The Harvest Chef features The Cheesiry and Irving’s Farms
and has created a brilliant concept at her restaurant and catering company in OSFM.
Vanja was golfing in Palm Dessert. Mom and Dad were in Vegas. I was dog sitting my baby sister, Penny. Did I need a night out, or what? Karlynn felt the same, so lucky me! I had a date for a night out to investigate Brittany Watt’s newest brain child: her Market Dinners featuring the food and producers of Old Strathcona’s Farmer’s Market.
The cafe at the market has been a Saturday morning institution there, and a great gathering place where people usually didn’t buy the cafe food, but enjoyed a visit over coffee. It was a glaring juxtaposition to what the market offers in fresh regional produce, as the cafe food was not from the market and not worth discussing.
However, it is now! Brittany Watt, the Harvest Chef, has taken over the restaurant there and breathed life back into it. The ripple that started throughout the early market coffee drinkers about the incredible breakfast and lunch offerings there now has become a tsunami! People that don’t usually shop at the market are turning up for the food at the little humble cafe restaurant at the end of the market. Business is booming on Saturday mornings, and if you haven’t been over to sample the fare there, you are truly missing an authentic Northern Alberta taste experience. Get thee to the market!
Now, that she has had time to get that up and running, she has implemented phase two of her plan: Market Dinners. Kevin Kossowan wrote about her first one. This is her second. She hosts 16 people in a surprisingly intimate setting considering the vastness of the space and offers a Northern Alberta Food Experience. She creates a meal with the food of the market and you enjoy the flavours on the plate while partaking of the meal and the experience with the food producers. The conversation is warm and casual. The food is thoughtful and carefully prepared. The produce used is top notch.
This would be a great setting for company parties, tourist visits and on and on. Suffice it to say that Karlynn and I had a lovely evening and I will be back. The following five photos are sadly, much better than my own and are Karlynn’s. (Thank you!)
An assortment of market tapas
Platters of Irving Charcuterie and pates with accompaniments
Steve and Dan’s Hazelnuts in a scrumptious Harvest Chef Pesto
Steve and Dan’s pears with Brittany’s Berkshire Boar Heart (from Irving’s Farm) Parfait topped with the pesto on a cracker was my favourite paired taste of the evening!
Braised pork tongue
Sylvan Star Grizzly with the apple chutney (below) was Karlynn’s favourite.
Smoky Valley mountain tomme with quince jelly which is sadly, not photographed. The cheese was softer than usual and deadly! The quince jelly was a lovely compliment to the tang of the goat cheese.
The Cheesiry Rustico cheese with shaved cucumber, apple, basil, pear and micro radish greens tossed in a hazelnut cider dressing with a beet granite was brilliant. The granite was clean and bright and sweet and the icy cold texture supported the crunch of the sweet basil and bitter radish greens. The clean cucumber and creamy texture of the cheese coupled with its depth of flavour made this salad addictive. Such a refreshing plate after the rich cheeses and unctuous meat bites.
Braised pork shoulder with winter mushrooms and kale in a brandy cream sauce with walnut gnocchi and topped with the Cheesiry Pecorino
The poached pink lady apples were extremely tart but the sweetness in the rooibos tea ice cream and pumpkin bread paired perfectly with them and the caramel garnish could have been completely shattered over mine and I would have still said, “More, more!” It added a delightful sparkle to the plate and palate.
The salad and dessert photo are Karlynn’s too.
Thank you for a lovely evening and for elevating the real food opportunities in our city, Brittany.
All Tickets can be purchased from the concession stand on Saturdays, located in the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market at the North Side of the building.