‘One Fish, Two Fish, Good Fish, True Fish.’ That’s the Seussian title given to the dinner party at Raymonds Restaurant in St John’s, Nfld on May 16th – one I have the very great fortune of attending. Its subtitle is ‘Seven Courses by Six Chefs Featuring the Bounty of Newfoundland’s Coast’ paired with wines by Prince Edward County’s Norman Hardie.
Who are the six chefs? Well, there’s Ned Bell from Vancouver, founder of Chefs for Oceans, the chef who biked across the country with the goal of bringing awareness to the issues around sustainable seafood. He flew to St John’s to start his cross Canada pedal, and he’s flying over again to cook for us.
Antonio Park of Montreal’s Park Restaurant is coming, silver medallist at this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships, the ebullient Quebec chef who describes himself as “a Korean Montrealer who grew up in Asuncion, Buenos Aires and in Rio… seriously in love with sashimi.”
Jamie Malone (Food & Wine Magazine Best New Chef 2013) formerly chef at Sea Change in Minneapolis, now poised to open a place called Brut – she’s coming north. And two chefs are coming from Sweden – Frida Ronge from Restaurant vRÅ in Gothenburg and Magnus Ek of Oaxen Krog in Stockholm.
And then there’s the host, Jeremy Charles of Raymonds. I met Charles on the other side of the country, when he flew to Kelowna BC to compete in the 2011 CCC. In addition to his sous chef, he had brought rabbit – wild Newfoundland rabbits he had trapped himself. For his Grand Finale dish, he used every bit of those bunnies – frenching the diminutive rack, confit-ing the legs and using some of the meat to fill a raviolo, the balance in an herbed roulade with the tenderloin streaking its middle. With the livers he fashioned a luscious mousseline piped pretty on a cornmeal cracker. Flicked over a few Brussels sprout leaves was a bit of bunny bacon. It was a hugely compelling plate and it helped secure him a silver medal that year (Montreal’s Martin Juneau won the gold.)
But more than his food, Jeremy Charles struck me as a chef with a deep and intrinsic understanding and respect for the indigenous hunted, fished, foraged and cultivated foods of his province. Eating at Raymonds, I’m told, is about eating the good and true flavours of Newfoundland and Labrador. This dinner will bring together chefs equally passionate about their bit of the north.
It should be an amazing evening.
If you happen to find yourself in St John’s in May, do come.