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Whats cooking?

Hail to the chefs, cooking sous vide

Canada’s first Iron Chef is back

From Susur to Madeline’s

When star chef Rob Feenie left Vancouver’s famed Lumière restaurant last year, many people won- dered: what’s next for the Food Network celebrity also known as “Iron Chef Vancouver?” Well, now we know. Feenie has joined Cactus Restaurant as food concept architect for the company’s Cactus Club Café, a chain with locations in Vancouver and Calgary designed around the concept of casual fine dining. Feenie’s new role has him creating new dishes and improving old Cactus Club favourites. In short, ladies and gentlemen, Feenie is back and so is our appetite.

Before he took off to New York to open a new restaurant this fall, Susur Lee left Torontonians another little something to remember him by. Madeline’s, located in Toronto’s trendy King West neighbourhood, has risen from the ashes of Susur’s eponymous restaurant which closed down this year after the master chef announced his New York plans. Led by chef Dominic Amaral, Madeline’s offers family style cuisine with European influences. And in case you’re curious, Madeline is the name of Susur’s mother. She must be so proud.

A tasteful read: Alinea

After a scary battle with mouth cancer, which left him with no taste, Chicago chef and restaurateur Grant Achatz—who in 2003 was named the James Beard Rising Star Chef, an award he has surely lived up to—has written his first cookbook. Alinea, which is also the name of Achatz’s restaurant in Chicago, features 600 recipes, many of them highlighting Achatz’s genius in molecular gastronomy. Those who buy the book, published by Ten Speed Press, will also get access to a web site with video demonstrations, interviews, and an online forum where readers can interact with Achatz (below), whose taste buds are now starting to recover.

Under cover with sous vide—not your mother’s boil in a bag

From New York to San Francisco, Toronto to Vancouver, a growing number of today’s finest and trendi- est restaurants are cooking sous vide, a technique in which seasoned ingredients are vacuum-packed in heat-resistant plastic bags, then cooked slowly in simmering water baths. A braised rib done sous vide could take more than 40 hours to cook. But the results are bound to be spectacular, with flavours infused deeply into the melt-in-your-mouth meat. Chefs at the Ritz-Carlton and in fancy spots such as Blue Hill in New York are cooking sous vide. In Canada, sous vide dishes are known to appear on the menus at Splendido and Lucien in Toronto, Gastropod in Vancouver, and Raw Bar in Calgary. For those who want the taste of sous vide at home but have neither the time nor the inclination to simmer Cryovac-sealed bags for hours on end, A Taste Above in Toronto sells take-home sous vide dishes.

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