Words fail me. I'll let the menu speak for itself:
Local foraged & cultivated lettuces & herbs
with shaved Salt Spring Montana cheese, house cured pancetta,
croutons & a chopped duck egg, green garlic & anchovy vinaigrette
Brioche & herb crusted wild halibut cheeks with housemade tartar sauce
Risotto of spot prawns, Pastorale braising greens, preserved lemon & fennel
Individual rhubarb pies with cinnamon ice cream & Saanich hazelnut caramel
Each Friday, eighteen very lucky people join the chef at the communal table in his restaurant. Last week, I was one of them. Normally, sharing your date with seventeen other people wouldn't be the best way to get to know a person. But not only did I get to see him in action in the kitchen, but I could witness his modesty, charm and graciousness with both his staff and his guests. And experience pure seduction on a plate.
I was resolute to savour the dinner through the senses, not a camera. But I broke down at the sheer beauty of the dessert.
This particular dinner was in honour of the birthday of the original foodie, James Beard:
"There is absolutely no substitute for the best. Good food cannot be made of inferior ingredients masked with high flavour. It is true thrift to use the best ingredients available and to waste nothing” ~ James Beard
I even made a dress for the occasion.
The night before he cooked for us at home. Here's the fresh mussels hitting the pan.
And done. Mussels with roasted tomatoes, apple, spring onions and fresh basil. Spectacular.