September 19, 2009

Diner Amical, Petroleum Club

September 19, 2009

Mel Miners, Vice-Chargé de Presse

Menu (PDF)

Our first event of the Fall season was held at the Calgary Petroleum Club, with Rod Thomas, Maitre de Table hosting the event. The Chef de Cuisine was Liana Robberecht, Chef Rotisseur and in the front of the event was Maitre d’Hotel, Toni-Marie Ion-Brown.

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David and Joan Tetrault started the evening with their picture in front of the Chaine emblazon. We then entered the McMurray Room for the reception. Bird in Hand was the Sparkling Pinot Noir being poured. Many were the hors d’oeuvres being served that evening. Some day your Vice Charge de Press may become perfect and capture all of the evening, but alas, this evening, the work of the kitchen for the reception was lost. I can only apologize to them for my omission.

After the reception, we proceeded up the stairs to the Devonian Room for dinner.  Our eyes were greeted by the round tables, elegantly laid out with a selection of white (or clear) and blue.  The flower centerpiece featured beautiful orange Tiger Lilies – a passion of my better half.

Before the meal began in earnest, baskets of breads were placed on the table along with a selection of herbed butter balls.  These were a nice way to start the meal by lightly cleansing the palate for the journey “Under the Influence”.  Liana had decided that the food would be inspired by the arts, literature, personalities and music.

The first course was a pair of oysters, one tempura style with Bacon Foam and the other steamed with Mango Relish.  I should note at this point that the menu is given at the top of this page.  It gives the chef’s description in better detail than I can and also lists the accompanying beverages.

“Hot” on the heels, was a brilliant Confit of Frog’s Legs served in petal-shaped crisp bread and accompanied by an arugula puree.  A blue carnation and other greens complemented the plate.

Alice in Wonderland finally got her revenge when a plate of rabbit two ways arrived.  The loin was stuffed with wild mushrooms, whilst a perogy was stuffed with rabbit.  A Carrot Crème Fraiche washed lightly around the pair.

Yogi the Berra inspired the next plate as Jackson’s Pate arrived, interlaced with Cassis Aspic and accompanied by sautéed blackberries and a dab of Club-made Herb Mustard.

The Interlude was an iced beet puree with three droplets of Seville orange designed to stimulate the mouth for the adventure to come.  Four Trees in Autumn by Vincent van Gough was that stimulus.  A Braised Elk Short Rib and Apple Strudel set the taste buds at full throttle.  A brilliant Autumn course!  I should mention that the Henry’s Drive Shiraz went perfectly with this course.

Normally, this is the peak of the evening, but Chef Liana had even more in store for us.   A beautiful stained glass window by Marc Chagall was the inspiration for the cheese course.  It was a perfect Irish Bleu farmhouse cheese paired with an unbelievable Double Crème Brie Beignet.  Candied Vine tomatoes, grapes and almonds served to round out the plate.  The plate itself was a stained glass silhouette.

Second to last as a course, but certainly not second to last in appeal was the dessert.  Inspired by “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis, a song appeared before us.  Musical notes rained down a blue sheet of music to our plates.  It ended at the Milk Chocolate-spice Rum Mousse Cake and skipped lightly to the Sweet Corn Ice Cream.  The Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum was an interesting and very different accompanying beverage – but very suited to the course.

Finally, the Piece de Resistance – the Climax, was the plate of “Friandises” by Otto and Shannon.  The inspiration for the friandises was “Pablo Picasso – Cubism”.  The show piece was made from cast sugar and pastillage.  Both the show piece and the friandises were constructed with more straight lines than normal.  Also, vibrant, bright colours were used for strength.  The middle step was meant to remind the guests of a painter’s palate, thus the paint brushes and the hole for the artist’s thumb.  Eight different friandises were constructed.  All were specially created for our event – none had ever been presented at the Club before.  The parade of palates was led with intense concentration by Amy.  When placed on the table, the crowd was over-awed by its magnificence.  Unfortunately, the taste buds were still very much alive and so the devouring began.

The kitchen and serving staff were brought out to rounds of applause with a standing ovation.   The kitchen brigade was proudly led by Liana, while the serving staff was smilingly led by Toni-Marie.  The Chaine plates of appreciation were presented by our Bailli Cindy Findlay and Vice Argentier Mark Wilson to Brad O’Leary of the kitchen and Frank Krsek of the serving staff.  Also, in an unusual turn of events, the complete complement of staff was presented with the Chaine pin.

Our thanks go to Rod, Liana, Ted, Toni-Marie and the rest of the Calgary Petroleum staff for a wonderful evening.

I should note at this point that the menu is given at the top of this page.  It gives the chef’s description in better detail than I can and also lists the accompanying beverages.

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