Author Archives: ChefCowan

About ChefCowan

Chef from Edmonton, Alberta.

Memphis In May

I just recently got the opportunity to go down and enjoy Memphis in May festival.  I never get the opportunity to go to many places so this was a special kind of treat for me.

I knew this weekend would be a little bit of a party and have way too much food but that’s fine. We started Thursday out with a bang. Having a big dinner with way to much wine and whiskey.

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The highlight of the meal for me was the starter fried green tomato, the dressing packed a flavourful punch and the tomato was cooked perfect.

Second day we went on a hog crawl and got to meet several of the competing teams and sample some of their BBQ. Every team was very different in the approach, some had great sauce, some great ribs and some great pulled pork. There was way too many divisions to keeps track of here.

Everything tent was throwing a party but you had to be invites in. Basically you talk to the people at the entrance of the tent and start a friendly conversation about BBQ and if they like you they invite you in for some samples, which always seemed to include free whiskey and beer (as a said earlier, a big party). We finished our day with a big BBQ dinner which stuffed us some more. I don’t usually back down from a meal rich in meaty offerings but I was close here.

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After a day of indulging in meat, whiskey, and beer we made our way down to Beale street. This was a great time. You could walk around with beers in the street and go in and out of various clubs and blues bars. We did manage to listen to some great music and maybe got a little out of hand by the end of the night.

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After this night out we needed some good hangover food and went down to Gus’s world famous fried chicken. This place had been recommended by a lot of people to us. Unfortunately I left my phone at the hotel and didn’t get any pictures but I recommend anyone who’s down there to go and try it. Easily the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and I’m not the only person to say this.

All in all Memphis was a city with a nice small town feel and would go back in a heartbeat.

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Bread Making

Well I’m determined to learn how to make great bread, this is something I have never been good at but have a great appreciation for. We always had bread around our house growing up, sandwiches were a daily thing, buns with dinner was a must. There never was this gluten free kick that everyone seems to be on now. Bread was a central part of everyday meals. Bread has been the central part of peoples diets for generations but is very under appreciated now a days.

Now I’ve always been able to do basic loaves fairly well. You know, buy dry active yeast mix with water and sugar, add flour and mix to develop gluten. While these breads can be great the one that has always caught my eye has been sourdough, something about the crust and the depth of flavour draws me to it. Its not something that especially easy to do, but with some care you can learn to make these breads at home. All you need is a starter.

There are two ways to get your bread to rise, use bakers yeast, or use a natural starter. These starters take work and care for them to work but the results are far better in my opinion. I’ve been working on bread both ways for the past couple of months and usually do a loaf at home with my daughter every weekend.

These are some of the loaves we’ve managed to do some much better than others

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Still a work in progress for sure, but good bread goes hand in hand with charcuterie and preserves and if I want to continue on with them I figure bread is just the next step. A big resource for me has been the Tartine bread book. Chad Robertson does a wonderful job with the bread he’s making and I wish I was closer to San Fran to go and try it out. The good news is Prairie Mill bakery here in Edmonton does a fantastic job as well. Owen has been a great supplier to our restaurant and his bread is unmatched in the city in my opinion. I am we his bread as a benchmark for my own as I work to get better at this. I finally have a natural starter going and a whole compliment of various flours to work with now and will be doing a lot more bread over the next few month.


Summer update

I dont know why i keep ignoring this blog, i always say im too busy but there should always be a way to make time.

Anyways its been a fairly steady few months at the restaurant, we finally got ourselves a patio. Now if we can get the weather to cooperate we could be in for a great summer.

We’ve recently started to bring in some whole animals at the store which is exciting for me. I love the idea of uaing everything on an animal and it really gives us a chance to be creative. I have a nose to tail dinner coming up that i will definitely take some some photos of and share with everyone.

Our summer menu is getting pushed back to mid July, we decided it was time for a good refresh on the menu and it will take us a bit of time to get it together as the layout is changing as well as the content. As a chef im excited about this cause i always think change is good, and i can put a little bit more of my influence on the menu than i had before. So keep an eye out for it soon, and ill have some previews in my tweets in the next few weeks.

Well thats it for now sorry for ignoring everyone, ill try and get back to some more regular updates.


NAIT Luncheon with Chris Cosentino

This is a little behind work is keeping me busy.

I recently went to the Chris Cosentino luncheon hosted at NAIT. While not a NAIT graduate myself, this school in my opinion is one of the best in the country at developing young talent. The fact that they can bring in a chef of Chris’ talents is awesome. He is definetly an inspiring chef,  i follow him on twitter and read his book and i admire his creativity. Hopefully the students got lots of time with him and had a chance to pick his brain.

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Dungeness crab, fregola, chilies and fennel

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Acorn squash, stracciatella, and sage

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Spring Lamb, anchovies, and mint

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Bay leaf panna cotta, balsamic and black pepper

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Signed hat from Chef Chris


Family Style Dinners

Well I’ve been doing a lot of family style off menu dinners for a while now. I love the idea of putting a big platter of food in the middle of the table for people to share and eat, nothing beat having family around the table to share a meal and im trying to being that feeling to the table at the restaurant. Here’s some pictures of what I’ve done recently.

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Fried brussel sprouts, lamb shanks, mashed potatoes, and a sous vide ribeye

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Lobster arancini with bacon hollandaise

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45 oz ribeye, dry aged for 56 days

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Bacon bread pudding, vanilla ice cream, butterscotch with smoked sea salt

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Sandwich platter for lunch. Steak sandwiches, chicken parm sandwhiches

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Braised bacon with tomato, jalapeno hash

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Whole roasted pork rack, pancetta risotto, scotch compressed apples, peas and carrots


Finally another post

Well it’s been too many months since I last posted something. Between the new baby and training some new people in the kitchen I’ve been pretty busy. Plus I was in a bit of a funk for a bit, not trying a lot of new things in the kitchen and concentrating on the business side of things rather than the food. Anyways I had a table come in for some of menu dinner and I thought it was about time to show what’s been going on lately.

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First course was a prosciutto cured albacore tuna crudo, with roasted fennel seeds, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes.

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Second course was house made corned beef and braised cabbage salad rolls with a grainy mustard simple syrup

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Third course was a salted pork and foie gras fried rice with a truffled fried egg on top

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Fourth course was meatloaf glazed with sriracha ketchup, served with crispy smashed potatoes, and deep fried Brussel sprouts

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Fifth course was roasted double lamb chop, celery and lentil salad, and Kim chi puree

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Dessert course was a duo of caramelized pineapple sorbet with a prosciutto chip, and cereal milk sorbet with Gluten free brownie


Random pictures from June and July 2012

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