WHEN the Queen and the Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt Hon Jean Chrétien, officially reopened Canada House in London on 13 May, after its 18-month closure for refurbishment, they were treated to a luncheon buffet prepared and planned by a five-chef team from Canadian Pacific Hotels.
The aim of the buffet was to showcase Canadian ingredients and cuisines, and during the six-month planning stage it was decided that each chef would devise dishes using produce most often associated with his own region. The brief was to come up with a menu of canapés for the 350 invited guests, and Anton Mosimann agreed to give over space at his catering company in south London for advance cooking and assemblage of the cold items.
Newfoundland-based Watson prepared a hot dish of pan-fried cods' tongues, a Newfoundland delicacy, which proved to be one of the most talked-about items on the menu. The tongues are dipped in an egg batter, fried in pork fat and served with scrunchions (scratchings) from the rendered fat.
He also supplied a cold dish of carpaccio of steelhead trout, a deep-red river fish reared in salt water, served with a maple syrup sauce, whose sweetness was offset by lemon juice and mustard.
Soulard, using Québecois produce, devised a hot saté dish based around roosters raised in the province by monks at Charlevoix Abbey, the strong taste holding up well to Oriental flavours. He also included a cold quail suprÁ me made from locally reared, maple-smoked birds, teamed with ratatouille sweetened with maple syrup.
A cold mushroom tart crusted with ground maize topped with seared pigeon breast, using mushrooms and pigeon both from Ontario's Muskoka woods, was one of McNeill's offerings. The dish was topped with thyme-flavoured butternut squash purée. He also included blueberry tarts with apple butter topped with a drizzle of mountain goats' cheese emulsion.
Alberta-based Taylor's section of the menu included a caribou tartare served with bannocks made with wild rice flour and rubbed with Saskatoon berry butter sweetened with birch sap - the berry's taste is like raspberries, but more intense.
Arctic musk ox was one of British Columbia-based Nagata's regional specialities. This mild-flavoured meat, deriving from Banks Island in Canada's North-West Territories, was served in carpaccio form while a relish of sun-dried cranberries accompanied one of his other dishes - rosemary-scented venison.
Wines produced in the country's two main wine regions, the Niagara Falls peninsula and the west coast, were chosen to accompany the dishes. n