Recap: Swine and Dine at Bündok

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.

Chef Hotchkiss ladling out my favourite dish of the evening – glazed Irvings Farm pork belly, 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.

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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
Edmonton, Alberta

Recap: RGC Bench Creek Brewery Swine & Dine

Last Thursday night, chef Steve Buzak at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton’s river valley teamed up with Bench Creek Brewing to deliver our first Swine & Dine of 2018. Two years ago, chef Buzak was the first to deliver a beer-paired Swine & Dine to rave reviews, and last week’s event was another Passion for Pork success.

Irvings Farm back wrapped prunes with blue cheese.

I arrived early so I could sneak a peek in the kitchen. Chef Buzak was happy to show off the sous vide Bear & The Flower pork belly, Memphis Style ribs, and devil on horseback appetizer with a prune and blue cheese twist.

Bear & the Flower Farm ribs.
Bear & the Flower Farm Alberta pork belly

Guests were welcomed to the tray passed appetizers of Memphis Style Ribs (a recipe that chef Buzak shared during a previous June is Pork month), and bacon-wrapped prunes were paired with Bench Cree Brewery’s Black Spruce Porter (5.8 %).

After all guests were seated we were greeted by chef Buzak and the Royal Glenora Club (RGC) team, who shared his excitement at hosting another beer-paired Swine & Dine.

After explaining that beer is easier to pair with food than wine – he introduced his first course for the evening – a fennel roasted pork belly served with a sweet potato puree, smoked corn, apricot and orange gastrique.

Our first course was served with  Naked Woodsman Pale Ale (5.2%), which was introduced by our Bench Creek Brewery guru Cassandra. The beer is known for notes of fresh bread and light caramel malt flavours mixed with bright floral, grapefruit and orange hop aromatics. There’s a sweetness to it – apricot and peach hop flavours combine with subdued citrus. It finishes with a star of anise spiciness that makes you think this somewhat fruit-forward brew.

We joked with chef Buzak that my boyfriend’s only complaint with the first course was that it was too small – he could have eaten six more! Chef Buzak warned us there were many courses to come – and our second surf & turf course was sure to fill us up. I loved the seafood chowder chef Buzak served with double smoked Irvings Farm bacon croutons. The potato veloute soup was velvety smooth and served with blackened prawn & scallops and topped with a citrus foam.

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Our soup was served with Bench Creek’s White Raven IPA (6.5%), a robust beer with huge aromatics of orange, grapefruit, passion fruit and mango with a touch of pine. The signature flavours of Munich and crystal malts contribute a complex toffee-caramel backbone that nicely balances the bitterness from the hops.

As our main course was being plated, I snuck back into the kitchen for a preview of our main course.

Once our plates were ready to be served, chef Buzak came back to the dining room to introduce our next dish – the RGC signature spice-rubbed Bear & the Flower Farm pork loin. The tender Alberta pork was served with a cider jus and accompanied by Brussels sprouts and a Fuge Meats chorizo and northern bean cassoulet.

Our main was paired with Bench Creek’s Northern Grace Red Rye India Pale Ale (6.2%), which boasts flavours of rich toffee, dark caramel, dried plum, and spicy, earthy malt notes mixed with juicy orange, passionfruit, geranium, and stone fruit flavours.

For dessert, chef Buzak turned my memories of building fireside s’mores into a flavourful creme brûlée that had my spoon searching for just one more bite.

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Chef Buzak’s s’mores creme brulee & maple candied Irvings Farm bacon was accented with cardamom marshmallows, Peruvian cacao nibs, and an espresso melt away chocolate that chef made with coconut oil.

I’ve confessed it many times while recapping swine & dine dinners – I’m not a fan of chocolate, but I was a huge fan of this dessert. There were so many flavours and textures at play in this playful dessert – I would happily order this dessert again!

Our final Bench Creek pairing of the night was from the brewery’s Villainous Series – with the can showcasing an ode to Drexl Spivey from the movie True Romance. The Drexl Blackstrap Imperial Stout (11%) is barrel-aged, pitch black, dark and I’m told it paired wonderfully with Chef Buzak’s campfire creation.

I’d like to thank the chef Steve Buzak, Derek, and the entire team at the RGC for hosting another incredible Swine & Dine dinner. It was great to learn more about Bench Creek Brewing (I know a few people at my table were more than happy to claim this gluten-free girl’s beers throughout the dinner).

Chef Buzak is a great chef that is consistently hosting unique food events at the RGC that are open to non members. Check out their website or follow their social media feeds to learn more about upcoming events, including their monthly brunch series.

I’m hoping to work with chef Buzak to come up with some way to celebrate June is Pork month at the RGC, so stay tuned! That river valley patio sounds like the perfect place to enjoy some pig & pinot.

Recap: Schwein & Stein at The WorkShop Eatery

It’s no secret that Paul Shufelt, owner and head chef of The Workshop Eatery, has a passion for pork. For years his menu have prominently featured Alberta Pork dishes made from Irvings Farm Fresh Berkshire pigs raised at Round Hill, Alberta.

I was excited when Chef Paul suggested hosting a Swine & Dine in advance of his annual Bacon Day Dinner – an event heading into its 8th year that celebrates the mass consumption of bacon all in support of Youth Empowerment & Social Services (YESS). More on that later.

