Wednesday, November 28, 2012

InvASIAN: GwaiLo's Pop-Up Finale

GwaiLo and Senses Restaurant wrapped up its month-long pop up dinner series on Monday night with a bang. Sponsored by Senses with all proceeds going to the Stop Food Community Centre (@TheStopCFC), the event, dubbed InvASIAN, brought together six distinguished modern Asian chefs (two of which are from New York) for a one-night only fundraising dinner. A unique culinary collaboration of Toronto and New York, each chef created one course for InvASIAN. Below is a short bio of each chef who showcased their skill and creativity that night:

Chef Nick Liu (@Ninjachefnick), GwaiLo (@GwaiLoToronto)
As Executive Chef and owner of GwaiLo Asian Brasserie, Chef Nick Liu's merging of Asian influences with French techniques has garnered local and international accolades. His dishes have been enjoyed by dignitaries and royalty, as well as at the esteemed James Beard House.

Chef Danny Bowien (@dannybowien), Mission Chinese Food (@Missionstfood)
Chef Danny Bowien launched with Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and then in New York. His whimsical, responsibly sourced Chinese food has garnered accolades and awards from Food and Wine and People. He is also a James Beard finalist.

Chef Andy Ricker, Pok Pok (@pokpokpdx
Chef Andy Ricker is a James Beard award-winner and owner of Ping, Portland, Oregon and Pok Pok, Brooklyn, New York. He has been recognized by the likes of GQ Eats: Top Ten Best New Restaurants (Pok Pok) and the Oregonian as 2009 Rising Star (Ping).

Chef Nuit Regular, Khao San Road (@khaosanroadTO)
Chef Nuit Regular is the culinary talent of Khao San Road. Stemming from Thailand, Regular has won the hearts of local foodies and critics with her authentic and fiery Northern Thai Cuisine.

Chef Cheska Ang (@CheskaZarah), Actinolite (@actinolitefood)
From British Columbia to Ontario, Chef Cheska Ang has established herself in some of Canada's best known kitchens and is currently sous chef at the recently opened Actinolite.

Chef Robbie Hojilla (@RobbieHoho), Mr. Pong's Bar (@Mr_Pongs)
Chef Robbie Hojilla is the chef behind the Asian-Canadian cuisine of Mr. Pong's Bar. He draws his inspiration from Filipino cuisine and delivers using Canadian ingredients to create unique Asian-inspired dishes.

Tickets for the six-course dinner was $95 per person, with optional cocktail and wine pairings at $35 per person. Pairings were developed by Christina Kuypers (@deKuypers), co-founder of GwaiLo, and sponsored by Ponte Wine and Spirits.

Once seated, each guest enjoyed a Hayman's Sloe Gin Sweet & Sour.

Without further ado, here is what I had at the InvASIAN dinner:

Scallion, egg custard, steamed oyster, smoked beurre blanc, soy lime pearls

Buerre Blanc Bowmore Islay 12yr

Chantecler rouge chicken, slow cooked egg, rice porridge, calamnasi, aged ontario soy sauce
(2010 Vouvray Sec, Domaine de Vaugondy, Loire, France - $13 gls)

Northern thai style pork belly, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime, coriander, chili, pomelo salad
(2010 Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Charles Smith, Washington, USA - $16 gls)

LAAP PLAA NEUA - Andy Ricker
Northern thai laap of catfish, complex naam phrik, fried shallots, herbs, sticky rice
(2011 San Vincenzo, Roberto Anselmi, Veneto, Italy - $13 gls)

Quince, sea urchin, scallop mi cuit, corn grits, lapcheoung consommé
(2010 Chardonnay, Bachelder, Niagara, Canada - $21 gls) 
(2009 Morgon, Louis Jadot Chateau des Jaques, Beaujolais, France - $21 gls)

Caramelized cassava, coconut milk, polvoron, mai con queso
(Happy Endings - Meukow VSOP Cognac, House Preserve, Bitters - $14)

What an outstanding event. InvASIAN brought together six brilliant chefs who donated their time, skill and talent for a great cause. Needless to say, the food was excellent. Each and every plate was incredibly creative, unique, and loaded with fantastic Asian flavours. Truly delicious. 

I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the chefs involved, as well as everybody who made InvASIAN possible! Kudos to all of you!