Food Reviews

Recap: Behind-the-scenes cooking experience at The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald!

Food bloggers/chef assemble!
Food bloggers/chef assemble!

This week I had the amazing opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald kitchens with a few fellow foodies! We were invited to come cook a three-course dinner (for ourselves) under the great guidance of Executive Chef Serge Jost and Executive Sous Chef Jiju Paul.

In the kitchens of the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald!
In the kitchens of the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald!

Six of us (Phil, Sharon, Karlynn, Gail and Rebecca) were broken into three teams and worked on appetizers, entrees, and desserts. It was a fantastic experience! Though we were not heavily cooking (ingredients were all set out and mostly prepared for us and we had a lot of help from Chefs Jost & Paul), it was still so neat to get to work right where these professional chefs work each and every day. We really got a chance to “shine” during plating of the dishes (I even used a cloth to wipe stray sauce on the plates, lol). We became #newfriends (inside joke) with Chef Jost, and learned more about his vision for the hotel’s food services.

Poached quail egg, foie gras, Gouda mousse vegetable tart cooked by Sharon & Gail!
Poached quail egg, foie gras, Gouda mousse vegetable tart cooked by Sharon & Gail!

Chef Jost says many people are under the impression that the hotel’s restaurant The Harvest Room is fine dining – too fine for your typical night out. That’s not the case. Jost and the rest of the Fairmont team want that perception to change. He wants Edmontonians to come eat at The Harvest Room all the time and think of it as an Edmonton restaurant – not an overly fancy or stuffy restaurant hidden inside a pricy, “untouchable” hotel.

Sous vide duck stuffed chicken, mushroom foam, pea puree, onion petals, golden beet, crispy chicken skin & gremolata cooked by me & Rebecca!
Sous vide duck stuffed chicken, mushroom foam, pea puree, onion petals, golden beet, crispy chicken skin & gremolata cooked by me & Rebecca!

He talked about how the Fairmont has always put a focus on local, fresh fare. He talked about the growing number of people with food allergies, and how the hotel always tries to think of a Plan A, B, and C, with the dishes it offers – so they are easily adaptable for those with special food requirements. He talked about the Fairmont’s terrific brunch and their fantastic patio overlooking the river valley.

The patio opens in May and that’s what I’m really excited about it. You can order off the regular Harvest Room menu but there will also be specific patio tapas items and grilling right outside. New this year as well is that The Harvest Room will actually open out into the patio whereas last year only their Confederation Lounge opened into it.

PINK! Strawberry mousse, sorbet, tuilles and more, by Karlynn & Phil!
PINK! Strawberry mousse, sorbet, tuilles and more, by Karlynn & Phil!

Our meal that night was fantastic! So many flavourful bites from the foie gras to Gouda mousse tarts, sous vide duck-stuffed chicken & pea puree to the refreshing strawberry sorbet. The fact that we all played a hand in the tasty end product made the experience even better. It was interesting to see how many different components go into each dish. Chef Jost had really wanted to let us experience the Fairmont behind-the-scenes, as opposed to just inviting us to come eat. It was a great opportunity and I am excited I got the chance to learn more about the hotel and meet the talent behind the food. It speaks volumes when a kitchen welcomes – even invites – people in and the chefs are eager to answer questions.

I’ve been impressed with how active the Fairmont has been on social media too – from its Twitter to Facebook to even hotel ambassador Smudge’s Facebook. They’re truly one of the most active local hotel Twitter accounts and I think that’s going to go a long way in helping them shed that perception that the hotel and its dining is too fancy or expensive for the average Edmontonian. I’m already planning my next visit for when the patio opens!

And of course no visit to the Fairmont is complete without a cuddle and photo op with hotel ambassador (and all around cutie) Smudge!

No trip to the Fairmont is complete without a visit with Smudge!
No trip to the Fairmont is complete without a visit with Smudge!

Check out the Fairmont’s photo album of the experience here!

