Granville Island Gourmands
In BC, we’re slowly seeing a growing understanding of the role beer can play beyond the swill of choice for frat parties and sports bars. No longer are brewmasters dinners confined to just brewpubs and beer geeks. There are an increasing number of restaurants teaming up with their local brewery to offer something that Belgians have known for a long time.
Given the great success vintners have had at marketing and educating the public about wine and food pairing, it may take some time for the brewers to catch up. But if the wine-obsessed Italians can come around to the idea of pairing food with beer, we eventually will too.
A further step in that direction in BC was the “Winter Ales and Fare” cooking competition hosted by Granville Island Brewingand the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts on November 3. Four teams of two PICA students — one culinary, one pastry — had to create an entrée and a dessert using GIB Lions Winter Ale.
Each team was given $20 and 45 minutes to gather core ingredients from the Granville Island Public Market; one more hour for cooking, preparation, and mise en place at PICA; and 15 minutes to bring everything to the GIB Tap Room for final presentation to the judges. Judging the competition was PICA Executive Chef, Julian Bond, GIB brewmaster, Vern Lambourne, Chester Carey, Canada’s first Certified Cicerone, and Barry MacDonald from The Team 1040.
In front of a full house, each student had to present their dish after plating and serving the judges. A different person from the audience was also selected to sample each dish. After a parade of mouthwatering creations, the judges’ results were tallied.
The top spot went to Felix Maristany and Jazmin Villarreal who, respectively, made a Granville Island Winter Ale Gumbo and Lions Winter Ale Beer & Dessert Risotto Crumble (see the Love Good Beer blog for recipes). Jazmin and Felix will have their Lions Winter Ale creations featured on the PICA restaurant menu and in the bakeshop.
This collaboration between PICA and GIB is an excellent idea that is beneficial for both parties. GIB cultivates young chefs in cooking and pairing with beer, which may spread to the restaurants they work in and their social circle. PICA bolsters its part-time beer course by demonstrating how beer, not only wine, can be an excellent partner with fine food.
I look forward to seeing what next year’s crop of students will come up with. Until then, here are some photos to whet your appetite: