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Want to put on a holiday feast like a pro? Three downtown Vancouver chefs reveal their secrets to heart-winning and tummy-warming menus and offer tips on how to get everything just right. Find all three recipes at www.tasteoflifemag.com. All three chefs share one common suggestion: Celebrate the festive mood with a glass of wine within easy reach when cooking at home.
Cabernet and Rosemary Braised American Wagyu Beef Cheeks
Classically trained in French and Italian cuisine, and adept in Pan Asiatic cooking, Chef Gauthier has garnered 20 years of experience. As Glowbal Group’s Corporate Chef, he masterminds the menus of Black+Blue, Coast and seven other Vancouver restaurants.
Sculpted like a piece of art, Gautier crafted this dish for TOL readers: tender beef cheeks that melt in your mouth, served with creamy polenta, pearl onions and baby carrots. It complements one of his signature dishes — the yummy Blistered Frito Brussel Sprouts, pan-fried with lemon, capers, parmesan and chili flakes.
Mission Hill Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
Chef Gautier’s Holiday Tips
- Eat in harmony with the seasons. For winter, cook root vegetables, peppery lettuces, citrus, and game meat.
- Wash root veggies well and roast with a bit of maple syrup, brown sugar, and herbs like rosemary and thyme for an easy pre- or post-party meal.
- Escape to the snowy mountains and enjoy après — with nachos and hot cocoa.
Click Here for Chef Gauthier Recipe
Bouillabaisse — the famed Provençale fish stew
Chef Quaglia was a wizard in the kitchen at the tender age of eight, when most kids were playing with Barbie dolls and Legos. In fact, he was born into the gastronomic world — his mother is Chef Suzanne Quaglia at France’s well-known Restaurant Le Patalain.
Now is the best time of year to enjoy bouillabaisse, he says, West Coast style with prawns, scallops, mussels, clams, fish, saffron potatoes, Gruyère and la rouille (a traditional mayonnaise). The secret lies in the soup stock. Quaglia roasts the fish and its bones before stewing them. “Every time I prepare this dish, it reminds me of my home, sweet home,” says Quaglia, a native of Marseille in Southern France.
Maverick Rosé from the Okanagan Valley
- Be careful not to overcook seafood.
- Have garlic puree prepared beforehand.
- Use butter, truffle or olive oil to sear meat.
- Sharpen your kitchen knives before the holidays begin!
Click Here For Jean-Francis Quaglia Recipe
Christmas Chocolate Tree Bark
With a major in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of Guelph and a culinary degree in baking and pastry arts under his belt, Chef Rosas exuberantly expresses his love for baking by constantly crafting novel designs to whet patrons’ appetites.
Like this crunchy confection: lightly roasted almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, dried cranberries, currants, and candied orange peel encrusted in dark chocolate — niftily fashioned like a quintessential West Coast pine tree! A sprinkling of icing sugar gives the chocolaty bonsai a frosty appearance. Feel free to precede this scrumptious treat with boeuf bourguignon and spiced pumpkin soup.
Pairs best with
Dark fruity teas and French or Italian dark roast coffee or espresso.
- Find out your guests’ likings and key cravings.
- Plan the menu early and try out recipes beforehand to avoid last-minute glitches.
- Don’t do everything yourself! “The holidays are about togetherness,” enthuses Rosas, “so gather a team of helping hands, and put them to work.”
Click Here for Chef Ricardo Rosa Recipe