The weather was cool and damp as we gathered at Chambar’s bar for a pre-event drink followed by a short stroll to our bonus opening act at The Dirty Apron Cooking School on Vancouver’s Beatty Street. Greeted by General Manager Molly Hawkins, we enjoyed a brief tour of the shop with its many items for the kitchen before sitting down in the amazing, brand new and gleaming teaching kitchen at the school. Chef David Robertson gave us a lively demonstration, ably assisted by some of our members, and we enjoyed amuse bouches of a chestnut cream soup with white truffled cream over pan seared foie gras followed by a potato blini with pan seared scallops lightly marinated in maple syrup. A delicious and inspiring start to our evening.
Back up to Chambar and Medina where we sat down for a five course meal prepared by Chef Nico Schuermans and paired with an excellent selection of Belgian beers. Each course and pairing was introduced by knowledgeable GM and Sommelier Mike Mitchell. We started with Le Tartare à l’Espelette, a sundried tomato and Espelette beef tartare with Parmesan tuile, picked basil and heirlook tomatoes paired with an excellent match, Troublette, a higher carbonation beer with a dry finish and muted cardamom aroma.
Next came Les Coquilles St. Jacques, seared scallops with smoked Kurobata pork cheek, pickled green beans and horseradish vinaigrette paired with Chambar’s own Ale, smooth and crisp with its toasted malts and balanced finish of hops. The signature Moules Frites “Congolaise”, mussels cooked with a tomato coconut cream, smoked chili and lime and fresh cilantro was paired with a higher alcohol Tripel Karmelet, a blonde beer, robust and smooth with a fruity finish.
Our main course was Canard aux Epices, a spice rubbed duck breast with butternut squash purée, maple roasted crab apples, whipped goat’s cheese and tamarind gastrique with a Satan Gold beer, crisp and full-bodied with toasty hops on the finish. Finally, dessert was served – Bleu et Blanc, a red wine poached plum with white chocolate blue cheese mousse, cinnamon spiced phyllo and pecan tuile with Gulden Draak, an intense beer with Concorde grapes and plums up front with a port-like finish.
What an excellent evening we enjoyed! Our thanks go to Chef Nico Schuermans and Mike Mitchell and their teams for a truly amazing evening, our first pairing of such delicious food with an excellent selection of fine Belgian beers.