Indulgence ’11 – Edmonton, Alberta

With an event as spectacular as this, it’s hard to not start my post about Indulgence ’11 by saying it was anything less than epic. And why not. Going into its 11th year, the event could really only build on last years already solid performance by taking care of just two things; the event length and the space issues which created lineups and elbows at every turn. Even if you didn’t experience the event first hand, a quick look at the producers, the chefs and their restaurants, and the wineries would do nothing but make you hungry, thirsty and/or jealous. So it was with an empty belly and fully charged camera battery that Sarah and I made our way over to the Delta Edmonton South to eat, eat and eat.

Waiting to Enter

I was lucky enough to be contacted prior to the event and be offered a chance to go in 30 minutes early. With timing one of my complaints about the year before, I was excited at the chance to start eating a bit earlier. The best part was that everyone benefited on the timing issues as the Indulgence team bumped the opening time back from 7 to 6:30. Walking into the room just after 6, I was happy and a bit sad. Happy because it let me mingle with producers and chefs, something I was really unable to do last year, and unhappy because much of the food wasn’t ready, which meant I wouldn’t be able to use the extra time to get a jump on eating.

The Masses

Once the evening got going though, it went like clock work. The food started to appear just before the doors opened and continued until empty plates were lying on the table or the lights came down. Clearly the word continues to spread about this event, as there were lots of new and old faces in the crowd. You gotta love that! It’s almost impossible to break down every dish after a taste overload like this, but I should say that this was my favourite year. Considerably more hits than misses in the big picture, so I am going mention some amazing highlights; The Spring Creek Ranch short rib from L2, was one fantastic piece of meat. Chef Chartrand created a Japanese style broth that surrounded the beef which made for a complex flavor profile that really zinged in my mouth. As well

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the Tangle Ridge Lamb meatball was given a Turkish flair by the staff at Niche, who made it moist and flavourful. As a big fan of the team out at O Sol’ Meatos, their salami and black current offering from D’Lish was good enough to go back for seconds, as was the vegetable medley put together by NAIT and Doef’s Greenhouse. What did take it over the top though, and I say this as someone who’d rather take savory over sweet, was the Berry Ridge Orchard Saskatoon berry and black pepper cheesecake put out by Madison’s Grill. Wow!! Sign me up for aerobics class because I’m going back for 3rds!

Of course there were some misses like every year, and I still think everyone’s bound to run into a bad dish when 400+ are being plated sans kitchen, but really, with this being my favourite showing in 4 years, I wanted to leave it without any ill concern. And I did just that..along with a belly full of food. See you next year friends.

100 Chefs!

The menu for the evening is below. I should mention that some dishes were not represented accurately, but there’s always bound to be hiccups and last minute changes.

4404 Restaurant (Delta Edmonton South) – Executive Chef Joseph Ciz & Sous Chef Vincent Horvath
Greens Eggs & Ham – Mary Ellen and Andreas Grueneberg, Leduc
Little Straw Vineyards, West Kelowna – Rick and Susan Slamka
Blueberry and Greens Eggs and Ham guinea fowl spring roll with an apricot relishPair with Little Straw 2009 Tapestry.

4th and Vine Wine Bar and Bistro – Chef Duncan Scott
Nature’s Green Acres Nouveau Beef – Danny and Shannon Ruzicka, Viking
Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Lake Country – The Harder and Paulson Families
Rustic agnolotti stuffed with Nature’s Green Acres beef shank — braised in a red wine stock and bathed in a cream and oyster mushroom sauce — topped with a dusting of parmesan cheese – Pair with Ex Nihilo 2008 Merlot

Café de Ville (Sherwood Park) – Chef Paul Campbell CCC
Full Course Strategies – Pilatus Farms Bison Brisket – Lori Menshik
Church & State Wines, Vancouver Island – Kim Pullen, proprietor
Texas BBQ Bison Brisket with a blue Casis cornmeal muffin and slawPair with Church & State 2006 Meritage

Quail Eggs Anyone?

