Well, they sure nailed the wine. Chef Patrick Garland and his team from Absinthe figured out the mystery wine – at six this morning, apparently.
When Garland delivered his dish to the judges’ table tonight and was asked what he thought of the wine, he described its particulars characteristics, then announced he thought it was the 2012 Pinotage from Stoneboat Vineyards. And so it was. Big props.
Wine in hand, slurped and studied, and with a paltry $600 budget to feed 500 or so people, Garland and his ten co-competitors hit the mean streets of Kelowna to shop. The Absinthe team chose to make an Irish stew, braising lamb shank with warming spices – including clove and cinnamon – and spooning the soft meat on a peppery rosemary scented biscuit. The polished jus on the plate was a reduction of the wine, with the added campfire flavour of a smoked hock. Tucked beneath the biscuit and meat, a refreshing salad of snap peas, tarragon and slivered fennel — a welcome belt of crunchy green. A perfect parmesan tuile lent the salty, rich umami the wine demanded.
Many fascinating plates tonight. Everything from venison tartare to pork rillettes, to sturgeon with smoked beets.
To bed, then, these chefs. Tomorrow is another day, and with it, bright and early, the Black Box.