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viva italia at george brown

March 9

There are so many benefits to living in a large, vibrant city such as Toronto, one of which being  a thriving culinary scene. From ma and pa establishments, to high end dining, to fresh food markets and specialty shops, the selection and options are seemingly infinite. A particular tier of food service that may often go unnoticed is the training of chefs, and the dining options a culinary institution.

It wasn’t until last year that I first experienced the fresh skills of the students of The Centre for Hospitality & Culinary Arts at George Brown College, thoroughly enjoying The Marriage of Food and Wine presented by graduating students.  A couple of weeks ago a fabulous foodie friend and I returned to the college for an exclusive experience for only 14 diners in The Culinary Studio.

This chef’s table feast was prepared by Sophia Kudla, a Culinary Arts – Italian post-graduate student, as part of Viva Italia!,  a week long series of events. (If you missed the Viva Italia! celebrations, you can enjoy prix-fix lunches and dinners prepared by the culinary arts students at the Chef’s House restaurant – delicious meals, at reasonable prices.)

For only $60 inclusive, we were delighted with a four-course meal, plus an amuse bouche and two wine parings. The quality and presentation rivaled any top meal I’ve had in the city, clearly expressing the passion for food that Sophia absorbed on an immersion term working in a restaurant in Liguria, Italy.

‘Having the sea at my doorstep was a blessing; getting to work with fresh fish, live shrimp, sea urchins, and scampi was unforgettable. But the love and the passion people have for the food will remain in my heart’. This enthusiasm for fresh seafood was evident in the sublime menu we enjoyed.

Fresh oysters and tuna served with a sweet pepper salsa and garnished with four diverse salts that uniquely altered each bite.

Handmade fan ravioli served with sea bream and fresh herbs, in a ragu of red shrimp and fillets of tomato and basil. The dish was presented with an almost translucent leaf of basil, achieved by briefly frying in about an inch of canola oil.

Fillet of sea bass with a typical salsa of Liguria and a floret of thin oven baked rosemary potatoes.

The dessert played savory along with a touch a sweet – fogliatina with layers of chinotto yogurt mousse and toasted pine nuts, accompanied by a persimmon coulis and a phenomenal basil frozen parfait, finished with subtle basil simple syrup.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9 9:41 am

    What a great post. I really need to visit and support this great culinary school! Thanks for the reminder

  2. March 9 4:13 pm

    Thanks, Vicky. Indeed, a real gem. I must make plans to get to the Chefs House too.

  3. March 11 12:52 pm

    You beat me to it! I have always wanted to have a night out there and have peaked in the window so many times. Love to see young people with a passion and proud to show their newly attained skills.
    Having a college practicum is so important -particulary if you’ve never had to work in your teenage years!

  4. sophia permalink
    March 18 6:18 pm

    This is amazing and such an honour! I’m glad you and your friends enjoyed the meal. I hope this will bring more people to the amazing functions George Brown College presents to showcase students and what they have learned. Colleen got in contact with me and the olive oil I used came from liguria was “olio Carli”. you can buy this oil at almost any fine food markets.
    cheers and good eats

    • March 18 9:23 pm

      The honour was all ours. Such a fab meal. I am happy to get the word out about the great talent at George Brown. And thanks for the olive oil tip – I am going shopping tomorrow! 😉

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