Northern Food Night 2011 – An Arctic Culinary Adventure

For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the 5th Annual Northern Food Night, wait no longer; the date has been chosen (April 16th, 2011), tickets are for sale online at Slow Food Edmonton’s websiteand you better get ’em quick because this NFN is going to be unlike any previous NFN we’ve hosted. The event will be held at Bistro La Persaud’s banquet room located at 8627 – 91Street (click here for a map), Edmonton. A HUGE thank-you goes to Keith Persaud for generously donating the space and the help of his staff to make this event work.

Our little Northern Food Night all started when Steve (while attending a Slow Food Edmonton meeting) casually asked the group if they’d like to come over one night and sample some caribou he just brought back from Whale Cove, Nunavut. Little did we know that first get-together would end up turning into an annual event that would get bigger and better each year and would lead to other culinary adventures–most recently a Charlie’s Burger event in Toronto this past December and to an upcoming event at the James Beard Foundation in New York City for a dinner in May. You can read my postings on the Charlie’s Burgers event here and here. (For those of you who don’t know about Charlie’s Burgers, Food and Wine Magazine gave them the #3 slot in their May 2010 issue’s  “100 Best New Food and Drink Experiences”–a list that featured restaurants from around the world.) So when I say this upcoming NFN is going to be unlike any previous NFN, you better believe it.

Read on…

Over the years we have come to know Paul Finkelstein from Stratford, Ontario.

I call Paul “Canada’s Jamie Oliver”. He is a staunch local food advocate, chef and culinary arts teacher at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School and the host of Food Network’s TV show, Fink. He has, singlehandedly, changed the way students eat while teaching them how to grow food and prepare it at the school’s Screaming Avocado Cafe. We met Paul at Toronto’s Slow Food Banchetto a few years ago and I recently spent some time with him and his students on an exchange trip to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Through Paul we met Louis Charest, who has cooked for heads of State, world leaders, diplomats and has won more culinary competition medals than you can shake a stick at. We needed a Chef that had cred, skill and the creativity to handle the northern product we were bringing to Toronto. He did things with walrus and whale that we never thought possible. (Culinarily speaking, of course.)

Below is the menu Chef Charest created for the Charlie’s Burgers event:

(click to enlarge)
Paul Finkelstein and Louis Charest prep northern products for the Charlie’s Burger dinner
Chef Charest prepares the smoked meat sandwiches (whale and musk ox) for the Charlie’s Burgers event in Toronto

So what’s the connection? Paul Finkelstein and Louis Charest are coming to Edmonton to prepare the foods for our upcoming Northern Food Night. The menu that Chef Charest has created will blow your mind. Our freezers are bursting with char, muktaq (whale blubber), caribou, shrimp and sea urchin — all  northern products, and all sourced by Steve who has come to be known as “Steve the Forager”.

This is an event you won’t want to miss, but as usual there are only 50 seats available so go to Slow Food Edmonton’s website and grab your tickets now.

What you need to know:
Date: April 16, 2011
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: Lower Level of La Cité Francophone – Banquet Room beside Bistro La Persaud
Cost: $80 for Slow Food Members, $100 for Non-Members

For information on the Arctic James Beard Foundation dinner, go to the Screaming Avocado blog or check out an article that appeared in Stratford’s Beacon Herald.

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