February 12, 2015

SAIT Dîner Amical – Thursday, February 12, 2015

Juergen Bahr, Chargé de Presse

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet Van Horne

The above quote rang true for the Dîner Amical at the Highwood Dining Room at SAIT on February 12. Delightful adventurous appetizers, courses that pushed the ordinary into the extra ordinary, splendid enthusiastic service, all of this provided by student brigades both in food preparation as well as in service. It all spoke to the dedicated efforts of the faculty as well as the youthful unbridled enthusiasm of the students.

The evening began with a reception in Highwood Dining Room, this bright and thoughtfully designed facility located on the SAIT Polytechnic campus in Calgary. One of its founders, Paul Mastalir, was with us that evening, he must have been delighted to see the fruits of his effort some 50 years hence.

We started with a wonderful champagne, Vive Cliquot Rose, accompanied by five outstanding appetizers.

 Roasted Butternut Squash, Beet Cured Arctic Char, Quail Confit & Mousseline, Steeped Sour Cherry and Dungeness Crab.

We were then seated and Bailli Mark Wilson commenced the evening with guest introductions and then welcomed us to enjoy the evening.  And enjoy we did.

SAIT Charcuterie Tasting

Smoked Duck Prosciutto, Duck Leg Rilette, Cured Foie Gras, Fruit and Mustard Preserve

Rabl, Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal Austria 2011


Roasted Rabbit Consommé

Carrot and Savoy Cabbage Press, Garden Elements in a hand poured Consommé

Mayu, Pedro Ximinez Riserva, Elqui Valley Chile, 2013


Lady Lobster

Popping Corn Hollandaise, Coral and Granny Smith Apple Gel, Brioche Crisps, Sea Asparagus

Domaine Faiveley, Bourgogne Blanc, France 2011


Prosecco Passion Sorbet


Venison Duo

Roasted Loin with Porcinis, Braised Leg and Chanterelles, Huckleberry Juice

Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino County California, USA, 2011


Bleu de Causses Fondue

Brioche, Wine Poached Pear, Peppered Meringue

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla, Cream Sherry, Spain, N/V


“Roof Top” Honey Panna Cotta

Honey Infused Winter Melons, Rosemary Vanilla Gelato

Maculan Moscato, Italy, 2013

We were also presented with a stunningly beautiful  “Valentine’s Day” sugar spun centrepiece.  It was a whimsical representation of the some of the values associated with Valentine’s Day and sparked interested discussion at our table regarding the art of making it and its content.

After sweets and chocolates and coffee and tea were served, Mark Wilson rose to deliver the accolades of the evening.  In it he praised the excellence of the food and service, but reserved most of his comments for the tradition of excellence and tradition of the food service and hotel management programs.  Mark Wilson, who himself is an alumnus of this program, reminded us that SAIT is really the foundation of the today’s culinary arts in Calgary, founded by the first generation of Chefs and Hoteliers from overseas, who then passed on their passion to generations of chefs and hoteliers, who are, in turn, the foundation of the industry today.  Paul Mastalir was present to represent this circle, this circle of love and passion for food and service, which is also the founding principle of the Chaine des Rotisseurs.

Mark Wilson, Bailli Regional, assisted by David Tetrault, Bailli National, awarded the customary two plates of the Chaine.  The plates went to Alita Brown, who represented the Service Brigade, and Chef Hayato Okamitsu, who represented the Culinary Brigade.  The assembled guests then rose to praise the brigades in a rousing toast.  It was inspiring to see the sheer number of the students who prepared and served our dinner this night.  You all have a great future, if you maintain the love and passion for this industry, because as one sees in the quote above, you either do it right, like tonight, or you should not do it at all.

Mark Wilson then reminded us of the next Mondial event at Vera Bistro on March 26th and wished us a safe journey home.

We should all keep this love, it makes us better people.  Happy Valentine’s Day.

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