Pictured here are Janet Henderson of City Palate, Darcy Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Alberta Pork, Chef Robert Jewell winner of Pig & Pinot, and Tanya Koshowski, Executive Director of BB4CK
Pig & Pinot is an annual event hosted by Calgary's City Palate magazine in partnership with Alberta Pork. Taking place as a part of Alberta Pork's "June is Pork Month," chefs are challenged to create an innovative and delicious dish using local pork, which for 2017 was provided by SPRAGG's Meats. This year, Chef Robert Jewell of The Concorde Group, and Executive Chef at Double Zero Pizza in Calgary, took home the award for the best dish at the event. Chef Jewell shared a bit about the inspiration behind his winning dishes with us, and his involvement with Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids whom he donated his winnings to.
Chef Robert Jewell, winner of Pig & Pinot 2017 discusses his inspiration behind the winning dish, and his choice in donating his winnings to the Brown Bags for Calgary Kids organization.
Chef Robert Jewell:
I have been an observer of Pig and Pinot since its inception and this was the first year I was asked to participate.
With that in mind I really looked back at all the years previous to see what the dishes were, win or lose. After contemplating this, I really wanted my dish(es) to have a cohesiveness. So I came up with the idea of providing the guests, and judges, a mini 3 course meal; an appetizer, main and dessert.
I also wanted to use some of the parts of the pig less used by the public to help show off pork in all its glory. I decided on trotters, the head and belly. These parts are super fun to work with and bring huge flavor to any dish you use them in.
My first course was a trotter beignet finished with chimmichurri and fresh bulls blood micro greens. I made a savory buttermilk beignet dough. Braised my trotters in pork stock that I made from the heads after I cleaned them, pulled all the trotter meat and folded in a roasted onion, taleggio and sherry herb cream. Stuffed the beignets with that deliciousness and fried them to order.
Second course was braised pork cheek and jowl with a pork port jus and fresh English pea and mint salad. I cleaned all the pig heads and used the jowl and cheek meat. That same stock I made from the heads for the trotters, I used to braise the cheeks and jowls and amped it up with some boozy apple cider. Then I reduced the braise till it was a demi and fortified it with port. The richness of this dish was balanced by the bright pea and mint salad to finish.
Dessert course was a handmade peanut butter and bacon truffle stuffed with a brandied cherry and topped with crisp guanciale.
I never really saw a ton of desserts at the pig and pinot and really wanted to provide something rich and decadent that still worked well with the pork. So I grabbed some inspiration from Elvis’ favorite sandwich and went from there. It may have stolen the show for a few folks!
I really wanted to show that pork is more than just ribs, chops, sausage and tenderloin so to speak. There are all sorts of great parts of the pig that if you treat them right can be a winner at any dinner table.
I first got involved with BB4CK last year when I was asked to partake in the yearly Off-cuts calendar. I didn't know too much about them at that point and wanted to see what they were all about.
So I went and volunteered to get a better understanding and so I could provide information to people while I raised money selling the Off-cuts calendar.
Well I tell ya, what a treat it was to see firsthand what all these wonderful people do every day to ensure that Calgary kids get fed while at school. I also got a better insight to the actual need in the city for this program and others similar to make sure no kid is left hungry while trying to learn at school. Their motto is a simple one: feed the body to fuel the mind. Most of the time it is not the child's or the parents’ choice to send their kids to school without a lunch, but lots of factors take place that this does, unfortunately, happen. I saw this as a great chance to be a part of my community and to give back to something that I viewed as making a significant difference daily.
The other thing that really hit home for me with this program is that it only takes $20.00 to feed a child for a month while in school. To me this shows that this issue is possible to tackle and can be very successful.
I have since risen over $2500 for the BB4CK program. We have also thrown 2 pizza parties for schools involved with BB4CK. I got my teams at Double Zero Pizza involved as well. Everyone who partakes all come back with the same reaction: they are wowed by the need in the city and amazed at what a great organization BB4CK is.
It is something I hope to be a part of for a long time, and I will do anything I can to lend them a hand. So I saw this win at the Pig and Pinot as another way to help.
City Palate is involved in many Calgary initiatives working to give back to their community. They host the annual Pig and Pinot as a way to bring people together with a love for food.
Alberta Pork and Passion for Pork support a variety of culinary and community initiatives that celebrate a love for pork while giving back to Albertans. Pig and Pinot is one of the initiatives that gives a unique opportunity to award a top chef for their innovative and delicious use of our favourite protein while supporting a local pork producer. Chef Jewell stepped away from traditional cuts to emphasize how versatile pork can be, and impressed all of us with his innovation and talent.
Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids was founded to make sure that no Calgary children went hungry. BB4CK provides lunches to over 100 schools and feeds approximately 2,000 kids a day. The BB4CK community works with 210 schools and impacts approximately 3,200 kids a day who would otherwise go without. About 63 percent of schools are cared for by community groups including retirees, parent groups, local businesses, and kids helping kids. The rest of the lunches are created in our downtown kitchen with the help of volunteer groups. Approximately 2,500 volunteers share their time and talents each year to help make this all possible. Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids is committed to a future Calgary where no child goes hungry. Through awareness and outreach, we will work with every school in our city, identifying needs and empowering Calgarians to create lasting social impact by using their heads, hearts and hands to find ways to feed and care for kids who would otherwise go without.