TORONTO — Chris Mills, executive chef of Joey Restaurants will be cooking at the prestigious James Beard House in New York next month and last night he gave media a sneak peek of the menu at Joey Restaurant’s Toronto Eaton Centre location.
The menu, themed “Wild Tofino to Vibrant LA” builds on Mills’ culinary experience and passion for his hometown of Tofino, B.C. “The menu is inspired by the foods wild and grown from the two regions of Tofino and Los Angeles,” explained Mills.
The pre-dinner reception, inspired by California’s exotic street fare, featured Baja fish tacos, sushi cones, duck fat fries and Korean food truck cauliflower along with bite-sized gourmet burgers. Dinner, by contrast, offered a collection of “West coast dishes that are both hearty and comforting,” said Mills.
Heirloom beet salad with avocado, Santa Barbara pistachios, mandaquat and ruby streaks was first to the table, paired with a Martin’s Lane Riesling from Okanagan Valley, B.C. Next came Tofino spot prawns served with Baroda Farms artichoke ravioli in mint butter lettuce sauce. The spot prawns were one of many sustainable menu items — a trend near to Mills’ heart.
Monterey Bay octopus was the star of the next dish, served “a la plancha” with dried fennel, dried olives, octopus bacon and smoked mayonnaise. For the fourth dish, the beef — served with chanterelle mushrooms and Humboldt blue potato gratin — was sourced from Snake River Farms in Boise, Idaho. “I love their products and the care and attention to quality with everything they produce,” said Mills. “Additionally, I love serving foods that only grow in the wild. Chanterelles are probably the tastiest mushroom out there and abundant where I live — I gathered these ones myself for this course.”
The meal wrapped up with British Columbia apple and toasted walnut pie served with house-made caramel ice cream and paired with a late harvest Riesling.
This is the third time chef Mills has been invited to cook at James Beard House, known as New York’s best-kept gastronomic secret. Located in the former townhouse of celebrated cookbook author and television personality James Beard, the restaurant is in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. More than 20 dining events are held monthly to showcase culinary artists from around the world, featuring multi-course dinners with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs. “It is an honour to be invited back for a third time to the James Beard House and it couldn’t come at a more exciting time,” said Mills, who is getting ready to open Joey Restaurant’s first Los Angeles location, Joey Woodland Hills.