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D is for Dinner: a north-south battle

dins northern group.JPGLast week, Alan had the chance to be right in the middle of six chefs as they paired off at the NAC Northern Scene "North South Fusion" event. In front of a live audience, duos of chefs -- one from Northern Canada and one from southern Canada -- created a dish using ingredients from both areas, with some truly amazing results.


First up were Chef John Morris, the interim chef at the NAC Cafe, and Rebecca Vee Vee, known as the Laughing Chef of Nunavut, who hosts a cooking TV show in Iqaluit. They both decided to use arctic char to create two dishes at the same time: Rebecca set to work skinning and chopping with her special ulu knife, to make a char shepherd's pie, while John tried to create arctic char tartar.


They differed in techniqes and philosophies -- Rebecca, for instance, chose to keep all parts of the fish, and also talked to the food, which is why you'll hear her beckoning to the peas when they start rolling off the cutting board. John, on the other hand, introduced Rebecca to ingredients she hadn't tried, like chives, as they struggled to finish both dishes together. And Alan bouced back and forth from Rebecca to John, microphone in hand...

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rebecca dins.JPGRebecca Veevee's Arctic char shepherd's pie

  • Cook arctic char in cream sauce with small diced carrots and onions; add frozen peas at the last minute with a fair amount of chopped dill and chives
  • Layer the fish mixture at the bottom of an oven-proof dish
  • Add a layer of cream of corn
  • Add a layer of piped whipped potato with mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top
  • Cook in oven at high heat until cheese is browned
  • Sprinkle paprika on top


john dins.JPGJohn Morris' Arctic char tartare

  • Mix: dijon mustard, minced shallot, champagne vinegar, rinced & finely-chopped capers, finely diced Arctic char (skin removed), maldon salt, strained and freshly-squeezed orange juice, extra virgin olive oil, smoked & ground black pepper, orange zest
  • Serve with: juniper aioli, sweet potato chips, seedlings, dulse seaweed
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