Nick Lees: Edmonton Culinary Master Sonny Sung Delivers Evario Truffle, Wine Charity Dinner

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Sonny Sung has won gold medals at the World Culinary Olympics and is recognized as one of North America’s top chefs.

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He was exactly the acclaimed chef Keshav Pareek was looking for when he opened his 123-room Holiday Inn South on Parsons Road in late 2019.

“Our Evario center is under the same roof as our hotel and thanks to Sonny’s skills, we believe the restaurant will become a favorite with many people,” says Pareek, accountant, who has two Guru restaurants in booming Indian cuisine in its business profile. .

Sung’s first major event at the hotel, Truffles and Mighty Bottles Dinner, took place last week, featuring five courses paired with six exceptional wines.

“I was the first chef to introduce truffle dinners to Edmonton about 20 years ago, when some thought truffles from the Italian region of Alba in Piedmont would be too expensive,” says the Taiwanese. Sung, who has developed his remarkable skills working in the kitchens of Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland. “My response was that truffles are the king of good food.

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“Truffle dinners now take place in Edmonton every year and the (Wednesday) dinner was about showing what we can do. I was delighted to see guests from previous truffle dinners attend. Their applause showed that they clearly enjoyed the experience.

Alberta breeder Fred Salvisberg, one of 40 diners who paid $ 140 each for the sumptuous meal, said he knew Sung had a “special talent” and bought four tickets to the dinner.

“Sonny’s culinary creations blew my guests away,” says Salvisberg. “It was a highlight, lesson after lesson.”

Photos of the Truffle & Mighty Bottles dinner event by Chef Sonny Sung at the Evario Kitchen and Bar located at 950 Parsons Road in Edmonton on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 (Photo by Walter Tychnowicz / Wiresharp Photography)
Photos of the Truffle & Mighty Bottles dinner event by Chef Sonny Sung at the Evario Kitchen and Bar located at 950 Parsons Road in Edmonton on Wednesday, December 15, 2021 (Photo by Walter Tychnowicz / Wiresharp Photography)

Sung already has a strong following in Edmonton, having been executive chef and co-owner of Claude Buzon’s Claude’s on The River years ago before becoming a corporate executive chef and partner of Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group.

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The COVID-19 pandemic had hit his Bistecca restaurant in Sorrentino hard when he received a call from NAIT asking if he would be interested in leading students in small cooking classes. He enjoyed teaching for eight months, he says, before being invited to join Evario last May.

Always known for its innovation, it is its “crispy poached egg” with asparagus and black truffle shavings on the second course that created a popular buzz during the truffle dinner.

“The top of the egg is carefully cracked, the yoke and egg white are then placed in a plastic bag with truffle in it and poached before being put back into the shell,” says Sung.

How did he acquire such ideas?

“Everyone discovers a love for something when they’re young and mine was for food,” says the chef.

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“But my parents, like many other Asians of their generation, believed that women belonged to the kitchen and that men should become doctors, engineers or lawyers.

“I believe that if you let a young person follow an interest, it could lead to a profession where he will thrive and be happy all his life.”

Sung’s nine-year-old daughter Jacqueline now has her own YouTube program talking about fashion and home decor, mentored by her mother Priscilla.

Wild mushroom ravioli with cheese and truffle shavings was the third course of the evening, followed by the main course, Alberta bison braised in Amarone wine. It included a purée of roasted parsnip in truffle oil and shavings of black winter truffle.

“We buy locally if we can and feel that we are often lucky enough to be able to offer bison, elk and venison from Alberta,” says Sung.

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“Albertans love meat, and although good cuts of steak sell out of the market, we have iron steak or butler. “

Iron steak is the beef shoulder muscle of cattle and after aging for 32 days, it makes wonderful, tender and flavorful meat, he says.

“A couple ordered it well done and I suggested it should be enjoyed on medium rare,” Sung said. “They didn’t agree, so I served both. They said the medium-rare was the easy winner. Personally, I think it’s three times better than tenderloin or rib eye.

This was after the Black Forest Pavlova dessert Pareek told me it was the first of a number of charity events he was hoping to help organize. The evening supported the Zebra Child Protection Center.

The wine poured for the first course – goat cheese over crostini drizzled with truffle oil – was Ruggeri’s Rose di Pinot sparkling wine from Veneto, northeastern Italy. It is made from grape varieties authorized in Champagne, Pinot Nero, Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco. It talks about fruit, suggests a sprinkling of yeast, and will go well with many flavors.

The wine paired with the bison at Amarone was a three-liter (double magnum) vertical of Capezzanna’s Ghiae della Furba, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that Susan Giacomin, co-owner of Wine Quest marketing, had booked for a small intimate dinner . .

The 1999, 2000 and 2013 were well structured, elegant and suggested juicy fresh fruit. Tenuta Capezzana is a Tuscan vineyard dating from AD 804.

All dinner wines are available at Prestige Wine and Spirits on 23 Avenue, but expect Capezzanna’s early vintages to be long gone.

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