@ChefMichaelSmith, @MyCascade at the @TheChaseTO

Posted on May 10, 2015


I have long been a fan of Chef Michael Smith. I have found him at FoodTV Network and I have learned a lot through his shows on how to cook my food better. He has a way of putting logic in techniques that I am able to easily understand and remember. Last Wednesday, I got to experience to learn something from him in person! It was kinda surreal to see favorite kitchen hero on TV. It was made possible through an event hosted by Cascade at The Chase Toronto last Wednesday.

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I was excited the whole day. When I finally got there, I found out that they shut down the restaurant for that private dinner party. The tables were arranged as if it were one long harvest table and was dressed to impress. Being the fan that I am, I immediately started gawking at Chef Michael Smith, watching him go through last minute touches to his oyster shucking demo station. That gave me ample time to look around the restaurant. The most interesting part of it was the viewing window to the kitchen. I always get a kick of watching cooks move in a synchronized way. It’s quite hypnotic seeing how efficient and swift their movements are and they come out with beautiful food.

The bar has an impressive display of fresh seafood in an alcove before entering the main restaurant. It was a pity I could not come closer to take better pictures of it. I settled to waiting once again when I was offered red wine. I secretly wished that I could already walk in but my usual gregarious self was hidden as I was overly self-conscious that Chef Michael Smith was there. I was like a teenager gawking furtively at my crush, it was literally funny that I don’t recognize me. LOL.

Then they finally called us in and ushered us to the Oyster Shucking station and I luckily got the middle part of the table, standing right across Chef Michael Smith. I was definitely impressed with the level of detail as he teaches. After all the effort of shucking my own oysters, I am now a member of the PEI Oyster Society. It was just one of the treats that I would be getting that night.

I gave way to other invitees and took the time taking too many pictures of the dining table. I loved the whimsy and glamour of the table. Everything was definitely sparkling, ethereal almost. I later found out that some of the items were brought in by Chef Michael Smith as he says it is part of how he throws a party. He always makes a point to set the table in a way that you would have no doubt that he did the effort to go the extra mile. He says it is a statement that you make to your friends that they are appreciated and welcome. I do agree that it is a good way to acknowledge friends.

Before we got to dinner, Chef Michael Smith wanted to start it with a bang, teaching one invitee how to open a champagne bottle with such grandeur. It was pretty awesome to witness. If you want to see how it’s done, I have video link for you to see. It made an impression on me definitely and the words, practice, practice, practice and commit is stuck in my head. See this video clip here courtesy of @masalamomma to see what I mean.

I was lucky enough to be seating close to Chef Michael Smith, hearing him talk about his family and what he cooks for them . It was like a window to his everyday living, a snippet of how he goes about his day. He clearly loves what he does for his family and was committed to them just like what any great father would do. After having that conversation with him, I am now a much bigger fan than before.

When dinner finally started, we were in a treat to dine on Chef Michael Smith’s recipes interpreted by the resident chefs of @TheChaseTO. We started with Sunny Southwest salad, a mix of heritage grains and peppery greens, grilled corn, pickled yams with flaxseed vinaigrette. It was one of the prettiest salad that I have seen, full of texture and bursts of color so of course I went paparazzi style on the plate. I loved the heat that finishes the different plays of shapes and textures as I have a heaping forkful after another.

We had Greek Chicken next, white chicken breast stuffed with oregano and lemon butter with creamer potatoes and roasted tomatoes. Everything in that plate I loved but the highlight was the crispy chicken skin. I was amused at the way Chef Michael Smith ate his share of crispy chicken skin. He savoured it just the way I would, relishing that savoury flavour accompanying the crisp sound.

He finished off the night by telling everyone that it is best to end the night by making his flaming bananas dessert. It has that entertainment value when the rum thrown in a hot pan and one can witness its volatility as it easily ignites, bursting in flames for a quick second. I must admit what he says is true. There should be a recipe that should make the party memorable and the flaming bananas is quite a show. And I must say, this one I would make in my kitchen. It’s really very easy to do.

After everyone has finished the dessert, as if we didn’t have enough treats for the night, we were given gifts of his new cookbook, Michael Smith, Family Meals, a pouch of Cascade Platinum to try and two sparkling plates. The cookbook was definitely a keeper, a really good souvenir for the night. I am already a user of Cascade Classic even before this event but I never tried Cascade Platinum. I would expect it would trump what I use. I always loved my dishes sparkling clean.

Thank you Cascade for organizing this event. It was really a treat to get to know Chef Michael Smith up close. It is definitely an event I would not forget.

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