Maverick Chefs 2009

By / Mavericks / November 24th, 2009 / 1

Market fresh cuisine is an idea that has taken Canada by storm. All about cooking with top-quality local, and often organic, ingredients, it’s become de rigueur in restaurant kitchens across the country. Home-grown produce that’s bursting with flavour has fired the imaginations of chefs and restaurant-goers alike. Picture a plate artfully dressed with produce featuring a palette of bright colours and delicious flavours. This year’s pick of Maverick Chefs has not only pushed the culinary envelope when it comes to creating inspired fare, they’ve tossed it aside completely.

Growing fruits and vegetables in Canada is no walk in the park. With long winters, floods and drought, digging up fresh local produce year-round is an exercise in character building. Lucky for us, these seven chefs are ready and willing to take on the challenge: Ray Bear at his eponymous Ray Bear Restaurant in Halifax, Roger Mooking at Kultura and Nyood in Toronto and host of Everyday Exotic on the Food Network, Jeff Kreklau at Suede Lounge in Edmonton, Andrea Carlson at Bishop’s in Vancouver, Matthew and Jennifer Brearley at Castlegarth in Ottawa, and Jeremy Charles at Atlantica in St. John’s.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the varying extremes of the Canadian climate, these cutting-edge chefs demonstrate a degree of passion that beats the odds. Whether it’s constructing a polytunnel in Ottawa that provides fresh produce right up until Christmas, or hunting down the best of locally grown ingredients in Vancouver, these mavericks take a blank canvas and turn it into art. Their dedication to local, sustainable and fresh cuisine drives them to take whatever the land gives them and sculpt it into the incredible.


Ray Bear, Owner and Executive Chef, Ray Bear Restaurant, Halifax, Nova Scotia

If you’ve ever wondered whether art can truly inspire, just ask Ray Bear. His passion for food was sparked early in life watching the Sesame Street baker balancing his tower of cakes. In his 20-plus years of cooking, Bear has travelled all over North America, honing his craft in Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles and New Orleans. It’s no wonder that Bear Restaurant was locally voted as Best New Restaurant in 2009.

As a champion of all things local, Bear draws upon his extensive imagination every day presenting the uniqueness of Atlantic Canada’s terroir in mouth-watering ways. The food he creates is a total labour of love. Not wanting to experiment on diners, his staff will make a recipe again and again until it’s perfect. Even the servers are quizzed until they can recite the intimate details of every dish on the menu. Bear’s drive to be the best doesn’t stop there. He created QGourmet Barbecue Sauces so home cooks could create quick, impressive meals with quality ingredients. Wildly successful, Bear’s sauces are now a hit at the White House. This maverick’s distinctive style has put Halifax solidly on the epicurian map.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Sackville, Nova Scotia.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

Wow! I guess that depends what stage? But I would have to say that you always go back to your base, who taught you the basics, the need-to-know everyday stuff. That would be Unni Simenson from Scanway Catering.

What was your first job in a professional kitchen?

I worked at the Sandwich Tree in Dartmouth. My mom was the manager. I was the dishwasher.

What’s your favourite country or region to eat in?

New York or Chicago? Maybe South Beach? No. New York! Just so much to choose from, it’s hard to find a bad spot.

What are you fanatical about?

I’m fanatical about everything. Boxes on cutting boards, that’s a no-no. Pith on citrus, that’s a no-no. Plates going to the table all at the same time, that’s a have-to. Customers leaving happy, that’s just necessary.

Do you have a guilty ingredient?

Xanthan gum — I put it in my vegetable purées to make them silky and hold their liquid.

What’s your favourite wine?

Conundrum.

Is there something you refuse to have in your kitchen?

Powdered stocks or soup bases. Nothing against those companies that produce them, but I have no need for them in my kitchen.

Name an overrated ingredient.

Liquid nitrogen.

Name an underrated ingredient.

Wild blueberries — sweet or savoury, I love them.

Is there a food you really don’t like?

Mayo. I hated it ever since I was a kid. You don’t know how many sandwiches and hamburgers I have not eaten because of mayo! Yet, I like spicy mayo in sushi. I can’t explain it.