On Thursday June 22nd, 30 diners scored a seat to Schwein & Stein at The Workshop Eatery; Chef Shufelt decided to change the S&D name slightly since he wanted to pair his all Alberta Pork menu with locally Alberta-brewed beers. Since he always accommodates this gluten-free girl with Celiac-friendly dishes – I say he can do whatever he wants with the name. 

When we arrived the restaurant was in full swing with regular diners. Those of us Schwein & Dining were treated to a pre-dinner reception in the lobby with tray-passed appetizers and a glass of Blindman Brewing Lemon Lime Sour.

My favourite bite during the reception was the house-made lardo; the six-month cured slices of pork fat were melt in my mouth delicious.

Once we were seated Chef Shufelt greeted diners and explained how the restaurant uses Alan & Nicola Irvings beautiful Berkshire pork to make their own charcuterie. Chef Shufelt introduced his first dish – a pantry board featuring a pate de Champagne, calabrese sausage, fennel & orange cured filetto, pickled mustard seeds, pickled ramps, and toast. The dish was paired with People Skills from Tool Shed Brewing Company out of Calgary.

I had a chance to sneak in the kitchen to take some photos while Chef Shufelt and his crew were finishing each dish and plating.

When Chef Shufelt pulled out a tray of braised Irvings Farm pork belly it took all my might not to pluck a piece right from the pan.

Instead, I not so patiently waited for the complete dish – a five spiced portion of braised pork belly paired with butternut squash & corn hash, maple, and ancho oil – a dish Chef Shufelt paired with Bench Creek Brewing’s Naked Woodsman.

I could have been content just eating the house-made charcuterie and another piece of pork belly, but Chef Shufelt had more parts of the pig in store for us.

For our main dish, Chef Shufelt plated a classic piece of pork loin, applewood smoked with a  Tool Shed Brewing Company Red Rage apricot glaze. In addition to a glass of the braising beer, the dish was complimented with a sweet potato puree, maple-sage roasted parsnips.

Our dessert was an Ode to The King – but with a passion for pork twist. Paul’s Elvis Presley inspired dessert featured a plate of caramelized bananas, candied bacon, banana bread Ichorous Stout Ice Cream, chocolate chips, and  house-made chunky peanut butter. I thought the dish had an elevated childhood campfire feel, minus the pairing of Blindman Brewing Ichorous Imperial Stout of course. If I could have, I would have bought a jar of Workshop Eatery bacon peanut butter to take home.

At the end of the dinner Chef Shufelt thanked all that attended, and reminded us of his upcoming Bacon Day Dinner at Workshop Eatery on Saturday, September 16, 2017. The $90 ticket (all of which goes to YESS) includes a ridiculous amount of bacon and all things pork, more than a few bites from a whole pig (roasted up on the patio), and a taste and a vote in the annual Bacon Day dessert off between Chef Paul Shufelt & Chef Andrew Cowan of Northern Chicken.

Based on the peanut butter & bacon dessert Paul served up at his Schwein & Stein – I think he might already have this year’s winning dessert.

Tickets for Bacon Day 2017 are available now. I’ll be there – look for the girl in the corner eating a bowl of Paul’s bacon truffle cream corn like a pig at a trough.

The Workshop Eatery
2003 91 St SW, Edmonton, AB T6X 0W8


Swine & Dine at Tzin Wine & Tapas May 30

It is clear that Chef Corey McGuire at Tzin Wine & Tapas has a passion for pork. His braised bacon dish featuring a maple balsamic apple compote, apple mayonnaise and served on a crostini with a calvados gastrique routinely makes it on Edmonton’s top dish lists – I’m pretty sure there would be a revolt if he ever tried to take it off the menu.

Last month, I received a call from co-owner Glenn Quinn telling me it was time Tzin hosted a Swine & Dine; I couldn’t have been happier.

Somehow, in a kitchen smaller than the space inside some food trucks, Chef McGuire produces some of the most exquisite and beautifully plated dishes I’ve eaten in Edmonton. Chef McGuire has long been a supporter of Irvings Farm Fresh Alberta Pork, making Alan & Nicola’s Berkshire pork shine.

For Swine & Dine, Chef McGuire has created an eight course tasting menu featuring Irvings Farm Alberta Pork from amuse to dessert:

Smoked bourbon old fashioned
Smoked bourbon | bacon simple syrup | crabapple bitters

Pork liver mousse
Hemp seed cracker | picked shallots

Pork jowl croquetas
Roasted garlic aioli

Roast pork belly
Pork & shrimp bisque | humpback shrimp salsa

Braised pork shoulder ragout
Steamed clams | peppers& onions | cornbread waffle

Grilled pork loin
Tater tots | buttercheese | pork gravy

Smoked pork hock | herbed pork sausage | bomba rice
Apple aioli | green onion

Bourbon butter cake
Bacon caramel

There will be 2 seatings, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm & 8.00 pm – 10:00 pm. Tickets are $55.00, price does not include tax and gratuity, and wine/spirits/beer will be sold separately. Owners Kelsey Danyluk and Glen Quinn as well as Chef McGuire and the rest of the culinary team are sure to make it a memorable evening. Tzin is an intimate wine bar with limited seating. Swine & Dine is already at capacity, but those interested in attending can still contact the restaurant directly at (780) 428-8946 to be added to a wait list.