Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Monday Night with the Fraser Brothers and Michael Stadtländer at Table 40
As chef and food activist Michael Stadtländer makes his way to the Canadian Chefs' Congress in Nova Scotia, he treated food fans by stopping in Ottawa on Monday to team up with Ross and Simon Fraser for a 6-course dinner at their private dining room, Table 40.
The event sold out quickly and was actually overflowing. I counted 45 diners in total tucked in at the ends of tables and also at the bar.
We arrived early and checked out the famous traveling bus, The Northern Light, decked out with sleeping quarters and a substantial kitchen. Behind the bus, Mark Snyder had set up his traveling kitchen too - The Flatbread Pizza Company. Mark was in charge of the amuse-bouche and he also had a hand in crisping up the piglet course.
They started us with Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava and Stadtländer's house made sourdough bread. For those that chose, (which I did), you could enjoy pairings with each course.
The dishes speak for themselves.
[Slice of pizza with bruleed figs and Clarmell On The Rideau pure chèvre goat cheese from Clarmell Farms] - by Mark Snyder of The Flatbread Pizza Company
[Soup from Eigensinn Farm Tomatoes, Acadian Sturgeon Cartilage with Acadian Sturgeon Tartare and Caviar] - by Team Stadtländer
Staete Landt "Anabel" Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand
[Wild BC Ivory Salmon and Green Curry, Crab, Roasted Cauliflower with Sesame and Lime] - by Team Fraser Café
Charles Baker Riesling 2009, Niagara, Ontario
[Tangier Lobster Risotto, Blue Potato, Prosciutto, Crazy Dave's Greens and Eigensinn Baby Fennel] - by Team Fraser Café
Closson Chase South Clos Chardonnay 2010, Prince Edward County, Ontario
[Roasted Eigensinn Farm Piglet with Potato Dumpling with Lovage and Parsley and Eigensinn Farm Garden Vegetables] - by Team Stadtländer
Norman Hardie County Pinot Noir 2010, Prince Edward County, Ontario
[Canary Melon and Passion Fruit Sorbet]
[Roast Duck and Foie Gras Torchon and Red Wine Plums, Wild Rice and Roasted Squash Crêpe and Wild Mushrooms] - by Team Fraser Café
Painted Rock Merlot 2007, Okanagan Valley, BC
[Spicy Kuri Squash and Ontario Wild Blueberry Tart with Maple Syrup, Ontario Wild Ginger and Double Cask 12 Year Old Balvenie Whisky Ice Cream] - by Team Stadtländer
Hétszölö Tokaji Aszu 2000, Tokaji, Hungary
My favourite tastes were the duck dish (particularly the Wild Rice and Roasted Squash Crêpe) by Team Fraser Café and the Balvenie whiskey ice cream by Team Stadtländer.
Surprised to see sturgeon cartilage on the menu, I expected it to have the texture and flavour of softened fingernails. And it does. I learned that we have wild ginger in Ontario. Who knew!
The bus rolled into town around midnight on Sunday evening. Organizers Christian Morrison and Julie Gibb had friends in town that happily hosted the bus team indoors for the two nights before they headed to Montreal. Thankfully, the hosts' neighbour is a bus mechanic. He was pressed into service Monday morning to work his magic, fixing the troublesome problem of the bus being stuck in reverse (and facing the garage)!
But this dinner wasn't just about enjoying delicious food with wonderful people in a friendly setting. We are privileged in Canada to have Chef Stadtländer as a strong voice speaking out against issues that affect us all. There he was, just moments before the event was to launch, in the CBC studio on Queen Street with Evan Solomon on Power & Politics, sharing his concern about genetically modified alfalfa - a hot topic for the CCC this weekend.
Click on the icon to watch the program. Stadtländer's segment goes from 1:49:00 to 1:55:30.
Thank you to Ross and Simon Fraser, Michael and Nobuyo Stadtländer and their crews. It was a memorable evening and the service was excellent.
*** Check out the Stadtländer team's photographer's photos from Monday, now up on Facebook in a Canadian Chefs' Congress album - Fraser Table 40 in Ottawa. ***