WinSport, Dîner Amical
June 23, 2019

Ashley, Vice Chargée de Presse

Photography Provided by: Dave Holland and Phil Crozier

 Calgary weather was a true reflection of what Chef Liana Robberecht, Jason McKay, and the WinSport team were planning. This evenings Dîner Amical whirled around: The Storm…a journey from light to dark returning to light. Calgary did just that: beautiful and sunny, sudden torrential rain, then as dinner ended so did the storm; the world refreshed. This evening’s dinner was a truly unique experience, staged through three pop up rooms of WinSport, the outdoors brought indoors.

First was the:

Calm Before the Storm

*“ This is the pine that scents the air, a cedar’s branch holds a barred owl stare, a trickling stream brings forth a deer; the snap of a twig begins its fear, disturbing a pool where the fish does dwell, before the rain can feed its swell. These are the creatures midday and warm, but this is the calm before the storm.”*

Here we tasted:

Passed canapés: strawberry ceviche | birch syrup fritters| Elk tartare

                                Taittinger Prestige Rose NV Brut, Champagne

In the second room we were entertained by a member of the Cowtown opera. She delighted us with a selection of songs, we were invited to join in singing Edelweiss.

Next we made our way into the dining room. The outdoor theme was continued, this time with a riparian twist, the sound of trickling water in the background, darkened themed lighting, firefly lights, and moss trailing from the ceiling.

Dinner was narrated by *“James Beard”*, as each course was being served the lighting changed, the river was calm, or began to flow faster depending on what part of the evening we were experiencing.

Sable Fish, small Ocean of violet-scented broth – *Breaking the Waves. Sable Fish, ginger, cilantro and green onions. Canopied in viola flowers. Adorned with micro-lovage, sea beans, fennel pollen and fennel root. Finished in a small ocean of violet-scented broth.”*

Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier 2017, Australia – *“Long, Rich and luscious. Yalumba Eden Valley Viogner 2017, Australia. Pure aromas fresh apricots, lifted ginger and saffron. Stone fruit flavours and hints of orange peel.”*

Rabbit Rillette dragon fruit “burrow”, mustard cracker, hand forged & crafted cat tail – Jicama pickle – * “Skitter, Skitter, Whisker Quiver. Rabbit Rillette in a dragon fruit burrow, mustard cracker, handcrafted Cat Tail and Jicama pickle.”*

G de Guiraud Blanc Sec 2016, Bordeaux, France – *“Blended white light. G de Guiraud (Jee du Ghee-Ro) Blanc Sec 2016, Bordeaux, France. A dry, elegant herbal wine. A unique combination of Sauvignon and Semillon.”*


*“A thunder giant gives a belly’s growl standing still a predator’s prowl. And quickly followed is that light- cracked lance, which signals nature to end its dance, and to and fro all creatures skelter, here and there to find their shelter, any place to find that’s warm, and so escape this coming storm.”*

 Hen of the Woods mushroom, King Oyster mushrooms & black garlic herb escargot, Alvear Fino mousse, mushroom wafer, fungi leaf – *“ Darkness enters at the edges. Hen of the Woods, King Oyster Mushrooms & Black Garlic Herb Escargot. Alvear Fino Mousse, mushroom wafer, fungi leaf.”*

Compania Vincola del Norte de Espana Imperial Reserva 2015, Rioja, Spain – *“Atmosphere silky and rich. Notes of toffee and tobacco. Compania Vincola del Norte de Espana Imperial Reserva 2015, Rioja, Spain. A special blend of Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha.”*

Palate Cleanser

Heart of cucumber refresher, Chinese cedar, lemon grass, apple sorrel, ice buds & edible pink begonia flowers – *“ A moment, a moment, a moment of refuge. A heart of cucumber pallet refresher, Chinese cedar, ice plant leaf, lemon grass, apple sorrel, ice buds and pink begonia flowers.”*

At this point during dinner the rain picked up, the river flowed faster and faster, the lightning flashed, we held our breath, thunder rumbled in the background, rain continued to dance around us, we clapped in enchantment as The Storm grew to a climax. As the storm faded we were presented with our main course.

