Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cookworks’ Chef’s Table Dinner with Karen Barnaby

Hosted at Cookwork’s flagship location at Granville and Broadway the event began with an introduction of the evening’s two main ingredients: the wine and the food. The wine being Yellow Tail’s Reserve Chardonnay and Reserve Shiraz. The food being Chef Karen Barnaby’s creations of Asian-Fusion small plates.

Chef Barnaby, of Stanley Park’s Fish House, is truly a Vancouver icon. Her restaurant has been a top Vancouver culinary destination for years. This was my first chance to see her in action and it was a pleasure as she has a wonderful presence and sense of humour. Food was not just prepared for us; we were treated to a group cooking lesson and I was happy to soak up as much knowledge as I could.

The dinner commenced with the Yellow Tail rep introducing the Chardonnay. For our review, please visit The Chard was paired with the first four dishes.

First up was “Edamame with Garlic, Chilies & Soy”. A delectable little starter that had just the right amount of spice and paired well with the smoky Chard.

The second dish was “Baked Oysters with Wasabi Mayonnaise”. I enjoyed this dish, but not being a huge mayonnaise fan I was a little overwhelmed by the flavour. This dish also paired nicely with the buttery and creamy taste of the Chardonnay.

The third course was “Tofu Croque Monsieur” followed by “Rare Tuna with Pear, Pine Nuts and Chili Oil”. The Tuna would have been better paired with Yellow Tail’s Reserve Pinot Grigio, but this wine is not yet available in western Canada.

After a short shopping break the dinner resumed and we switched to the Reserve Shiraz for the final two courses “Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Enoki Mushrooms & Laughing Cow Cheese” and “Sake Lees Marinated Sablefish with Sweet Soy Chili Glaze.”

The Reserve Shiraz did not pair well with the Sablefish. It is a very delicate fish that deserved a more delicate and subtle wine like a fine Pinot Noir, not the big full-bodied Shiraz that the Yellow Tail reps were pouring. However, the Shiraz was a nice sipper that went down easily and likely lead to a few more high-end cookware purchases for the host store.

This was the first of the many planned Chef Table Dinners at Cookworks. I highly recommend the experience for foodies and wine enthusiasts alike (they are so often one-and-the-same anyway). To find out more information about upcoming Cookworks events visit their website:

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