Juniper's co-owners Pete Robblee and Norm Aitken with Mayor (and honourary event chairman) Jim Watson

The finale of the 2011 Duelling Chefs charity series was certainly not boring, with some really challenging “black box” ingredients.  The secret ingredient was coffee, with octopus and bison being the donated protein.  Juniper won the final challenge of the year fairly convincingly, though the food from both sides of the kitchen was stellar.  Juniper wrapped-up the series with a 6-3 record, with each battle pretty hotly contested.  For the full write-up, I highly recommend Ottawa Citizen’s Food Editor, Ron Eade’s blog.

Here are some food highlights:

Juniper's bison tartare with whole wheat coffee cup cracker, quail's egg, sweet corn puree, and organic canola oil

Black Cat's smoked and grilled octopus with potatoes, grapes, parsley, fennel, sour cream, roast garlic coffee puree, and lemon coffee vinaigrette

Juniper's coffee marinated BBQ bison with roast garlic potato puree, coffee maple glazed carrot, and a coffee scented jus

Black Cat's dessert: Hazelnut financier, coffee cream anglais, hazelnut coffee soil and banana ice cream

Norm Aitken prepping for Dueling Chefs

One of my favorites from any Dueling Chefs night over the past 2 years. I love the cool tones in the background and the repeating lights.

This post is WAY late – I’ve been unbelievably busy and distracted with other projects.  This will be a quick one – just to share highlights.  As usual, for the full blog post, I highly recommend visiting Ron Eade’s Omnivore’s post.  Long story short – the secret ingredients were lobster, duck thigh and fresh pasta.  Juniper took the victory, though it was seriously some of the best food to date.  The people’s choice was tied, and one of the judges was undecided, however the other two judges favoured Juniper’s creations.  Awesome night.

Food Highlights:

Juniper's "amuse bouche". Celery root "pasta", bacon ring and pea pesto


Juniper's lobster ravioli wrapped in wild garlic, lobster roe pasta with a sous vide lobster tail

e18gheen's lobster tagliatelle and fiddleheads

e18ghteen's egg yolk raviolo, braised duck, asparagus and shitakes

Juniper's smoked asian duck thigh sausage, confit duck soba pasta salad.

Junper's dessert: Graham cracker cannoli, candied ginger cheese cake, rhubarb compote and rhubarb soda. Now that's a pasta dish!

Leanne & Rob at Marshes Golf course at Brookstreet HotelWhat a rush.  Yesterday was Leanne & Rob’s wedding and it was an amazing day.  Despite some scary looking weather and other challenges, the day went-off without a hitch.  I’ll have a full blog post at some point in the next week or two, but wanted to at least throw out a taste of what an amazing day this was.  When I saw that the apple blossoms were out on the Marshes golf course, I knew I had to work them into some of the portraits.  This is my favorite from the day…enjoy!