October 30

GMP_podium2013 Gold Medal Plates Results


Paul Campbell’s (Café de Ville) deconstructed beef Wellington paired impeccably with Red Rooster’s 2010 Meritage Reserve. The wine’s bright red fruit notes and lively acidity played off the richness of the supremely tender sous vide beef and accoutrements; and big points for the silkiness and rich flavours of the goose liver purée.


Doreen Prei’s (Edmonton Petroleum Club) duck breast was impeccably cooked. Its cherry and black tea marinade and reduction along with the char on the lamb played off the Kettle Valley Pinot Noir’s wonderful sweet fruit and woodsy notes, with the subtly smoked mushrooms providing a bridge to the wine’s earthy, smoky undertones. Dotting the plate were tiny Alice-in-Wonderland-style turned vegetables. Furthering the gracefulness of the dish was a hazelnut-dusted cube of duck liver pate, a bonne bouche that would not look out of place in a bon bon box.


Paul Shufelt (Century Group) took a lot of chances with his gold medal-winning dish: pomegranate-braised Tangle Ridge lamb with farro risotto, chanterelles and candy cane beet pickle. Technique: risotto for 800? Generally a gooey mess. Perfect risotto? From an ancient grain no less, rather than the more forgiving Arborio rice? Very tricky, and prepared perfectly. Visually: it’s almost impossible to make risotto and braised meat look like anything more than plops on a plate. This dish? Appetizing and appealing. The whimsical shells of lightly-pickled candy cane beet contributed a spark of colour and acid to balance the dish, yet didn’t interfere with the forthright wine pairing with the 2010 Mission Hill SLS Syrah. Knowing when to stop: the dish demonstrated the old adage, simple isn’t easy. All in all, a winner.

Of note: Shane Chartrand’s (Von’s Steak and Seafood) visually stunning plate — Skuna Bay farmed salmon with Saskatoon berry, accented with burnt pine, and kaniwa (an ancient grain similar to quinoa) dust adding a toasty, nutty note, which played well against the sultry richness of the fish. Jan Trittenbach’s (Pack Rat Louie) flavourful pork cheeks, well matched with the Wayne Gretzky Cab-Syrah blend. Jesse Morrison-Gauthier’s (The Common) casually artful plate and impeccable scallops. Please, can we have daily? The Manor Café’s Alex Sneazewell and Andrew Fung from X1X made us eat offal and we liked it! Also loved chef Sneazewell’s puffed tendon, yup tendon. With a bit of salt it could become the best bar snack ever. Serge Jost’s (Fairmont Hotel Macdonald) toothsome elk and clever take on cannelloni. Chef Robert Simpson’s (Blackhawk Golf Course) masterful handling of the harissa in the Morroccan-inspired lamb dish. Spice can be a flavour-killing monster, but the heat level was just enough to keep things interesting.

Expect to find several delicious variations on GMP dishes on city menus this winter.

Enjoy the Co-op World of Whiskey and Cognac Gala, November 2 at Northlands, a spectacular tasting featuring a dazzling array of cognac, whiskies and a gourmet dinner. Tickets are $100/person for general admission. The VIP ticket ($150/person) includes a guided tasting, exclusive products and early entry, 4-9pm. Call 780-432-2258 ext. 460, or email wsevents@calgarycoop.com.

Join Matt Slingsby for an evening sampling rich, warming, delicious ales Saturday, November 2, 7pm. Tickets, $10, include a $5 refund off your purchase that evening. Fine Wines by Liquor Select (8924 149 Street, 780-481-6868).

CakeWalk2013CardDon’t miss the Cake Walk, fundraiser for the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, Monday, November 4, at The Westin Edmonton, featuring musical artists Colleen Rae and Josh Mellot, hosted by Sheri Somerville and Josh Classen. Proceeds directly support the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts’ Keep the Love Alive campaign. The centre provides a supportive place where adults with developmental disabilities can become practicing artists. The centre operates a public gallery and an outreach program that connects artists and audiences. Tickets: Tix-on-the-Square, 780-420-1757.

farmfairNorthlands celebrates Farmfair International’s 40th anniversary. Although it is primarily a top-quality stock show and sale, Farmfair is also an entertaining window into rural life. Not in the market for a prize bull? See beautiful horses, watch stock dogs during penning trials; or visit the Home Grown Alberta Market at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, November 4, 5. Visit farmfairinternational.com for full schedules and information.

Things to do with pumpkin, besides pie.