So Hot – Eat Here Right Now

Anyone who follows my blog will know that I think Seattle is one of the greatest food cities around.

One of my new finds is MKT, brought to you by the never-ending chef / restaurateur, Ethan Stowell, who continues to share his passion for food in a variety of ways at his endless list of restaurants.

MKT is a tiny new gem full of incredible tastes to share. The dungeness crab salad with tart apple, tarragon, and endive was so refreshing and crisp.  I crave another taste of his winter squash fritters with corriander, herb and pumpkin seed pesto.

The special dish for me was the smoked wild mushrooms with sweet potato gnocchi topped with crispy shallots and thyme.

Trust me! Head to MKT for great hospitality, wonderful service, and tastes to make memories. Visit www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com.

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A Taste of Sake

Sake Tasting | Culinary Concierge, Vancouver BCWhen the mail arrives, and the invitation reads, “The Consul General of Japan requests the pleasure of your company at A Taste of Sake”, it makes you smile.

I was honoured last week to be invited to the home of Seiji Okada, the Consul General of Japan, in Vancouver BC, for a spectacular sake and food tasting.

Sake Tasting with Seiji Okada Consul General of Japan Vancouver BCSake has enjoyed a special place in Japanese life and culture for hundreds of years. Today, sake is appreciated by people from every corner of the world for it’s unique balance of refreshment and savouriness. In Japan, over 5,000 brands have been newly developed to cater to the growing trend of pairing sake with Japanese-Western fusion cuisine.

Sake Tasting with Seiji Okada, the Consul General of JapanI knew the very select group of guests were in for a treat, when we were welcomed with a glass of sparkling sake as we arrived.

The food served was and exquisite and paired so well with the numerous sakes that were described and tasted.

Christine Couvelier at Sake Tasting with the Consul General of JapanWe learned much about the history of sake making; for instance, that a sake craftsman is called a kurabito.

As we discussed, ‘sake is made from steamed rice, and what does steamed rice go with — everything!”

I encourage you to explore the tastes of new and different sake you may not have tasted before. Try it chilled & enjoy. Kanpai!

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Tastes & Trends

Good Food Awards San Francicso | Christine Couvelier | Culinary Concierge

Christine Couvelier at
Good Food Awards, San Francisco

I have just returned from The Fancy Food Show & The Good Food Awards in San Francisco.
A fabulous way to start off the new year!!

These shows are one of the ways the culinary world gets a tastes of the trends that may be showing up in gourmet stores, on grocery store shelves, or on restaurant menus near you.

Good Food Awards, San Francisco | Rick’s Picks

Good Food Awards, San Francisco
Rick’s Picks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I travel to food shows around the world, I taste the new products being offered by both large food manufacturers as well as artisanal food producers. I spend time touring green markets, tasting with chefs and keeping my taste buds tuned for the next big taste and  trend that will come along in the food world.

My clients certainly benefit from this, as I am able to assist them launching on-time, on-trend and great tasting products in their product line-up or on their menus.

Fancy Food Show, San Francisco | Jelly Belly

Fancy Food Show, San Francisco
Jelly Belly

My Trend Watch Report provides an in-depth look at the trends which are emerging, developing & existing for the next 1 – 5 years.

If this sounds like something you have been searching for to launch your next award-winning product, call me at +1-250.589.5845.

Fancy Food Show, San Francisco | Chef’s Cut

Fancy Food Show, San Francisco
Chef’s Cut

Many of my clients ask me to take them to where the trends are happening and to provide a taste tour of new retailers, restaurants, green markets & chef’s kitchens. These In-Store & At-Market Tours are the turning point in planning for new products or menu items. They provide you with access to trend setters, tastes behind the kitchen doors, and a look at the future of the food industry.

Do you want to put yourself ahead of your competition ? Call me. I would look forward to planning a tour just for you and your team.

Fancy Food Show | San Francisco | Cup 4 Cup

Fancy Food Show, San Francisco
Cup 4 Cup

Be sure to check back for a look into my Culinary Crystal Ball.

Taste, Taste, Taste.

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Delicious in Miami

Chef Dena Marino with Christine Couvelier | Culinary Concierge

Christine with Chef Dena Marino

Do you have travel plans that might take you close to Miami Florida?

Well, if you do, be sure to head over to Miami’s Design District — you don’t want to miss eating at MC Kitchen. MC Kitchen is the culinary playground of Chef Dena Marino.

