There is truly something magical about enjoying a meal composed of ingredients harvested just a few metres from your table. The second FLUX dinner, held Monday, July 21 at Rideau Pines Farm in North Gower, just south of Ottawa, was not only a delicious showcase of hyper-local food, it was also a pretty awesome party, with freshly-sawed planks for platters, live music, plentiful drinks, perfect weather, post-dinner ‘smores by the campfire and obliging fireflies rounding out the evening.
The FLUX dinner series is the brainchild of Chef Danny Mongeon, one of Ottawa’s rising stars on the culinary scene.
You may recall that I was quite impressed with the first FLUX dinner, held in June at Mariposa Farm, east of the city. The brainchild of wonderchef Danny Mongeon, known for his culinary wizardry at Hooch Bourbon House, FLUX is a travelling dinner club of sorts, featuring inventive collaborations involving some of Ottawa’s finest young chefs, including Kyle Mortimer-Proulx of Lowertown Brewery, Stephen LaSalle of The Albion Rooms, The Courtyard Restaurant’s Ian Reed, Ian Carswell of K-W Catering (National Gallery), and Hooch’s Adam Bannerman. Once again, generous suppliers stepped up to help with the event, including The Grange Winery, Jim Beam and Beau’s Brewery. It was a fundraiser for the important work being done by Operation Come Home, for whom the night raised $3000. In addition, all kitchen and service staff volunteered to work at the event.
What a delightful surprise to step off our school bus shuttles and arrive at Rideau Pines Farm’s outdoor dining room.
The next FLUX dinner will take place at The Grange Winery in Prince Edward County on August 4, 2014. It will be an intimate affair with just 20 tickets up for grabs. You won’t want to miss it, so watch Facebook for details, coming soon.
Volunteer servers like Julie Ribi, shown here with shots of tasty yellow tomato gazpacho, were both cheerful and professional throughout the entire evening, adding much to the fun atmosphere of FLUX.
Delightful little bites to start the evening included these delicate stuffed potato nests.
These pretty compressed watermelon cubes were a big hit among guests.
The Vandenbergs (owners of Rideau Pines Farm) generously invited guests to tour the farm and pick some berries.
Stephen LaSalle gets help in the outdoor kitchen – everything was cooked over an open fire – assembling the first course, a charcuterie smorgasboard.
The charcuterie platters were dubbed ‘Dan O’Brien’s Odd Bits’ and featured beef heart pastrami, head cheese, green tomato chow chow, dills, and a spectacularly yummy cold vegetable salad featuring Rideau Pines radishes on a Glengarry Celtic Blue puree with microgreens. This course was created by Ian Reed and Stephen LaSalle.
The second course, brought to us by Kyle Mortimer-Proulx and Stephen LaSalle, included Atlantic sturgeon wrapped in Seed to Sausage bacon, rapini wilted in bacon fat with smoked honey and veal jus plus an array of gorgeous Rideau Pines veggies cooked a la plancha and topped with smoked bread crumbs.
Adam Bannerman’s 8 hour salad included greens all picked at Rideau Pines Farm within 1 to 8 hours of service, along with carrot tips,onion greens, purslane and blitzed, pickled cauliflower. It was so fresh and delicious.
Danny Mongeon contributed spit-roasted pork as well as three-day brined Cornish hens, cooked over woodcoals in a method similar to Jamaican Jerk Chicken; Ian Reed added German potato salad with capers and a hot mustard vinaigrette.
Darkness was settling in as dessert was served – heaping platters of New York cheesecake with flourless chocolate cake, raspberry compote, caramelized maple tuile and a goat cheese garnish.