Meet our Taste of Newfoundland + Labrador Guests

Posted by Ivy Knight, November 16, 2015
Taste of Newfoundland

This Monday is not like any other Monday. You know why? Because we’re starting the week with a Taste of Newfoundland + Labrador! Tonight at The Drake Hotel, tomorrow night at Drake Devonshire, and Wednesday night at Drake One Fifty, you’ll find East Coast festivities and flavours that’ll have you packing for a trip to The Rock.

Editor-in-chief of Swallow Daily, 86’d Mondays Hostess with the Most-est, and in-house East Coaster Ivy Knight cozied up with her Atlantic Canada kin Chef Todd Perrin + Sommelier Stephen Lee of Mallard Cottage and Chef Jeremy Charles + Sommelier Jeremy Bonia of Raymonds for a chat about food, wine, and bringing a Taste of Newfoundland + Labrador to The Drake.

Cottage in the County: Chef Todd Perrin + sommelier Stephen Lee of Mallard Cottage, Quidi Vidi, NL

Tomorrow, November 17th, Chef Todd Perrin and Sommelier Stephen Lee will be joining the Drake Devonshire kitchen team all the way from Quidi Vidi a small fishing village just east of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Perrin has been recognized for “bringing new swagger to the rustic East Coast” and we’re excited for him to bring that same swag to the Dev.

Taste of Newfoundland

IK. Have you been to Prince Edward County before?

TP. I’ve only been to the County a couple times, the Terroir party at Norm’s a few years ago. That’s where I first met Matty [DeMille], and then I met him again at Langdon Hall a few years ago. We haven’t actually worked together before though.

SL. I have, I went with the Jeremys [Jeremy Bonia and Jeremy Charles] before we opened Raymonds, we zipped in and went to Norm’s for a tasting. Since my visit six years ago there are so many more wine producers, it’s really exciting. The Drake Devonshire property seems to be on the tips of most people’s tongues and I’m excited to do our food there. For me as a sommelier I’m looking forward to seeing how we can get those Newfoundland flavours to meld with the local wines.

IK. How did you plan the menu and the wines?

TP. Matty and I went back and forth over the phone, I sent up some recipes of what we do at Mallard. In the end the menu is a taste of what we do and what’s available in the County.

SL. Randall Reashore and I have been in touch and we’re going to go for some tastings in the area. Everything we pour will be from the County. We need to leave a little bit of room for the chefs – a lot of game time decisions are made in the kitchen. I try to wait until the dishes are finally composed. There are a lot of wines we haven’t been able to taste in Newfoundland so I’ll be tasting around the County to see what gems can be found.

Taste of Newfoundland

IK. Did you bring up some of your own ingredients from Newfoundland and Labrador?

TP. We got some salt fish, fresh and dried Newfoundland scallops, foraged juniper from up behind the restaurant. We’ve got some partridgeberries for dessert and a tonic water called Third Place Tonic, that some friends of ours in St. John’s are making. We’ll use that for cocktails.

IK. What was your first experience with the Drake?

TP. My first time was at one of your 86’d events, we enjoyed the hospitality that the Drake is famous for. We were always hanging out there with you when we were in town. Now, I’m stoked to be seeing the County, I think (the Devonshire) marries a bit of what the Drake does downtown with what we do at Mallard.

SL. It was an 86’d, you invited me to judge Battle Offal. That was probably 2009, my strongest memory of the night was the lamb cock & ball sausage. I’ve been to the Terroir Symposium and you always host the after parties at the Drake Hotel. They are always memorable.

IK. You forage for a lot of the things on your menu at Mallard, what are some of the most plentiful ingredients that you use?

TP. Berries are an obvious one. Juniper berries, partridgeberries. Mushrooms like chanterelles and hedgehogs. We work with pine needles and spruce tips, little bit of shore greens, not a lot yet, we’re still educating ourselves about those plants. We can pick a ton of blueberries outside the back door of our restaurant. We don’t usually get in our car to go foraging we just step outside the restaurant.

Taste of Newfoundland

Via by Joel Upshall

IK. This Devonshire pop-up is the second on a cross-country tour, tell me about that.

TP. We had a couple of events that were back to back, one in Wolfville after the Devour! Food Film Festival and then this one with the Devonshire. The idea was we were traveling anyway so why not do a Mallard Cottage pop-up tour across Canada? We tacked on dates in Niagara, Calgary and BC. We just thought it would be a fun promotional tool, something that benefits the restaurant, while we’re just doing our thing. It wasn’t a well-orchestrated plan but it seems to be coming together. We had a great event at Grand Pre Winery in Wolfville and we’re looking forward to the event here at the Dev on the 17th.

After that we’re off to Niagara to the Restaurant at Red Stone on the 19th. Then on the 22nd we’re in Calgary at CharBar, then out to Fernie, BC for a pop-up on a farm on the 25th. It’s as much as we figured we could fit in for a travel tour.

