Monday, April 9, 2012

Top Chef Canada Season 2: episode 4: Mattoscio's poutine is no go

Once-again tragedy has reared its head on this season of Top Chef Canada. Remember Kunal Ghose? The Chef / Owner of Redfish Bluefish, that specializes in seafood tacos, was sent home for making a taco. Now, Montreal's Sergio Mattoscio is sent home for his beef tongue poutine. Why the tragedy? Besides the obvious, a Chef from Québec being sent home for poutine, in his audition video Mattoscio showed off his signature dish gnocchi poutine. 
We did pay a couple of visits to Mattoscio's, Macaroni Bar in Montreal when we found out he was going to be on Top Chef Canada. The establishment reopened after some renovations when it was announced that Chef Mattoscio would be competing for the title of Canada's next Top Chef. On both occasions we did sample the gnocchi poutine. The dish comes as a small appetizer ($15). Eating the poutine made us think a lot about our province's signature dish.  A variety of poutine combinations exist in our city. Consider that La Banquise's offers over 25 varieties of the dish but never strays from the basic building blocks of fries, gravy and cheese. Has anyone tried the Pogo medallion poutine? Mattoscio's creation is certainly one of the more unique combinations in Montreal's wide world of poutines. The use of gnocchi instead of fries is a logical step given the potato connection. From the look and taste of the dish we think that it has been baked under the broiler since the gnocchi has a deep amber color. You know when marshmallows are perfectly roasted and have a crisp outer skin and soft middle? We found the gnocchi took on the same consistency under the broiler. And the gravy? We were told it was made from fond de vœu and cut with ricotta. Obviously the dish is very rich, almost dessert like, and in Montreal's poutine landscape it is definitely at the top of our list. Our one suggestion would be to offer a bigger portion. This is after all your signature dish.

Gnocchi Poutine at Macaroni Bar

The theme ingredient for the elimination challenge in this episode of Top Chef Canada featured offal. This is one episode that had us longing for last year's Cheftestant Connie DeSousa, aka the butcher ballerina or bacon ninja, who can butcher a pig's head in record time. The challenge was not so much about butchering skills but what to do with your nasty bits in the kitchen. These days it seems like all the Chefs are talking about nose to tail as one of their kitchen philosophies. The trendy topic shows customers a social consciousness by not wasting food. You know how food trends work? The cheap cuts of meat are a great way for restaurant's to mange their cost to profit margins. The cheap cuts of meat prepared by famous Chefs in their restaurants results in the item becoming gourmet and expensive. The offal challenge forced the Chefs to put their money where their mouth is by having them prepare a variety of animal parts.
The combination of offal and Chefs also reminded us, sorry Chris Consentino, of Sue Towsend's Book Adrian Mole: The Cappucino Years. The book, published and set in the late 1990s, features protagonist Adrian Mole working as a celebrity Chef in London's Soho area. The book features lots-of Kitchen Confidential moments like a waiter with foot fungus who washes his feet in the sink, an insane coke-head owner and a scatological review from critic A.A. Gill. Mole, who has no formal culinary training, specializes in English working-class cuisine and therefore offal. Adrian also gets his own cooking show, Offaly Good, and book deal. Townsend's book was made into a television series and is available on YouTube. Ep 3.2 

To see the filming of Offaly Good hit the 4:45 mark.

Let's get back to Top Chef Canada. It is looking like Chef Elizabeth Rivasplata, who is also a very strong competitor, might be emerging as the next Top Chef villain. We will have to wait and see but this might shed the show's reputation as being a polite version of the original U.S. series.

Poutine Porn at Burger de Ville: Goat Cheese & Black Pepper Sauce

1 comment:

  1. Ooh you purveyors of poutine. Wish I could scoop my spoon in to a bowl of that there gnocchi poutine. Showing us that's just being mean! ①