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Archive for September, 2010

Classic Dishes from Two Chefs and Cocktails from Jay Jones

On Friday, October 15th, for one night only, Two Chefs and a Table is turning the calendar back to the days of prohibition for a special dinner featuring a set menu matched with cocktails from Vancouver’s cocktail slinging-legend Jay Jones.

The food selections are built on classic early 20th-Century dishes while Jay’s paired drinks list will be deeply rooted in vintage recipes. The room will be transformed for the night to evoke the era with period music, privacy curtains on the door and windows, entry by password and other surprises.

With Jay spending his time on education, consultancy and writing, this will be a rare opportunity to see Jay back behind the wood crafting and slinging cocktails for what’s sure to be a great night of intimate fun, great food and cocktails.

“We were working on a special menu with Jay for a catering client and we were so excited about the results that we thought it was a natural for a night at the restaurant,” said Karl Gregg. “We wanted to hold it on a weekend to allow our customers and staff to really enjoy the full experience of the evening.”

There will be two seatings for this special evening and reservations are strongly recommended. The cost per person is $65 (not including tax and tip). Call 778-233-1303 or email info@twochefsandatable.com for reservations.

Speakeasy Night Menu

Appetizers & Aperatif

  • Lambs in Blankets: Polderside lamb, bourbon cherry, herbs, wrapped in brioche
  • Smoked Citrus Duck: sunflower duck, orange ricotta, crisp apple
  • Anjou and Blue: Poplar Grove blue cheese mousse, Anjou pear, caramelized walnuts
  • 3 Mushroom Caps: brown mushrooms stuffed with lobster, and chantrelle mushrooms, emmenthal, foccacia
  • Salmon Rilletes: sockeye salmon, dill crème fraiche, rye blinis

Prohibition Punch: Gordon’s Gin, Pimm’s no.1, White Wine, Rose Syrup, Lemon Juice, Rose Petals

First Course & Cocktail

Waldorf Salad: The classic salad of BC apples, celery, grapes, handmade mayonnaise & caramelized walnuts

White Lady: Tanqueray Gin, Triple Sec, lemon juice, orange bitters

Entrée & Cocktails

Choice of:
Grilled Veal Chop: Table-side Bernaise or Chasseur sauce with pommes duchesse & baby vegetables

Mint Julep: Maker’s Mark Bourbon, fresh mint & sugar

~or~

Coq au Vin: Classic red wine braised Polderside Farms chicken with pomme puree & roasted vegetables

Manhattan: Canadian Club classic whisky, sweet vermouth, aromatic bitters & brandied cherry

Dessert & Cocktail

Cherries Jubilee
Local cherries with, bourbon, kirchswasser, and vanilla gelato

Sazerac: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Peychaud’s Bitters, absinthe, sugar & lemon zest


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Celebrate with in-home catering or five courses at the Bistro

If only out of gratitude for the bounty of great local food that’s grown, raised and harvested in BC, Thanksgiving should be one of the most important holidays on the calendar for all Vancouverites and certainly those who love great, fresh food. The ever-growing focus on regional food makes Thankgiving the ideal time to celebrate the year’s harvest.

This year, Two Chefs and a Table are again marking Thanksgiving with restaurant and catering menus made using a broad range of seasonal local and sustainable ingredients. Along with delicious lamb from Polderside Farms and locally raised turkey, this year’s Thanksgiving menu will originate even closer to home with Gregg family heirloom tomatoes and herbs grown on the bistro roof.

The five-course set menu to be offered on the Saturday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend starts with housemade lamb pate and heirloom tomato soup and finishes with seasonal desserts made from scratch. Inbetween, the centrepieces of the dinner will be the main courses of roasted lamb and turkey accompanied by local seasonal vegetables and housemade dressings.

Along with dining at the bistro, Two Chefs and a Table will also be offering a limited number of in-home catering opportunities focussed on traditional Thanksgiving menus made with the same exceptional local ingredients used in the celebratory set menu. Call 604-340-4461 or email karl@twochefsandatable.com for more details.

Thanksgiving Dinner will be served Saturday and Sunday October 9th and 10th and will be only $44 for the five courses. Full menu details are below and reservations are recommended. To book your table, or for more information on Two Chefs and a Table, visit www.twochefsandatable.com or call 778-233-1303.


