For the 4th year in a row, chef Jesse Morrison shared his passion for Alberta pork by creating a Swine and Dine dinner at The Common. The annual event is an opportunity for Jesse and his culinary team at The Common Edmonton to get creative with the one-off menu featuring Alberta pork from appetizer to dessert. The price is always phenomenal, $40 for four courses this year, and each time I leave I find myself saying ‘that was better than the last one!’
When The Common hosts their annual Swine and Dine dinners their regular menu is not available, and the kitchen is fully committed to the all-Alberta pork menu. On Thursday, May 31, 2018, the culinary and service team served up 59 Swine & Dine covers, proving that all-pork menu is hip and desired by The Common’s hip and desirable clientele.
My favourite dish was the 3rd course, but the feedback was split among dinners at my table. There were several votes for the appetizer, but I think the winner may have been for the dessert. As one diner at my table said ‘I think we all need more maple brandy pork fat ice cream in our lives.’
This year’s innovative Swine and Dine menu at The Common featured:
1st course: spring Bouchee a La Reine with asparagus and dried ham
Swine & Dine at The Common Thursday, May 31, 2018
$40 for four courses
The Common‘s chef Jesse Morrison has a serious Passion for Pork. This month, chef Morrison will host his fourth Swine and Dine, making it the fourth year in a row the 109th street eatery will be featuring an Alberta Pork menu from appetizer to dessert.
1st course: spring Bouchee a La Reine with asparagus and dried ham
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 Bündoklast 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 Bündokmenu.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.