Chef Dena Marino | Miami Florida | Culinary Concierge

Bucatini alla Carbonara

The sleek dining room greets you, filled with tantalizing aromas from the open kitchen.

Christine Couvelier in Miami at MC Kitchen

Rustichella d’Abbruzzo Paccheri

The menu is Chef Marino’s take on modern Italian cuisine — it’s fabulous !! Her passion for food shines through in the fresh house-made pastas, local fish, and locally sourced produce and herbs.

The Bucatini alla Carbonara was better than any carbonara that I have ever eaten in Italy!!

Can’t wait for my next visit to MC Kitchen. Visit MC Kitchen at www.mckitchenmiami.com to find out more.

Ciao!!

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Passion For Food Equals Suzanne Goin

I was so fortunate to be able to attend a great event with fabulous chef, Suzanne Goin.

Suzanne Goin talks with Christine Couvelier about passion for foodShe was in Vancouver, BC for her only Canadian stop on a book tour to promote her new cookbook, “The A.O.C. Cookbook”.

For so long, I have loved her food, her restaurants, her cookbooks, & the way she shares her flavours. Her first cookbook, “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”, is a much loved book in my culinary library. Now, we can all dive into this new book.

A.O.C. Restaurant in Los Angeles is a destination to sit back and feel welcome as you graze through the many small plates and shared style dishes. The A.O.C. Cookbooks translates those tastes into main course recipes we can make at home = perfect! Every mouthful of the dinner was amazing.

Recipes from the AOC Cookbook | Culinary Concierge Review

Endive with Beets, Oranges, Kumquats and Charmoula

Suzanne Going AlbacoreTuna Dish | Culinary Concierge Review

Albacore Tuna, Labacore Tuna, Avocado, Cucumber & Ruby Grapefruit

pork-cheeks-polenta-cookbook-recipe

Pork Cheeks, Polenta, Mustard Cream and Horseradish Gremolata

Pink Lady Apple Crostada | Cookbook Recipe | Suzanne Goin

Pink Lady Apple Crostada, Whipped Mascarpone and Armagnac Prunes


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As you read through the stories and recipes in the book, it feels like Suzanne is standing in the kitchen with you. This award-winning chef has once again written a book that is sure to be at the heart of many wonderful dinner parties.

Last night I made her recipe for lamb paillards with risotto carbonara, english peas, and chanterelles. Ahhhhh!

If you are travelling to Los Angeles, be sure to stop by one of Suzanne’s many successful restaurants and treat yourself to a dining experience you will remember for a lifetime.

www.aocwinebar.com

www.lucques.com

www.tavernla.com

www.thelarderatmaple.com

Taste! Taste! Taste!

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What is a Saunier?

Vancouver Salt Company Food Market | Culinary Concierge

Vancouver Island Salt Company

Recently I went to visit The Vancouver Island Salt Company.

Owner Andrew Shepherd was pleased I had asked to come and see his operation up island from Victoria. I have been using the fabulous salts from The Vancouver Island Salt Company for quite a while.

When I arrived, I was greeted by Canada’s #1 Saunier, Bryan Krueger.

Bryan Krueger Canada's No 1 Saunier

Bryan Krueger Canada’s No 1 Saunier

He gave me a tour and shared his passion for harvesting salt from the sea.

This company is very innovative with the flavours that they infuse with the sea salt; fabulous flavours like roasted garlic, balsamic, blue cheese, Spanish paprika and more.

The Canadian Fleur de Sel was in production the day I was there.

What is a saunier | Culinary Concierge

Love the Canadiana of the Hockey Stick!

Hand-harvested crystals bloom on top of the water just as the salt begins to form.

I keep a number of the packages of salt on my kitchen counter ready to sprinkle on potatoes out of the oven, mix with herbs & coat a salmon dish or make a crust with grainy mustard & panko for a beef tenderloin. I love them all!

If you can’t get to Vancouver Island, be sure to order from their online store at www.visaltco.com.

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Taste & Inspiration from Great Food Blogs

Great Food Blogs | Culinary Concierge

My crazy, hectic, busy & fun life is full of food inspirations.

As a world-class, award-winning food product developer & renowned culinary trendologist, much of my time is spent looking for, reading about, cooking & tasting great food.

Many people ask me where I look for inspiration, what food magazines I read, what cookbooks I like to have on hand; but lately, a lot of people have been asking me about what food blogs I like to read.

