Though I’ve been most active documenting my passion for food these last years, I was – am still – also a nerd. I’ve reviewed video games, I’ve coloured comics, and there was the one summer where I attended five (six?) conventions as an artist/exhibitor, including SDCC and AX. It was a crazy fun chapter of my life that I still have ties to. And, as a part of this, I have also done my share of cosplaying.
With my worlds colliding, I thought it’d be neat to doodle each of chefs as the character they were representing. That quickly fell by the wayside when I realized how difficult it was to make a masked character look like someone. And, I’m very rusty.
That idea scrapped, aside from purchasing a ticket (ouch), I was left only with the questions of what to wear and how comfortable did my shoes need to be. But with a superhero costume already in play for Halloween, I decided to speed the timeline up and see if i could cobble things together in time for the event. Now, I wasn’t sure I was entirely ready to expose… my nerdy side to my food world, but I’ve never been shy about much, and not in the least about being a nerd. So I went big.
As big as my ghetto costuming skills would allow, at any rate. Luckily, I chose an easy one that involved few elements, and what I needed would be easy to source and make. All I had to do was hope all the bits got shipped in time.
Well. They shipped in time. Mostly. And so Black Cat would make an appearance, minus her signature white hair.
Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one in costume (thank you SenseAppeal!!) and the event itself was so over the top with chefs in snazzy aprons and accessories that I didn’t feel like I was sticking out too much.
And my, what a show this was! Chef Harding‘s (Campagnolo) splayed lamb roasting over hot embers right next to a full-size Green Hornet car replica and the red carpet rolled out (replete with paparazzi) to the entrance – and this was only what greeted guests outside the store. What would they encounter amidst the fantastical food-filled aisles of the Cheese Boutique? Let me take you through the path we were led!
Outside, Chef Harding had his Green Goblin salsa verde atop succulent slices of his whole-roasted lamb. Some guests were wandering around and gave curious looks to the pumpkins strewn about the station. Sigh.
As well, Chef Micheal Steh (Colette Grand Cafe) was there with Colette’s cute truck. Superman was serving a kryptonite snow crab vichyssoise within “a fortress of solitude”. I giggled when the lady described it to me.
Chef Goodyear‘s marinated summer artichokes were very pretty. Not sure what it had to do with Wolverine. It only dawns on me now that asking would have been really good, but people were packed tight and waiting, as this was the first station you encountered after checking-in and you’d yet to discover that there was more food that lay just beyond the corner.
Chef Gentile (Buca) represented Iron Man with a live Gaspé scallop shooter. Topped with caviar and bathed in prosecco. Lovely starter here. Was sorry I didn’t get back around to have another.
I adore Stratus wines and knowing they’d be here alongside all the chefs was gilding the lily. Haven’t yet had a single sip that I didn’t enjoy. Tonight was no exception.
From Captain America, Chef Van Gameren (Bar Isabel) had a pintxo of 60-day aged Ribeye with American blue cheese, mushroom, olive, shoshito pepper, and boquerone. The lovely custom wooden displays from PintxoTO made an appearance that evening.
Chef Vitello‘s (The Harbord Room) dish was bufala mozzarella with crushed heirloom tomato and white balsamic sorbet. Though Chef admitted there wasn’t much thematically to tie his dish to his character, the flow of dry ice smoke scented with basil was a really cool element to what was probably my favourite dish, flavour-wise, of the evening.
Cute presentation of paint canisters and hanging magnets for Chef Hopgood (Hopgood’s Foodliner) as Magneto. Also cute: magnets taped to his fingers so he could serve it with his powers of magnetism.
One of the most inventive and fun dishes of the night comes from Chef Horne (Canoe) and his fried crickets (he’d wanted spiders, originally). Though he might not have intended it that way, because everything was pre-paid, one only had to get over their initial “ew, bugs” reaction – which many did in the end – to sample this dish. Bonus points also given here for the creative presentation of the crickets on the sugar “web.”
Apparently Chef Wade (Farmhouse Tavern) had only just custom-made the lightening bolt cutout earlier that day for the squash. Great hit of red/yellow from the quail’s egg as a nod to the Flash’s colours.
Chef Barry (Splendido) is known for his generous showering of truffles over his dishes and tonight doesn’t stray far from his main element. No complaints here. Though it’d have been really funny for him to have something like smashed (see what I did there?) potatoes instead.
Chef Nourian‘s (Nadège Patisserie) dessert buffet. Take a deep breath now, as it featured: pur noir petit four, tarragon & olive oil & chocolate verrine, cassis p’tit choux, chocolate & pecan brownie, pistachio petit four, chocolate éclair, carré coco, passionfruit & milk chocolate bon bon, illanka 63% Peruvian chocolate bonbon, and a macaron tower of salted caramel / blackberry & chocolate. All in the colours or with an illustration of Cat Woman. I refrained from being too greedy, but I sorely regretted that later when I tried to go back for seconds and they were all done.
After Heston Blumenthal’s original, this was a really super cool and fun play on the Pyro and Ice Man characters by SenseAppeal. And delicious.
Beyond food and drink, there was a lot of fun had at this event. The carnival-like atmosphere was magnified surrounded by the packed shelves of the Cheese Boutique.
There was a high calibre of eats all around, but I really loved seeing some of the chefs taking their character theme and running with it. From the crazy fried crickets to the awesome hot/cold coffee mix, I delighted in the creative ways food could be presented while being immersed in the comic theme.
This was a great big-ticket event to attend as both someone who’s interested in food and is familiar with superhero comics. Though to be frank, ultra comic nerds would have totally picked apart some of the stations and dishes. But that’s what they do.