What rule of conduct matters more than any other in your kitchen?

Product is King.

What was your biggest mistake while cooking?

Wow, there have been many … While staging at Canoe, I went home early because of a slow night. Ten minutes later Paul Bocuse walks in for dinner! That sucked. Eventually, I cooked for him, but at that time I felt like an idiot.

What makes your restaurant stand apart from the others?

There are a ton of great restaurants and chefs in Canada, under-appreciated for sure, a few hacks as well. We stand apart at Bear because of the balance on the plate. It’s not too aggressive, not too traditional.

What are your plans for the future?

Who knows? It’s a big world, and opportunities are endless.

Do you have anything surprising in your home fridge?

There’s a huge jar of mustard, a jar of QGourmet barbecue sauce, some cheese and water. I never eat at home; I cook every day.

What do you eat for breakfast?

I eat a triple shot of cappuccino, oatmeal, blueberries and egg whites.

What was your favourite meal as a child?

My grandfather’s stew. Yum!

Where do you shop for ingredients?

The Halifax Farmers Market, local Asian markets and Pete’s Frootique.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t a chef, I would have been a better family man. It might be deep, but that’s the truth.


Calamari

Serves 4

marinade for tomatoes

1 lime, juiced

3 oz olive oil

1 bird’s eye chili, split

2 oz rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

4 cherry tomatoes, peeled

calamari

6 large Nova Scotia squid, cleaned and beak removed

500 ml buttermilk

1 chorizo sausage

1/2 tsp fine salt

3 oz pineapple

2 cups all purpose flour

1 pinch cayenne

1 oz fresh cilantro, chopped

1 lime, sliced into wedges

4 oz QGourmet Smokey Tomato BBQ finishing sauce

1. Mix all marinade ingredients (except tomatoes) together and allow to sit. Marinate tomatoes for 3 hours.

2. Separate squid tubes (body) from tentacles. Slice 3 of the tubes into rings. Butterfly 2 of the tubes and score the inside. Slice the 2 butterfly squids into 4 even pieces each, lengthways (8 pieces in total). Place all squid in the buttermilk, and let sit overnight.

3. Cook the chorizo and let cool. Stuff the meat into the only remaining squid tube left, season with salt. Slice pineapple into 8 thin pieces and cook in butter until golden and tender.

4. Grill tentacles, chorizo stuffed squid and scored pieces until cooked.

5. Blend flour, cayenne and salt. Strain squid rings from buttermilk and toss in flour mixture. Knock off excess flour, and fry for 20 seconds in 350°F oil.

6. Plate the dish while the squid is hot. Garnish with chopped cilantro and lime wedges. Garnish plate with drops of QGourmet Tomato BBQ finishing sauce.

A lighter Niagara Gamay may be what’s needed here. If not, try a Julienas.


Jeff Kreklau, Executive Chef, Suede Lounge, Edmonton, Alberta

Jeff Kreklau has mastered the concept of cooking outside of the box with just a few simple ingredients, culinary expertise and an eye for artistry. At Suede Lounge, his passion for food has inspired a dedicated following. Kreklau combines indigenous ingredients and cooking styles from North and South America, Asia and Europe. “Having fun versions of recognizable comfort foods with new ingredients gets people excited to try new things,” he says. “On the other hand, taking something everyone knows and loves and bringing out food memories is something I love to do as well.”

A former graphic designer and now a chef, Kreklau has an inherent sense of how to combine locally produced ingredients with the strange and exotic to bring out new and wonderful flavours not usually encountered. “Every week brings a new challenge, new recipes, and new ingredients,” he says. Kreklau is a consummate innovator and trendsetter.

Where did you grow up?

Edmonton, Alberta.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

My mom was always trying something new for dinner, so we always ate really well. I love a good home cooked dinner.

What made you decide to become a chef?

I was working as a graphic designer and loved going out to eat and trying new foods. I kept having great meals at some of the top restaurants in Edmonton with beautiful looking plates and tastes that matched. I decided I really needed to learn how to do this. Eating great food has always been a passion and I wanted to take it a step further.

