Food Features

Coffee and Charm: La Distributrice, Montréal

by Alise Salins on February 21, 2015

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Today I want to share with you a hidden gem I found while wandering the streets of the uber-cool Mont-Royal in Montréal. La Distributrice may be tucked away below a set of stairs, but it is turning out some of the most fantastic espresso I’ve tasted in a long while. This kind of coffee shop is always right up my alley, excuse the pun. There’s no gimmick, no showiness and nothing fancy, just great coffee.

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Throw in some fabulous design work and typography, and this place has my name all over it.

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You’ll find La Distributrice right by the Mont-Royal metro station in one of Montréal’s smallest commercial spaces.

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Alongside The Grounds in Alexandria, Sydney, La Distributrice was featured among the top 10 Inspiring Café’s around the world here.

Amusez-vous!

Fact File:

La Distributrice
408 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est.
Montréal, Quebec H2J 1W1 Canada
Tel: +1 514 291 4825
Find them on Facebook here.

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Chef to Chef | Pan-fried Red Snapper

by Christine Salins on February 20, 2015

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Stunning hotels and resorts in Vietnam, Thailand and Australia provide the backdrop for a new series called Chef to Chef, which lets you in on some local insider secrets and offers recipes for wow-factor dishes like the Red Snapper dish here.

The series, a collaboration between InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and FOX International Channels, sees chef and host Sharone Hakman meeting with chefs Michel Roux, Ian Kittichai and Ross Lusted in spectacular locations where they sample local culinary delights before cooking a dish using local ingredients.

Favourite food haunts in Sydney

Lusted owns the two-hatted Sydney restaurant, The Bridge Room, and is a member of InterContinental Hotel Group’s culinary panel. In one of the episodes, he explores some of his favourite spots in Sydney such as the Sydney Fish Market and butcher Victor Churchill.

He prepares a mud crab dish at The Bridge Room, while Hakman prepares his signature dish of Grilled Beef Tongue on the rooftop of the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay. (By all accounts, the view is terrific and I’m looking forward to seeing it for myself next week.)

In another episode, three Michelin Star chef Michel Roux (below), whose latest venture in Asia is the fine dining restaurant La Maison 1888 at Vietnam’s InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula resort, meets local fishmongers at Man Thai Beach before preparing his Pan-fried Red Snapper dish at the resort. Check out his recipe below.

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Ian Kittichai is an award-winning chef in Thailand and also a member of InterContinental’s culinary panel. He boards a tuk tuk with Hakman in Koh Samui to source herbs and spices from local markets, using them to season his indulgent Phla Pla Tuna dish at InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort.

All of these episodes make for entertaining viewing and can be seen across Fox’s channels (Nat Geo People, National Geographic Channel and FX) until the end of the month. Alternatively, you can watch them online at www.cheftochef-intercontinental.com, where you can also download the recipes (I’ve given you a head-start with the snapper recipe here.)

InterContinental’s culinary panel is a new initiative, with 5 chefs – Ross Lusted, Ian Kittichai, Theo Randall, Sam Leong and Dean Brettschneider – appointed as culinary ambassadors to develop a repertoire of unique signature dishes for guests dining in IHG’s hotels across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The group’s Vice President Food & Beverage, Phil Broad, said the Chef to Chef series was an opportunity to showcase its cuisine to a wider audience, and to “share the journey” of how its dishes are selected and created.

Chef to Chef , pan-fried red snapper recipe, fish recipes, recipes for fish, recipes for cooking snapper, InterContinental Group, Sydney hotels, hotels in Vietnam, hotels in Thailand, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, FOX International Channels, Sharone Hakman, Michel Roux, Ian Kittichai, Ross Lusted, The Bridge Room, Sydney Fish Market, butcher Victor Churchill, Grilled Beef Tongue, InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, La Maison 1888, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula resort, Man Thai Beach, Phla Pla Tuna, Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, Theo Randall, Sam Leong, Dean Brettschneider.PAN-FRIED RED SNAPPER WITH PIPERADE AND AIOLI

Serves 4

2 red snapper, about 800 grams each, scaled

Cut off the dorsal fins of the red snapper tail with scissors. Lay the fish on one side and, using a filleting knife, open it up through its back to the belly, gliding the knife over the bones. Repeat on the underside of the bones.
Check for bones; remove with tweezers if needed. Rinse the fillets under a trickle of cold running water. Thoroughly dab the fillets dry with kitchen paper or a cloth.
Cook the fillet of red snapper skin side down with a little olive oil in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat, turn and cook for 30 seconds on the other side.

Aioli:

120 grams baked potato
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
2/3 cup olive oil
5 grams garlic, chopped

Rub baked potato through a sieve into a bowl. Add the garlic cloves, egg yolks and pinch of salt. Mix together. Add the olive oil and grapeseed oil in a thin, steady stream, mixing constantly.
When about half of the oil has been incorporated, add some drops of water to emulsify. (Instead of the water you can add saffron strands infused in 3 tablespoons of boiling water for 5 minutes or so). Gradually incorporate the remaining oil, then season the aioli with a pinch of cayenne and salt to taste.

