What do you get when you have three talented high caliber chefs cooking for you for an evening? Well let me tell you, as a woman who loves her food and who also likes to be entertained, the answer is foodtopia. ‘Foodopia’ is exactly where guests were last week at the Stittsville NeXT restaurant during their first Three Chefs One Dinner event series.
Chefs Ted Reader, Christian Pritchard and Michael Blackie entertained, fed and delivered on some serious dishes to their sold out dining experience.
Co-founder and Executive Chef Michael Blackie of NeXT restaurant, has throughout the years, kept food lovers in the Ottawa region delighted with his calibre and style of cuisine. His high energy, unfiltered conversations and personal touch make you feel as though you have known him for years and the best part is that he makes you feel as though he’s cooking just for you!
It is with this zest and drive that led Chef Blackie to come up with the concept of doing something original and unique in regards to giving guests an unforgettable dining experience. Chef Blackie collaborated and joined forces with two well-known chefs, both hailing from Toronto, Chef Ted Reader aka the “Godfather of the Grill’ and Chef Christian Pritchard from “chriscooking”, for one special evening.
So for those of you not too familiar with each chef’s cooking repertoire, note that this culinary trifecta owns and dominates their own personal style of cooking.
Chef Michael Blackie: Asian “with a little bit of Canada ripped in”
Chef Ted Reader: literally the BBQ machine
Chef Christian Pritchard : culinary adventurist, “bringing Italy to your mouth”
Seeing the three chefs joke and work in unison in NeXT’s open concept kitchen was very pleasing to see. Like three old friends reuniting and doing what they do best…cook.
(Back to Front) Chef Pritchard putting the finishing touches on his braised oxtail & white truffle soup; (Center) Chef Pritchard working on his Stozzapreti pasta; Chef Blackie and Chef Reader talking about one of Chef Reader’s dishes; Chef Reader handling his Egg BBQ as he cooks his smoked C&S brisket; Chef Reader making sure his veal tongue’s are ready for one of his dishes.
Reception and Cooking Demo
The sold-out event started off with a cocktail and canapé reception followed by an interactive demo put on by the three chefs in front of their 120 guests.
As guests mingled and waited to have their cocktails (including the evening’s signature Sojito cocktail), they were teased with surf & turf inspired canapés consisting of east coast oysters, steak tartar and tempura fried okra.
One could have easily indulged and been satisfied on just the canapés and the Sojito. The signature ‘silent killer’ cocktail was a dangerous blend of sake, jalapeno, mint, crushed ice, ginger beer and lime. Guests thoroughly enjoyed the blended flavours and complexity of this cocktail as many were going up for seconds and thirds. I for one, was pleasantly surprised as to how smooth it tasted…dangerously smooth.
The killer Sojito cocktail being made by NeXT staff and by Chef Pritchard; both Chef Blackie and Chef Pritchard serving and mingling with guests as tempura fried okra and beef tartar were being enjoyed.
Set in the restaurants dining area, guests enjoyed their libations and canapés as the chefs fed off one another with their quick thinking humour and culinary themed jokes during their live cooking demonstrations.
During the food demo, guests were rather happy that Chef Pritchard explained the making of the Sojito – an obvious crowd favourite. Chef Blackie demonstrated the proper technique on how to open oysters without losing its precious ‘eau de vie’ juice and Chef Reader took us on the carnivorous side (my side of the tracks), as he explained how to make a tasty beef tartar.
(left to right) Chef Reader, Chef Blackie and Chef Pritchard during the live cooking demonstrating at NeXT’s Three Chefs One Dinner event. Chef Blackie explaining the do’s and don’ts on shucking oysters.
Tell the story of making a good food. At the end of the day, if the food tastes delicious and you are proud to talk about it – it’s always awesome! – Chef Pritchard
The Main Event
As the DJ spinned his tunes, guests were moved to the private dining hall for the multicourse dinner. Each course was executed by one of the respective chefs, showcasing their passion and love for cooking!
Teaser: Toasty Garlic Confit Baguette
(cooling labneh, charred corn, Sriracha powder)
Toasty garlic confit baguette.
Course ONE: Chef Blackie
TEMPURA FRIED HOT SMOKED CHEESE CURDS
(Bourbon cryo watermelon, rocket leaves, citric balm)
Tempura fried hot smoked cheese curds (HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!!)
Course TWO: Chef Ted Reader
(Rotisserie bacon wrapped chicken thighs . Sriracha BBQ sting, Grilled chicken hearts + crackling, pad thai sticky, avocado smoked chicken spring rolls, Carolina reaper marmalade)
Course THREE: Chef Pritchard
BRAISED OXTAIL + WHITE TRUFFLE SOUP
(celery and apple, crispy farro and sage)
Braised oxtail and white truffle soup.
Course FOUR: Chef Reader
SMOKED C&S BRISKET & SHAVED VEAL TONGUE
(whiskey butter injection, cherry coke mop sauce, smoked cheddar hominy grit, fire roasted chilies & hot peppers)
Smoked C&S brisket and shaved veal tongue.
Course FIVE: Chef Pritchard
STOZZAPRETI PASTA & MYERS LEMON
(salted caper, Cutrera extra virgin olive oil)
Stozzapreti pasta with Meyers lemon.
Course SIX: Chef Blackie
THE FILTHY BELGIAN
(toasted buttered waffle orange-maple marmalade, scoop of paco jet vanilla ice cream, pecan crunch + J.B.C (jalapeño milk chocolate mousse, maple banana fritters, toasted mallow, malted crunch))
The Filthy Belgian.
With each passing course, one could not predict but only anticipate what was to come in terms of flavours and cooking styles. Each dish was a reflection of the chef and his cooking mantra.
Like music food only needs a few notes to make a beautiful melody…when you have the right products. – Chef Pritchard
With beyond satisfied appetites, guests could only grumble that they had to work the next day and of course the tiny little detail… that we all had overindulged in the food department. To say that we were ‘content’ with the food let alone with the event would serve injustice to the evening and to the three chefs who wined, dined and put on a great show for their guests.
NeXT plans on continuing this type of dinner series and I can only imagine the guest chefs that will be joining forces with Chef Blackie next.
NeXT has tapped into a new niche of ‘food entertainment’, as this event has become a noteworthy dining experience that I believe all food lovers should try.