We teamed up with Club House and asked 10 culinary greats how they ensure memorable, savoury flavour in their creations and are passing the knowledge onto you on how to boost flavour! Here’s what they had to say.
“We make everything from scratch, hand-selecting the best possible ingredients for our food. I learn and understand each step of the food and teach my team to do the same” – Chef Nuit Regular, Pai Northern Thai Kitchen.
“We use a lot of herbs, spices and unfamiliar, international flavours and ingredients like chili, fennel and coriander, mainly ingredients that came to Canada for the first time from the port of St. John’s. They’ll get added to familiar Newfoundland ingredients, like adding fennel seed to chili to make a ceviche with halibut” – Chef Todd Perrin, Mallard Cottage.
“It’s all about the spicing, the marination and the technology. We use infrared roast rotisserie and then the chickens are pressure-fried as well. There are no preservatives or MSG, our dishes are made from whole, healthy ingredients and fresh, never frozen, Alberta chickens who were fed healthy diets” – Chef Nicole Gomes, Cluck ‘n’ Cleaver.
“When we construct a dish, we use ingredients like vegetables and proteins to base the dish off of. The spices and seasonings then come in to complement the flavours that we choose” – Chef Sean MacDonald, Freelance Chef.
“When I develop a menu or choose an ingredient, I still do it the same way; I make it or pick it because I feel it’s what is right at the time. I’m making food from the best heart, soul and spices that I have, like a musician who just wants to give the most entertaining performance of his life.” – Chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s.
“I am always adding chili to recipes, not to make it spicy, but to add a little “hey there.” I find this is a flavour that often gets overlooked and really brings a dish into balance” – Chef Derek Dammann, Maison Publique.
“We look at each cut of meat very differently as some can be treated with various techniques depending on what it is. We see if it needs to be seared, smoked, slow-cooked or high-heat grilled. Each cut requires different steps to maximize the flavours” – Chef Connie DeSousa & John Jackson, CHARCUT Roast House.
“It’s important to use the ingredient at the right time, capitalize on when they are available and then figure out how to draw out the lifespan whether that be through pickling or fermentation” – Chef Ted Corrado, The Drake.
“We visit pizza places, cheesemakers, butcher shops. This lets my team and I meet suppliers, say hi, put a name to the face of the person we’re dealing with. Basically, this allows us to see where our food comes from, how it’s raised or made and in the end, enables us to put more love and care into what we get create at the restaurant.” – Chef Murray McDonald, freelance chef.
“You can take ingredients that have a lot of flavours but there is so much you can do with herbs, spices and seasonings to either manipulate or enhance the final product. There are a lot of things I appreciate about natural cooking and letting the product speak for what it is but there’s so much more you can do that is local and isn’t going to be overpowering. You can make it complementary and make it work.” – Chef Harrison Hennick, Nique.
When creating the best dish, it’s important to not only know your ingredients but to also know their flavour relationships with spices and seasonings. How much, how little, how often; there is no one process that fits all, but it sure is tasty to find out.
For more flavourful inspiration by Canada’s top chefs, visit: www.clubhouseforchefs.ca.
Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk, thesix.co