What was your first job in a professional kitchen?

Normand’s Fine Regional Cuisine. The menu was a very old school French take on local wild game. We made classic mother sauces and put a Canadian twist on them with wild berries and liqueurs. I had to learn to grill elk, caribou, musk ox, and many others. I really learned to love grilling there as each meat was different and exciting.

What’s your favourite country or region to eat in?

As I learn and explore different ingredients, my favourites change quite often. Currently, it is South America and Mexico. Lots of fresh, vibrant ingredients and whole grilled and roasted meats. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it now.

What are you fanatical about?

Being unafraid and open-minded about trying new things. I’ll pretty much eat anything and try to make anything. The successes and new techniques have always far outweighed the disasters.

What’s your favourite kitchen tool or gadget?

The workhorse of every kitchen I’ve worked in: KitchenAid Mixer or Robot Coupe.

What music do you like to play in the kitchen?

Kitchen music tends to be very eclectic. In one hour you could hear Iron Maiden, Queen, Kings of Leon, Minus the Bear, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Michael Jackson. Makes for an interesting day.

Do you have a guilty secret ingredient?

Duck fat. I try to sneak it in everything, even cookies.

What’s your favourite drink?

I’m a huge fan of trying beers from around the world. A local liquor store stocks over 1500 brands, and I’m slowly making my way through them one bottle at a time, which is no easy task.

Name an overrated ingredient or seasoning.

As much as I enjoy them, adding truffles or truffle oil to something doesn’t make it fancy or gourmet.

Is there a food that you really don’t like?

I have a love/hate relationship with foie gras. About two years back I ate at Au Pied De Cochon in Montreal and gorged on almost every menu item containing foie gras. Seared, liquefied, poached, braised and deep fried. Every time I eat it I am reminded of the buttery hangover that lasted me days.

What rule of conduct matters more than any other in your kitchen?

Respect. Going on a yelling rampage through your kitchen will not solve anything. You end up looking like a child and lose the respect of your staff. Fixing a problem or instructing someone to do something differently doesn’t need to be a yelling match.

What’s the most embarrassing thing that you’ve done while cooking?

I was cutting up a chocolate cake, the easiest task to not mess up on, and I took off a very large chunk of one of my fingertips. The look on everyone’s face told me how bad it was before I even had a chance to look.

What are your plans for the future?

I would love to open a late night/all day diner. After getting off work late most nights, finding great or even good food in Edmonton is a chore. Of course the food would not be regular diner food, but I would definitely pay homage to the classics.

What do you eat for breakfast?

A coffee and a good pastry. Lots of sugar in both.

You’ve got 24 hours left to live. What’s your last meal?

A really great pizza. Crispy, but slightly chewy dough. Tangy tomato sauce and lots of fresh ingredients. And crisp beer in a frozen mug.

What was your favourite meal as a child?

Popcorn with lots of butter and salt. Not so much a meal, but always a favourite.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I actually spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen at home. Most people ask me if I get tired of cooking, but I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it. It’s also a lot of fun when you’re taking it slow and cooking with friends and family. A lot of wine is a necessity.

Where do you shop for your ingredients?

There are a lot of specialty grocery stores between my home and work so it’s a daily ritual to stop at one of them — Italian Centre Shop, Paraiso Tropical, Hellas Foods, Lucky 97 Asian Grocer, Spice Island. We are also trying to get out to the farmers market more often.


Crusted Scallops with Sweet Corn Purée and Sherry Bacon Vinaigrette

Serves 2

4 fresh scallops

oil

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

2 artichoke hearts, halved and grilled

Sweet corn purée (recipe follows)

Sherry bacon vinaigrette (recipe follows)

parsley, to garnish

sweet corn purée

1/2 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 yellow onion, julienned

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 cup yellow corn

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Heat the oil and butter together in a saucepan over medium heat until butter has melted.

2. Add onions and garlic, sauté until tender and translucent. Add corn and continue cooking until the corn is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

3. Add the wine and simmer until almost dry. Once wine has cooked down, add stock and simmer for 7 minutes more. Add cream and reduce, about 7 minutes.

