On Sunday, March 13 The Bauer Kitchen hosted a culinary event in partnership with the first annual Irish Real life Festival held here in Kitchener-Waterloo. The festival founders approached The Bauer Kitchen’s Executive Chef Brian McCourt and asked him to feature his Irish heritage and take guests on a culinary tour of Ireland.
Buzzing chatter from excited guests, family style tables with strangers becoming friends and a lively acoustic serenade of Irish tunes set the tone for the evening as the service team brought out the first dish of the evening.
The Smoked Mackerel Soup was the ultimate start to the menu, a creamy base packed with flavour, perfectly cooked mackerel and mussels, crunchy brown bread and perfect potatoes complimented each other to introduce to Chef’s menu.
Between courses, Chef Brian popped out to speak, rousing loud cheers from a table that sat his parents and family members. Chef Brian’s excitement about his menu and what he was serving was evident, and his passion for cooking and his heritage shone through.
The second course was a twist on a traditional Irish favourite, Bacon and Cabbage. The cabbage came braised in cider giving it a flavourful punch, topped with braised pork belly in perfectly layered squares that had a nice crispy top.
The crowd became even livelier when acoustic singer Michael Kelly Cavan played Irish favourites that had everyone clapping and singing along.
For our third course, we were presented with Dublin Coddle, an Irish Family's Thursday dinner where all their leftover meats were cooked, as they were unable to eat meat on Friday. Ham hock, rashers and bangers swimming in a savoury pork stock with delicious potatoes all melted in your mouth and were packed with flavour.
I popped into the kitchen to see Chef Brian and his incredibly talented culinary team plating the main event, Corned Beef Tongue served with another traditional Irish dish called Colcannon, made with potatoes and parsnip, finished with watercress and caraway broth. The anticipation in the kitchen was palpable as the culinary team seamlessly combined all the elements and the service team delivered completed dishes while a cameraman from CTV documented from the corner.
After some time, Brian came out to thank everyone for coming and for the IRL team for inviting TBK to be a part of this awesome festival. He introduced us to the final course, two cheeses and a fruit compote to cleanse the palate and finish the evening on a high. The cheeses included a Whiskey Cheddar from Kerry and a lovely dark marbled Porter Cheddar, complimented with a cranberry, apricot, and apple fruit compote. Brian’s parents embraced in a slow dance as the evening finished, giving off an overwhelming sense of pride in their heritage and their son.
Writing: Julie Glasgow
Photography: Julie Glasgow & Evin Lachance
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