Mar 29, 2012|
It seems like the people of Hong Kong have become besotted with Canadian chefs and ingredients lately. Maybe the Canucks have finally learned a thing or two from their Australian counterparts who started wowing the world with their innovative cuisine decades earlier; both countries share a similar multi-cultured, commonwealth history and are rich in natural resources and fresh ingredients, after all. Last month, we saw Montreal’s star chef Chuck Hughes make a trip to Hong Kong to cook up a storm for the Asian Food Channel and privileged American Express cardholders (his popcorn rock shrimp with spicy honey was apparently a hit). Back home, Hughes is the star of his own Food Network show, “Chuck’s Day Off,” and co-owns the restaurants Garde Manger and Le Bremner in Old Montreal. Also in March, Sevva cranked it up with a dinner promotion starring Vancouver heavyweight David Hawksworth, who owns the “contemporary Canadian” Hawksworth Restaurant at the Rosewood Hotel Georgia and had worked at top-notch restaurants in London before launching his own stellar Canadian career. Hawksworth’s seared foie gras with maple, bourbon and apple was an especially delectable take on an old French favorite. The winner of Top Chef Canada’s very first season, Dale MacKay, also made the rounds in Hong Kong and Macau in February to showcase his skills as well as to promote foods that are grown or produced in Canada at various Canadian Trade Commission-sponsored functions.
L’Eau Restaurant at the Regal Riverside Hotel (34-36 Tai Chung Kiu Rd., Sha Tin, 2649-7878), meanwhile, is celebrating April with a month-long Canadian seafood buffet featuring Canadian scallops, spot prawns and sea urchins—no celebrity chefs there, but the ingredients for the spread are religiously Canadian. With all this talk about Canadian chefs and dishes, we wonder: What exactly is Canadian cuisine? It’s well beyond the stereotypes of poutine and maple syrup, of course—but the term itself is still quite amorphous, just like its country of origin. David Hawksworth believes it’s the combination of immigrant cultures such as Chinese, Indian and French. “When you are a chef from almost any other country, there are specific associations as far as the type of cooking, whereas being Canadian allows you the potential to do just about anything,” he says. Shirley Ong, Canadian consul and trade commissioner, thinks it’s also a lot about the ingredients, like steak from Alberta, or scallops and lobsters from the east and west coasts. Ong says there are two types of Canadian cuisine: traditional, which is more Old World Europe-focused, and contemporary, which sees more influences from Asia and South America. It’s almost like taking the best of all worlds, and who can complain about that?