Ballantine of duck wrapped in bacon, hinted with smoke, cassis beet puree, cheddar polenta – *“Sky-fire and smoldering rain. A Ballantine of duck wrapped in bacon, hinted with smoke. A cassis-beet puree, silky and smooth with cheddar polenta.”*

Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Rouge 2016 Premier Cru, Burgundy, France – *“Red Ruby Beauty. *Joseph Drouhin Clos des Mouches Rouge 2016 Premier Cru, Burgundy, France: Cherry, raspberry and blackberry are dominant notes with a smoky complexity that hints toward licorice. Lively, refined, and refreshing.”*

 Dew Drops & Rainbows

*“A light, a light through a thundercloud’s sallet ensures the world has changed its pallet. Dewdrops cleanse an earthy taste; a rainbow follows quick in haste. All creatures woken from their nests, from their hollows, onto their quests.”* 

The Storm over the next act followed. Dew Drops & Rainbows a “Forest Floor”, a nutty, earthy 1655 Gruyere served on a wooden board with a ‘river’ flowing through the middle

  “Forest Floor” Gruyere Depuis 1655, roasted squash & apple gelee – *“A Technicolor epiphany. An emblazoned “Forest Floor”. Gruyere Depuis 1655, roasted squash and apple gelee.”*

                                Taylor Fladgate 1969 Single Harvest Vintage Tawny Port, Portugal – *“A sunset of deep mahogany with an Olive coloured horizon at the rim. *Taylor Fladgate 1969 Single Harvest Vintage Tawny Port, Portugal. Rich, sweet, full of flavour with hints of molasses, dried figs, and apricot confit.”*

 Sumac fallen chocolate leaves with Rufus chocolate mousse – *“Autumn falling for a rising palate. Sumac wind-strewn chocolate leaves with Cacao Barry chocolate mousse.”*

Petit Guiraud 2016, Sauternes, France – *“A golden ray of liquid sun. Petit (Ghee-Ro) Guiraud 2016, Sauternes, France. Sweetness, Freshness and balanced acidity. A perfect chocolate compliment.”*

The formal dining part of the evening finished we listened to this final epilogue:

*“While you have dined in a storm’s dream, these waiters were actors or so it seems, the playwright, the chef behind the curtain designed the script’s menu, you know this for certain. And the night’s sweetest course has signaled the end, and here and now, we ask for amends, for any tastes faulted, of any degree being less or more salted. As you exit this evening your palettes ordained, remember us fondly, this Dinner Chaîne.”*

 For the Awakening, as our hosts called it, we made our way from the darkened dining room to the first two rooms, where we were greeted by several stunning chocolate show pieces, more desserts, martinis, coffee, and tea.



Cat tails, grasses, water ripples, pond, waterfall


Branches, birch, leaves


Mix of large and small flowers

  “Forest Floor”

Hallow tree stumps (texture & flow), mushrooms (bright colour)

Milk Chocolate Caramel Passion Nests, Fig leaf Ice Cream bar Rugosso chocolate mousse, roasted red pepper & raspberry gelee Dew drop: vanilla mousse, Concorde grape gelee & peanut butter namelaka Spruce Tip Crème Brulee, chocolate sticks

Village Brewery, Eau Claire Distillery

The entire evening had every sense astir from start to finish, one was calm and relaxed, yet while The Storm rolled through one shivered with delight.

Sadly, everything must come to an end, even though our hosts would have happily allowed us to party until dawn we did have some Chaîne official business to take care of for the evening.

Baili Delegue Mr. David Tetrault presented two International Bronze Medals and pins to Jason and Chef Liana in recognition of their dedication and excellence to the Chaîne. These are given for recognition of an excellent contribution in the ranks of their Bureau.

Baillie Toni-Marie Ion-Brown presented the plates for the evening. Jason McKay received he front of the house plate.

The plate for the kitchen brigade this evening went to Allyson Davies-Noble in recognition of her contribution behind the scenes.

Departures: Bon Bons |Rustic Bread | Saskatoon Berry & Juniper preserve

Thank you WinSport for an unforgettable evening.

Vive la Chaîne!

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