Chef Steve Wall spent most of the night on dish duty. Jennifer Wall managed the dining room with her usual grace and warmth. But it wasn’t their food we were eating. Taking over their Supply & Demand kitchen last Monday were eight high school students, seniors from the Raven’s culinary program at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School (LDHSS), led by chef-teacher, Kent Van Dyk.
Typically closed on Mondays, Supply & Demand had turned the lights on to support a pop-up and a team-up. The students, removed from the comfort of their school kitchen, were tackling dishes from the pages of a new book called Feast.
Vancouver-based authors Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller collected the recipes on a cross Canada food trek. Mouths-open, pens in hand, these women spent five months in a small car, covering 37,000 kilometres, crossing every province and territory, chatting up anyone involved with food. They blogged about it, then turned their bits of writing into a book, newly published by Random House.
Our city embraces food events like no other I know. And our chefs are a generous bunch, constantly called upon for donations of vittles and time, and rising to the occasion over and over again. This night was an example of that. It brought together a restaurant, a high school, a cookbook, and a community centre with delicious results. The culinary students were exposed to the wider public and to the experience of cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen. The Feast authors were given a platform to introduce their book and tell their tales. And Steve and Jennifer Wall proved once again that good things happen at Supply & Demand — that the fruits of their cuisine and hospitality extend beyond their own four walls. Proceeds from the evening went to support the work of the Parkdale Food Centre.
So what did the kids cook? — recipes from the many regions that Feast covers, but with a particular focus on local flavours. Along with a B.C. side stripe shrimp ceviche, and a recipe for wild mushroom toast from P.E.I., beet borscht from the Canadian Prairies and a venison loin recipe from Yellowknife, there were clear local flavours on the evening’s menu: Thom Van Eeghan and Fay Armitage’s elk meat (The Elk Ranch) tucked into brioche buns with blue cheese and onions; mini bison, cranberry, and squash pies from a recipe contributed by The Red Apron; a warm vegetable salad from the LDHSS Raven’s Culinary program; and sugar pie topped with Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream, her Apple Butter Sorbet brilliant with Cave Spring’s Indian Summer Riesling. And the lion’s share of the heavy lifting, as chef Kent Van Dyk reminded us, was done by teenagers. Full marks.