It seems my days as an underage party-promoting Club Kid are officially over (by choice) with late night invites to loud crowded places now eschewed for intimate dinner parties with close friends, and any dinner party in general, really. There’s nothing that gets my rocks off now like receiving an invite to an exclusive fancy dinner party, never mind one that’s a secret. But that’s just what it was when I was given an address and time to show up to a mysterious dinner last week. Who would be there? What was it for? What is going on? I had no idea.
Putting my Nancy Drew hat on, and made my way to the provided address at 7pm with the hunch that this dinner party, and the food especially, would be pretty damn good. I found myself outside of the day-time operating French bakery, Daniel et Daniel, in Cabbagetown. “Psssst!” I heard a girl say, dressed all in black from a dark corner, “are you here for the dinner?” Nodding my head slightly confusedly, she lead me inside the door of Daniel et Daniel, walked straight past their mouth-watering display of pastries, and into the back of the bakery, into the kitchen.
What I saw I couldn’t believe; it was a one of the coolest set ups I have ever seen. With cooking utensils hanging over the set dinner table like a chandelier, this took the concept of people gravitating towards the kitchen to a whole new level. This was a dinner party in the kitchen.
The masterminds behind this secret dinner revealed themselves as Chef Matthew Sullivan of Toronto’s pop-up restaurant, Boxed, and FILLER Magazine. But then who were the other fancy people there with faces I recognized from the telly?
As I sat down at my seat, I realised I was about to literally rub shoulders with cast members from two of CBC‘s latest prime-time lineup, Murdoch Mysteries and Cracked. Ha! I thought, no wonder everyone here is so ridiculously good looking, cheers to that indeed.
Of course the real celebration wasn’t just about their good lucks, but to kick off CBC‘s new season in a more thoughtful, unique way that was a truly sensory experience. Once everyone was settled in, Chef Matthew appeared to present his creations.
The first course? Line-caught Albacore tuna from Oregon that was slightly cured in pastrami flavours and served with smoked aioli, fermented grilled tomato consommé, oven cured tomato, shisho, grilled and pickled celery and Acadian caviar. What can I say? Incredible!
Can you believe that isn’t really bone marrow? For the second course Chef Mathew created a gluten-free, vegetarian version that was so good no one could believe it didn’t actually involve any marrow at all. For this he used a puree of mushroom and onion, served in a daikon that was braised in dashi, then garnished with beet pickled shallot, celery root puree, and chervil and honey roasted crostini.
Helene Joy of Murdoch Mysteries
Our main course was one of my favourite naughty dishes: General Tso Chicken. Normally, when ordered in Chinese restaurants, this dish is deep fried, greasy and dripping in sauce. Chef Matthew‘s version was fresh, light, and a completely new take on the dish – one I could actually get behind eating on a regular basis without feeling guilty.
Luisa D’Oliveira and Dayo Ade of Cracked
Jonny Harris of Murdoch Mysteries
While I can’t promise that every Monday night will come with a secret dinner prepared by a gourmet chef (although you can make it happen by getting in touch with Boxed) you can catch new episodes of Murdoch Mysteries Mondays at 8/8:30 p.m. NT and Cracked Mondays at 9/9:30 p.m. NT.
Thank you to CBC, Chef Matthew Sullivan, FILLER and the generous sponsors of the night: Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, Hinterland Wine Company, Innis & Gunn craft beer, Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. and the staff of Daniel et Daniel, who hosted the event.
To watch footage from the FILLER‘s dinner with CBC, click HERE!