Happy homecoming as former and current hotel chefs celebrate great food and friendship — for charity
Brookstreet hotel alumni chefs past and present each prepared a course at Wednesday’s dinner. L-R (with years in brackets at Brookstreet hotel): Kevin Mathieson of Art-Is-In bakery (2003-04); Steven Gugelmeier, Delta St. John’s (2003-05); Ian Reed, Courtyard Restaurant (2008-12); Clifford Lyness, current Brookstreet executive chef; Kyle Mortimer-Proulx, ZenKitchen (2006-12); Matthew Carmichael, El Camino, (2005-06); Andrea (Leduc) Hockenhull, Arc.the hotel (2005-10); John Morris, National Arts Centre (2003-05).
MAR 27 14 – 10:05 AM — More often than not, great kitchens under the guidance of accomplished chefs are training grounds for younger men and women who move on to distinguished culinary careers at other venues where they, in turn, mentor newcomers. But rarely does an establishment like Brookstreet hotel in Ottawa’s west end invite alumni to return for a special celebration at the table to raise money for a very worthy cause.
Add fine seafood, game meats, wild mushrooms, carefully crafted dessert and vintage wines to match, and you’ve got an all-star, eight-course meal celebrating Past-Present-Future chefs that people will be talking about for some time.
“I’m very proud how well it went,” says Patrice Basille, executive vice-president and general manager at Brookstreet.
In fact, the event Wednesday night at the hotel’s Perspective restaurant raised $28,000 with 98 people seated at $250 a plate. Proceeds will be used to acquire a fetal heart monitor machine for Queensway-Carleton Hospital. “The machine costs about $25,000 and of course we’d love to be able to buy three or four machines,” Basille says.
“But we want to keep this intimate at 100 people. We already have our annual Lumière event in September with 500 to 600 people that raises money for charity, but we wanted a smaller spring event to support our next-door hospital. We expect to make the Past-Present-Future dinner an annual event, and when we heard the hospital could use some equipment we decided to put on a smaller dinner featuring some of the very talented chefs who have gone through our kitchen.”
Above, opening course Seafood Soup by chef Matt Carmichael with lime leaf, Yukon Gold potato, coconut milk, white wine/mussels/claim liquor base, clam, lobster, scallop, squid, garnish tomato concassé, chives.
From chef Kyle Mortimer-Proulx, seared king oyster ‘scallop,’ pickled cinnamon caps, smoked portobello, shaved buttons, mache, toasted pine nuts, smoked potato crisp.
“Many of our alumni have since set up their own restaurants, or they are executive chefs at other prime restaurants,” Basille says.
“We wanted to recognize and salute their contribution, so when we invited them to participate they all agreed in a heartbeat.”
Left, National Arts Centre executive sous chef Martin Levesque with executive chef John Morris. Middle right, Duane Lepine, executive chef Rideau Club. Bottom right, chef Martin Levesque.
Brookstreet opened in June 2003, when former executive chef Michael Blackie set up what quickly became recognized as a four-diamond kitchen. Blackie has since moved on to his own place, called NeXT restaurant/catering in nearby Stittsville and, due to an out-of-country engagement, he could not attend Wednesday’s special event.
The Brookstreet kitchen is now in the hands of executive chef Clifford Lyness. “There’s been enough talent go through this kitchen that we’re hoping to do it again with other chefs,” Lyness says.
From chef Andrea Hockenhull, cheddar popcorn butter-roasted quail breast, pea, ricotta, pancetta, olive and basil.
Top, chefs Jordan Holley, Matt Carmichael from El Camino. Bottom left, chef Steve Gugelmeier. Right, Andrea Hockenhull.
“I was honoured to be invited,” adds Steve Gugelmeier, now executive chef more than two years at the Delta St. John’s in Newfoundland.
“I was executive sous chef when Blackie opened here and it’s nice to revisit my alma mater. Walking through this kitchen again brings back very fond memories,” Gugelmeier says.
Among Brookstreet alumni is John Morris, now executive chef at the iconic National Arts Centre. “It’s like a homecoming for us,” Morris says.
“The people I met and worked with in this very kitchen are some of my best friends and mentors. It’s brilliant that Clifford has brought this together for one night.”
By chef Ian Reed, smoked scallop and nagano pork belly, leek textures, champagne hollandaise.
Chef Steve Gugelmeier’s smoked kyuquot black cod, celeriac purée, spiced apple and cilantro macedoine, ginger ratatouille emulsion.
Chef John Morris: roast rabbit saddle stuffed with morels and savoy cabbage, pithivier smoked rabbit leg confit, apricot and fennel purée.
Chef Clifford Lyness: cold-smoked bison tenderloin, sunchoke pulse, Saskatoon berry gastrique, pomme fondant, seared foie gras, black garlic jus.
Dessert by chef Kevin Mathieson: raspberry dark chocolate and pistachio macaroon.
Top, chef Clifford Lyness. Bottom from left, chefs Ian Reed, Kevin Mathieson, Kyle Mortimer-Proulx.