There certainly are hundreds & hundreds of food blogs to tempt you with fabulous photos, but you know I am all about, Taste, Taste, Taste!!!

So, although many blogs may look great, I like to make sure that the recipes have been tested and that they taste great. I find that I have a list of about 10 blogs, that I check every day or two, to see what they are talking about, to try out a recipe, or to pass along a story on my twitter page.

I would love to know of any food blogs that you like to read — it’s all about sharing great food tastes!!

Here’s my top 10 list (for now .. )

www.spoonforkbacon.com

www.joythebaker.com

www.foodiecrush.com

www.loveandlemons.com

www.101cookbooks.com

www.sproutedkitchen.com

www.shutterbean.com

www.smittenkitchen.com

www.glutenfreegirl.com

www.drizzleanddip.com

Don’t forget. Send me some of the blogs that inspire you and I will be sure to share them with my readers.

Taste, Taste, Taste

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Christine Talks About Food Trends

Christine Couvelier talks about Food Trends | Culinary Concierge

Cronuts ….
Ramen Burger ….
McDonald’s Mighty Wings ….

I have been interviewed quite a few times recently & have been asked to comment on trends that are happening in the food world. As a culinary trendologist, I am always tasting & looking in my culinary crystal ball for new trends that may be showing up on a menu or on a grocery store shelf near you.

 

Have you tasted a cronut ?

Would you stand in line for a ramen burger ?

Is McDonald’s the right place for chicken wings ?

Love to hear your thoughts on some of the ideas & comments in the articles below.

Globe and Mail — August 3, 2013
Bacon as a food group .. In all parts of our lives
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/bringing-home-the-bacon/article13486638/

Vocativ — August 19, 2013
What’s the next culinary fad?
http://www.vocativ.com/08-2013/and-the-next-soon-to-be-played-out-culinary-fad-that-foodies-will-stand-in-5-hour-lines-for-is/

Vocativ — August 27, 2013
McDonald’s launches chicken wings — what do you think ?
http://www.vocativ.com/08-2013/mcdonalds-woos-nostalgic-wing-eaters-with-new-mighty-wings/

Sacramento Bee — August 28, 2013
Cronuts — worth the hunt or a passing fancy ?
http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/28/5687846/cronuts-worth-the-hunt-or-a-passing.html

Don’t’ forget ….

Taste, Taste, Taste

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On the Spice Trail – Culinary Journeys to India

Christine Couvelier Culinary Adventures | Taste of India

There are so many wonderful adventures that await the culinary traveler. Recently, I became acquainted with a fabulous group, that offers culinary adventures in India: Explore Himalaya Travel & Adventure / Kipling India Travels.  Here is how they described the Indian cuisine & tours to me.

An Overview on Culinary Travels to India

For centuries, people from all over the world have been drawn to India for its spices and spirituality. India, a land of spiritualism has also deftly mastered the art of preparing food for the soul and body. The sheer diversity of cuisines has transformed this magnificent country into a sensory haven for food lovers. Even though the Indian spices are the essence of Indian dishes, there is another element, which plays a vital role in making Indian cuisines popular worldwide. It is the love and the care with which every dish is prepared and the joy of seeing someone truly savor every bite is what makes Indian food so special. Warm hospitality and the spirit of serving others is what truly make Indian food so divine and delicious. Embark on a beautiful culinary tour where you not only get to learn on how to prepare authentic Indian delicacies but also discover the passion with which each and every dish is prepared and served.

Different styles of cooking

Christine Culinary Adventures | Taste of IndiaThe cuisines of India are as diverse as the country and the style of preparation is also quite unique for each of them. While in the northern part of the country especially regions in and around Lucknow and Delhi, Mughlai and Awadhi cuisines are popular, in the southern part of the country, primarily South Indian cuisine is popular. The cooking techniques used to prepare these cuisines are immensely different and distinctive.

Food & Travel with Christine Couvelier | Culinary Concierge

Mughlai is a style of cooking that originated in the kitchens of the Mughal Empire and the cuisine is known for its distinctive aroma and flavors of whole spices. Ideally, the base for most of the Mughlai dishes are butter based curries and flavored sauces. Awadhi cuisine belongs to Lucknow and the manner of cooking is quite similar to what is found in the Middle East, Central Asia and Northern India. It is known for its distinctive style of cooking called the dum style of cooking, where the food is cooked over a slow fire. Rich ingredients such as cottage cheese, mutton, chicken and spices such as cardamom and saffron are used immensely in Awadhi cuisine.