Thanks to the Fairmont’s Katie for inviting me and Nicole, Chef Jost & Paul, and our table side servers for being gracious hosts! We were also warmly welcomed by the hotel’s management and marketing team – thank you! We all went away with full tummies, great memories and awesome custom chef jackets! :)

Awesome custom chef jacket!
Awesome custom chef jacket!

Linda

Harvest Room on Urbanspoon

Linda Hoang is an Edmonton blogger who writes about food, travel, lifestyle/events and pets. She's also a social media/digital specialist with a journalism background. Linda is in love with her city and loves exploring and promoting Edmonton and other places she visits with her husband Mike. Linda is also the founder of the Edmonton International Cat Festival (and has 2 cats herself, along with 2 dogs).

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  • Theme parties are SO much fun! πŸŽ‰πŸ’– Celebrated our friend @rezwananana’s birthday in #90sStyle tonight: with overalls, fanny packs, ring pops, pins, scrunchies and crimped hair!! (You can’t really see the crimp in the photo though but I was pretty happy with it lol)
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#90sparty #90sfashion #90smusic #ilovethe90s #grewupinthe90s #90sbaby #edmonton #exploreedmonton #yeg #yegfashion #throwback #tbt #flashback #ootd #wiw #happybirthday #birthdays #fannypack #bopit #alberta #90s
  • Last summer one of my favourite food vendors at the Sturgeon County Bounty Festival was #SavioursCafeBistro! They are a small, family-owned Ethiopian restaurant/cafe in @cityofstalbert. Today I finally made it out to try their restaurant with @tjpollmann! We got hands on, sharing the delicious vegetarian injera platter with beets, chickpeas, red lentils, salad, and cabbage + spinach & chicken with caramelized onions and garlic! 🀀 We also had their chicken soup, which was real tasty. πŸ’–
Really nice little spot.
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#stalbert #saintalbert #stalbertfood #yeg #yegfood #edmonton #edmontonfood #exploreedmonton #injera #ethiopianfood #ethiopian #shareplatter #handson #eatlocal #chicken #spinach #chickpeas #redlentils #saturyay #lunchtime #foodblogger #foodlover #sturgeoncounty #sturgeoncountybounty #culinarycookout #explorealberta #flatlay
  • The last time I posted about the delicious and super affordable $11 five piece chicken set with two sides and a drink from @seoulfriedchicken, I didn’t realize they were closed for vacation and a lot of you messaged me and said you tried to go and were sad to find out they were closed lol. SO, I’M SORRY πŸ˜­πŸ˜‚πŸ’– BUT! I’m happy to say they are no longer on vacation. πŸ˜„ I had a lovely lunch with @heyvanessaleigh there today! THE PESTO MAC AND CHEESE IS MY FAVOURITE MAC AND CHEESE EVER. I could eat it every single day. 🀀😍🀀😍🀀
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#banff #mybanff #mountain #canyon #winteradventure #travelalberta #explorealberta #frosty #frostyface #frozenwaterfall #winterhike #hikingadventures #mountainair #canadianrockies #rockymountains #travelingcouple #hikers #longweekend #alberta #albertalife #johnstoncanyonfalls #banfflakelouise #adventurers
  • When your backyard (sort of) is a beautiful mountain town. πŸ”πŸ™ŒπŸ» In Banff this #longweekend, we enjoyed:
β€’ staying at the @FairmontBanff Springs 🏰
β€’ eating at the #WaldhausPub, @banffavebrewing, @banffbalkan & #Tooloulous πŸ˜‹
β€’ skating β›Έ in town and hiking #JohnstonCanyon with @kathytrinhle & @big_mitchy16! πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸƒπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ
Perfect little getaway! πŸ”πŸ’–
