I apologize for the prolonged delay on my posts. This year has been full of obstacles and adjustments. It definitely hasn’t stopped me from cooking because a guy has got to eat of course!
I have a lot of content to share with you in the next few weeks while we are still in these strange and uncertain times. I still work from home during the day but I hope to get back into blogging when I have spare time in the evenings!
This picture was snapped when I auditioned for Masterchef Canada Season 6. I had previously auditioned for Season 3 as well. This is definitely a throwback but a positive reminder to myself what I am capable of under pressure.
I love cooking, not necessarily being in the spotlight. I auditioned for the show to share my passion with people. I would have done the show even if it wasn’t televised…but then is it a show? I’m competitive by nature, more so with myself. A little behind the scenes note: for the in-person auditions, all dishes were tasted at room temperature. I didn’t want to serve anything that would spoil or not be optimal at room temperature so that really did limit what I could make. I opted for dessert this time around which went over well!
For this challenge, I wanted to tell a story with the dish, not just make something tasty. As some of you may know, my day job is in the forestry sector doing research with plant diseases for the last 9+ years. I started to brainstorm what edible products were made from trees. There are actually a lot to choose from! I wanted to incorporate a few of them into my dish as a nod to my forestry background.
The plate: a baby blue eggshell plate with a bit of brown glazing that I made at Yunomi Studios in Victoria, B.C.
The white dome: Labneh (made some yoghurt then strained and salted it) panna cotta that was barely set with gelatin so the texture was very luxurious. It was very simply flavoured with vanilla and honey so you could taste the yoghurt.
The raspberries: I made a gel with maple syrup and carrageenan. If the raspberries are cold, it helps set the gel!
The white/brown crumbly bits: This was a fun technique. I chose really high quality white chocolate and mixed it with icing sugar. Once it melts it starts to caramelize and clump together. It has a beautiful flavour and texture, similar to dulce de leche but more dry.
The lacey cookie things: are lacey cookie things made pine nuts and sugar. This was one of the most difficult components of the dish to get right. You essentially make a dry caramel and croquant of pine nuts. Then you blitz them all up into dust then sieve the dust into your desired shape on a baking tray. You then bake this sugar and nut dust in the oven briefly until it melts again and they re-solidify into the delicate shape.
The green shards: are raw spruce tips
The sauce pourer: was filled with a spruce tip syrup made with sugar, pectin, lemon juice and a whole bag of spruce tips. I tasted it initially and the spruce tips were a bit weak in flavour. I re-heated the mixture with another bag of tips and wow. It was stunning and citrusy and coniferous.
I was super proud of this dish, utilizing three tree products (maple syrup, spruce tips and pine nuts) to make a unique dessert. The judge enjoyed the flavours and appreciated the details. I didn’t get on the show for that season, but never say never right?