The Tomato

Behind the scenes at Cook It Raw SAIT Kitchen Party

in 2015 November December, Cook it Raw

Cook it Raw Alberta ends with top international culinary talent  joining Alberta chefs in the kitchen at SAIT

by Mary Bailey

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Cook it Raw is a gathering of the world’s most avant garde chefs, “an annual event that brings internationally recognized and emerging chefs together with dedicated producers, community leaders, academics and cultural producers to discuss and explore the politics of food through four guiding principles—environment, tradition, creativity and collaboration.”

Imagine a think tank-type gathering of the best in the world, but with much better food.

There have been seven previous incarnations of Cook it Raw, founded in 2009 by the magnetic Alessandro Porcelli. The Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance brought the gastronomic road show to Alberta in 2015, starting with a week in Lac la Biche Provincial Park in late May. The brief? To explore Alberta’s culinary frontier, to forge strong links between chefs worldwide and, most importantly for Albertans, create a lasting culinary narrative that attracts curious travellers from around the globe.

Heavy hitters, some of the biggest names in the culinary universe, with several Michelin stars among them—Albert Adria from Spain; JP McMahon from Ireland; Syrco Bakker from Holland; Magnus Ek from Sweden and Elizabeth Falkner, Amanda Cohen, Preeti Mistry and Brandon Baltzley from the US – joined 14 Alberta chefs on the culinary frontier. Literally. They fished, foraged, swam, wandered about in the woods, cooked, drank wine and talked about food, in particular Alberta’s culinary identity.

After several days at Mount Engadine Lodge, roughing it in Kananaskis country (no cell service), the Cook it Raw experience ended in Calgary with a walk-about tasting at Rouge Restaurant and a dinner in the SAIT kitchens.

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the prep for that dinner.

Click on thumbnails to zoom. All photos by Mark Mahaney.

JP McMahon, the obsessive educationalist, owns and operates three restaurants with his wife Drigin Gaffey in Galway

JP McMahon, the obsessive educationalist, owns and operates three restaurants with his wife Drigin Gaffey in Galway. The canola dish, created with chefs Darren MacLean and Liana Robberecht, became an ode to all things brassica.

Albert Adria “I haven’t worked in pastry in eight years,” chef Adria confessed while planning the saskatoon dish. No matter. Over 6000 people visit restaurants in the elBarri group Albert runs with his brother Ferran. Yes, that Ferran.

Albert Adria “I haven’t worked in pastry in eight years,” chef Adria confessed while planning the outstanding saskatoon dessert. No matter. Over 6000 people visit restaurants in the elBarri Group Albert runs with his brother Ferran in Barcelona. Yes, that Ferran.

Syrco Bakker, Pure C on the beach in Cadzand, Netherlands; gained a Michelin star for Pure C within a year and a half after opening.

Syrco Bakker, Pure C on the beach in Cadzand, Netherlands and earned a Michelin star for Pure C within a year and a half after opening. Alongside chefs Eden Hrabec and Justin Leboe the seafood specialist presented a purely delicious beef dish.

Magnus Ek The relaxed chef/owner of Oaxen Krog, Stockholm hiked up to a mountain lake one evening and caught several trout, then cooked them on an open fire.

Magnus Ek the relaxed chef/owner of Oaxen Krog, (Stockholm) hiked up to a mountain lake one evening in Kananaskis, caught several trout, then cooked them on an open fire. His Nordic sensibility was right at home with Calgary chefs Connie deSousa and Duncan Ly, resulting in a honey dish that celebrated the boreal forest.

Alessandro Porcelli, the visionary behind Cook it Raw.

Alessandro Porcelli, the visionary behind Cook it Raw. He found in Alberta an unspoiled landscape, talented cooks, spectacular ingredients and a general lack of appreciation and knowledge of historic aboriginal foodways.

Amanda Cohen rocked NYC when she opened the stellar vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy. And she’s Canadian!

Amanda Cohen rocked NYC when she opened the stellar vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy. And she’s Canadian! Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Amanda Cohen tag-teamed with Cam Dobranski and Blair Lebsack to explore just how delicious a beet can be.

SAIT students help Cam Dobranski (Brasserie Kensington, Calgary) serve.

SAIT students help chef Cam Dobranski serve. What a career moment for the students, assisting some of the best chefs in the world.

Chefs plate the Red Fife wheat course.

Chefs Andrew Winfield and Shane Chartrand plate the Red Fife wheat course, lively flatbread with fenugreek and toothsome wild boar.

The idea of the dinner? A menu of seven Alberta ingredients, beef, bison, Red Fife wheat, canola oil, saskatoon berries, honey and root vegetables — everyday items for Alberta cooks; a culinary playground for the international chefs — reimagined as the foundation for an iconic Alberta culinary identity.

http://www.albertaculinary.com/#rawalberta

This is the third in a series of Cook it Raw stories published by The Tomato. Find them at the tomato.ca. Visit our Facebook page and Instagram feed mar_ybee for more behind the scenes photos.

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