Plus City Bites: no­table res­tau­rant and food hap­pen­ings

Ottawa Magazine - - Contents - By Sarah Brown

Beau’s Pa­tio News Never con­tent to rest on their lau­rels, Beau’s has big plans for the sum­mer pa­tio at their Van­kleek Hill base. The 50-seat pa­tio opened for the sea­son on the May long week­end, with plans to host lunches on Satur­days and Sun­days (and Fri­days from Canada Day to Labour Day) all sum­mer long. Brew­ery chef Bruce Wood has been hard at work plan­ning a short, lo­cally inspired menu fea­tur­ing in­gre­di­ents that pair well with the latest Beau’s of­fer­ings: think deluxe sand­wiches made on bread from Nat’s Bread Com­pany, rich char­cu­terie and cheese plat­ters, a dip plat­ter, and a sea­sonal salad op­tion. While many first-time visi­tors com­bine lunch with a Beau’s tour, Wood says it’s in­spir­ing to get to know an ever-ex­pand­ing cadre of reg­u­lars, in­clud­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of cy­clists who drive to the brew­ery with their bikes on their cars, head out for a 100-kilo­me­tre ride, then re­turn for good eats and a cold brew. Sounds like a plan. 10 Terry Fox Dr., Van­kleek Hill, 866-585-BEER. La Dolce Vita It is in­deed the sweet life for Con­nor McQuay, the new ex­ec­u­tive chef at the 150-seat So­pra­nos Ital­ian res­tau­rant at the Dou­bleTree by Hil­ton ho­tel in Gatineau. The 28-year-old was run­ning the 40-seat Back Lane Café when he scored the new gig, which also sees him man­ag­ing the ho­tel’s other res­tau­rant and ban­quet fa­cil­i­ties. McQuay says the first per­son he called be­fore in­ter­view­ing for the job was his ex-boss at the NAC, chef Michael Blackie, who ran the kitchens there be­fore launch­ing NeXT in 2013. “I asked him what I was get­ting my­self into and for ad­vice on how to sell my­self, be­cause as an ex­ec­u­tive chef, I have never been in such a big com­pany with so many dif­fer­ent venues.” McQuay, who has Ir­ish-Ital­ian roots, is psyched for the chal­lenge ahead. “I want So­pra­nos to be­come a place where res­i­dents from Ot­tawa, Gatineau, and Aylmer come by for fresh Ital­ian food. I want So­pra­nos to be the Ital­ian res­tau­rant in the area,” he says. 1170 Aylmer Rd., Gatineau, 819-778-0000. Din­ner (and Lunch) Is Served Chef Mark Steele has a new gig — run­ning his own take­out and cater­ing com­pany on busy St. Joseph Boule­vard in Or­leans. Af­ter close to a decade in ex­ec­u­tive chef roles with the Hil­ton ho­tel chain and, most re­cently, at the Ot­tawa Mar­riott, Steele says he was itch­ing to get back into the kitchen. “I was spend­ing all my time on ad­min­is­tra­tive stuff, and I wasn’t happy.” Launched in March, OCCO Kitchen sees Steele pre­par­ing deluxe com­fort food for the take­out crowd (“It’s so cool to do re­ally, re­ally good take­out,” he en­thuses. “If you break down my burger, it’s a home­made bun, fresh-made patty, ketchup and pick­les made from scratch … It’s a pre­mium burger!”) and putting his ho­tel smarts to work run­ning a cater­ing op­er­a­tion for clients host­ing large events and meet­ings. The New­found­lan­der is also amass­ing a de­voted fol­low­ing for his Beau’s-beer-bat­tered fish and chips and crispy fish tacos. What’s on tap for sum­mer? “No menus set yet, but I’m ex­per­i­ment­ing with a liq­uid-ni­tro­gen milk­shake.” 3018 St. Joseph Blvd., 613-424-7700. Tie One On Who bet­ter to de­sign aprons than a chef? Dessert lovers will re­mem­ber Matt Somers as the pas­try ge­nius be­hind It’s a Mat­ter of Cake, which he gave up when things be­came too hec­tic with busi­nesses man­aged by him and his wife, Erin Carmichael (she runs Full Bloom Flo­ral De­sign). Now Somers, who calls him­self a life­long “fixer and put­terer” has un­veiled Wove & Grain, which sees him de­sign­ing denim and waxed-can­vas aprons for chefs (and flower ar­rangers and wood­work­ers) around town. Strong and stylin’, the apron fea­tures a hand-sewn, ad­justable leather har­ness so that it fits just so. Given the trend to­ward open kitchens, a chef has to look good! Early adopters in­clude El Camino’s Matt Carmichael, Kyrn Stein of So­cial, Steve Mit­ton from Mur­ray Street, and Tr­ish Larkin. Oh, and if you’re still crav­ing his desserts, head to El Camino, where jack-of-all-trades Somers is in charge of bak­ing sig­na­ture sweets. Col­lec­tive Fun It all started in Jan­uary when two chefs — Stephen LaSalle of The Al­bion Rooms and Kyle Mor­timerProulx of Low­er­town Brew­ery — be­gan bandy­ing about the idea of or­ga­niz­ing a sugar-shack meal. They brought Paul Dubeau (Clock­tower Brew Pub and Stella Os­te­ria) into the loop, and he was quickly fol­lowed by Ian Reed (The Court­yard), Ian Carswell (KW Cater­ing & Events at the Na­tional Gallery of Canada), Jesse Bell (DISH Cater­ing), and David Wal­lace (Around the Block Butcher Shop). The Bytown Chefs Col­lec­tive was born — seven young chefs (ages 26–31) shak­ing things up and hav­ing some fun. “We all love be­ing hosts and em­brace the hos­pi­tal­ity side, so we wanted to cre­ate events — make it more than just din­ner,” ex­plains Dubeau. “It’s fun to be out there. It’s so dif­fer­ent from a reg­u­lar day at work.” They sold 100 tick­ets to their first event — the four-course Ta­ble Érable at the Proulx Sugar Bush. Since then, the group, which orig­i­nally planned to host four of its own events each year, has been del­uged with re­quests to par­tic­i­pate in other fes­ti­vals and hap­pen­ings. So far, the col­lec­tive is sched­uled to host a num­ber of cre­ative events at the Ot­tawa

