DEMO & DINE AT THE OKANAGAN TABLE OFFERS TASTY LESSONS
By Roslyne Buchanan.
Tasty lessons are offered in the Demo & Dine series at The Okanagan Table | kitchen | events | catering in downtown Kelowna.
Kitchen demonstrations viewed from your seat at the expansive stainless-steel counter focus on regional ingredients and cuisine as well as basic skill development. Students convene at the communal long table following the preparation and plating of the dishes. Here, you get to savour the chef creations and the stories behind the menu, food and perhaps the chefs.
The Okanagan Table shares the conceptual design with the cookbook for which it was named to lure us back to the heart of a home – the kitchen – to cook and celebrate fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. The Demo & Dine series is an important aspect of how the RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd (RauDZ) team shares its enthusiasm for the food and beverage industry.
While you can grab a bite from the A la Carte menu at The Okanagan Table, it is not a restaurant. There’s a small retail area offering RJB Blackberry Ketchup, Sunny’s Modern Diner Blend Coffee, Love’s Home Farm Maple Syrup, house made ‘Soul Stock’, exclusive kitchenware as used and loved by RauDZ culinary teams. You can even pick up your personal copy of the best-selling cookbook ‘The Okanagan Table: The Art of Everyday Home Cooking’.
The state-of-the-art kitchen is a hub for off-site catering preparation for exclusive private events with menus created by RauDZ award-winning culinary teams. It’s part of RauDZ family of critically acclaimed farm-to-table restaurants – RauDZ Regional Table, internationally inclined micro .bar & bites and retro-chic Sunny’s Modern Diner in downtown Kelowna.
Plus, it’s the commissary kitchen for the RauDZ restaurants giving “the culinary teams increased space to facilitate whole animal butchery, stock making, in-house training and space for pastry chef Jason Whitfield to develop his desserts and treats for the properties.”
True to RauDZ philosophy “connecting people through food”, creative events, team building and kitchen parties can be re-imagined in this stunning space. The intimate setting of customizable event space can seat 30 or offer space for more in a stand-up reception where cooking classes, cocktail demonstrations, wine education seminars, tastings and private events can be hosted.
Open since October 2019, The Okanagan Table has a culinary design as sexy as the Ferrari racing red of its proudly displayed walk-in cooler. The environment is perfect to belly up to the counter and settle in for the kitchen theatre of the Demo & Dine series.
Pastry – The Inside Edition
I recently was given the pleasure to attend Pastry – The Inside Edition – where Pastry Chef Whitfield and Chef Geoffrey Couper took us through the classics of sweet and savoury pastry.
As we arrived, Ali took our coats and welcomed us with a glass of Gray Monk Odyssey 2017 White Brut. The Brut paired brilliantly with the appetizers created. At each seat was a tablet pre-loaded with the class menu, information about each dish we were learning to make, its recipe and pictures of how it should look. The tablet let us photograph that day’s rendition and share it on social media.
As I write this, I find myself salivating over the menu that included:
- The Okanagan Table Sausage Rolls
- Kootenay Alpindon Cheese Gougéres (A French puffy little delicacy made from choux pastry and cheese)
- Alsatian Onion Tart with Winter Greens (Classic French regional tart of melted onions and Gruyère baked in custard)
- Coulibiac of Baked Salmon in a Brioche Crust (Basically a fish pie)
- Linzer Torte (A traditional Austrian pasty that is a form of shortcake)
Step-by-step how the Coulibiac of Baked Salmon in a Brioche Crust is prepared for the oven (Photo credits: Roslyne Buchanan):
Exquisite pairings for the meal were Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2018 and Burrowing Owl Estate Winery 2017 Chardonnay. For the designated drivers, elevated mocktails were presented.
Each step, the chefs provided helpful tips such as melting the butter first for the Gougéres, cheapest know leavener, why it’s called short pastry, knife skills for the onion, how to handle a pastry piping bag, and more.
While you’re sitting in that welcoming environment, you can’t help noticing the thoughtful details throughout the space. You’ll see best practices for how to display your equipment such as knives and gain insight how to organize your most commonly used spices and ingredients.
I didn’t know any of the other participants – a mother/daughter and two couples – when I entered the class and left feeling like I’d made new friends. As you might expect, the folks enrolling in such sessions are avid and fun-loving foodies. I know I’ll return to take another session and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ran into one of my classmates!
Topics vary widely so there are many choices. For example, in the coming weeks, you’ll find:
Chocolates. It’s Cheaper Than Therapy (January 19) “Join Master Chocolatier Danny Capadouca & surrender to an afternoon of chocolate decadence.”
Say Cheese! (January 26) “From milk to magic. Join the discerning cheesemongers from Perseval & Young for a master class on all manner fromage.”
Pasta! (February 2) “Let Chef de Cuisine James Hanna share his perfect pasta techniques with you as we taste our way through this dining table staple.”
At the sessions one or more of the talented RauDZ team members will inspire your culinary acumen. The team led by RauDZ co-owners (wine guru Audrey Surrao and Chef Rod Butters) with RauDZ Executive Director of Operations Bernard Casavant include two BC Restaurant Hall of Fame inductees, two members of the Canadian Culinary Honour Society, multiple winners of cooking competitions and cocktail battles, a Food Network Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada competitor, graduates and students of WSET (The Wine & Spirit Education Trust), sommeliers and leaders in the industry.
Regularly presented on Sunday afternoons, prices range from $119. For the schedule, periodically check back to https://theokanagantable.com/cooking-demos/
Featured photo: Plating techniques demonstrated by the RauDZ chef instructors. Photo credit: Roslyne Buchanan.