Tag: fine dining

Chef’s Table Experience at Ernest’s NAIT

Chef’s Table Experience at Ernest’s NAIT

I was honored to be invited to a “Chef’s Table” at Ernest’s which are put on by the NAIT Culinary Arts Program.  I was thrilled about this mostly because the Culinary Arts students are so full of enthusiasm and the most beautiful plating I have ever seen!  The thing about the Culinary “Arts” is that part of it is actually, ART!  It takes talent to feed the masses and keep everyone’s tummies happy.

The Chef’s Tables were introduced in 2017 to give guests a chance to experience unique menus created by the Executive Chef (currently Chef Rylan Krause) with the student chefs tapping in for the dessert and sorbet.  These lavish dinners are prepared right before your eyes!   Sports fans have giant events in arenas, foodies have Chef Tables!

This has mainly been an experience where you get together about 10 friends and you dedicate an evening to experiencing a decadent meal.  Beginning in January of 2020, Ernest’s will be offering the chance to purchase individual spots at the table.  Exciting news!

For only $135 per person, you get to experience a personal kitchen tour, custom wine pairing, and group dinner service.  This is with front row seats to all of the action; much like a sporting event.  You will need to set aside at least 3 hours for one of these experiences.

Please note that the ticket price does not include GST.  The “service charge” is an 18% gratuity.

Upcoming dates for these special events are as follows:

January 16th
February 27th
March 18th
April 16th

Your seating area is decadently set with an almost confusing amount of cutlery, plates and glasses.  Don’t worry, I have a few fancy military mess dinners under my belt!  Use the utensils from the outside, working your way to the inside, then from the top down.  Make sense?

Since we all eat with our eyes, be sure to check out the gallery below of the food served at my Chef’s Table.  It was beyond delicious and so beautiful. This is a perfect date night activity.

The Dark Cherry Sorbet was the most beautiful plating of the evening in my opinion.  The chocolate painted on the plate reminded me of some beautiful henna that I had done a couple of summers ago.

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Thank you to the Chefs and all of the student chefs.  It was so much food I had to tap out before the last two courses.  There was still a cheese plate and a dessert that I didn’t get the opportunity to photograph for you.

For the budget conscious, this is an amazing opportunity to have the fine dining experience at an affordable price.  For the adventurous, it’s “a la carte” but with the quality that Ernest’s students put out, you won’t be disappointed.

The Beer Factory

The Beer Factory

Once upon a time there were a bunch of guys that wanted to start up the craft beer industry in Edmonton.  They all got together and opened up a small brewery in St. Alberta and called it Hogshead. They made some wicked pumpkin spice beer.

Run badly was an understatement.  The 2015 end of Hogshead was an embarrassing mess.  The unfortunate end still continues to add backlash to the new establishment “The Beer Factory”.

Patrick Spilstead was a graduate from the NAIT culinary program that was hired in 2014 to head the kitchen of Hogshead.  When the whole thing derailed, Patrick and his father Richard rescued the operation and turned it into what is now “The Beer Factory”.

They were first on my radar after an event where they were networking and my boss from the Edmonton Muse had a pamphlet on her table.  I perused it and added it to my “hit list” of places to visit. They are most certainly a hidden gem.

Patrick is cooking today because of an unfortunate accident.  He was raised in a family that had a strong culinary background but he went to pursue being a Mechanic.  The accident would plague him with knee problems, so he found himself shifting focus – to culinary.

He was with Chop for several years and disliked the corporate environment of the kitchen.  On to smaller and better things with The Beer Factory.

Everything on the menu is infused with beer or moonshine.  You have some gastropub favourites, and then there are some awesome comfort food options as well, like spicy beef stroganoff.  Note: the menu has changed from what is posted on the website. The daily specials are still the same.

My first visit was because I had to try the Friday Prime Rib Special for $9.99.  That got me in a seat to see the menu and try one of their craft brews, the “Dark and Malty”.  This has become one of my favourite local brews. Not available anywhere but in their taproom. It has the darkness of a stout, but the smoothness of a lighter ale.

They also make a Mosaic Pale Ale, a “hop oriented beer that is a bit tamed”.  I’m not an IPA girl personally. I have not tried this one.

The ambience is casual.  This is more of a pub feel.  The staff are friendly and attentive.  There is a patio area for summer time and an overhead door to let the fresh air in.  You are in the middle of an industrial area in St. Albert, so there isn’t a pretty view.

The Prime Rib was delicious.  They were also putting out information for a special Valentine’s dinner that was taking place in a couple of weeks.  I read over the menu and completely swooned, and made reservations immediately. Patrick was let loose and given full creativity!

The Valentine’s Dinner was AMAZING!

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We had the Elk Carpaccio; thinly shaved Elk tenderloin seasoned with lime and cracked black pepper.  This was absolutely delicious and delicate. What a great way to get the taste buds ready for the rest of the meal.

Ginger Peach scented pork with mango chutney; pork tenderloin rolled in ginger peach tea, served with house made mango moonshine chutney.  This dish paired so well with the wild rose mead that was suggested.

Dessert was raspberry and white chocolate creme brulee, chocolate dipped strawberries and moonshine cherry tea cookies.

Patrick knocked it out of the park!  The whole meal was culinary heaven. The price tag on this experience was $50 for two. Beverages were not included, but what a great deal! I can’t wait until they do the next special event.

I was able to have a chat with Richard.  He is Patrick’s dad and co-owner of the brewery.  Richard is also a Chef. They like to source the menu locally whenever possible.  He was also telling me that they do BBQ in the summertime and they have a huge rig to be able to do mobile BBQ catering. That will be another article in the future for sure!

We have been back a few times to enjoy food and beer.  The taps rotate with local craft favourites and the two brews that The Beer Factory produces on their own.

Fun fact; they are the smallest craft brewery in Western Canada!

Advice for your visit:

  • Ignore the ratings.  There were a lot of angry customers with the whole Hogshead disaster.
  • Be patient!  The kitchen is small and there are a lot of regular customers.  Good food takes time. It will be worth the wait!
  • Try one of their brews!  They may not be geared towards everyone’s palate, but they are definitely worth a taste.

Website:
https://www.beerfactory.rocks/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Beerfactoryinc/

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/beerfactoryinc/

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Mac’n at the Mac – Hotel Macdonald #YEGfoodblogs Cookoff

Mac’n at the Mac – Hotel Macdonald #YEGfoodblogs Cookoff

When I received the invitation to attend the Food Bloggers Cook-off, I was excited and intimidated at the same time.  Excited for the opportunity to spend time with Chef Jost and intimidated by his prestigious reputation.  Chef has been with the Fairmont group of hotels for over 15 years and trained in Strasbourg, France.  His cuisine is phenomenal.

The Mac sent out a tweet with a copy of this picture attached:

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Foodbloggers Cook-off

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