Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chicken Farmers of Canada Unite the Food Bloggers of Ottawa

Tonight was a very unique experience. I would almost say a milestone during my time as a blogger. To be united with a group of local food bloggers that I admire so much was, well, an honour to say the least. And it was all possible thanks to the Chicken Farmers of Canada.

I assumed the event would revolve around some discussions about chicken. Not so. These guys did not toot their horn once. Even though they have so much to be proud of and so much to discuss. Their website alone is filled with valuable information regarding safe food handling, health and nutrition, food safety and animal care, not to mention a ton of great recipes! I also find it fun to read the profiles of the chicken farmers. It's a nice reminder of where the chicken is coming from.

Although I would have liked to learn more about them, I did enjoy chatting with them under informal circumstances. Thanks so much for setting this up and inviting us Ryan! Bringing us all together was a real treat!

This event was held at the beautiful Urban Element. As soon as I read this is where it would be, there was no doubt in my mind that I was in for a fabulous evening. I've yet to have a bad time under this roof and I doubt I ever will. Not as long as their resident chef Candice Butler is there anyway. She prepared a ton of crowd pleasing hors d'oeuvres that would have anyone peering in the window green with envy.

The first one to land between my fingers was the sun dried tomato strata with C'est Bon goat cheese. I love anything with sun dried tomatoes in it, the flavour is so powerful and absolutely perfect with goat cheese.

I would love to say which of the hors d'oeuvres was my favourite but I'd be repeating myself with each photo. Like these caramelized onion and pear tarts with Bleu Bénédictine (best blue cheese ever!).

Mini chicken pot pies – mmmmm. So yummy.

In-house pork rillette with Rochon farm zucchini relish. Pinch me quick! Seriously.

Ok maybe this one was almost my favourite! Chicken dumplings with peanut sauce. Dumpling + peanut sauce = very happy Rachelle.

Cod cakes – oh yeah wait, I LOVE fishcakes!

Pulled pork with smoked tomato jam. The perfect comfort food!

And well what would the evening be like without some chicken!? A trio of velvety chicken pâtés were neatly placed along the main table for everyone to savour. Brandy chicken liver pâté with Hall's apple and thyme, bourbon and rosemary chicken liver pâté with a bit of duck, and sherry chicken liver pâté with Pic Bois maple vinegar – simply divine. And to top it off, Candice offered a demonstration on how to make it at home.

After about an hour of mingling and stuffing my face, we sat down to listen to the esteemed Ron Eade of Omnivore's Ottawa. I listened intently sipping my wine as he chatted about blogging and home cooking. What was meant to be a discussion was more of a one-sided conversation at times, but I'm sure behind the scenes, when not all blogger eyes were on you, the questions came out.

The one thing that stuck the most was his comment on the dissociation of animal from meal and how we buy things prepackaged all the time. Like chicken for example – rows of chicken thighs all ready to be eaten up. Do we ever even think about the animal who gave his life to be on our plate? If you bought a whole chicken, you'd appreciate every morsel even more. And it would last you more than that one meal. A great blog on not buying anything prepackaged and using every ingredient to the last drop is the She Eats Bears blog. I could only dream to be able to cook that well!

What a wonderful evening. Looking forward to the next blog-related event, or blog worthy-event – whichever comes first!


Marysol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marysol said...

oh rachelle, you will make me cry... what a nice compliment! (especially for a girl who was not invited to this event! not yet a real food blogger it seems!ha!ha!)

happy you enjoyed it! (simon's mom made us great spaghetti for my bday :) so I had a lovely evening too!)

we need to eat together soon. and we need to include peanut sauce.

Anonymous said...

Drooooool. Great photos, by the way....


Rachelle said...

That's weird that you weren't invited! I don't believe it. I think a lot of the bloggers found out about it later after reading Ron Eade's post on his blog.

I had absolutely no idea yesterday was your birthday!! Happy Birthday! I wish I had known! And yes, dinner with some peanut sauce is definitely a must. I've not yet been to Zen Kitchen...

Rachelle said...

thanks JM!! it was soooo good!

Don said...

Rachelle, please tell me you had fun!

Ryan Anderston told me he ran through my list of local food blogs, trying to contact bloggers. The first three he contacted, you, Jessica, and Shari.

I tweeted the event to those of us on Twitter, personally inviting some bloggers out.

BTW, you wouldn't believe how many people asked me, "Has Rachelle arrived yet?" Some, "Can you point me to Rachelle?" Still others, "Is that Rachelle?"

Would you be interested in attending another one of these events? This time, hearing from one of the other pro's we met last night.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming last night! It was great meeting you and your husband. I need to take some lessons from you on food photography. The ones I took weren't nearly as good. Johanne - Chicken Farmers of Canada

Rachelle said...

Don – I had a blast! thanks so much for putting me in touch with Ryan. And i'm flattered that there were some people hunting me down. I was doing the same with the bloggers I follow! I would definitely attend another one of these events. And thanks again for introducing me to some of the others!

Joanne – I really enjoyed meeting you as well! I'm sure your photos weren't that bad but feel free to use some of mine if you'd like to. The trick is to have it on the macro setting, no flash and have something in the background so when you focus on the food, the background blurs and makes it pop more.

Pearl said...

Gorgeous pics. It was a fun evening. Nice to have met you.

Rachelle said...

It was great meeting you as well!

Don said...

Marysol, I've just added you to foodiePrints' list of Ottawa Food Blogs (http://www.foodieprints.com/item/1622) and your RSS feed to Google Reader.

Thanks for the recommendation Rachelle!

pinkghost said...

rachelle, this looks and sounded amazing!!! speaking of peanut sauce do you ever go to mekong for the hunan dumplings? mmmm to die for.

Rachelle said...

I LOOOOOVE Hunan Dumplings! Check it out:

Jenny said...

Rachelle those pictures turned out beautifully! I was standing in the same corner as you, taking the same picture, yours are stunning!
I too hope there are other events like this to attend and that I get a chance to meet you again.

Marysol said...

rachelle, amy, you are both coming over for peanut sauce.

i had THE best appies ever in NYC.

How about the weekend of the 20th? Let's follow up by email. I will post the dish tonight :)

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