PAB chefs unleash inner artistry.
Three local chefs volunteered to cook for 60 guests at this year’s From this Rock Culinary Tour held Oct. 26. The tour was organized by the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador to promote the province’s food service industry. “Until this year it has always been a travelling sort of function,” said lead chef Jay Stuckless. This was his third year cooking on the tour. “This year we’re doing it all in one night at every location.” Adam Cross, who volunteered last year, and Greg Cook completed the team. It was Cook’s first year participating on the tour. Feeding a large group is pretty much par for the course for these three. Stuckless works for Marine Atlantic, Cross works for Mountain Hope Manor, and the aptly named Cook works at the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre. “I’m used to 50 odd myself, daily,” said Cross. A large part of volunteering for the tour is the full creative control the cooks have over the menu. Working at a hospital and retirement home means Cook and Cross are usually more concerned with nutritional value than presentation. “Dietary needs,” said Cook. Cross added, “And lots of gravy.” The annual tour is designed to showcase each area’s locally produced meats, fish, vegetables and other foods. While the trio brainstormed the menu, they tend to adapt and improvise right up until they start cooking the five-course meal. “You’ve got a product list that’s kind of a working list,” said Cook, “so we start on the menu and by the time the product actually gets here, it’s changed a dozen times.” “We try to limit the amount of product not from Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Stuckless, who estimated the amount of local food on the menu at somewhere between 80 and 90 per cent. Guests pay $60 per ticket for the meal to help cover the costs. While Cook enjoys the creativity the most, Cross said his favourite part of the tour is the camaraderie. “Hanging out and having a laugh.” And Stuckless? “Sending out the very last plate.”
From left: Adam Cross, Jay Stuckless and Greg Cook