By Lory Diaz
Are you’re stuck for plans on how to treat that special someone in your life this Valentine’s day? No Yolks cholesterol free noodles have some delicious ideas to inspire you! They hosted a Valentine’s-Day-inspired speed dating competition on January 30, 2018 with ten students of George Brown College’s Culinary Arts Program that may help solve your dinner dilemma. Torontonicity was invited to participate in the event, held on the observation deck of the CN Tower, and I was one of the lucky judges that sampled all the dishes!
The ten George Brown College students were selected from a variety of programs, including nutrition, restaurant management, and recipe development. The requirements were that the recipe had to be inspired by Valentine’s Day, easy to recreate at home, and show off their individual cooking styles. Everyone came out to compete, as the winner received a $2,000 scholarship prize!
The evening opened with a demonstration from the CN Tower’s Chef John Morris, who focused on what he considered to be essential tips for a successful Valentine’s Day meal. Chef Morris created a flavourful shrimp, sundried tomato, and Prince Edward County lemon chevre pasta that was meant to inspire conversation. His key tip was to have all the ingredients prepared beforehand so that you not only impress your date, but also have a quick and easy clean-up! Oh, and choose bolder flavours for your dinner, skipping the garlic and onion, so you can cozy up later.
I have to say that the Fifth Town lemon chevre was absolutely delicious! It complemented the shrimp perfectly, without being overpowering. I’ll definitely be checking them out next time I’m in Prince Edward County!
The event was set-up like speed dating rounds, with each chef talking about their dish and answering questions about themselves for seven minutes with a pair of guests. This method of introducing each dish was fantastic, because it gave guests an opportunity to learn new or different cooking techniques! One of my favourite ideas came from Chef Walker Freeman, who cooked his noodles in a red wine quickly before serving to add some punch and colour to his Walnut Pesto and Pancetta dish.
One of my favourite presentations came courtesy of Chef Stephen Rooke, who created a beautiful sushi pizza! His dish was not only beautifully constructed, but it also had fantastic spice and flavours. The crispy fish skin and noodles retained great crunch that contrasted well against the rich salmon!
It was so much fun getting to know each chef individually, and learn about where they would like to take their careers next. Chef Meshal Mustafa informed me that she would be heading to a Michelin star restaurant in Hong Kong for her placement this year, and was excited to bring everything she will learn back to Toronto. Her Chicken Alfredo Fritter was delicious, indicating that she’s already off to an amazing start!
Judging the dishes was quite challenging, so I wasn’t surprised that three scholarships were awarded that evening! Chef Kshitiz Sethi’s rose pistachio pudding was one of the winning dishes that had all the smells and flavours of romance! Absolutely delicious, and incredibly easy to make.
The next winner was Chef Janikka Murray, who created a healthy alternative to the traditional stroganoff. She added mushrooms, and replaced the heavy rich creams with a yogurt alternative that added protein to the dish. She brought all the earthy flavours together by adding truffle oil, which really elevated the dish.
The final winner was Chef Lucas Hum, who served up an Eggless Bacon Carbonara using the No Yolks Dumpling Noodles. He create a dish that had all the rich and delicious flavours of a fine dining experience, but that was health- and budget-conscious. His thinly-sliced leek garnish was lovely, and gave the appearance of a fine silk ribbon garnish. Check out Chef Lucas’s and all of the recipes here!
Any of the above mentioned recipes would be a fantastic choice for your Valentine’s Day date. Just remember that CN Tower’s Chef Morris recommended being prepared for easy and simple clean up, and vibrant flavours that still allow for close conversations into the evening. If cooking isn’t your style, why not check out some of Torontonicity’s recent restaurant reviews for dinner date ideas?