Culina – Chef de cuisine Christine Sanford
Mighty Trio Organics
Vineland Estates WInery, Niagara on the Lake
Arugula-spinach salad with Sylvan Star Gouda, dried berries, toasted almonds, sweet peas, scallions and Mighty Trio Organics “house dressing.” Pair with Vineland Estates 2009 Cabernet Franc, Vineland Estates 2008/2009 Semi Dry Riesling

d’Lish Urban Kitchen & Wine Bar – Owner Amanda Babichuck
The Cheesiry – Brian and Rhonda Zuk Headon, Kitscoty
Kettle Valley Winery, Naramata – Bob Ferguson
Flat breads with O Sol’ Meatos pepper salami and black current sheep fresco cheese from The CheesiryPair with Kettle Valley 2007 Malbec

Spring Roll From Next Act

Hundred Bar + Kitchen – Chef Paul Shufelt
Full Course Strategies – Pembina Pork – Lori Menshik
Joie Farm, Naramata Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn
Modern scapple: slow cooked Full Course Strategies pork, braised bacon, quails egg, micro green salad and smoked ancho-pepper tomato aioliPair with Joie Farm 2008 Reserve Chardonnay

Jack’s Grill – Chef Michelle Deland
Alberta Rabbit Producers – Valleyview, Alberta
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, South Okanagan
Braised Alberta rabbit sausage with cabbage confitPair with Burrowing Owl 2007 Cabernet Franc

L2 Grill (Fantasyland Hotel) – Executive chef Shane Chartrand
Spring Creek Ranch Premium Natural Beef – The Kotelko Family, Vegreville
Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery, Niagara Peninsula – The Speck Family
“Compressed” Japanese Spring Creek Ranch barbecued short rib with Alberta honey glaze and crispy crackling Sake, Sunamono brothPair with Henry of Pelham 2009 Baco Noir

Lit Italian Wine Bar – Chef Cody Ring
Fairwinds Farm – Anita and Ben Oudshroom
Domaine Pinnacle, Eastern Townships, Quebec
Toasted crostini with a roasted almond Fairwinds Farm goat cheese spread topped with sliced prosciutto and finished with an Ice Apple Cider reductionPair with Domaine Pinnacle 2008 Ice Cider

Tangle Ridge Lamb = Awesome!

LUX steakhouse+bar – Chef Tony Le
Hog Wild Boar – Earl and Deb Hagman. Mayerthorpe
Averill Creek Vineyard, Cowichan Valley – Andy and Wendy Johnston
Watermelon, toasted sesame, Hog Wild boar bacon, micro cilantro and honey citrus vinaigrette Pair with Averill Creek 2008 Pinot Noir

Madison’s Grill (Union Bank Inn) – Executive chef Robert Simpson
Berry Ridge Orchard – Wade Fossum, Sturgeon County
Sandhill Estate Vineyard, Okanagan Valley
Berry Ridge Orchard Saskatoon berry and black pepper cheesecake, Saskatoon spaghetti and coulis, almond brittle crumble, spun sugarSandhill 2008 Rosé

The Marc Restaurant – Executive chef Will Kotowicz
Four Whistle Farm – Marius and Twiggy de Boer, Millet
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, South Okanagan – Sandra and Kenn Oldfield
Four Whistle Farm duck sausage with red wine and roasted garlic, creme fraiche on croutonTinhorn Creek 2007 Oldfield Series Merlot

NAIT School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts – Chef Mike Gobin
Doef’s Greenhouse – Joe Doef and Family, Lacombe
Blasted Church, Okanagan Falls – The Campbell Family
Doef’s Greenhouse grilled zucchini, bell pepper and onion with tomato & sherry vinaigrette on grilled baguette with pecorino cheeseBlasted Church 2008 Cabernet Merlot

The Next Act Pub – Chef Nathan Mclaughlin
Progressive Foods Inc. – Marvin Nakonechny, Edmonton
Alley Kat Brewery – co-owners Neil and Lavonne Herbst
Progressive Foods barley pork asian spring roll with a sweet chili sauceAlley Kat Full Moon Pale Ale

Beer!

