Last April I tasted 28 special dishes, prepared by expert cooks and chefs. Thankfully, I wasn’t required to taste them all at the same time.
No, my tasting of these delicious creations was spread out over two weeks.
That’s still a small window of time, but others happily chipped in to make sure the food wasn’t wasted.
These tasters included the guests and production crew of “One Chef One Critic” (Sundays at 7 p.m.), the Rogers TV Channel 9 show I host with Steve Watson. At the time, we were making the episodes for our sixth series, which begins airing this month.
When planning the cooking segments for the series, we try to include as much variety as possible, both in the appetizers and desserts prepared on camera by our guest chefs — from a variety of St. John’s restaurants — and in the menu for the cooking sessions featuring Steve Watson, yours truly and our special guests.
Main course recipes featured this year include lobster pot pie. Succulent pieces of lobster meat are combined with aromatics like onion, garlic and celery, as well as butter, cream and vegetables, and served in bowls covered with a delicate golden pastry.
Another shellfish recipe is shrimp dijonnaise with gluten-free pasta, where jumbo shrimps join cream, mustard, herbs, spices and cognac to be served over pasta.
In one episode, we show you how to brine a turkey and then roast it for a mouth-watering result. Have you heard of osso buco? It’s a classic Italian dish of braised veal shank, usually served with risotto Milanese. Many would assume the dish is difficult to make. As we demonstrate, the preparation is quite straightforward.
Other dishes include a retro dish from the ’70s — stuffed bell peppers, and the classic pork schnitzel.
Each episode of “One Chef One Critic” includes either an appetizer or a dessert presented by a chef from one of our city restaurants.
On the appetizer side, there’s the Asian inspired dish, spicy shrimp with sambal. The sambal sauce that accompanies the shrimp is peppery, with lots of chili heat.
Slightly heavier in weight and substance is the rich red meat lamb lollipops. The lollipop handle is the bone of the lamb chop.
This season sees a large variety of desserts. One of the lightest and most different is isle flottante or floating island.
It’s made with meringue, milk and sugar. The meringue becomes the island and cooked blueberries, along with other ingredients, becomes an ambrosial sea to be spooned up along with the meringue.
Gloriously rich chocolate silk pie, spice cake with roasted apples and caramel sauce, and ice cream with preserved lemons are also on this season’s “One Chef One Critic” menu.
Special guests this year include entrepreneur Mark Dobbin of Killick Capital. His family name is synonymous with entrepreneurial spirit. In the episode, Dobbin reveals his thoughts on business and explains how his current work is focused on helping companies with promise grow and develop.
Other guests are Dr. Andrew Furey, founder of Team Broken Earth, a project that brings medical services to Haiti.
He explains how the project developed and what motivates him to keep bringing teams of medical professionals from Newfoundland and Labrador back to that devastated country.
Former chairman of the MUN board of regents and prominent lawyer Bob Simmonds joins us as well. Among many things, he discusses what it was like to receive an honorary degree this year from the university.
The arts and entertainment community is well represented on the series.
Singers Janet Cull and Dana Parsons both appear in separate episodes of “One Chef One Critic” to chat about what music means to them and about their lives as performers.
Keith Pike is both a performer and artistic director. Running the annual Stephenville Theatre Festival and his own Theatre St. John’s makes Pike one of the busiest people on the local arts scene.
The Telegram’s arts reporter, Tara Bradbury, also makes a guest appearance and gives her perspective on the local arts scene.
See FOURTEEN, page F2
We welcome 14 guest chefs to “One Chef One Critic” this coming season. Eleven of them are women and most work in local restaurants. Ruth Wigman is currently chef at Bistro Sofia; Brenda O’Reilly is an owner and chef at YellowBelly, CEO Kathie Hicks is frequently found cooking behind the scenes at Spirit of Newfoundland and Michelle Leblanc cooks at Chinched Bistro.
Also included this year are Denise King of The Room’s Cafe and series regular Andrea Maunder, who as well as suggesting wine pairings on “One Chef One Critic” is the pastry chef and owner of Bacalao.
A wide variety of wines will be recommended this year by our wine experts. Jennifer Murray joins the panel that includes Andrea Maunder, Greg Winter, Martin Verhoeks and Tracey Rowe.
On one episode we’ll change things up by asking Craig Flynn of YellowBelly Brewery to recommend beers to go with a spicy chili. (For some dishes beer can be a better choice.)
Variety makes life more interesting and variety is what’s on offer with this year’s “One Chef One Critic.” You can view fresh episodes Sundays at 7 p.m. on Rogers TV Channel 9.
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For regular updates on “One Chef One Critic,” my Telegram Dining Out column and the latest developments on the local culinary scene, please follow me on Twitter @karl_wells.
Karl Wells is an accredited personal chef and recipient of awards from the national body of the Canadian Culinary Federation and the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is also a restaurant panellist with enRoute Magazine. Contact him through his website, www.karlwells.com.