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Bringing a Canadian Feast to the Big Apple

Chef Brandon’s James Beard Menu

I hope that the menu I’ve created for this special dinner is a little surprising. It has some chef-y things in it and some Brandon-y things in it. I think it’s got a bit of my own soul and my upbringing on the menu for sure and we’ve chosen to name all the menu items - uncharacteristic to most menus at the James Beard House. What I’m looking forward to most is celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary and having people enjoy Canadian food in a historic culinary venue. It’s pretty exciting!

I’m very lucky that I’ve got Moxie's Sommelier, Kim Spence coming with me. We have year’s together, pairing food and wine. Usually at the James Beard House the sommelier and the chef do not know each other. In this case we are friends and we know exactly what flavours we are tying together. Kim is also going to be in the dining room, acting as an ambassador for the meal when I am busy in the kitchen - I couldn’t ask for a better representative.

The James Beard House Menu:

Reception Canape Course

The beginning of the evening starts with a 45-minute reception and canapé course. We’re making mini tuna sashimi cones, mini burgers with dry-aged meat, Quebec blue cheese and butter lettuce along with French croquettes filled with a béchamel sauce made from a variety of Canadian cheeses.

Signature Cocktail: Mortimer's Dilemma - Lot 40 Whisky with Lemon Juice, House-made Ginger Apple Syrup and Red Wine Float.

Beer Pair: Granville Island Brewing Lions Summer Ale

Wine Pair: Trius Brut Rosé 2016

Canned Tuna

We’re marinating Albacore tuna served with a niçoise style salad - potatoes, green bean, tomato and an olive oil vinaigrette - all packed into a sardine can with the tuna on top so it has that "canned" tuna look with a proper salad underneath. This salad is served with an edible sand made from pumpernickel ground with almonds.

Wine Pair: ‘16 Mission Hill Reserve Riesling VQA, Okanagan Valley, BC

Coast To Coast Chilled Soup

Every farm around my family home is an asparagus farm. I wanted to include that into a soup that spans the entire country. We've got lobster bisque to represent the East coast, Dungeness crab to represent the West coast and Sturgeon caviar from up North. It’s a light soup and easily my most ‘chef-y’ dish.

Wine Pair: ‘16 Domaine de Grand Pré “Tidal Bay”, Nova Scotia

Brandon's (Mom Inspired) Shake & Bake Chicken

We had Shake’N Bake at least once a week (even though my mother will deny this) - and I always loved it! I wanted to improve this dish while keeping the roots of the meal. I sous vide a chicken leg and a breast together with a pâté and serve it on mashed potatoes with baby carrot and fois gras. In the end it’s nothing like Shake’N Bake, but hopefully it’s a time to reminisce for the diners.

Beer Pair: Collective Arts Prophets & Nomads Gose, Ontario

Rocky Mountain Dry Aged Strip Loin

Canadians are meat and potato people and in our house, every meal had potatoes. Our giant garden was half potatoes and I remember pitchforking potatoes or pulling carrots for every meal. I’ve added a badass piece of Rocky Mountain Dry Aged strip loin steak to go with a variation on scalloped potatoes called potato pave - thinly sliced potatoes layered and baked without all the cream and butter of scalloped.

Wine Pair: ‘12 Mission Hill Oculus VQA, Okanagan Valley, BC

Canada Loves the Big Apple

I remember picking bushels of apples in the late summer and fall; dessert has to be apples. I’m making a pressed apple flan, brûléed and served beside maple bacon ice cream with black cherry syrup. I always plan dessert last and realized I hadn’t included maple or bacon into the meal - what kind of Canadian am I? So, I created a sweet and savoury ice cream with the quintessential nod to Canadian flavours. This dessert is light and clean, the perfect finish to balance out this entire meal.

Icewine Pair: ‘14 Peller Estates Ice Cuvée Classic VQA, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Celebrating Canada's 150th with coast-to-coast flavour
Brandon Thordarson
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