Guest Chef

Kieran Kearns’

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Matthew Pioro

Kieran Kearns’ mac ’n’ cheese

Kieran Kearns, the ex­ec­u­tive chef at Van­cou­ver’s Tap and Bar­rel restau­rants, took up road rid­ing in 2018. He bought a Spe­cial­ized Roubaix this past Jan­uary with the goal of rid­ing the B.C. Ride to Con­quer Can­cer. He had thy­roid can­cer in 2013. In sum­mer 2017, his girl­friend’s fa­ther passed away from liver can­cer.

Kearns grew up moun­tain bik­ing. His fa­ther gave him a Kona hard­tail for his 10th birth­day, which he’d ride on Mount Fromme and Sey­mour. With road rid­ing, Kearns wasn’t sure how it would com­pare with moun­tain. “I thought I’d put my­self through road bik­ing for good cause,” Kearns said, “and I ended up fall­ing in love with it. I ride my road bike 10:1 ver­sus how much I ride my moun­tain bike now.” He also rode the Pros­pera Val­ley Gran­fondo in 2018. In 2019, he’s plan­ning to at­tend the same events, as well as ride the rbc Gran­fondo Whistler.

When Kearns is not rid­ing, he’s in charge of op­er­a­tions and cre­at­ing the menus at the Tap and Bar­rel, the Tap­shack and the Brewhall, the lat­ter of which opened this past July. The restau­rants spe­cial­ize in craft beer, so Kearns builds menus that com­ple­ment the bev­er­ages. He also con­sid­ers the qual­ity of the food. “My cook­ing style is West Coast,” he said. “The West Coast vibe is about try­ing to stay lighter and ‘health­ful.’ I don’t say ‘healthy,’ be­cause it’s al­ready a ‘cheat day’ once you are out to eat. But if you’re go­ing to or­der a burger, I’m go­ing to make sure it’s the best best burger you can have by not us­ing pre­washed and pre-shred­ded let­tuce. We’re try­ing to make as much as we can in-house.”

For Kearns’ beer and cheese sauce, the chef rec­om­mends a flo­ral medium-bod­ied beer. “A stout or porter in mac ’n’ cheese will work, but it’s ob­vi­ous,” he said. “There’s some­thing about achiev­ing bal­ance in a dish. There’s some­thing beau­ti­ful when some­one says, ‘What is that? It’s good. I can taste beer, but what’s go­ing on there?’ It makes them think about their food a bit more.”


For the craft beer and ched­dar sauce 3 tbsp but­ter 3 tbsp olive oil ¾ cup onion, chopped ¼ cup all-pur­pose flour 1 cup Brewhall Neon Lights pale ale (Or sub­sti­tute an­other beer of your choice. Re­mem­ber the type of beer will af­fect the colour and char­ac­ter of the fin­ished prod­uct.) 1 ½ cup two per cent milk 10 oz. aged white ched­dar, grated 6 oz. cheese curds 2 oz. gor­gonzola 2 oz. finely grated Grana Padano

parme­san ½ tsp fine salt to taste For the cast-iron craft-beer mac ’n’ cheese 1 lb. cavatappi (corkscrew) noo­dles salted wa­ter (1 tbsp kosher salt

per litre) ⅓ cup panko bread­crumbs ½ cup finely grated Grana Padano parme­san (grated with a mi­croplane is best) chopped pars­ley for gar­nish­ing Serves 4

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