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  • Keane Straub

Decadent December Desserts


This month we’re thinking outside the stand alone restaurant and throwing the spotlight on in-house dining in some of Alberta’s finest hotels.


Offering some of the best cuisine being served in Alberta, these restaurants, dining rooms, and lounges showcase a combination of local ingredients, global talent, personal flair, and that extra touch that make things truly Canadian.


While the chefs in this month’s Chef’s Tips are no strangers to the kitchen, they are relatively new to their posts, but had no problems following the assignment, from cookies to carrots, and beyond!


 

From the Prologue Café on the first floor to the Wilde on 27 cocktail bar and restaurant on the – you guessed it – 27th floor, eating at The Dorian is for sure a choose-your-own-foodie-adventure, where Pastry Chef Hans Suarez creates those happily-ever-after endings.


At work, favourites include the duck with sea buckthorn sauce, and Textures of Chocolate, where five different textures of chocolate are represented. But it’s what in his heart – namely his home – that lend to his cooking style. “The people around me and my heritage are what inspires me to cook. I like going home to cook for my fiancée, cook for my family or bake goodies for them and my friends.”


Chef Hans shares a recipe for Mango Trifle. It’s easy to make, and a staple in Filipino households during special occasions or celebrations. “This recipe reminds me of the fond memories of my childhood. Every time my mom makes a whole tray of it, I would be the one to eat most of it.”

To make this dessert a masterpiece, Chef Hans recommends chilling the bowl you’ll use to whip the cream. And of course, patience is a virtue: “Don’t rush while cooking the cream mixture. Cook it low and slow, and it will get there!”

Find Chef Hans' recipe for Mango Trifle here.


 

Nestled in the snowy slopes overlooking the town of Banff is the Fairmont Banff Springs, home to several restaurants, dining rooms, bars, and pubs. And it’s here you’ll find Executive Chef Atticus Garant, who has worked with the Fairmont group for more than a decade.

“I’m inspired by philosophies of Scandinavian and Japanese food culture, and I try to apply this mentality when creating Canadian cuisine,” Chef Garant explains. He also draws from local ingredients and the constant evolution of culinary trends.


With so many menus, it might be hard to choose a favourite dish, but Chef Garant says he’s partial to the Rundle Bar’s indulgent Ooey Gooey Cookie (OGC). “It’s the perfect accompaniment to a quality bourbon on a snowy, winter evening, or paired with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on a summer day.”


Due to altitude and climate, the recipe was tweaked by Pastry Chef Lloyd Desouza. “Baking and the preparation of desserts is an exact science,” Chef Garant adds. Allowing the dough to rest will ensure the flour is hydrated, which will enhance the texture of the cookie. “It also promotes even baking and browning and ensure that the cookie has a delightful chew!”


Find Chef Atticus' recipe for the OGC here.


 

Close to theatres, shopping, and the Calgary Tower, The Hyatt Regency in downtown YYC is a perfect meeting place for travellers and locals alike. Here, Executive Chef Alex Schäfer oversees the culinary creations that boast unique twists on familiar favourites. “I’m inspired by every ingredient I see and taste,” explains Chef Alex, “especially when strolling around the farmer’s market or local supermarkets.”


On the new menu recently launched at The Hyatt’s Thomsons Kitchen & Bar, Chef Alex favours the Canadian Elk Bulgogi Bowl, and the Alberta Bison Bourguignon. While the dessert menu includes sweet finishes like Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chef Alex admits his palate is a bit different when it comes to desserts.


“I am a savoury dessert kind of person. I am not the super sweet and typical mousse-crème-brûlée-cake person.” He shares with us a recipe for Carrot and Parsnip Tarte Tatin with Sour Cream Ice Cream.

The key to the recipe is in the carrots and cream. "Using carrots and parsnip with natural sweetness when roasted is already sweet enough for me, and the sour cream creates a great refreshing balance.


“Take some time to figure out which carrot is your favourite,” adds Chef Alex. “If sour cream ice cream is too playful, try a more familiar approach like Greek yogurt and honey, or maple syrup ice cream.”


Find Chef Alex's recipe for Carrot & Parsnip Tarte Tatin with Sour Cream Ice Cream here.


 

Dining in-house at Brazen in Banff’s Mount Royal Hotel is a salute to the spirit of Banff’s explorers and mountaineers, with seasonally inspired dishes that pay homage to old world style. Behind these dishes is Chef Dan Jiricka, who finds creative outlet in the food he prepares. “I really enjoy pushing boundaries with my food and having people question what they are eating because it’s been transformed into something new,” he explains. “I never want to just settle for the norm.”


The Ginger Beef and Smoked Beef Tartare are top choices from the menu. They not only taste amazing, but they look incredible, as they both come with tableside presentations performed by front-of-house staff.

Chef Dan shares with us his recipe for Crème Brûlée. While he admits that he was never classically trained, and that desserts were never his strong suit, experimenting with this recipe resulted in it becoming a part of the dessert menu at Brazen.


“Most people order it at a restaurant because they feel they can’t make it themselves,” he says. I’ll tell you how you can.” Be sure to keep your cream from boiling, and your eggs from scrambling, he advises. Lastly: “It’s never wrong, it’s never right. If you like it, you like it. That’s all that matters.”


Find Chef Dan's recipe for Decadent Crème Brûlée here.


 

The Fairmont Palliser in downtown Calgary is one of the city’s oldest hotels. Originally built during the expansion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1914, in 1958 it was named Calgary’s tallest building. Things have changed, as they always do, but nostalgia still lingers in the hotel, and its restaurant The Hawthorn Dining Room, thanks to Pastry Chef Arin Hiebert.


“I like to create recipes and dishes that play on nostalgic flavours,” says Chef Arin. “If you can make something people relate to something from their childhood or past, you’ll have people coming back for more.”


Recently named one of Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30, Chef Arin has a soft spot the Cinnamon Toast Crepe Cake from the Hawthorn menu. “Remember sitting at the kitchen table on a Saturday morning eating your bowl of cereal? Now it’s in cake form!”

He shares a recipe for Warm Gingerbread Cake with Salted Caramel. “This brings me back to the days when my mom and grandma would be making Christmas pudding at the holidays.” If using a Bundt pan, Chef Arin advises to invest in a good cooking spray, spray the pan well, and then spray it some more. “Bundt cake pans maybe intimidating but if you invest in a good one and look after it, it will work perfectly and last a lifetime!


Find Chef Arin's recipe for Warm Gingerbread Cake with Salted Caramel here.



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