massimo Bottura

The stars were out tonight, as we waited in anticipation to meet Massimo Bottura at George Brown College. All the chefs-in-training, clad in their best whites were waiting with joy on this cold, crisp February night.stars-animated-gif

Massimo Bottura told interesting stories. Many of which are described in his book “Never Trust A Skinny Italian Chef”.  He dropped out of law school to follow his passion as a chef and his father would not speak to him for some time.  Massimo was awarded his third Michelin Star just weeks before his father passed. His restaurant has been named as the best restaurant in the world twice now.  The San Pellegrino site states:  Massimo Bottura’s three-starred Michelin restaurant, Osteria Francescana  was voted #1, 2018.

“So, how do each of these initiatives blend together to address the future of food? “One only needs to look at it with the right eyes,” Bottura said,

” One of those passions is reconsidering society’s changing relationship with food and the surrounding landscape. Alongside his wife and business partner, Lara Gilmore, Bottura is about to unveil Casa Maria Luigia, an 18th-Century villa-turned-bed-and-breakfast nestled in the hills of Emilia-Romagna that, as Gilmore puts it, “offers a 3D image of how we see Italy” published by bbc.com


Me and Chef Massimo  – Book Signing

Massimo Bottura spent a summer at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli (awarded best restaurant in the world for several years before closure) in Spain and a year at Alaine Ducasse’s restaurant in Monte Carlo. He was invited to be their head chef. An honour in itself. Massimo’s book “Never Trust An Italian Skinny Chef”  is an interesting read. I was up until 4:00 am reading his life’s journey.  In his talk and in his book, Massimo speaks about the difficulty in making a “simple” dish spectacular.  The stages of parmigiano reggiano was particularly interesting.

Parmigiano Reggiano SALAD
As an homage to Massimo, I am making a favourite salad of mine, which incorporates reggiano. I took this pictures right before leaving to meet Massimo Bottura for a second time. He is speaking again tonight at George Brown along with Canadian celebrity chef’s including Claudio Aprile, our own molecular gastronomy chef.
Image 1
Mushroom, Reggiano Salad

* 2 portobello mushrooms
* arugula lettuce
* balsamic syrup (home made)
* parmigiano reggiano, shaved slices
* thin slices of prosciutto or seranno ham

Sauté slices of portobello mushrooms in some olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt. Not much since the prosciutto will be salty enough. No pepper.  The arugula is peppery enough. Set mushrooms aside. Fry  until crispy like bacon (who doesn’t love bacon?), slices of Serrano or prosciutto, adding more olive oil if required. Place arugula on a platter. Layer on top the sautéed mushrooms, fried prosciutto, shavings of regianno, and drizzle with the syrup.

HAT2FOOD TIPS: There are no quantities in this recipe as you will use as much as you need for the amount of servings. It would be best served on a flat platter with a serving spoon and people can help themselves. As there are only a few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients are paramount.  I buy the serrano fresh from the local St. Lawrence market (in Toronto, CAN). I have the butcher slice it for me.  I buy the reggiano from the same location.  I have them cut it from the wheel instead of buying the pre-cut sections.  I tell them that I need a larger slice, even if I don’t.  It gives me an excuse to have them cut it.  If you can, it would be best to buy the day the wheel is cut.  Reggiano is a living ingredient which deteriorates in quality the same way that a wine does after it’s open.  You can only appreciate this when you have tasted it.  I notice there are stores today that will announce that they are cutting wheels of cheese.  When they do, run…… It will be worth it!