SL. Wolfville was great, it’s so close to home but their wine scene, the whites and sparklings, are really up and coming. You couldn’t sit another soul in the room at Grand Pre, it was packed and the food was really well received. Out west, there is obviously a massive Newfoundlander ex-pat contingent in Alberta, so we just hope to bring a little piece of home out to Calgary.

The Ontario leg of this trip is more about bringing Newfoundland flavours to this province, and me digging in to get a grasp on the wines and get a stronger understanding.

Downtown St. John’s to Downtown Toronto: Chef Jeremy Charles + sommelier Jeremy Bonia of Raymonds, St. John’s, NL

On November 18th, Chef Jeremy Charles and restaurant manager + sommelier Jeremy Bonia set up camp at Drake One Fifty for our York Street location’s 9th Guest-Chef dinner with Chefs Ted Corrado, Jon Pong + team. We are thrilled to get a taste of what Montreal chef, Derek Dammann has called, “by far, the best food in Canada right now.”

Taste of Newfoundland

IK. Have you been to the Drake One Fifty yet or will this be your first time? Tell me about your first experience with Drake.

JC. I’ve never been to Drake One Fifty, so yes, first time. Been to the Hotel many times though, we stayed there when we won Best New Restaurant for enRoute with Atlantica in 2007.

Then we did the Northern Chef’s Series at the Drake Hotel that was my first time meeting Anthony Rose. Then later we cooked together at The Chef’s Congress at Eigensinn Farm, him and I. I remember how casual and welcoming the whole Drake Hotel crew was. Being invited to cook outside of Newfoundland, it was definitely a wonderful experience. I still have the poster from that Northern Chef dinner hanging up in the kitchen at Raymonds, it’s a lovely poster the Drake art department designed.

IK. Let’s talk wine. JB, can you tell me about your first experience with Ontario wine?

JB. At the Chefs’ Congress that Städtlander organized, I remember meeting Charles Baker, who was pouring Stratus wines and Norm Hardie and Dan Sullivan from Rosehall Run. It was mind blowing. That was the first trip I’d ever taken where everybody was pouring Canadian and it was all good. It was eye-opening experience.

How has the menu planning been going?

JC. I’ve been taking to Ted Corrado and Jon Pong over email, I’ve brought everything I can with me from Newfoundland. My friend dove for scallops yesterday. We’ve got whelks, sea urchin and capelin, then we’ve got snow crab and cod coming in on Monday.

I’ll do four or five snacks, a scallop & sea urchin dish, codfish and pork dish and finish with a NL blueberry dessert. There will be some surprises in there too. Maybe some seal bresaola…

Taste of Newfoundland

Photo via Good Food Revolution

IK. What about the wine for the menu, will you be sticking with local bottles?

JB. At Raymonds we incorporate Ontario as much as we can. When it’s available that is, which can be a problem in Newfoundland: availability. A lot of the style of wines that are being made here; not super aggressive, not super alcohol, they work well with our food. Sarah at One Fifty has an amazing wine list that she’s put together. We always like to see what other people think, I know my go to‘s with these dishes. Maybe the team will recommend something I’ve never had before, which would be great.

I’m completely up for whatever.

IK. You do a lot of collaborative dinners, where have you cooked this year so far?

JC. I’ve done a lot yeah *laughs*. This year I did Food & Wine Melbourne, Montreal with Antonio Park, Milan with Massimo Bottura, Chicago with Paul Kahan, London with James Lowe, the Devour! Food Film Festival earlier this month in Wolfville with Dan Burns (from Brooklyn), Todd Perrin and Bryan Picard (Cape Breton). Also collaborated with The Hipster Chef Jeremy Perrin from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, keep an eye out for that.

IK. What are some ingredients that are important to you to utilize when doing these collaborative dinners?

JC. I think whenever we can get wild game onto a menu; rabbit, moose, partridge then I’m happy and it’s always nice to have codfish. Whenever we’re fortunate enough to have people jump into the ocean for us and get fresh scallops and sea urchin that’s great. I’m not coming to cook a rack of lamb, I’m cooking stuff from our backyard. I’m excited to cook with Ted and the whole crew. It’s always great to be here, Toronto’s been good to us. Not everyone can get to Newfoundland so it’s nice to bring it here.

IK. You don’t often get to join Jeremy Charles on these trips, what do you enjoy most when you do?

JB. It’s always nice to bridge the gap between FOH & BOH. I love working in the kitchen with J and no one knows who I am, then I get changed into a suit for service and come back and no one recognizes me. That’s always fun.

When I get to accompany, I usually have a lot more to do in different capacities, anything from cleaning whelks to sanding down freshly cut wood rounds for plates. This weekend we’ll have to try and find a sawmill to make some plates for Wednesday. I’m really just excited about this dinner, it’s like coming to see a bunch of old friends.

Posted in: Food + Drink

Tags: Culture  Drake Devonshire  Drake Hotel  Drake One Fifty  Food + Drink  Guest Blogger  Guest Chef Series  Ivy Knight  Mallard Cottage  Raymonds  Taste of Newfoundland + Labrador