Guest Chef

Jamie Vrooman’s

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Pioro

Jamie Vrooman's roast chicken

In the mid­dle of a July heat­wave, Jamie Vrooman cut a road ride short and took a train home be­cause the 40 C tem­per­a­ture was too much. He called the move “an adult de­ci­sion.” When I asked him about more au­tum­nal pur­suits – cy­clocross – he said, “It’s only 46 days away,” like a kid count­ing down the days un­til Christ­mas. He did re­ceive a lump of coal in his stock­ing a few days later when he found out the new Toronto CX was can­celled. His sea­son was de­layed by at least a week.

Vrooman got into bikes while he was in uni­ver­sity in Win­nipeg. In fact, some of his first bike pur­chases were with stu­dent loans. There was a track bike be­cause he had plans of get­ting “fixie fa­mous.” There was a Mari­noni with a Cam­pag­nolo Chorus group that he bought on ebay. Then, to start pay­ing off those stu­dent loans, he worked in a kitchen wash­ing dishes. His culi­nary knowl­edge grew from there. He later moved to Toronto and worked in var­i­ous restau­rants, some high-end, some hip (fancy meatloaf or “lard-core”). He’s found him­self in a butcher shop, a pizza joint and man­ag­ing pro­duc­tion and pur­chas­ing for three restau­rants un­der one brand. “It’s about col­lect­ing di­verse skill sets,” he said about his re­sumé.

The chal­lenge for Vrooman is bal­anc­ing the long hours that come with work­ing in the food in­dus­try and cy­cling. Still, he com­peted in roughly 14 am­a­teur CX races in 2017 and nine in 2016. He plans on rac­ing as many muddy events as he can this fall.

“This roast-chicken recipe is sort of like glu­ing tubu­lars: it’s con­cep­tu­ally sim­ple but the dif­fer­ence be­tween good enough and great is in the de­tails,” Vrooman said of the slightly sassy di­rec­tions he’s pro­vided. In the fine-din­ing world, he’s given sim­ple tasks, such as roast­ing a chicken, to po­ten­tial sous-chefs. “You see how they are go­ing to work. It tests their at­ten­tion to de­tail. You’ll see if they take the ex­tra steps to make it a bit nicer, or just do it as quickly as pos­si­ble and be done with it.”

I asked him if he is as fas­tid­i­ous with bike main­te­nance as he is in the kitchen. “I try to be,” he said. “But any­one who raced with me in years past re­mem­bers me rolling tires.”


3.5- to 4.5-lb. chicken kosher salt black pep­per, fresh ground


These aren’t en­tirely nec­es­sary, but they’re pro: roast­ing pan, roast­ing rack, butcher’s twine, in­stant-read ther­mome­ter Serves 4


1. Bring your chicken to room tem­per­a­ture. Let it sit out for an hour, but less than four. 2. Turn your oven on to 475 F. This may be hot­ter than you are com­fort­able with. Com­mit. 3. Don’t wash your chicken: rinsing poul­try splashes the bad stuff all over the place. 4. Pat the chicken down inside and out with pa­per tow­els. Dry it out. Steam is the en­emy. 5. Sprin­kle salt and pep­per inside of the chicken. Don’t pour salt from the box; make a pinch tin. 6. Truss your chicken. It’s easy: look it up on­line. You can omit this step, but it is pro. 7. Sea­son the out­side of the chicken, back first, then breast, with the salt and pep­per. Use about a ta­ble­spoon of salt if you’re wor­ried about mea­sur­ing. 8. Place the chicken breast-side up on a rack in a roast­ing pan. You can also pop it on any oven-safe pan, but hav­ing it raised is pro. 9. Put the chicken in your hot oven for 25 min­utes, then turn the tem­per­a­ture down to 400 F. Let it roast an­other 40–45 min­utes. 10. Don’t flip the bird, baste it, check it, touch it or open the door un­less smoke is pour­ing out. If smoke is pour­ing out, you should clean your oven more reg­u­larly. 11. You know the chicken is done when an in­ter­nal tem­per­a­ture of the thigh is 165 F. If you don’t own an in­stant-read ther­mome­ter, get one. Oth­er­wise, you’re ba­si­cally test­ing your tire pres­sure with your thumb. 12. Let your chicken rest on a cut­ting board for 15 min­utes. Don’t cover it. This step is crit­i­cal. Leave it alone. 13. Carve your bird. You can look this process up on­line or make it up as you go.

rightJamie Vrooman (No. 319) puts down the power at Hard­wood Ski and Bike

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