Farm­ers’ Mar­ket this sum­mer and has signed on to pro­vide the Satur­day night feast at Two Is­lands Week­end — a gourmet wilder­ness es­cape for adults in the Hal­ibur­ton High­lands — in Septem­ber. Watch their Face­book site for an­nounce­ments. QUICK BITES

Big changes at Black Cat Bistro, where the 35-year-old res­tau­rant an­nounced the hir­ing of Michael Farber as its ninth chef. Farber, best known for the for­mer Farbs Kitchen on Beech­wood, takes over from Tr­ish Larkin, who held the top job for just over five years.

Al­ways chang­ing it up, Lit­tle Italy got a cou­ple of new eater­ies this past spring. Open­ing in the old Beech­bone spot on Beech Street is Wandee Thai Cui­sine. And un­re­pen­tant lovers of fried food will be ex­cited about The Joint, right on Pre­ston Street, which goes with the tagline “rockin’ junk food.”

If you find your­self at the cor­ner of Sparks and O’Con­nor, look for am­bi­tious busi­ness grad Sifa Kalinda, who is aim­ing for a June launch of Plá­tanos food cart. Kalinda plans to meld her na­tive Rwan­dan cui­sine with Cana­dian favourites. We’re picturing ex­otic in­ter­pre­ta­tions of plan­tain na­chos and plan­tain fries …

Ex­pec­ta­tions are high for Share Free­house, which opened this past spring on Som­er­set. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween chef Danny Mon­geon (for­merly of Brut Cantina So­ciale and Hooch Bour­bon House) and co-owner Thomas McVeigh (for­mer GM of Ab­sinthe). Get there early for a pa­tio seat.

Con­grats to Res­tau­rant E18h­teen’s Jonathan Korecki and Beckta’s Mike Mof­fatt! The two lo­cal main­stays re­ceived four-diamond hon­ours from the CAA/AAA. With E18h­teen re­cently un­der­go­ing a reno and Beckta in new digs, it seems like a per­fect time to re­visit both.

Great olive oil is no longer vir­gin ter­ri­tory for lo­cals, who have been lap­ping up the Mediter­ranean-diet trend for a few years now. West en­ders got their own store this past spring when The Un­re­fined Olive opened a sec­ond lo­ca­tion in Kanata.

Chefs unite The Bytown Chefs Col­lec­tive, a group of young Ot­tawa chefs, will host fun food events this sum­mer and fall

Work-ready Wove & Grain aprons fea­ture an ad­justable leather strap and come in waxed can­vas or denim

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