Duelling Chefs 3 – Juniper vs Le Baccara

Serge Rourre and his team from Le Baccara plating their main course

Team from Le Baccara plating their main course

Out of the 10 Duelling Chef events scheduled for 2011, this particular one against Le Baccara (led by Chef de Cuisine, Serge Rourre) was one of the most highly anticipated.  The evening’s “secret ingredient” was eggs, and both kitchens served creative & delicious plates all evening.  From the time I arrived, both kitchens were absolutely flying as they exquisitely prepared their dishes for the event.

The popular vote among diners ended up being a dead-heat, and the judge’s voting was back-and-forth with each course.  In the end, Le Baccara got the overall nod from all three judges; stopping Juniper from chalking-up a 3-and-0 start to their 2011 campaign.  As cliche as it sounds, the real winners were the diners.  Ok, the charities won too, and Chef Rourre took home a really nice knife as a prize, but seriously, the diners enjoyed a real treat with every course.

For the full detailed write-up, I highly recommend reading The Ottawa Citizen Food Editor, Ron Eade’s blog post.  If you just want to see my pretty pictures, feel free to hang out here!

Juniper's "Egg in a hole". Not what my mom used to make. Sous-vide cooked quail egg nestled in garlic toast, with a morel mushroom truffle sauce.

Le Baccara's fish course. Crawfish and fennel cabbage roll, arugula and goat cheese ravioli, in a veloute of celeriac and star anise. Wow.

Le Baccara's herb-roasted pork tenderloin, pureed butter fingerling potato, thyme scented spaghetti squash, bernaise emulsion & 'jus court'

Juniper's epic dessert. Maple creme brulee, maple truffle in a maple tuile, and maple taffy served on ice - similar to "tire" from a cabane a sucre. Talk about happy endings...

Some of the interesting images from the evening:

Norm "Papa Bird" Aitken, watching over his eggs.

After hours of being in the "zone" and mostly ignoring my presence, Le Baccara's Chef Rourre with Garde Manger Marianne Weber actually stopped to pose mid-service. Cool!

I love this shot. This is right after Norm realized that he added Veal stock to his maple cookie batter...and discovered that it still tasted pretty good. Priceless.

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