Monday, September 14, 2015

Cooking Events: Stein and Dine with Lynn Crawford

Every once in a while I am invited to a special culinary event. Working at a local cooking school, I've had the chance to meet some pretty spectacular chefs, but rarely are they as well known as Food Network Canada's Lynn Crawford. Thanks to a few individuals, I was able to experience this kickoff event for the city of Kitchener's annual Oktoberfest. Minto Schneider is CEO of the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corp., and Andrew Coppolino is editor, publisher, and columnist at Rare Public, Waterloo Region Eats and Kitchener Post, respectively. Thank to them, I am able to tell you what I learned about beer, its complimentary dishes, and the chef who created the menu. The event was sponsored by Molson Coors, so all beer-pairings mentioned below can be purchased under their brand.

Chef Crawford in an award-winning cookbook author, creator of top Canadian restaurant, Ruby Watchco, was the Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in both Toronto and New York, and competed against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America. She specializes in local cuisine, humbly learning from farmers - be it growing vegetables, fishing lobster, or milking goats - about the process behind our shiny baskets of food. And, this is the subject matter of her famous show, "Pitchin' In." I remember being a young girl watching Chef Crawford on the television. After school, I would camp on our family-room floor, turn the TV to Food Network, and watch my favourite big-city chef get cozy with small town farmers. It remains one of my favourite shows to date, and I watch episodes on re-run. Our other host for the night, Justin Lamontagne, is a certified Cicerone (aka Sommeliers in the beer world). In his 15 tenure, Justin has worked for Molson Coors, Sleeman Breweries, and SixPints. He has appeared on Breakfast Television and hosted many seminars.

So, how do food and beer fit together? We always hear about wine pairings, but dining guests at this Stein and Dine event were given a crash course on beer pairings. *Disclosure: I did not fully "participate" in the evening, as I do not eat meat, and was a designated driver. So, the following was learned through listening and observation. Hops in beer can be compared to the tannins in wine. The carbonation in beer functions as a wonderful palate cleanser between bites of food. Three ways to use/pair beer with food: Compliment a dish via beer's flavor and character, cut rich/fatty/creamy foods with beer's carbonation and bitterness, and contrast full-flavoured foods with a light-flavoured beer. Considered the "liquid bread" of the alcohol world, it ought to be paired with food more often! As we passed around hearty chunks of a whole-wheat baguette to accompany our first course, it made sense that the first beer-pairing was like a whole-wheat baguette in a glass.

First Course

Beer Pickled Beets & Roasted Carrot Salad: Organic greens, watercress, radicchio, spiced walnuts, pumpernickle croutons, aged Canadian cheddar, sweet onion aioli, and brown derby dressing

-- paired with Creemore Springs Lager

Second Course 

Rainbow Trout Schnitzel wit Pilsner Remoulade: Lemon and black pepper spaetzel, and mustard glazed kale, and sweet corn

-- paired with Creemore Springs Lot 9 Pilsner

Third Course 

Applewood Smoked Pork Chop with Sausage Gravy: Ham hock, apple and sauerkraut bread-pudding

-- Paired with Rickard's Red

Fourth Course 

Pumpkin Cheesecake: Sweet pretzel streusel and beer-toffee caramel sauce

-- Paired with Rickard's White


1 comment:

  1. Wow, seems like you people had really fun and look at the food, it looks delicious. I am so jealous, wish we have such events here.