Last Thursday, I attended the Media Dinner at the Sage Restaurant (located in the Casino River Cree) for Chef Chartrand's Sage Signature Series. The media dinner was a peek at the upcoming Taste of Europe menu which is a 6 course tasting menu available at Sage from August 26 until August 31 for $49 (drink pairings are an additional cost).
When each beautiful dish arrived at the table, Chef Chartrand explained the inspiration behind each dish and that each dish paid homage to one of his favourite European chefs. Each dish was essentially Chef Chartrand's interpretation of the dish.
Each drink pairing was explained in detail and how it would pair with the particular dish that we were going to enjoy.
We started with Spain for the first course with a dish inspired by Chef Jose Andres of a clams and chorizo sausage al ajillo and crispy ensalada. The egg yolk in this dish was perfectly creamy, the clams fresh and the flavours balanced well with the chorizo sausage.
This dish was paired very nicely with a Cava Baron De Valls Brut from Catlyuna. Cava means double fermented and as such resembles a sparkling wine like champagne and this was a great drink to start the meal.
The second course took us to Germany with a dish inspired by Sven Elderfeld of a beef goulash, braised cabbage, potato-gherkin cream and spelt bread.
The wine paired with this dish was a Andreas Bender Pinot Noir 2011 from Pfalz. I must say the beef goulash paired very smoothly with the Pinot Noir. The wine was not too spicy on the palate, as the cream and goulash provided a smoothness that you don't often taste with a Pinot Noir.
The third course brought us to Italy with a dish inspired by Massimo Bottura consisting of beautiful springy tagliatelle with veal osso bucco, roasted romaine and balsamic foie. A Nero Di Troia from Pugia was paired with this dish. This wine is a single varietal with no sulphites and is made in a stainless steel barrel. Needless to say, it paired very well with the veal osso bucco.
A 1448 Premium Whisky Ale from Perthshire arrived next to be paired with the fourth course of the night. This whisky ale is very unique as it is made in previously used oak barrels. It is naturally light and has a slight flavour of orange peel.
Our fourth course of the Sage Signature Series was inspired by Marc Pierre White of England with Chef Chartrand's creation of a deconstructed cottage pie. Crispy kale and pecorino sat on top of mashed potatoes, finely diced carrots and lamb.
Our fifth course of the night took us to France with a dish inspired by Alain Ducasse. Chef Chartrand also explained that this dish's portion size was a little smaller given our previous plates. The coq au vin was amazingly soft with the burgundy emulsion and a gruyère gougères. I loved the gruyère gougères (think golden cheesy puff!) as it was super soft with a nice hint of gruyère.
For our last course of the night, we had a Kirsch Based Cocktail rimmed with spicy cinnamon and brown sugar.The last course of the night was also a feat in itself as the culinary team managed to bake 50 soufflés and serve them at the same time. This swiss chocolate soufflé was inspired by Chef Peter Goossens of Switzerland and was paired with a Crème anglaise. The decadence of this dessert went very well with the dessert cocktail.
Chef Chartrand and his team did an amazing job on the Sage Signature Series. It was a great opportunity to visit Sage and to partake in such a great dinner. You can certainly see Chef Chartrand's creativity in the plating and interpretation of classic dishes but his creativity is also evident in the flavours that he puts together. If you have the chance to try this time's Sage Signature Series, go book a table as the Taste of Europe Signature Series is only available this week.
300 E Lapotac Blvd.