TORONTO — Chef Robin Pradhan was manning the stoves and playing field marshal to a brigade of students Tuesday night at George Brown College’s Chefs’ House restaurant, as part of that school’s ongoing Chef’s Call dinner series.
Pradham, whose Owen Sound Ont.’s Rocky Raccoon Café is drawing rave reviews, shared his passion for local food and flavour with the culinary program’s impressionable young minds and a handful of foodies lucky enough to snag a ticket to the multiple course food- and wine-pairing affair.
Arriving at the downtown Toronto campus with a cornucopia of produce and protein sourced from farmers close to his Bruce Peninsula home, the Nepal native wowed guests with his seamless fusion of local Ontario ingredients with Nepalese, Indian and Thai flavour profiles.
Even the supplier list had every Toronto foodie and slow-food devotee swooning, with icon Michael Stadtländer providing some of the bounty and unpasteurized milk martyr, Michael Schmidt, sending along some heretofore contraband cheese.
Dishes like braised mushroom salad with ice-wine vinaigrette, a brilliant steamed bison momo (a popular Nepalese street food akin to a dumpling) with a wasabi and maple sugar-infused curry sauce and a main course of bacon (Stadtländer sourced) and pecorino-stuffed chicken, capped off by a chai ice cream and apple compote desert, had attendees scraping their plates clean.
Beyond the food, was chef Pradham’s infectious enthusiasm for his cuisine and the industry as a whole. The one-time busboy, who graduated through the ranks to his current position of chef/owner, was adamant in his message that culinary students have a grave responsibility, not only to the food in their pans but also to their suppliers, the environment and the broader population.
“As chefs, we have the ability to feed the world,” he said. “We have more than enough food to feed those in need, we just have to be willing; that’s the message I want to share tonight,” he said.