Two Chefs and a Table Thanksgiving Menu

First Course

Polderside lamb pate w/classic garnish & handmade onion bread

Second Course
Heirloom tomato soup: Gregg Farm heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil puree, classic bacon croutons
Third Course

Polderside Roasted lamb leg: rolled and slow roasted with fresh herbs, sweet potato, yam and carrot

Entree
Roasted local turkey: white and dark meat with a chestnut dressing, pan jus, pomme puree and local fall vegetables

Dessert
Choice of: Pumpkin pot de crème w/ a cinnamon cream
or/ Matsuda Farms apple tart: Hand picked Macintosh apple w/ vanilla gelato


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They look even better up close

As a way of celebrating this season’s great organic heirloom tomatoes that we got from Karl’s dad’s hobby farm in Penticton, we’re hosting a Wine Drinker Dinner on September 22nd with a menu built on these tomatoes. We’re pairing the meal with great wine selections from Catalunya, Penedes & Rioja, chosen with help from our good friend Michael Godin at Pacific Wines and Spirits.

In building the courses and menu, we drew on ideas from Michael’s time in Spain and our studies of Catalan kitchen styles. We started with classic Pyreneean and Mediterranean Coastal recipes and then shaped them with the freshest local ingredients and products to create a five-course meal of great flavours. We’re going to be matching them with some surprising wine pairings primarily drawn from the Spanish vineyards of Miguel Torres. To read a blog on how the menu was imagined and built, visit our blog (https://twochefsandatable.wordpress.com/) where Karl has written about the process for this dinner.

The five-course dinner costs $65pp (tax and gratuity not included). For reservations, please email info@twochefsandatable.com or call 778-233-1303. Two Chefs and a Table is located at 305 Alexander St. and can be found on the web at twochefsandatable.com.

Amuse Bouche
Bread with tomato
: Thin country baguette with heirloom tomato jam

Wine/cocktail: Torres 5 Mojito

First Course
Smoked mussel and tomato bisque: Saltspring Mussel, chive oil, crème fraiche

Wine: De Casta Rose 2009 – Catalunya  Garnacha/Carinena

Second Course
Sea salt flatbread: Hand made with white anchovies, stewed heirloom tomato, pine nuts, olive oils
Wine: Vina Esmeralda

Third Course
Merguez Sausage: Pan roasted, white beans, roasted zuchinni, tomato, grilled onion

Wine: Coronas 2006 (Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon)

Entrée
Rabbit stewed with chocolate, tomato, herbs
: Almonds, quartet of catalan herbs, baby vegetables

Wine: Ibericos Rioja 2007 Tempranillo

or/
Classic paella: Classic style with freshWest coast seafood

Wine: Gran Sangre de Toro 2005  Garnacha, Carinena & Syrah

Dessert

Manchego Cheesecake: 12 month manchego, cream, tomato confit jam

Wine: Floralis Moscatel Oro

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Wine Drinker Dinners: we have done quite a number of dinners which are based on food, fun and wine, and we like to think that our Wine Drinker Dinners combine all three . This is a quick snapshot of the process we go through to get to the final product pulled together–the theme, the wine selections, the menu.

Wine: first of all we like to work with wine producers and agents that are also very involved with the first two things (food and fun) as well. It’s important to us that they love their wines– really love their wines — and are not just salesman but people who have a passion for the business.

They have to love food as well as they know their wines and need to be able to express to us how we will best represent their wines paired with our food. In the end, the key to the dinners is having pairings the reflect both food and wine well, even whenthe pairing turns out to be an obscure one like a smoky chardonnay with a steak (OMG! White wine and steak–if you think about it the idea of smoky oak wine with meat works for me.)

They also have to be able to have fun and make sure we see eye to eye with all of what we are doing!

Fun: the dinners always have to be top notch when it comes to ingredients, preparation, and finished product, but that doesn’t mean we cant have fun with the process. As a team, we have a lot of fun with the set up, the tastings of the wine and such. Playing with the wine and food pairings of wines is a great way to put a new spin on things and grow our understanding of the process.

Food: well this is what we do and we do like to have fun with it, and when we are able to pair the flavors with the wines we’re showcasing, it can turn out to be a really fun night or nights. The showcase also pushes us a bit to explore new techniques, dishes and products.

The Process

Usually, we start out with an idea whether it’s a season, a holiday occasion or a particular ingredient. The focus of the next dinner is tomatoes. We have a lot of great products from my dad’s farmed heirloom tomatoes that we’ve talked about a lot on here!

The idea was to work with Michael from Pacific Wines and Spirits with whom we have done a lot of these dinners. He spent a lot of time in Spain and we thought a menu built on Catalan-style foods with the heirloom tomatoes and other local foods would be a great theme for us.

Brainstorm

The brainstorming is one of the really fun, creative parts of the process. We sit around and throw ideas around at each other. Different foods and wines– what kind of foods what kind of wines and how do we want to make all this work.

The Banter

“How bout Rabbit?” — “Yeah rabbit’s cool lets do something with rabbit and tomato and chocolate.“

“I’m super proud of the Tomato jam, lets use it as a amuse bouche with a perfect piece of toast”

“We’ve got some lamb from Polderside farms coming why don’t we make a merguez sausage?” –“ Yes!”

