Chef Jason Barton-Browne – Teatro
“Anyone can put a piece of meat in a sous vide bag and make it taste good,” says Chef Jason Barton-Browne of Calgary institution, Teatro. Vegetables on the other hand, take much more finesse to showcase. Lucky for you, there are plenty of insider tools and techniques to help feature vegetables in all of their glory.
Take the art of making a creamy, ethereal puree for example. The key, says Chef Barton-Browne, is to cook your vegetables to the point of disintegration. In order to speed up this process and ensure consistent cooking, he suggests grating rather than chopping vegetables prior to simmering them in the liquid of your choice. Then when you go to puree them, there won’t be any under-cooked granules remaining. Use this technique in Chef Barton-Browne’s recipe for brown butter carrot puree.
Check out Chef Jason’s Cabbage-Wrapped Guinea Hen with Brown Butter Carrot Puree here.
Chef Jan Hansen – Heritage Park
“Vegetable peelers can do more than just peel potatoes,” says Chef Jan Hansen, who is responsible for overseeing the food service operations at Heritage Park. Get yourself a sharp peeler and it can turn virtually any vegetable into paper-thin shavings, perfect for blanching lightly, or simply eating raw. Not to mention it also works great on hard cheeses, such as parmesan, adding that salty bite to garnish salads or side dishes.
Shaved carrots can make a beautiful, refreshing salad, especially if you use rainbow carrots for colour. Simply wash and peel them to remove any dirt or grit, shaving the cleaned carrots into thin ribbons. Chef Hansen suggests combining the carrots with other vegetables and herbs in season. Using a more delicate dressing, like one made from champagne vinegar, also allows subtler flavours to shine through. With fresh ingredients and a deft hand, you really cannot go wrong.
Check out Chef Jan’s Shaved Carrot Salad here.
Chef Michael Allemeier – SAIT
As any industry professional knows, a spoon is a cook’s best friend. These handy utensils aren’t just for tasting though; they are also ideal tools for basting. Chef Michael Allemeier, a Certified Chef de Cuisine and instructor at SAIT, describes basting as “the skill of spooning or brushing food with melted butter, fat, meat drippings or stock as it cooks.” Basically it allows you to add extra flavour, moisture and colour to whatever you are cooking.
Basting can be done regularly throughout the cooking process of larger ingredients like roasts, or at the end of cooking fish or vegetables. Just add a small knob of butter to the pan, along with aromatics like thyme and lemon zest. Tilting the pan slightly allows the herb-infused butter to pool at the bottom, where you can scoop and spoon it over the fish or vegetables of your choice.
Check out Chef Michael’s Herb Scented Roasted Chicken and Potatoes here.