Piperade:

3 tablespoons olive oil
200 grams red peppers, peeled
200 grams green peppers, peeled
200 grams red onion, peeled and sliced
600 grams ripe tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and sliced
30 grams garlic, chopped

Gently heat olive oil then add the onions, cover the pan and sweat for 15 minutes.
Remove the stalks from the peppers, halve them lengthways and discard the white membrane and seeds. Slice the peppers, but not too thinly, and add them to the onions, together with the garlic. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Add the sliced tomatoes and cook uncovered, for about 15 minutes, until their juices have evaporated. The vegetable mixture should be melting and soft but not liquid. Season to taste with salt and cayenne.

Photos supplied by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

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2015 Noosa International Food and Wine Festival

by Christine Salins on February 12, 2015

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A Wild Food dinner and some exciting food trails are new on the program at this year’s Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, along with more beach parties and some lively discussions with Australia’s top media and food critics. This hugely popular festival, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from May 14 to 17, is an experience like no other: you can get up close and personal with your favourite food heroes and take part in a huge range of activities, most within walking distance of the main festival village.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Internationally renowned chefs: David Thompson (Thailand), Ryan Clift (Singapore), Josh Emett (New Zealand), Meena Thongkumpola (USA) Ben Batterbury (New Zealand) and Andrew Evans (USA) .
  •  Top Australian chefs: Mark Best, Martin Boetz, Peter Conistis, Colin Fassnidge, Dan Hong, Mark Jensen, Andrew McConnell, Matt Moran, David Moyle, Steven Snow, Ryan Squires, Shane Watson, Adriano Zumbo and many others.
  •  Wild Food Dinner on Noosa Main Beach with Clayton Donovan, Matt Golinski, David Moyle, Sean McConnell and the festival’s executive chef Timothy Montgomery.
  •  Get your feet in the sand at the 1970s Beach Party BBQ & Clam Bake on Noosa Main Beach on Saturday and Sunday nights.
  •  A new food trail: A Real Farm Experience & Lunch with the Walkers, accompanied by chefs Martin Boetz, Cameron Matthews and Alex Herbert. This hinterland farm producing beef and chickens is committed to the highest standards in animal welfare and quality produce.
  • A new seafood trail to the Mooloolah River: Visit the boats and meet the fishermen as they unload their catch and feast on their bounty while learning about the latest in sustainable fishing practices. With chefs Jiro Numata, Zeb Gilbert, David Pugh and Steven Snow.
  •  Asahi Super Dry Premium BBQ Lunch on Noosa Main Beach: Beer and top-notch food by the kings of the grill: Morgan McGlone, Andre De Laine and Andrew Evans (USA). What could be a better way to spend Friday lunch?
  •  Masterclasses led by wine authorities: Bernadette O’Shea, Aaron Brasher, Tony Harper, Peter Forrestal, Ken Gargett, George Samios and Qantas epiQure.
  •  Engage directly with winemakers from more than 70 of the country’s finest vineyards.
  • The Food Critics’ Competition sees restaurant and food critics such as Matt Preston “put their cooking where their mouth is” and produce a favourite dish for festival-goers to critique and judge. As last year’s winner, Preston is back to defend his title, joined this year by Simon Thomsen (businessinsider.com), John Lethlean & Necia Wilden (The Australian), Elizabeth Meryment (Sunday Telegraph), Lizzie Loel (The Courier Mail), Dan Stock (The Herald Sun) and Simon Wilkinson (Adelaide Advertiser). Each critic is given his or her own food stall at the Festival Village and their dishes can be sampled for $8 per dish. The winner is chosen by crowd applause. It’s one of the festival’s most popular events!

Tickets and the full event program: www.noosafoodandwine.com.au

Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, when will the Noosa food festival be held, food festivals, best food festivals in Australia, Wild Food dinner, David Thompson, Ryan Clift, Josh Emett, Meena Thongkumpola, Ben Batterbury, Andrew Evans, Mark Best, Martin Boetz, Peter Conistis, Colin Fassnidge, Dan Hong, Mark Jensen, Andrew McConnell, Matt Moran, David Moyle, Steven Snow, Ryan Squires, Shane Watson, Adriano Zumbo, Clayton Donovan, Matt Golinski, David Moyle, Sean McConnell, Timothy Montgomery, Cameron Matthews, Alex Herbert, Jiro Numata, Zeb Gilbert, David Pugh, Morgan McGlone, Andre De Laine,  Bernadette O’Shea, Aaron Brasher, Tony Harper, Peter Forrestal, Ken Gargett, George Samios, Qantas epiQure, Simon Thomsen (businessinsider.com), John Lethlean & Necia Wilden (The Australian), Elizabeth Meryment (Sunday Telegraph), Lizzie Loel ( The Courier Mail), Dan Stock (The Herald Sun), Simon Wilkinson (Adelaide Advertiser), food wine travel, Christine Salins.

Photos supplied by Davidson Communications.

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