Based on our experience at the last U-Feast dinner we attended at Böehmer, we had a lot to look to forward for the next Chef Concert Series dinner on July 9th. This time it would be Italian Michelin Star Chef Cristina Bowerman helming the kitchen, with chef and TV personality Christine Cushing taking emcee duties.

We walked into the beautifully appointed grand ballroom of the Windsor Arms Hotel where the dinner would be held. The table setting was elegant and every seat was sold.  The second floor provided some stunning views of the dinner below. After some brief words from Cushing and U-Feast CEO Terry Mocherniak, our “threes” themed dinner began.

First up was the “temptation” appetizer course – a Sangria-cured beef filet with a trio of rouge. The three reds were a roasted beet purée, a cherry salad, and compressed watermelon. The watermelon was a nice refreshing component, but my favourite would have to be the beet purée for its bold flavour. Next was the “encounter” course – a trio of ravioli. While the salt cod and artichoke was an unexpected and unique combination for a ravioli, my preference was the ricotta and butternut squash. The third ravioli consisted of shrimp and pesto.

The “main event” course had three mains. The first was a licorice panino, which had foie gras, faux mango ketchup, and wine passito. The tartness of the ketchup cut through the richness of the foie gras nicely, though I would have preferred a crispy crostini as a counterpoint to the soft texture. The beef rossini had a rose petal gastrique; it was well-seasoned and cooked to perfection to a medium rare temperature. Finally, there was a seared scallop with mushrooms and a pistachio paste. This too was cooked perfectly.

The dessert course was appropriately called the “climax”. It was a beautifully plated dish with three different desserts, with sweet and sour appearing to be the unifying theme. My favourite was the pineapple roulade as it was the most delicate and most creative of the three, consisting of a pineapple-kiwi tartare on a bed of soft meringue. With a cup of Lavazza coffee in hand, the evening ended on a delicious note.

Pineapple roulade, strawberries with crème anglaise, and mandarin sorbet

Pineapple roulade, strawberries with crème anglaise, and mandarin sorbet

U-Feast’s next event is refined French dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, Beast, on August 3rd. This will be a collaboration of American chefs Ned Elliott (Foreign & Domestic, Austin, TX) and Matthew Gaudet (West Bridge, Cambridge, MA) with Beast’s Scott Vivian. The dessert course will be made by Rachelle Cadwell, the champion of the Food Network’s Donut Showdown. This sounds like a dinner not to be missed! With only 36 seats, it’a probably a good idea to reserve your seat soon. More details can be found here.

For more information about U-Feast and its upcoming events:
Twitter: @u_feast #ChefConcert
Instagram: @u_feast #ChefConcert
Facebook: UFeast

Photos by John Tan and Nick Lee

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John Tan

John is an avid traveller, but equally loves being a tourist in his own city. With camera in hand, he enjoys discovering the sights, sounds, tastes, and everything else that Toronto has to offer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@iam_johntan) to see what he's been up to lately.