You’re invited to the best herb garden in town!

Calling all gardeners & herb lovers:  spend a day in the country with us at home-grown Midsummer Herbfest this Sunday (July 28).  You will find our own  Accredited Sommelier, Debbie Trenholm, MCing the ever popular Chef Cook-off. You may have caught her on this morning’s CTV Ottawa Morning where she was with one of the ‘competing’ local chefs – Josh Gillard who is the new owner of Ottawa’s Must Wine Bar & Kitchen.

Watch the video of Josh creating this recipe below…in 4 minutes flat!

 What is the Chef Cook-off all about?

It is a fun & friendly competition of 3 local chefs who will whip up dishes before your eyes as you learn about their culinary techniques. Here`s the exotic dishes that Chef Josh Gillard will be creating during his lunchtime presentation.

Photo on set (left to right: Debbie, Jeff Hopper – CTV host, Chef Josh, Laurie (Josh’s wife) & Bruno (Herbfest PR Director)



More about competing Chef #2: Josh Gillard

Executive Chef/Owner of The Galley at The Nepean Sailing Club, is a graduate from the Culinary Arts program at Algonquin College.    Josh grew up with a taste for cooking from a very young age. Josh’s 15 years in the culinary industry have included positions in many acclaimed restaurants in Ottawa. Josh’s specialties include French Cuisine, Italian, Mediterranean and Tapas styles. Josh enjoys creating straight forward dishes using the seasons’ best to using his creative side bringing flavours together that are unforgettable.   Josh invites you to come and share the “nautical vacation hospitality”, relaxed and attentive service, tucked-away on the second floor within the warmth of the Nepean Sailing Club.

His most recent endeavor includes ownership of a wine and small plates establishment, located in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market called Must Wine Bar & Kitchen. This quaint little gem is revolutionizing Ottawa’s palate through exciting food and wine pairings, and offering a selection of high-end wines by the glass.  Josh and his culinary team offer small plates of exquisite arrangements of many flavours & textures that are a MUST try! Wine flights and pairings by the glass accompany the many exciting creations you’ll come to enjoy at Must.

At the Chef Cook-off, the crowd will be oohing and  ahhing while Josh makes Elderberry Bison with elderberry infused sambuca reduction,  caramelized apples & burnt scape goat cheese

See you there!

Elderberry sambuca

4cups fresh or frozen elderberries
4oz elderberry syrup or must
750 ml black sambuca

Combine ingredients and store for 30 days, then strain


Elderberry sambuca reduction

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp elderberry jam or jelly
1/4 small red onion
2 oz elderberry sambuca
6 oz beef stock (or bison)
2 oz 35% cream
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a pan, add red onions and jam. Cook for 1 min then add sambuca, light on fire and let it go out on its own.
Add beef or bison stock and reduce to half; then add cream and reduce by another half.  Season with salt & pepper.

Scape pesto goat cheese

1 cup chopped scapes
2 fresh cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmesan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
500g goat cheese (room temp)

In a food processor, combine scapes, garlic and almonds and pulse till fine, then slowly add olive oil.
Thicken by adding parmesan, then sugar to cut back on bitterness. Add salt and pepper to taste and lastly, combine with goat cheese to desired flavor


Caramelized apples

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 thinly sliced apples
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat butter till melted then add sliced apples and sauté for 1 min on high heat.  Reduce heat and add sugar.
Cook till sugar begins to brown, remove from heat and pan.


Elderberry almond bark

1 cup roasted almonds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup water

Roast almonds in the oven till lightly browned, then cool almonds and put in a ziplock bag and roughly crush with a mallet.
Melt butter in a pan and add brown sugar and water.
On low heat cook till mixture begins to thicken and add honey and cook for 1 more minute.
Add crushed almonds and remove from heat and mix till fully coated and then pour onto butter sprayed parchment.  Let cool and then break into pieces.
Store layered with parchment in a dry place.


Elderberry cider vinaigrette

1/4 cup Elderberry must or syrup
2 tbs sugar (more if desired)
1/3cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup strongbow or desired cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar1tsp black pepper
Salt to taste if desired

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate, then whisk together (or in a bottle and shake).


Arugula salad


Cut an avocado in half and remove the pit.  Score in centimeter squares using a butter knife, being careful not to puncture the skin.
In a bowl mix baby arugula, elderberry vinaigrette and avocado, using a spoon to skim it from the skin.
Set aside and let arugula take in the flavors.

To Assemble – putting your bison & accompaniments all together as a full meal

Season bison with salt and pepper and sear on all sides in a pan with butter.
With the bison still in the pan, start to make the reduction, add red onions and elderberry jam then add elderberry sambuca and burn off alcohol. Remove bison from the pan and set aside on a pan to purge.
Add stock, reduce then add cream and reduce further. Then remove sauce from heat or leave on ultra low.
In a separate pan start to caramelize the apples.
On a plate take some of the goat cheese and make into 2 thin patties about 3 inches in diameter

To plate everything nicely together…

Start by plating the salad as its served cold. Lay down a bed on each plate of arugula, trying to save the avocado for the top. Crush or chop the almond bark and sprinkle over the salad.
Place bison on the grill or very briefly in the oven, making sure to just reheat and not cook further.
On the other half of the plate, first start with a pool of the reduction, then place the bison in the center.
Then take the caramelized apples and put on top of the bison and the goat cheese patty on top of the apples. With a kitchen torch(or blow torch) char the top of the goat cheese.

Serve immediately with a well paired wine and enjoy!


Never been to Herbfest?

Boasting over 100 vendors and artisans, with back-to-back lectures, the fun Chef Cook-off, live entertainment, and plenty more with lots of time to relax in the sunshine and meander through the beautiful landscaped herbal garden beds.

Don’t miss our Cheese Sommelier, Vanessa Simmons who will be under the big top tent with nibbles of artisan cheeses for her presentation: Summer Cheese Sizzlers – A Tasty Discovery of What’s Hot in Local Artisan Cheese. Don’t miss this fun day out for the whole family!

More about Herbfest at www.herbfest.ca

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