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#banff #banffnationalpark #banfflife #explorealberta #travelalberta #snowy #winterwonderland #mountaintown #mountaintowns #alberta #mountaintop #views #touristtown #explorebanff #mybanff #banffinmybackyard #yeg #yyc #weekendgetaway #wanderlust #winteradventures #explorealways #rockymountains #canadianrockies #fairmontbanffsprings #johnstoncanyon
  • Family Day long weekend with my family and winter adventure buddy @mikethyking! πŸ˜Šβ„οΈβ›ΈπŸ—»
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#banff #banffsprings #fairmontbanffsprings #explorealberta #travelalberta #explorebanff #iceskating #skating #frozenthrone #alberta #longweekend #weekend #mikeandlindork #winteractivities #winteradventures
  • Brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch brunch 😍
πŸ“Έ pictured: the chocolate fondue banana pancakes at the #WaldhausPub @FairmontBanff Springs. πŸ‘ŒπŸ» (eggs benny #yolkporn in my Story!)
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#banff #mybanff #banffsprings #waldhaus #chocolatebanana #bananapancakes #pancakes #chocolatefondue #chocolatepancakes #brunch #sundaybrunch #fairmonthotels #sundayfunday #banfffood #explorealberta #travelalberta #banana #bananagram #explorebanff #travelbanff #banffbrunch
  • Convinced @mikethyking to stop at a couple of #InstagrammableWalls we missed on our last Calgary visit. πŸ˜œπŸ˜ŠπŸ“Έ He’s a great #InstagramHusband. We also visited a pop-up wall students worked on at @itsallatthejube (swipe πŸ‘ˆπŸ» to see). They said the project was inspired by my Guide to #IGWallsofYYC blog post! πŸ™πŸ» When blogs/social media inspire action... πŸ’• It was really cool to see (you can see it too! On display til Mar 30). πŸ’–
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  • This #longweekend @mikethyking & I are in Calgary & Banff! I was excited to try sandwich shop & deli @EmpireProvisions and it did not disappoint! 🐷 The porchetta sandwich with rosemary garlic salsa verde was UNBELIEVABLE. One of those first bite makes you exclaim oh my god, kind of dishes. πŸ€€πŸ™πŸ»Must return to try their other sandwiches!! Thanks for the recommendation @jaypeacee! Happy Long Weekend everyone!!
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#yyc #yycfood #capturecalgary #calgary #calgaryfood #calgaryeats #empireprovisions #porchetta #porchettasandwich #porkbelly #salsaverde #omgsogood #explorealberta #travelalberta #foodblogger #happylongweekend
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#chucmungnammoi #vietnamesenewyear #tet #yearofthedog #lunarnewyear #chinesenewyear #LNY2018 #newyear #asiannewyear #zodiac #yeg #yegdogs #yegpets #tailsofyeg #edmontondogs #edmonton #exploreedmonton #terwillegardogpark #dogpark #furfamily #cutedogs #dogphotoshoot #dogsofig #yegdog #familyphoto #beaglesofig #justbeagles #huskycross #oliveandartie
  • Things I love ❀️ that are all in this photo:
β€’ My Valentine @mikethyking 😚
β€’ This romper dress 😍
β€’ Better weather. πŸ™πŸ»
Hope everyone has a sweet Valentine’s Day!
(or just a good Wednesday). πŸ’•
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#valentines #valentinesday #myvalentine #lovelove #yeg #yegtoyyz #yyz #mikeandlindork #mikeandlinda #love #romper #romperdress #husbandwife #toronto #torontolife #seetorontonow #lumarestaurant #travelbuddies #bae #alwaysandforever #bluesuit #couplegoals #mixedcouple
  • Ahead of #ValentinesDay πŸ’•, I thought I’d throw back to this super cute photo of Olive on her Valentine’s spaghetti date with Australian Labradoodle Flynn! He didn’t really share the noodles. They’re no longer together. πŸ‘€πŸ˜‚ Click the link in my bio for some Valentine’s (or galentines or palentines) #ExploreEdmonton date ideas I shared on @CTVEdmonton this week! πŸ’—
πŸ“Έ photo cred: @jsp.photo πŸ“Έ
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LINDORK