KOS – Pop Up at Clementine

The name of the pop up was Kos. I’d never heard of the word before but the details on the Eventbrite invitation revealed that it was “Norwegian for cozy,  and a state of being in pleasant comfort”. Things like enjoying coffee with a friend would be kos; enjoying an autumn stroll in a park would be kos, or having dinner surrounded by loved ones would be kos. This was the only information given.  Not even the name of the chef was revealed.

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Event promoter, Tommy Kalita, the man behind Edmonton Cash Mobs, and general all-around-good-guy, told us that the intent was to not focus so much on who was in the kitchen, but to enjoy good food in the company of friends, old and new.  It was easy to trust Tommy, because anyone who knows the big guy with the booming voice knows that he understands food. He researches and grasps the intricacies and the nuances of preparation. He is intrigued by the science of food, and references Kenji from the Food Lab on a regular occurrence. He also has a way of surrounding himself with interesting, good people. For me, trust was not an issue. I snagged a ticket at once.

The chef, as it turned out, was Chris Szelagiewicz from Clementine: he of previous posts at Woodwork and the Mark, and the man who, in 2015,  spent nine months traveling throughout Scandinavia where he worked for acclaimed chef, Niklas Ekstedt, in Stockholm, Sweden, and held positions at Snapphane in Malmö, and Fauna, a one Michelin star restaurant in Oslo.

Chris says that though Noma is the epicentre of Nordic food, his personal focus is more local. “That region has so much in common with us in terms of vegetation, climate, animals. But we simply don’t have the same traditions of uses for these things. I want to see where we can go with these food traditions, but within Canada. To find a solid identity.”

With the help of Cassius Era (head chef at the Black Pearl) and Leah Mantyka (architectural technologist by day, and part-time server at The Marc), the team delivered 12 exquisite courses.

L: Leah Mantyka C: Cassius Era R: Chris Szelagiewicz
L: Leah Mantyka C: Cassius Era R: Chris Szelagiewicz

Each course came with a liquid pairing; everything expertly delivered and explained by Kelsey Trites (Local Omnivore) and Natasha Trowsdale (Clementine). At $100, it was a very fair deal, and a perfectly executed event.  I was surrounded by old friends, made new friends, and Tommy didn’t mention Kenji once. Chris and his team had everything under control.

The menu:

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The food:

KOS first 3
Top L: a donut to start – parsnip cream in the middle, crumbled dried goose innards and chives on top. Bottom L: Brunøst cheese-filled onion petals. R: Turnip layers in grain consommé, celery and marmite.
Top L: Clam paillasson topped with black trumpet mushroom, liquorice, crispy chicken skin and white wine gel. Bottom L: palate cleanser of beet and green apple nuggets with ginger and cucumber granité. Right: Sous vide Amberjack with lime curd and charred squash in hay broth.
Top L: Lamb heart and oyster tartare with tarragon on Knekkebrød. Bottom L: Red beet rolled in horseradish-puffed amaranth on dark berry sauce. Right: Hen of the Woods mushrooms in chicken broth and garlic.
Top L: Clam paillasson topped with black trumpet mushroom, liquorice, crispy chicken skin and white wine gel. Bottom L: palate cleanser of beet and green apple nuggets with ginger and cucumber granité. Right: Sous vide Amberjack with lime curd and charred squash in hay broth.
Top L: Clam paillasson topped with black trumpet mushroom, liquorice, crispy chicken skin and white wine gel. Bottom L: palate cleanser of beet and green apple nuggets with ginger and cucumber granité. Right: Sous vide Amberjack with lime curd and charred squash in hay broth.
KOS last 3
Top L: Double cream, whipped with a seed cracker, oregano and birch syrup. Bottom L: Hazelnut rocher with nori. Right: Smoked duck with a winter salad-topped latke.

If Tommy ever tells you to get a ticket to another event, trust me: get a ticket.

For more photos, check out @kosfood on Instagram.