The fall 2013 television season has officially begun. To celebrate, we got together with one of our personal go-to news and entertainment channels, CBC, and invited some of the stars from the station’s latest primetime lineup — the casts of fan favourites Murdoch Mysteries and Cracked — to join us at the dinner table in honour of their new season.
Growing its reputation for entertaining television with international reach, the Canadian channel boasts comedies such as Mr. D starring standup comedian Gerry Dee and Jonathan Torrens, a Trailer Park Boys alum; the Canadian incarnation of the mega-popular reality TV show Dragon’s Den, where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a jury of potential investors; and dramas including CBC’s newest series Crossing Lines, a multinational police thriller starring Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games) and William Fichtner (The Lone Ranger).
Out representing CBC’s primetime roster and filling the seats at our table for the evening were the stars of the channel’s “Monday Mystery” duo: Helene Joy (Dr. Julia Ogden), Jonny Harris (Constable George Crabtree) and Georgina Reilly (Dr. Emily Grace) of Murdoch Mysteries, alongside David Sutcliffe (Detective Aidan Black), Brooke Nevin (Dr. Clara Malone), Dayo Ade (Leo Beckett) and Luisa D’Oliveira (Detective Poppy Wisnefski) of Cracked.
Varying in their audience appeal, Murdoch Mysteries — in its seventh season — is a period drama set in 1890s Toronto offering up intrigue, romance and a dash of comic relief as it plays out in the life of Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson), while season two of Cracked has viewers, one again, contemplating the part mental illness can play in everyday crime, as they watch the show’s Psych Crimes Investigative Unit delve into cases led by Detective Aidan Black (Sutcliffe). “He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders,” says Sutcliffe of his character dedication to his unit’s cause.
As the headliners of CBC’s “Mystery Monday,” we thought it only fitting that we recruit the culinary talents of a chef known for his underground pop-up dinner series, Boxed, to host our celebratory meal at a secret location, hidden from plain sight.
The evening’s mystery began with guests baffled by the dinner location; set at the address of Daniel et Daniel, a popular delicatessen in Toronto’s Cabbagetown’s neighbourhood (an offshoot of the catering company of the same name, for which Sullivan acts as creative consultant) the shop’s doors were locked with lights off and shelves bare when guests arrived. Directed by a man dressed in head-to-toe black, puzzled guests were ushered in through the length of the closed shop, past saloon doors and into the kitchen where a beautifully set dinner table awaited diners.
And with the clink of ceremonious flutes of sparkling, dinner was served, accompanied by the premieres of both Murdoch Mysteries and Cracked, screening in the background — something of a stylish variation on murder mystery dinner theatre, if we do say so ourselves.
“Like the shows the dinner is honoring, I wanted the food to be unique, to play with expectations and deliver a different variation on dishes the guests would already most likely be familiar with,” says the chef of the evening’s menu. “I like serving up a taste of the unexpected.”
After filling up on a luxe serving of tuna carpaccio and caviar, a savoury vegetarian interpretation of bone marrow, a lick-the-plate worthy modernist-take on General Tso chicken and a delectably indulgent helping of sticky toffee pudding (featuring real bone marrow as the dessert’s secret ingredient), the evening came to an end with a toast to the chef.
“I love dinners where everything is perfect and you just clean your plate,” says Reilly of the meal, giggling as she rubs her tummy. I think we can all cheers to that.
A special thanks to the evening’s sponsors including Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, Hinterland Wine Company, Innis & Gunn craft beer, Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. and the staff of Daniel et Daniel. Check out what CBC has to say about its dinner with FILLER at CBC Live and CBC News. Catch new episodes of Murdoch Mysteries Mondays at 8/8:30 p.m. NT and Cracked Mondays at 9/9:30 p.m. NT. Published October 9, 2013