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The Workshop Eatery helps launch new Taste Alberta dining series

On Tuesday April 5th, 2016, Taste Alberta launched a new dining series – Prairie on a Plate – aimed at giving local chefs the opportunity to create a menu that highlights the very best of what is grown, raised, prepared and served in Alberta.

Organizing Swine and Dines for Alberta Pork has been an incredible journey for me in Edmonton; I found that local chefs enjoyed the opportunity to feature local producers. So, I approached Taste Alberta about a dedicated dining series that would not only include Alberta Pork, but feature small-scale farmers to industry partners that make up the entire agriculture industry in Alberta.

Alberta’s prairie boasts a big blue sky and some of the best food producers anywhere – why not have a dining series to showcase and celebrate all of the flavours that come from our incredible province?

Prairie on a Plate

I approached Chef Paul Shufelt to host the inaugural event. I thought he was the perfect fit; when he opened his new restaurant The Workshop Eatery in November, 2015, the menu shined with a number of local producers known for their high quality and fresh taste.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a PlateThe launch of the first Taste Alberta’s Prairie on a Plate dinner was a sell out; over 60 patrons ventured to Summerside in south Edmonton to experience Chef Shufelt’s handcrafted four-course menu.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Guests were greeted with the option of an Eau Claire Distillery three point vodka pink lemonade or an Eau Claire Distillery parlour gin & cucumber soda.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Chef Shufelt served tray-passed appetizers for each table featuring a wheat berry salad with orange, fennel and feta and two-bite servings of heritage angus beef tartar.
Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

I may have had more than one (or two) servings of the beef tartar.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Chef Shufelt also passed out a Bon Ton Bakery heritage grain bread basket and Rock Ridge Dairy house-made butter. The Spaniard was clearly excited about the bread situation.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Our first course for the evening was a take on dish from their regular menu.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a PlateOur AB Farmer’s Cobb salad featured Doef’s Greenhouses butter lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cukes, Irvings Farm Fresh bacon, a 63 degree Four Whistle Farms fresh sous vide egg, blue cheese & Rockridge Dairy buttermilk ranch. The quality of the ingredients shined in this simple yet delicious salad.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Chef Shufelt wanted to include a vegetarian dish on his menu, but was challenged by the limited amount of fresh produce available in early April.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

He ended up cleaning out Riverbend Gardens of the last spaghetti squash leftover from last fall for our second dish for the evening – a squash & red lentil curry.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a PlateThe bowl of Riverbend Gardens spaghetti squash, Gold Forest Grains red lentils, peppers, corn, slivered almonds, coconut milk, and Workshop grown micro cilantro was my favourite of the evening.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate I could easily forgo meat for dinner with this sweet and flavourful dish packed with protein. Thankfully – Chef Shufelt shared the recipe with patrons and for Taste Alberta to share on their website.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

We were treated to Duck Duck Goose for our third dish of the evening with Four Whistle Farms duck breast sharing the plate with Moosewood Acres Goose. Chef Shufelt and his team made a cranberry & sage sausage paired with a duck confit & great white northern bean cassoulet and topped with crispy leeks.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

With a little help from Debra with Alberta Pulse – Chef Shufelt found western Canadian grown great white northern beans at Superstore. Considering 2016 is International Year of Pulses – I think Chef Shufelt did Alberta pulse producers proud with his curried lentil and bean cassoulet dishes.

Workshop Eatery Prairie on a Plate

To finish things off Chef Shufelt served my favourite dessert – crème brulee. We were served a white chocolate & saskatoonberry crème brulee with shortbread cookie on the side. Clean and creamy on top, you had to dig to the bottom of the Four Whistle Farms egg custard to find a layer of Saskatoon berries.

I think Chef Paul Shufelt, along with his staff and culinary team, did an amazing job with Taste Alberta’s inaugural Prairie on a Plate dinner. With my recipe card in tow – I left eager to  try making Chef Shufelt’s squash and red lentil curry at home.

While the Prairie on a Plate menu at The Workshop Eatery was a one-off event, Chef Shufelt has a Taste of Alberta-inspired menu that is worth trying any night of the week.

Prairie on a Plate will be heading to the Harvest Room at the Hotel Macdonald on June 23, 2106. Stay tuned for details on Chef Serge Jost’s menu will also highlight the best of what is grown, raised, prepared and served in Alberta.

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