“Hey, we made some great tomato soup, lets pair that with a some salt cod or shrimp”– “Hmm, no don’t like that, how about with just a smoked mussel?” — “Ok sweet do that”

At the end of that session, we normally have the rough parameters of the menu sorted out and we can put the chicken scratchings on the back of a prep list into action on a draft menu.

Wait for Part Two to see where we are at next in the preparations for this dinner. As I said this is a work in progress, so lets see where it goes from here.

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A weekend of private parties

Well, it seems that the catering gods lined up some interesting events for us recently:  there was last week’s trifecta of wedding events–rehearsal, engagement party and wedding all in one day and then this weekend threw the same kind of mix but just a little bit different. The events weren’t as big in the number of guests but came with even bigger expectations.

This was the weekend of private parties at peoples’ houses. They were very intimate affairs, really, but I would say harder in many ways than big events. Each one was in a private residence, each with the ever popular open island kitchens . . .  meaning nowhere to hide!!

We were all over the lower mainland doing these events: Westwood, Shaughnessy, Kerrisdale, and Tsawassen. They were all quite different events, one a birthday for 6, one a 60th birthday for 30 people, an end of summer party, and another birthday. Some were seated dinners, some were cocktail parties and one was just a good old party party.

The tough part of these events was all kitchens were wide open and this means that the whole operation had to be uber clean, tidy becase every move can be documented by a camera or a exuberbant guest. For the most part, this is quite fun and makes for the night to fly by sometimes, but can embarrassing if you forgot a ingredient or if you break or burn something, and we all know that no one’s perfect!

Here are some of my keys to a great private event:

Have fun with the guests, and be sure that all questions are treated like good ones. So, if they ask you why are you a chef, the response isn’t “well I couldn’t make it to the NHL so here I am cooking for you . . .”

Know your products and be sure to explain where they are from and where they can be bought

Always share the recipes! Unless a signature item, but for the most part share and help them be better at cooking

Use nice pans, pots, ingredient holders and utensils. Unlike big events in industrial kitchens where utility is the most important thing, a nice set of equipment makes a much better impression in a small setting

Also, be sure to have it set up like you are on a cooking show, portioned amounts etc will be more impressive.

Don’t sear in a lot of oil and try to keep the menus house kitchen friendly, we all know that home exhaust fans cant catch all the oil if you are doing something like searing foie gras or duck breasts. So, should the menu call for that, use a portable burner outside, they will appreciate it a lot.

Make sure the menu suits the kitchen ahead of time, never want to get to a event and find out they have a 3 burner stove, no oven and a microwave

Look Sharp, it’s you and a small island and generally really good lighting

The best part of these dinners is the close proximity though, you get to see what people think of your meal instantly. Lots of good feedback is fun anywhere and you get the bonus of feeling like you’re watching a TV show sometimes because of great dinner conversation or the always fun family bickering . .  .

Well, after being a private chef for a weekend, I am off to be a part time contractor. We’re retiling the restaurant and well its my turn to put up a wall or something

Hope you enjoyed your weekend,
Karl

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The Last Tomato Supper

So we had been busy pitting fresh cherries, cleaning and poaching baby artichokes, breaking a tenderloin down, and basically setting ourselves up for dinner service since about 2 pm when I saw the last two tomatoes from Gregg Farms aka my Dads garden (Gregg Farms sounds way better though).

So I figured a quick supper to celebrate the end of the season was in order for me, Al, Mark and Richard, one of our new hotshot kids. I rummaged through the cooler and found a couple of Polderside chicken breasts, some baby zucchini and fresh basil and got started. I skinned the breasts and kept the skin of course, cut the tomatoes to wedges and pan roasted them with vegetable stock, garlic oil and basil, and a handful of micro parsley, onion, and chervil. As that roasted down in another pan I fried the chicken skin in some applewood bacon fat until brown and crispy, I then drained it out on paper towel to cool.

The tomatoes were now a great consistency of cross between stewed and chunky sauce, I added the chicken and got a pot of fresh pasta going, Al was rolling it as I was doing everything else. I then minced the crispy skin, add some sea salt and bread crumbs, then back to the sauce pan. I sliced the zucchini thin like pasta and tossed it briefly, pasta down on plate, then sauce and then bread crumbs and shredded Grano Padano!

A perfect supper for not so perfect a day, there were many things that went wrong today, but this made up for it. Sometimes, it’s just about getting your hands a little dirty and being inspired by great ingredients. Beer is good to make the blues go away. but so is a great meal.

At Least I think so, Mark, Al and Richard have yet to comment yet.

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