Indian Food | Travel Adventures with Culinary ConciergeThe style of cooking followed in southern India is completely in contrast to North Indian style of preparing food. For one, south Indian menu is primarily rice based and steaming is used to prepare dosas and idlis. A combination of lentils and legumes are blended with spices to create different kinds of sauces and curries.

Their fabulous tours would be full of tastes to remember & adventures of a lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about the tours, please let me know. There are a number of people who have expressed interest to me & I would be happy to put together a group and lead the tours and tastings.

Taste, Taste, Taste

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Tastes of Seattle

Seattle is such a fabulous foodie city. Well, Seattle is such a great city in many ways.

Serious Pie Menu | Seattle WA

SERIOUS PIE MENU

I was off on a taste adventure for a few days last weekend to Seattle. It is so easy to jump on the seaplane from where I am based in Victoria on Vancouver Island & fly to Seattle in 35 minutes; landing on Lake Union in downtown Seattle.

Serious Pie | Seattle Washington | Culinary Concierge

A FABULOUS PIZZA FROM SERIOUS PIE

First stop was for lunch at Serious Pie. This restaurant is part of the Chef Tom Douglas’ ever-expanding empire (www.tomdouglas.com).

Fabulous pizzas, great salads, innovative toppings = my favourite pizza ever!! Ok, so I love this pizza so much, I ate two (2) lunches here in three (3) days.

I was then off to Matt’s In The Market for dinner. This is one of the must-tastes of Seattle. Perched on the second floor, looking over the hustle & bustle of the iconic Pike Place Market, Matt’s celebrates the tastes of the Northwest with inspiration from Pike Place Market everyday (www.mattsinthemarket.com).

Matt's in the Market | Seattle WA | Food Review by Culinary Concierge

INCREDIBLE SCALLOPS FROM MATT’S IN THE MARKET

Pike Place Farmer's Market | Seattle WA | Culinary Concierge Review

PIKE PLACE MARKET

A Saturday morning is the perfect time to explore Pike Place Market (www.pikeplacemarket.org).
Farmers, artisanal food producers & anyone passionate about food can be found at the market.

Lemon Cucumbers | Seattle Pike Place Farmer's Market | Culinary Concierge

LOCAL LEMON CUCUMBERS

Rainier Cherries | Seattle Pike Place Market | Culinary Concierge

RAINIER CHERRIES FROM PIKE PLACE MARKET

Seattle Dungeness Crab | Pike Place Market | Culinary Concierge

DUNGENESS CRAB FROM PIKE PLACE MARKET

One of my dinners was at Tilth Restaurant (www.tilthrestaurant.com).

Menu from Chef Maria Hines | Food Review by Christine Couvelier

PEA SOUP WITH ESPRESSO & GINGERBREAD ‘DIRT’ & FRESH PEA SHOOTS’

Chef Maria Hines Menu | Seattle WA | Review by Culinary Concierge

RISOTTO WITH CARROTS, WHITE TRUFFLE & PARMESAN

Chef Maria Hines has created a welcome haven for diners looking for something special. The food is prepared with certified-organic ingredients sourced from as many local farmers as they can support. The menus change often & include fabulous tasting menus (including a gluten-free tasting menu too). It’s always hard to choose what to order, but I am still thinking about the first course of a chilled pea soup with an espresso-gingerbread ‘dirt’ & fresh pea shoots. Wow!

For my last taste experience in Seattle, I was so excited to head to Staple and Fancy Mercantile (www.ethanstowellrestaurants.com).

Chef Ethan Stowell has 6 incredible restaurants in Seattle to choose from. Staple and Fancy Mercantile features simple Italian-inspired food.

Chef Ethan Stowell Menu | Review by Christine Couvelier

PASTA WITH CLAMS FROM THE FANCY MENU

The menu is full of tempting dishes. I had heard about the chef’s Fancy menu, which is a multi-course feast of seasonal ( and every changing ) dishes that showcase the passion of the kitchen. As my server explained, no two tables would be served the same Fancy menu each night. Well, of course I jumped right in. I experienced a 10-course meal that only got better & better with each plate from the kitchen.

Seattle’s food is so fresh, local, inspiring & amazing; I can’t wait for the next visit.

Seattle Culinary Adventures | Christine Couvelier of Culinary Concierge

OFF ON THE SEA PLANE – SEE YOU SOON SEATTLE!

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