Niche Restaurant – Chef Nathan Saurette
Tangle Ridge Ranch – Shayne and Vicky Horn, Thorsby
Desert Hills Estate Winery, South Okanagan
Tangle Ridge lamb meatball with fried kale, slow roast tomato sauce and pecorino cheeseDesert Hills 2006 Mirage

Red Ox Inn – Owner/Executive Chef Frank Olson
Irvings Farm Fresh Berkshire Pork – Alan and Nicola Irving, Round Hill
Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery, Okanagan Valley
Slow braised Irving’s Farm Fresh pork shoulder on carrot risotto cake with citrus jamMt. Boucherie 2009 Estate Collection Riesling

TZiN Wine & Tapas Ltd. – Sous Chef Brendan McCullough
Belle Valley Farm AlpacaMike Lutz, Morinville
Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, Okanagan Valley Stewart Family
Cayenne-braised Belle Valley Farms Alpaca with Gull Valley piperade and reisling-chive emulsion Quails’ Gate 2010 Dry Riesling

Pork Belly

Wild Tangerine – Chef Judy Wu
Amberlane Farms – Herman & Alice Bulten, Leduc
Black Hills Estate Winery, South Okanagan – Oliver, British Columbia
Amberlane Farm Elk meat ball stuffed with pecorino cheese, served with chickpea purée and spicy hazelnutBlack Hills 2008 Nota Bene

The Newget Kompany – i
Sweet Peddles (white chocolate, pistachios, roast almonds, dried organic edible flowers from Inspired Market Gardens)

Fruit Salad Organic Winery & Meadery – Xina Chrapko
Campfire Wild Cherry, Saucy Saskatoon, Raspberry Delight, Calypso Rhubarb, Mellow Gold Mead

**After the event, I was sent a memo that really excited me;

On Monday, June 13, Indulgence a Canadian epic of food and wine celebrated its 11th year, over $200,000 raised for the Junior League of Edmonton and a brand new NAIT culinary bursary. At the annual event, Indulgence co-founder and past co-chair Mary Bailey presented a cheque of $26,000 to Louise Charronof NAIT Awards to start the Slow Food Edmonton Indulgence Bursary.

This new $1500 Slow Food Edmonton (SFE) Indulgence annual bursary will be available to NAIT culinary grads to fund a stage at a farm, vineyard or in locovore restaurants and purveyors. The funding has come from a decade of Indulgence budgets, ably managed by treasurer Joanne Tkachuk; a decade of wineries, farmers and restaurants funding the Indulgence bursary via registration fees.

Not only does the bursary aim to encourage culinary alumni’s personal and professional knowledge of and connection with farm to table gastronomy, but it also continues the serious work of Indulgence — introducing farmers to chefs to continue growing our unique Northern Alberta gastronomic culture.

Indulgence a Canadian epic of food and wine is an annual Slow Food Edmonton event that aims to introduce farmers to chefs to build relationships, foster modern gastronomic traditions of food and wine and introduce Edmontonians to our excellent local producer’s offerings, prepared by our top culinary talent, and paired with world-class Canadian wines.

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3 thoughts on “Indulgence ’11 – Edmonton, Alberta

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the short rib from L2. It was salty and fantastic. I liked the boar bacon from Lux also. Not surprisingly, the clear winner for me was from the Red Ox Inn. Braised pork shoulder with a carrot risotto cake. I could have eaten 10 of those. 

    On the flip side, you must have had d’Lish’s salami\ flatbread dish before the doors opened. Our group all found the salami to be nice, but the dish as a whole was dominated by the very dry flatbread. 

    Great recap. Makes me want to do it all again tomorrow.

    • Ah yes. The Red Ox. I think Frank Olsen did a fantastic job with his Irvings Farm Fresh pork. How did I forget that!!

      I think I actually did have the salami flat bread fresh on both occasions…which is one of my sticking points each year; depending on the moment or line up, the food can be warm/cool, crispy/soft, crusty/dry…and so on.

  2. This being my first year I made the mistake of not wanting to have a dessert item in the middle of all of the savory items…big mistake! By the time I got back to the Madisons Grill table they were out! It was the only dish that I missed! Next year I now know not to try and save a table to last!

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