The VCC Chef’s Table dinner is prepared by VCC’s International Culinary Arts students. I believe they host one in the fall and one in spring. They offer a 5 course seasonal tasting menu for $30 which is a great deal if you want to try fine dining but don’t want to fork out a lot of money. For an additional $15, you can do a wine pairing as well.
To my surprise, most of the diners in attendance were middle aged and we were the youngest people there. Maybe it was just that night but I expected a wider age demographic. Or maybe people my age don’t really know about this event because I had never heard of it before either.
The dinner takes place at VCC’s Broadway campus, on the north side of their cafeteria to be exact. This area is sectioned off and tables are arranged in a U-shape facing the prep tables at the front where the students will be plating all the dishes. I noticed that pretty much everyone did the wine pairing except us.
Dinner started at 6:30pm and each course came in a timely manner. First we had the Puffed Foie Gras with apricot puree and a honey bubble. The foie gras was also covered in some sort of crumble so it’s a bit hard to see it here. It had a smooth and salty flavour while the crumble added some texture to it. The honey bubble was pretty cool! You can pop it and honey oozes out to offer a sweet element to the dish. No idea how they made it.
Next we had the Side Stripe Shrimp Cavatelli.
It was covered in a sheet of parmesan cheese and came with some lobster foam on the side. There were 4 pieces of shrimp and the cavatelli was cooked perfectly while the sauce was rich and buttery with lots of seafood flavour from the lobster foam. Wish there was more of this!
This was the Roasted Squab with red wine cranberry fluid gel, kale and salsify. The squab was cooked to a medium rare and tender. I enjoyed the tartness of the cranberry sauce but I thought the squab had a weird flavour to it.
This was my favourite dish of the night (excluding dessert)! This was a Grilled Beef Short Rib with popcorn sweetbread and a carrot and pomme puree. The short rib was well marbled, tender and juicy. I loved the carrot and pomme puree as well because it was so smooth and creamy and who doesn’t like potatoes? I wasn’t sure what popcorn sweetbread meant but it was sweetbread that was cooked like popcorn chicken. I’ve never had sweetbread before but you can’t really tell what it tastes like cooked this way. I loved every element of this dish though!
It was a great experience being able to see all your food plated before your eyes. The head chef will show the students how to do it and then the students will follow along and take care of the various parts of the dish.
Finally we had dessert! It was a Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar with salted caramel ice cream and almond crumble. The chocolate bar was thick and dense and had a fudge like consistency. The salted caramel ice cream was delicious and not too sweet. Also, I practically licked all the caramel sauce off my plate. In addition, I had the opportunity to see how they scooped the ice cream into that shape! They dip a long curved spoon into very hot water and then they dig the spoon into the ice cream in a quick scooping motion a few times.
After dessert, they offer you coffee or tea as well but we declined.
I was really glad my friend asked me to come! The portions are not big since it’s basically a tasting menu so if you eat a lot you won’t be full afterwards but it was fine for me. Just warning you that it might be a good idea to have a snack beforehand. Keep your eye out for the next VCC Chef’s Table Dinner next spring! Be sure to reserve well in advance because they do sell out.