4. Add mixture to blender, and blend until smooth and creamy in texture. Pour through a fine strainer and season with salt and pepper.

sherry bacon vinaigrette

1/3 cup boar bacon, finely diced

2 tbsp shallots, roasted

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil

1/2 tbsp grainy Dijon

1/2 tbsp honey

1. Place bacon in a pan over low heat and slowly render until just crisp, about 12 minutes.

2. Drain off 3/4 of the bacon fat and set aside. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add 1/2 of the sherry vinegar, and reduce by half.

3. Place cooked ingredients into a bowl. Whisk in Dijon, grapeseed oil, remaining vinegar and bacon fat. Season to taste.

to assemble

Remove the small side muscle from the scallops. Rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry. Add 1 tsp oil to a sauté pan on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops, making sure they are not touching each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the centre. Spoon 4 small piles of the sweet corn purée onto a plate. Place each seared scallop onto the corn purée and half an artichoke in between each scallop. Place approximately 2 tbsp sherry bacon vinaigrette into the still-warm pan to heat, then drizzle over the scallops and artichokes. Garnish with parsley and serve.

You need a wine to stand up to the vinaigrette. This is where a crisp Old World Sauvignon Blanc can come in to save the day.


Andrea Carlson, Executive Chef, Bishop’s, Vancouver, British Columbia

Andrea Carlson is hard-core when it comes to sustainable cuisine. She consistently gets the most from local ingredients. Now as Executive Chef at Bishop’s in Vancouver, she works directly with fishmongers, producers and growers to source the best products. Having honed her craft at Sooke Harbour House, Raincity Grill and C restaurants, she says, “The flavour of the organics that we had available there had a huge impact on my attitude.” After reading The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, she took authors Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon’s philosophy and ran with it. She created the first menu in Canada based on the book.

Carlson is dedicated to understanding every aspect of cuisine and showing it on the plate. In fact, when asked what she’d be doing if she weren’t a chef, she revealed, “Something with plants — farming or landscaping.” Never resting on her laurels, Carlson constantly challenges herself to come up with dishes that epitomize her vision.

Where did you grow up?

Vancouver, British Columbia.

Where did you get your culinary education?

Dubrulle Culinary, but really from the chefs I worked for.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

Edward Tuson.

What made you decide to become a chef?

I love food.

What cookbook changed everything for you?

The first cookbook was Craig Clairborne’s The New York Times Cookbook. What changed everything was working with Chef Edward Tuson and his approach to ingredients.

What was your first job in a professional kitchen?

Garde Manger at Star Anise with chef Adam Busby.

What’s your favourite country or region to eat in?

I’m particularly fond of Indian food.

What are you fanatical about?

Knowing where my food comes from.

Do you have a guilty secret ingredient?

Other than butter?

What’s your favourite wine?

Reds from Piemont.

Is there something you refuse to have in your kitchen?

Processed foods — and I’m in no way fond of squid ink …

Name an overrated ingredient.

Everything has its place if used well, though I was recently somewhere that put Montreal steak spice (aka bachelor spice) on something — that’s never appropriate.

Is there a food that you really don’t like?

Okra.

What skill does someone most need to work in your kitchen?

Positive attitude, dedication and respect for the ingredients.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done while cooking?

Not ensuring someone had thoroughly cleaned the mushrooms of sand before they were served. I was mortified.

What makes your restaurant stand apart from the others?

John Bishop’s pioneering start-up of local eating in our community, and my dedication to supporting local farmers and organic foods.

Do you have anything surprising in your home fridge?

A bottle of sparkling mango juice from my mom, and one or two too many containers of almond milk.

You’ve got 24 hours left to live. What’s your last meal?

Probably one of the first dishes my partner, Kevin, ever cooked for me — a lentil ragout with fried Ukrainian sausage and pickles!

What’s your favourite meal to cook at home?

Cassoulet, fennel, fish broths, pastas.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

At this very moment, go to the beach!

Where do you shop for your ingredients?

Personally, Capers, Granville Island, and we have a CSA box from the Fraser Common Farm as well as a community garden plot. We’ll be getting lots of greens this summer!


