The past month at KITCHEN has been a whirlwind of activity, with the grand finale being a winemaker’s dinner last week.

Any winemaker’s dinner is special, as it is an opportunity for me as a chef to work closely with a winemaker create a menu that pairs with their wines. What made this winemaker’s dinner epic was that we had two winemakers from two different countries in KITCHEN.

The Enotri wine agency hosted Andreas from the Bender winery in Germany and Camilla from Massimago winery in Italy in Alberta for a few days last week. I had the unique opportunity to spend time with all of these talented individuals. The floods in Calgary prevented the winemakers from travelling down south, so I was given the chance to host a last minute winemaker’s dinner.

The wines from both of these winemakers were very different.

WINEMAKERS 046Andreas produces wines from the Mosel region of Germany and his wines taste like no other German wine I have had. One guest commented, “This doesn’t taste anything like a German wine. It’s not sweet.” German wines are known for their sweetness but Andreas is changing that perception with his well-balanced, flavorful wines. His wines were great with so many different foods, but the best pairing on this night was with roast asparagus and halibut in a morel mushroom cream sauce. While Andreas makes most of his wines in his garage, you’d never guess it, as his wines grace many cellars, including the Chancellor of Germany and I will be stocking them at KITCHEN in Edmonton.

WINEMAKERS 044Camilla is a winemaker from the Vento region of Italy and she has some stunning Italian red wines. The Valpolicella Superior was my favorite, although her Amarone was absolutely magical, especially when you consider that we had 2 bottles out of her very limited 5000 bottle production. It is a velvety and rich wine with flavours of cherries and leather. It was truly outstanding and the only thing that could match the wine was the beautifully hand-crafted Audrey chocolate bar from JACEK, which is made with toasted pistachios and dried cherries. Camilla has entered into a business dominated by men who can be a bit old school. I will be cheering her on as I am confident she will be making a name for herself in the Italian wine business for years to come.

We also had a KITCHEN first, with dinner guest, Satya Das, coming into the kitchen of KITCHEN to make a vegetarian entree for himself and friend Tricia from The Cavern. It was great pleasure to welcome Satya into my kitchen.

Great thanks to my friends at Enotri wine agency, Eberhard and Satya, and my wife Leanne, for helping me to host Andreas and Camilla and stage this memorable event.

Here are some great pictures of the evening. After all this fun and wine adventure, it’s safe to say we will be having more of these nights soon!


Camilla and I talking important wine talk.


The first guest cook in my kitchen at KITCHEN, Satya Das.


Andreas loving our local Alberta cuisine!


Guests enjoying good conversation and great wines.


Mary Bailey, publisher of The Tomato, along with Camilla, Andreas and me at the end of this fun night.