November 28, 2014

Diner Amical

Eric Harvey Theatre Stage

The Banff Centre

November 28, 2014

Valli Arlette, Chargée de Presse

 Executive Chef of the Banff Centre, Beat Hegnauer, has been a Chaine Member since 1982.  Time and time again he has thrilled us with outstanding events.  We knew that this would be his last event at The Banff Centre, as he is retiring very soon.  Word had spread that he would be offering a reprise of “Dinner On Stage” in the Eric Harvey Theatre:  the event was fully subscribed almost as soon as it was posted.  It is a testament to his reputation that we would brave blizzard conditions and zero visibility to take our places at his table.  The Chef himself had to be pushed out of the snow twice, as he travelled to make sure the details of his event would be perfect – microgreens were certainly not going to freeze on his watch!

 A greeting accompanied by house-made chocolate bark, smoked almonds, and Glüwein, waiting in our rooms, set the tone for the evening.  His brow slightly furrowed with concern, Chef Hegnauer himself greeted guests as they straggled in from the cold with their tales of driving woes.  Michael Langlois, Director of Food and Beverage at the Centre and our co-host for the evening, seemed to be everywhere at once, gracious every step of the way.  It is this attention to detail, and care for the well-being of guests that marks the Banff Centre as a special destination.

Cares fell away like snowflakes as we enjoyed a glass of Taittinger Champagne, Brut Reserve, or a signature cocktail, Pomegranate Nectar.  Fish had been flown in that day for our enjoyment as sushi and sashimi.  Chefs were on hand to custom-roll Spicy Tuna cones.  Servers offered Beef Tataki with Raspberry Pearls, and little Lobster Cakes.  By the time we were called to the theatre, our spirits were much improved.

We entered the theatre as an audience. The “curtain”, a scenery scrim of great beauty, was down.  Guests murmured to each other –  Would there be entertainment?  Would we be served in the audience seating?  And then – the curtain was raised, and our beautifully laid tables appeared, stage-lit and sparkling with crystal and silver.  Outstanding!  We made our way to our seats.

One of the interesting features of dining on the stage is the remarkable quiet.  Sound is absorbed in an interesting way, and conversation is easily conducted.  Throughout the evening, professional stage crew managed the lighting and special effects, like “flying in” our banner, and the first course.  The sound system was monitored flawlessly.  We proceeded to enjoy a menu that was precisely staged from the freshly-vacuumed and draped production rooms just off-stage, a feat of cooperation with theatre staff that deserves mention.

The Menu

Ahi Tuna Tartar, Pineapple, Radish and Nasturtium
2013 Wild Goose, Reisling, Okanagan Valley, Canada

Tables descended from high in the ceiling.  Chefs appeared and garnished the plates a la minute.  This beautiful art was graciously served to each place.  Nowhere else could we have received this service.

 Yellow Pea and Butternut Squash Soup,
Pressed Pork Osso Buco, Bacon Vinaigrette
2007 Domaine Huet, Le Mont, Demi Sec, Vouvray, France

 Roasted and Braised Root Vegetables
2012 Domaine Lafond, Tavel, Rosé, Roc-Epine, France

Spiced Duck Terrine, Black Bread, Cranberry-Hibiscus Chutney
2012 Felton Road, Central Otago, New Zealand, Pinot Noir

Sablefish and Black Tiger Selva Prawn,
Lemongrass Black Thai Rice, Wakame Buerre Blanc
2010 Pierre Morey, Mersault, Cote d’Or, France

 Coconut, Mint and Tequila Sorbet

Alberta Bison Striploin and Alberta Lamb Shoulder, Cipollini Onions
2010 Ben Glaetzer, Anaperenna, Barossa Valley, Australia, Shiraz-Cabernet

 B.C.’s Pacific Rock, Hard Cow
Ontario’s Harley Blue, Semi-Soft Goat
Quebec’s Le Vlimeux, Semi-Soft Sheep, Unpasteurized
Taylor Fladgate 20 year Tawny Port

Raspberry Ganache, Rosemary Semifreddo

Friandise

We welcomed the Brigade with glasses raised.  The servers, for the most part, had only joined the Centre in the past summer or fall, and it was a tribute to their training and ability that they could provide such excellent white-glove service throughout the evening.

Putting tradition aside, Bailli Regional Mark Wilson praised the overall excellence of the evening, noting the attentive pairings of wine and food, and the superior service.  Chef Hegnauer accepted the plate awarded to Sous-Chef Tobias Schilk, who had been responsible for the dessert, and involved in the development of the menu.  A plate was also awarded to Dining Room Supervisor Tyler Jeffs, for his role in coordinating the evening’s service.

Bailli Delegue et Membre du Conseil’Administration David Tetrault took this special occasion to award the International Silver Medal to Chef Hegnauer, for outstanding service to the Chaine.  Special thanks were also expressed by Bailli Provincial des Prairies Fritz Painsi (who also praised the Brigade) and Membre Honoraire du Conseil d’Administration  Hayo Maier.  A special tribute was given by Bailli Regional Honoraire Cindy Findlay to Therese Hegnauer, for her kind endurance and support of her husband, and his role in the Chaine.

The snow had stopped falling.  Roads and paths were being cleared.  Breathing the great gusty sighs of the fully sated, we made our way into the night.  Thanks to the Banff Centre for a wonderful evening, and best wishes to Beat Hegnauer, as he moves on to new adventures.

 

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