Minted Spring Pea and Currant Salad

Serves 2

1 cup shelled English peas, blanched

1/2 cup mixed fresh currants, red, white and black

1 sprig mint, chiffonade

1 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp goat feta cheese, crumbled

Pea tips, for garnish

1. Blanch peas in salted water for 30 seconds. Refresh in ice bath, drain. Pick currants from stem and wash. Combine all ingredients, except pea tips in a bowl and gently mix together.

2. Assemble on 2 plates with a drizzle of olive oil around base. Finish salad with a garnish of pea tips. Serve with crackers or bread.

Viognier and goat cheese are brilliant together. Light and fresh with hints of grass, it will also match well with the currants.


Roger Mooking, Co-Owner and Executive Chef, Kultura Restaurant and Nyood Restaurant and Bar, Toronto, Ontario; and Food Network Host, Everyday Exotic

You might remember him as MC Mystic of the former Juno award-winning band, Bass is Base. Still a dynamic musician, Roger Mooking recently released a new solo CD called Soul Food. Mooking has always had a natural love of food. In fact, when he’s not busy in the recording studio, he’s dishing up culinary hits at his restaurants. As if all that’s not enough, he also hosts Everyday Exotic on the Food Network, a show all about introducing people to new ways of looking at their everyday go-to meals. Music and cooking have always been close to this maverick’s heart. “The balance in music is about crescendo, decrescendo, loud and quiet, tension and release, flawless performances,” he says. “All those things apply to cooking directly. They are the same for me.”

Born in Trinidad and raised in Edmonton, Mooking mastered Trini and Chinese cuisines at home, and Ukrainian and French cooking while living in Edmonton and Toronto, respectively. “I draw from all of that to create my food,” he says. He is renowned for tapping into what people really want and crafting sublime flavour combinations.

Where did you grow up?

Edmonton, Alberta.

Where did you get your culinary education?

Culinary education NEVER ends.

What was your first job in a professional kitchen?

Breakfast Cook at Albert’s Family Restaurant in Edmonton.

What’s your favourite country or region to eat in?

Castara Village on the island of Tobago.

What’s your favourite kitchen tool?

My hands. Hands down.

What are you fanatical about?

There are way too many things that I am fanatical about, but if I had to name a few they would be (in no particular order): I hate white pepper, unplugging the meat slicer every time you walk away from it, cleaning counters, proper seasoning, reading emails over and over before sending them. I should stop there.

Do you have a guilty secret?

I love Pringles.

What’s your favourite drink?

Malta.

Name an overrated and an underrated ingredient?

Overrated; lobster (I will pick a crab over a lobster every day). Underrated; eggs.

Is there a food you really don’t like?

Cauliflower.

What skill does someone most need to work in your kitchen?

The ability to remain calm and focused under pressure.

What makes your restaurants stand apart from the others?

Restaurants are a careful balance between food, service, ambience, music and vibes. We work really hard to maintain and improve on that balance daily. I would like to think that it shows.

What are your plans for the future?

To do every idea in my head before I die. The list is way too long to even start.

Do you have anything surprising in your home fridge?

I’m not surprised by what’s in my fridge.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Rarely anything, but if I do it would be a hard boiled egg.

What was your favourite meal as a child?

Char Sui Bao.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time, what’s that?

Where do you shop?

My wife is a much better shopper than me, so I stay away.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?

Making records.

How would you define your cooking style and philosophy?

Bold flavours and simple ingredients presented and combined in interesting ways.


Shrimp Stir Fry

Serves 4

2 packages (400 g) thick pre-cooked egg noodles

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 red onion, julienned

2 cups shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps quartered

2 cloves garlic, chopped

16 shrimp, peeled and deveined (size 21/25)

1/3 cup oyster sauce

1/3 cup water, mixed in with oyster sauce

2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped

3 plum tomatoes, medium dice

1 bunch green onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups spinach, roughly chopped

fried egg (recipe follows)

flavoured vinegar (recipe follows)

1. Soak egg noodles in hot water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a wok, or a low, wide based pot over high heat. Once smoking hot, add red onion and shitake mushrooms, toss for 1 minute.

