Before last week, if I got to have a bunch of famous chefs over, I’d be at a loss as to what to serve and how. I mean, I know I have some good (and rare) booze to set out, but what would some of the world’s finest want to snack on? Terroir 2015, Canada’s hospitality symposium, had its main convergence in Toronto. Their welcome party was held at Dailo, an upscale New Asian-French bistro in a gentrified neighborhood. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
It was my first time meeting my hosts, in addition to their many prestigious chef and restauranteur guests. The restaurant was reserved in its entirety for the party; the floor was cleared of tables, save those serving as buffet tables for the food. A bar operated in back — a popular site, save for the smokers outside.
Dailo committed itself for the evening to the vibe of the symposium, especially with locally sourced food and drink. The evening included Sam Adams as a sponsor.
Passed and plated hors d’oeuvres were the order of the day. Some of the passed treats included fried tofu.
A plank with roasted, tender, fatty beef ribs, sliced sausages, sliced rib-eye and other meats garnished with paper thin slices of watermelon radish was very popular, replenished a few times. The meats were presented with many sharp knives, but no carving fork. The expert chefs were in their millieu. The rest of us got along the best we could . . . rather caveman style! It sure got you closer to people you didn’t know just minutes before.
Deep fried whole fish was brought out a few times; I believe it was perch. The fish was deeply crunchy, fun to eat and garnished with strips of scallions.
Another plank included fine local cheeses and gourmet garnishes. Canadian artisan cheeses stand out in that some of them are unabashedly pungent. I tried some ash-covered goat cheeses, some cave-aged type cheeses, sharp Cheddars and more. They were accompanied by a sweet fruit preserve (guava?), picked radishes, whole honeycombs, paper thin sliced raw watermelon radish.
Did you know that Ontario has an artisan sake producer? I did not! The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company makes Izumi sake, fresh, unpasteurized sake using a special spring water found in northern Ontario. It has a clean, fresh, dry flavor. Very drinkable!
There were several interesting and flavorful wines from Ontario and Prince Edward Island served.
One thing I learned about chefs and their eating habits . . . they don’t seem to crave dessert!