As you can see from the menu, the focus is squarely on local ingredients and wines. And this dinner isn't just a "sit, eat and drink" affair. Rather, Chef Eric Pateman is going to cook every course while we eat!
Our first course was an amuse bouche ...slices of gently seared Salt and Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna, served with a green curry lime sauce, and topped with thai basil, chili, green onion and cilrantro. The green curry sauce was a little smokey, and had traces of sesame and coconut milk...very well suited to the Asian garnishes of the dish.
All those varying shades of green sure make that tuna stand out.Next up were the Qualicum Bay Scallops. The key to making good scallops is to make sure they are dry. Otherwise, you end up just poaching them in their own juices as they release, and you won't get the seared look and flavour you really want. The scallops that the Chef is cooking for us have been drying on paper towels for 8 hours.
Using grape seed oil, the Chef placed the scallops into the pan, careful not to overcrowd them. The trick is...don't flip them! Just let them sear on one side, and you're good to go. One of the reasons that Chef uses grape seed oil versus olive oil is that it has a higher smoke point, another is that it is milder in flavour.
He also made two sides to compliment this dish. The first is an heirloom tomato salad.The lovely yellow puree you see here is fresh creamed corn. For our party of 24 people, he used four cobs of corn. One trick is to cut up the actual cobs and toss it into the soup pot too...just remove it before serving!
And here you have it...Pan Seared Scallop on a bed of Creamed Corn with an Heirloom Tomato Salad. Because the Chef didn't play around with the scallop too much and just let them cook on their own, the meat was really moist! And the creamed corn was so sweet, just lovely.
To accompany this dish, we were treated to a See Ya Later Ranch Brut. More bubbly!
So that everyone can see what is going on, there is a mirror above to show you exactly what the Chef is doing at all times.
Our next did was a Wild BC Mushroom bisque, made with various mushrooms, including the Matsutake (or pine), button, and shitake. The matsutake ones are actually grown in Tofino. About two pounds of mushrooms were needed to make a pot big enough for all of us. Toss in a bit of dry sherry, and be sure to make sure it is dry. Oh, and yes, a little bit of truffle oil never hurt anyone...
To go along with our main entree, the Chef prepared a risotto, with a fish stock base. Got 18 minutes? Well, then according to the Chef, you've got enough time to make risotto, just be sure to keep the stock on while you prepare your rice. In the pot, pour in a generous portion of grape seed oil, and some duck fat (yes, Granville Island sells this), add some onions and garlic and let cook for a few seconds. Then toss in your rice and let everything toast and marry together. Add some stock and as the rice cooks and absorb the stock, keep adding stock to it. After 18 minutes of this, you're done!
Plump fresh pieces of halibut, getting their heat on. Boy, this is going to be good!And here is the final product. A nicely crusted piece of BC Halibut, topped with a teaspoon of fresh pesto, sitting on top of a bed of risotto and sliced brussel sprouts, all surrounded by a dousing of lobster oil...oh, put a fork in me, because I'm done!
Oh, and before I forget, the wine we had with this was our only red of the night, a Stoneboat Vineyards Pinot Noir...see, you can pair red wine with fish!
Due to camera issues, I didn't get to take a picture of the delicious Spiced Pumpkin Cream we had, topped with Thomas Haas Ganache. If I get a photo from one of my co-workers, I'll snag it for this post. The wine we had with the dessert was actually port...a Gray Monk Odyssey III...what a perfect ending.