3. Add garlic and toss. Add shrimp and toss. Once shrimp has turned pink, add oyster sauce and water mixture.

4. Add ginger and noodles, toss. Add tomatoes and chopped green onions, toss. Remove from heat, add spinach and toss.

fried egg

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 tbsp butter

1. In a non-stick sauté pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add eggs to pan.

2. Turn heat to high and add butter. Cook eggs until bottoms are crisp and yolks are runny, remove from heat.

flavoured vinegar

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp chili oil or chili flakes

1 bunch chives, finely chopped

Place all ingredients except chives in a bowl. Add chives to bowl just before serving.

assembling stir fry

1. Place shrimp stir fry in 4 bowls. Place 1 fried egg over each bowl of stir fry.

2. Spoon flavoured vinegar with chives over fried egg.

3. Enjoy with sliced Chinese roast pork.

If you can find a close to perfect match, it would be shrimp and Gewürz.


Matthew and Jennifer Brearley, Chefs and Co-Owners, Castlegarth Restaurant, White Lake, Ontario

Matthew and Jennifer Brearley are all about passion. “Without that,” they say, “the other ingredients will never come together properly.” Since opening Castlegarth Restaurant seven years ago, the Brearleys have expertly ensured attention to all details, all of the time. The two of them have created a family-run restaurant and farm unlike any other. Stratford Chefs School-trained Jennifer operates the front of house, explaining the intricacies of the menu to diners as only a chef can. Matthew, in the kitchen, plates fresh, organic delicacies that come, for the most part, from his parents’ farm only four kilometres away. Their restaurant is one of only a handful worldwide that uses its own farm to produce organic, grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken and eggs, as well as organic fruit and vegetables. “The closeness to the farm allows our restaurant to pick just before serving.”

The Brearley’s approach to cooking is to use quality ingredients and treat them with integrity. “When your meats are from the farmer down the road and your vegetables have been picked only a couple of hours before being served, we tend towards simplicity, letting the terroir of the food speak for itself,” says Matthew. Needing to constantly push the boundaries, the Brearleys challenge themselves to use their produce to create specialties from all over the world. On any given night, the menu might feature a true Indian curry, a traditional French cassoulet or fresh and spicy Spanish ceviche.

When asked what the future holds for them, the Brearleys admit that they have about 10 ideas a year that they try to implement. “Usually two of them are great, five are okay, and three are bombs.” With diners beating a path to their door every night, the Brearleys consistently prove that they’ve got what it takes to be the best.


Jeremy Charles, Executive Chef, Atlantica Restaurant, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

Jeremy Charles loves being a chef. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he says. He developed his lifelong passion for Newfoundland’s fresh, rustic cuisine as a child in his nan’s kitchen. His dedication to quality and authentic flavours landed him top chef positions in cities all around North America. A consummate food enthusiast, Charles found himself eating and cooking as much as possible wherever he went in order to experience the immense variety of flavours and foods he encountered.

Opportunity came knocking three years ago, when he returned home to Newfoundland to get married. He and his wife ended up staying at The Beach House overlooking Conception Bay just outside of St. John’s. At the time, what’s now the dining room was a small, poorly serviced eating area. Seeing the potential, Charles collaborated with owner Corey Turpin to create what would become a landmark restaurant. Charles’ vision has turned Atlantica into a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike. “People come here just to see us,” he admits.

One might think that the ups and downs of a maritime climate would scuttle Charles’ passion for market fresh foods. Actually, the opposite is true. The challenges have just made him more determined. Charles has developed a considerable reputation for creating dishes that reflect the simple, clean, fresh flavours of Newfoundland’s diverse cuisine. “I may be working with a restricted colour palette,” he says, “but a lot of great things can come of it. It’s a very creative process.”

Although he’d one day like to open a small eatery that features produce from his own garden, for now, you can visit Charles in Atlantica’s kitchen, where he takes the fresh seafood he’s so fanatical about and local ingredients from the best neighbourhood producers and turns them into lip-smacking fare.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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