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By: Ottawa Tonite  09-12-2011

January 21st, 2011 by foodieprints

Chef Michael Blackie

What is your food philosophy and how would you describe your cooking style?
Three components make up his food philosophy and cooking style. “It’s spur of the moment, trips, and relationships with family and friends. I like to put a personal spin on dishes”, said Chef Blackie.

Citing his trips and relationships, he described some of the more unusual culinary dishes he has come across such as pork shoulder braised in Coca-Cola (Acapulco, Mexico). It is from dishes like this that Chef Blackie comes up with items at Le cafe like his take on poutine, which is on the lunch and “munch” menus ($13).

Pulled Short Rib Poutine

The poutine is made with Thomas Keller fries and topped with crumbled Clarmell on the Rideau feta (formerly Fifth town)

He is hopeful the Canadian Celebrity Chefs Event will inspire his fellow chefs to do something similar in their communities. Even “going out to a campground somewhere and cook for 250 people.”

How did you come up with the chef pairings? Why did you pair yourself with Chef Michael Lyon?
With regard to the pairings, Chef Blackie explained it was about logical connections. Examining what each chef had in common with the other, some were paired together because they came from the same city or region. Others, because of their cooking styles or their having met at other culinary events.

“I am completely opposite to Lyon,” Chef Blackie said with a chuckle and immediately launched into some hilarious stories about when they were on set, filming their show.

“We are very different characters, but we get along very well.”

What would be your perfect Sunday?
His perfect Sunday would start with dim sum at either on Dalhouise St. or at Chu Sing Restaurant in Chinatown. Dim Sum would then be proceeded by a walk to . “My kids are addicted to bubble tea,” said Blackie. “My son has his watermelon bubble tea and my daughter has her strawberry.” Afterwards, “I would go home and sit in my pjs. I’m very non-committal. When I need down time from this place, it’s as extreme as it is here. So I’ve got my my John Deere pj pants on and I’m just watching movies and doing pretty much nothing. And have a nap.”

What was the first dish you made as a kid?
“A grilled cheese sandwich,” Chef Blackie answered wistfully. At the tender age of seven, he learned to make grilled cheese sandwiches at French immersion summer school, complete with photos of him in a toque hat.

What was the first dish you made in a professional kitchen?
As a 16 year old, Chef Blackie worked as a dishwasher and prep cook at Shelley’s Restaurant, a seafood eatery in Oakville, Ontario. His first dish? A shrimp cocktail.

Aside from the basics, what is the one ingredient you can’t live without?
“Bacon. I love bacon. Bacon makes everything taste better.” In fact, the love of bacon runs in Chef Blackie’s family as he fondly talked about his young daughter coming down for breakfast and immediately searching for the bacon. “Just seeing that look on her little face…. It’s in the blood,” he said proudly.

You’ve had a very successful career. What keeps you going?
Without hesitation, Chef Blackie immediately responded, “My family. My wife, my children.”

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“Definitely not retired,” said Chef Blackie. “And not anymore happier than I am now.” He then added with a grin, “It would be nice to have a sports car.”

Particulars:

National Arts Centre (NAC)
53 Elgin Street

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011


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