Market Restaurant was the host of a collaborative effort to fundraise for the vendors who lost their place of business when the Symons Valley Market burned down in January 2017. Tickets to the event were $75 pp and included a 6 course ‘street food’ dinner.
Six chef’s donated their time and creativity to develop and cook one course each. The food was also donated by a number of sponsors, ensuring that the event truly could be a great fundraiser. The dinner was MC’d by local foodie Dan Clapson, and since I was one of the first in the door I was lucky enough to grab a seat at the long table right beside Dan and his friends. It was nice to finally meet him in person! The restaurant was set up with a number of long tables so people had the opportunity to chat with strangers.
We were provided with a couple appetizers to start, but it was a little awkward… we didn’t have small plates and the appetizers were served on/in dishes in that we had to pass along the table ourselves. I’m sure some people didn’t get any appetizers and other people got more than their share. They were, however, super delicious! One of the appetizers was a chicken confit rillette served on housemade focaccia. It was a little piece of garlicy, salty and crunchy goodness! The other was a chorizo puff – puff pastry stuffed with a sweet and spicy chorizo sausage. Again, these were really tasty!
1st Course was prepared by Chef Geoff Rogers from Savoury Chef Foods Catering in Vancouver. He is originally from Calgary and actually opened Market Restaurant. Chef Geoff was a contestant on Season 3 of Top Chef Canada in 2013 at the age of 31. Inspired by the Richmond, BC night market, the dish was described as: okonomiyaki, Japanese mountain yam, Oko sauce, pea shoot, and albacore tuna. There was a whole lot of fancy stuff done to this dish and I can really only describe it as amazing…. it was fresh and light, creamy and crunchy. The textures and flavours were wonderful and I’ve never had anything like it before. My photo really doesn’t do it justice… This was my favourite dish of the evening!
2nd Course was prepared by Chef Jan Hansen from Hotel Arts Group. Inspired by food from Copenhagen, and an homage to his Danish heritage, this dish was described as porchetta style 4K Farms pork belly, sourdough, pickled cucumber, herb lemon pistol and crispy fried onions. Again, another super creative and tasty dish full of wicked textures and flavours. The smokey grilled bread with a crunchy crust was hidden under the pork – an awesome contrast to the fat inside the pork belly. The fresh hit of light, fresh cream on the plate with the pork was awesome. This dish was so much more than the individual words used in the description, and this was my 2nd favourite dish of the evening!
3rd Course was prepared by Chef Evan Robertson from the host restaurant Market. Chef Evan opened the Pig and Duke 5 years ago. These west coast corn dogs were stuffed with Brentwood Bay dungeness crab and shrimp and served with pickled wakame, nuoc cham dip and wasabi nasturtium. I liked the idea, but the corn dogs were really greasy. I ate all three, but didn’t eat all the corn breading. The pickled wakame was light, crispy and fresh and really cut the greasy feel of the corn dog.
The flavours in the 4th Course were inspired by a Halifax donair. Chef Kenny Kaechele from Workshop Kitchen & Culture created the dish with lamb crepinettes, black garlic blanquette, pickled turnips, pita crunch, and lemon and romaine gremolata. In Chef Kenny’s description of the dish he mentioned that he used caul fat to keep the meatball held together and moist – and he recommended not to Google it until after the dinner was over. I just looked it up… Interesting. The flavours of a traditional donair were there, but it was, effectively, a tasty lamb meatball.
5th Course was an interesting dish of meat. Prepared by Chef Roy Oh from Anju, the dish was described as Korean pork blood sausage & grilled pork heart, with chili salt, charred kimchi, kaenip tempura, and serrano oil. The sous vide heart was actually quite tasty for an organ meat – I ate it all! The blood sausage was full of flavour and texture – it was mixed with pork snout and pork belly with rice noodles threaded throughout. It didn’t sound great, but it tasted good!
6th Course (dessert) was prepared by Chef Chris Hartman from Fence & Post in Cochrane. Chef Chris is formerly from Farm Restaurant, which I didn’t get to before it closed. The dish was described as candied apple & mini donuts tossed in cinnamon sugar with roasted Macintosh apple sherbert, compressed and powdered candied apples, and honey whipped cream. The donuts were light and fluffy and there were little bits of apple under the fresh sherbet. The little apple shaped candies tasted like cotton candy and brought back memories of my childhood.
All in all, this was a fun evening with a huge offering of great food, and for good value!