I’ve always thought there must be food in heaven. Let’s be clear – I’m not referring to simple sustenance here; I’m dreaming of food so sublime that, in my case, it just doesn’t come along every day (at least not on earth).
Earlier this month, I had the chance to taste a meal that definitely qualified as “heaven sent” – compliments of the CrEATe Kitchen located inside Ottawa’s Shaw Centre.
A hidden gem in the national capital’s culinary scene, CrEATe is a “kitchen studio” that manages to be cutting edge yet intimate. Offering a unique format, the CrEATe Kitchen offers interactive cooking and dining experiences – for everything from team building to private celebrations. Basically, CrEATe can be what you want it to be. On this particular Saturday night, it was a wonderland of culinary creativity led by Chef Geoffrey Morden – who demonstrated his craft before a room of Ottawa’s hungriest food critics.
Our delicious evening began with two beautiful oysters, one crispy fried west coast and the other prosecco-chilled east coast. While I’m a westerner at heart (you can take the girl out of Alberta, but you can’t take Alberta out of the girl!), I definitely preferred the east coast oyster for its ever-so-slightly sweet and refreshing qualities.
Next up was short rib ravioli, roasted veal marrow, served with beef fume and root pearls. While I loved the ravioli, I am admittedly a newcomer to veal marrow; its intense richness overwhelmed me a bit, though I can imagine aquiring a taste for it over time.
The feature presentation – overnight roasted lamb rack with cauliflower puree, cashew crust and natural jus – was truly divine. Cooked to perfection (the delicate dance of cooking lamb just so always scares me off; Chef Morden openly admitted he uses a digital thermometer to get it just so), it was absolute, melt-in-your-mouth tender. I loved the artful plating in pristine, stainless-steel frying pans.
After bringing out the heavy hitter, the menu blissfully dialed it back with a deliciously fresh salad – served in adorable, miniature colanders. Mache, hothouse greens and pea tendrils were treated to a dressing of cherry vinegar and truffle olive oil, and finished with dehydrated roma petals.
Palate cleansed…just in time for triple cream brie, sour cherry syrup and crisps – the pre-dessert dessert (no complaints here!).
The crowning glory of this incredible meal was a warm pineapple fritter, dusted with vanilla sugar and served with a perfect little pool of caramel. On the side was a small cup of chocolate fondant, topped with a rich puddle of raspberry sauce.
It was a thrill to see Chef Morden and his amazing team at work in their element, crafting such incredible dishes right before our eyes. With such an approachable, down-to-earth personality, Chef Morden made it easy for the guests to ask questions about his cooking techniques, the source for his food ingredients or details about the amazing wines served alongside each course.
Any foodie would undoubtedly enjoy such a unique culinary experience, which is why I would definitely consider the CrEATe Kitchen as a location for a truly memorable evening with friends – perhaps for a milestone birthday or another special celebration.
Until then, I will have to content myself by gazing longingly at my photos of a night I won’t soon forget.
Chef Morden introduces one of the wines that is about to be served.
The delicious wine list; a different glass of wine was paired with each course of the meal.
The culinary team plates the dessert before serving.