If you’re hungry around brunch time on Sunday, you might be able to find a more relaxing meal than the Taste of Culinary event in the ECC City Campus (121 Ellicott St.). But if you’re willing to forego server pampering and comfy chairs, $30 will buy you a brunch you won’t soon forget.
Taste of Culinary is the American Culinary Federation’s Buffalo chapter’s annual fundraiser for culinary student scholarships. Competition for top dish honors brings out the best in area chefs, like Kate Elliott, executive chef at the Niagara Falls Conference Center.
Her Taste of Culinary offering will be fancy poutines – that’s right, french fries with stuff.
“It’s definitely some fun, playful variations on fries and gravy,” she said.
If you don’t think poutine can be fancy, check out her lobster version, the duck confit one or the spicy curried lentil edition, a vegetarian dish fragrant with the Indian spices of garam masala.
Elliott starts by toasting the spices, including black cardamom, cumin, cloves and cinnamon, and grinding them fresh. Then they’re cooked with legumes. “The lentils are almost like the gravy,” Elliott said. Then it gets a little sharp cheddar cheese and house-made pico de gallo on top.
There will be a duck confit version, over sweet potato fries, and a standard model, with gravy and cheese curds. The lobster version gets pepperjack cheese and spicy corn puree.
Other offerings include rabbit confit with soft poached egg from Savor, at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute; Thai crabcake with lemongrass mayonnaise, from Erie Community College; and guinea hen confit, Parisienne gnocchi and pepper coulis, from Genesee Valley BOCES.
Plus, arancini from Gigi’s Cucina Povera, braised pork cheeks from Osteria 166, Moroccan chickpea salad from the Archer. At least four local wineries will be offering tastings of their vintages.
At last year’s event, Elliott was impressed by the crowd of hundreds that showed up on a Sunday afternoon.
“Buffalo is kind of a foodie town,” Elliott said. “I think if you’re an organization that’s not speaking to the foodie town, you’re going to get left in the dust.”
Taste of Culinary is from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at ECC City Campus. Tickets are available at the door or via www.tasteofculinary.com.
Niagara’s Showcase of Chefs. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in Edgewaters Restaurant (6345 Niagara Parkway, Niagara Falls, Ont.). Sample dishes from some of the top properties in the city, plus wine and beer. Tickets are $65 Canadian and include parking; call (905) 356-2217.
Send dish nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.