Chef Ryan Hotchkiss and his culinary team were the latest to take on the Swine and Dine challenge – sharing a five-course menu featuring Alberta Pork from appetizer to dessert to a packed house at Bündok last week.
Throughout the event, chef Hotchkiss showcased a variety of Alberta pork producers and artisans. To start things off, chef Hotchkiss featured Secret Meat Club by Meuwly’s Coppa made with Bear and the Flower Farm pasture raised pork.
For our starter, chef Hotchkiss layered the coppa alongside baby artichoke, hazelnut oil, puffed wild rice, and dressed with a currant vinaigrette. The puffed wild rice added a lovely crunch to our welcome dish which featured a beautifully cured cut from Meuwly’s (which should be opening their store front deli on 124th street any day now).
Our next was one of the best bites of pork belly I have ever had, which is saying something, because I have eaten a substantial amount of pork belly since Swine and Dine started almost six years ago.
Our second course featured a glazed Irvings Farm Fresh pork belly served in a bowl alongside beans and fried leeks in pea broth.
I heard from two different guests, that while they normally don’t enjoy pork belly, that the dish was amazing. I would choose this dish again and again should it ever make its way onto the regular Bündok menu.
Chef Hotchkiss’ gnocchi is a favourite among many of their regular patrons, so I was not surprised to see a handmade pasta on his Swine and Dine menu.
For our pasta course, chef Hotchkiss and culinary team plated a chickpea tagliatelle in a Messinger Meats pork shank ragu with fried chickpeas.
Chef Hotchkiss made me a special gluten-free version of the chickpea tagliatelle, which looked identical to the original. It is the second time I’ve had chef Hotchkiss’ gluten free pasta, and I can easily say both batches made for the best I have had since becoming diagnosed as a Celiac.
I mentioned the glazed pork belly in pea broth was my favourite, but it was a challenge to make that decision as the night went on. The hand-made chickpea pasta was a real treat for me, as was the main course of the evening – a Tonkatsu pork cutlet.
Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet, which is often served with shredded cabbage. Chef Hotchkiss and his team served a Messinger Meats Millefeuille tonkatsu stuffed with gruyere cheese, grainy mustard alongside cabbage in honey reduction and yeast.
When I arrived at Swine & Dine last week I ducked in the back to see what chef Hotchkiss and his team were up to in the kitchen. At the time, he told me he was most excited for the dessert because he didn’t use bacon. Rather than keep it simple with a candied bacon – the Bündok team got creative.
For dessert, chef Hotchkiss and his crew served up a Saskatoon semifreddo made with whipped @bearflowerfarm lardo and topped with chicharron and candied hazelnuts. The cool smooth texture of the semifreddo against the crunchy nuts and puffed pork skin made for an interesting bite, which also made for a light and refreshing end to our swine and dine indulgence.
My friend Simone most often skips dessert. Conveniently for my boyfriend, she often hands her Swine & Dine desserts for the set-menu dinners over for him to enjoy. This time, she came to apologize to him because she did an unusual thing – she ate every last bite!
If you have yet to experience a meal at Bündok I hope this blog inspires to add it to your restaurant-hit list. Every meal I have had at Bündok from brunch to lunch to dinner have all been exquisite. Chef Hotchkiss has the ability to take seasonal, local ingredients and make them shine on the plate.
Thank you to chef Hotchkiss and his culinary team for sharing their passion for Alberta pork. It was so good they’ll have to do it again – can’t wait to see what you come up with next time! Until then – check them out at:
10228 104 Street NW