Monday, April 18, 2011

Nuevo Latino Cuisine chez Raza


Being a food blogger for over 2 years, I never expect that I would be a part of a food blogging community where I receive numerous invitations to foodie events. Last Tuesday, I received an invitation for a private cooking class from the chef himself, Mario Navarette Jr. who EnRoute magazine voted him as one of the top 10 new Canadian Chefs in November 2005. The cooking class occurs at his restaurant Raza where he offers a gastronomic experience in which he blends his Peruvian roots into Quebec products in a modern interpretation. Modern also means that a bit of molecular gastronomy is involved with fancy machines such as an anti-griddle, sous-vide and smoking guns. The evening was full of amazement. All the dishes were a work of art: simple, colourful and each ingredient is carefully placed with a tweezer onto the plate. I can tell you that I have an amazing experience and learn a lot about Nuevo Latino cuisine.

This evening was a 6-course meal with wine pairing. The meal started with a cream of mushroom soup, not any mushroom soup. The soup is made first in a pot, then poured into a carafe and applewood smoke is added with a smoking gun. The idea of this soup is to bring the smoke to your table. A plate of mushrooms is placed in front of me, and the waitress poured the liquid into the bowl. The smoky flavours give an interesting taste to the soup. Here are some quick clips:

The second dish is a take of the Peruvian classic ceviche. Ceviche is basically fresh fish cooked in lemon or lime juice, no heat required. This ceviche was fluke fish cooked in lime juice, with garlic, jalapeno and serrano chlorophyll, served on a bed of sweet potato purée with a few drops of squid ink.


The next dish is a modern interpretation of a Peruvian classic: Papas à la Huancaína. My Peruvian friend Jorge made  this dish two years ago, click here for the recipe. Chef Navarette called his modern version: The Garden.  A rich, creamy and spicy huancaína sauce is covered inside a pile of mashed potatoes, sprinkled with lots of dried mushrooms and topped with baby carrots and asparagus.


The last savory dish was shrimp poached with butter in a sous-vide machine cooked at a temperature for about 45 mins. This was served with blue potatoes, pickled onions and radishes.


Now, onto the dessert... The first was a Jamaican flower jello topped with spinach, kiwi and avocado (green) caps and mango (yellow) caps. These caps are made on a anti-griddle which freezes the surface of liquid instantly.



Finally, the last dessert was a tres leches cake made with condensed, evaporated and coconut milk. This pound cake is cooked in a microwave for 30 seconds from its batter form. This is served with a sugar cane ice cream and Nutella reduced in a powder from the tapioca maltodextrin. This powdered Nutella simply melt in your mouth. This is a great dessert to end the evening.


I have to admit that this is the first time that I have been to his restaurant and enjoy my first dining experience at Raza in the company of other MTL food bloggers. I also went to his other restaurant last Sunday for brunch with 5 co-workers at Madre and I can tell you that the brunch (only available on Sunday) was well worth the money and the portions were very generous. 

26 comments:

  1. Looks like a very delicious demonstration! How nice to get an invitation from the Chef! The food looks delicious, and inventive :)

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  2. Looks awesome demonstration.It will be real honor to to get invitation chef himself. Love to try that jelly.

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  3. Oh Yum! everything looks fab, especially the nutella dessert at the end. What a great evening!

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  4. Wow, everything looks fantastic! Invitation from the chef! That's a wonderful experience!

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  5. Yummy and colorful dishes... Looks delish...

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  6. that must be such an experience for you! i only know the 1st and the last dish and what in interesting way to serve mushroom soup and that' garden' realy looks like ' garden' and the fish dish sounds delicious!

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  7. You're a lucky chap to get invitations. Well done!

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  8. Congrats on being invited to a gastronomic dining experience, by no less than the Chef himself. Looks like an unforgettable evening with the molecular cuisine demonstration and beautiful courses served.

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  9. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Wow! I cannot believe how gorgeous each dish here looks. That must have been such a treat to have such a wonderful demonstration:)

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  10. Everything looks very delicious especially the dessert.

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  11. What an incredible experience. Each dish is an absolute work of art.

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  12. What a fun and tasty experience.

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  13. What a fun experience! The dishes look very inviting and delicious!

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  14. What a treat! You completely deserve it:)

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  15. I am every so slightly very very jealous :) But this sounds like an amazing experience, and who knew 30 second cake would taste so delicious?

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  16. @Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane I wish I have taken the video of it, it was impressive how the batter expands in the microwave.

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  17. It sounds like a wonderful experience and I must admit to a bit of envy :). I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  18. I think that is my favorite thing about being a part of a food blogging community is finding those opportunities I never thought imaginable. Most of my friends are not foodies, and we don't talk about cooking. I finally found folks I can to relate to about that passion and it excites me!

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  19. How lucky you are! I have never been invited to any foodie events ;). Everything looks so posh there...:).

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  20. what an incredible experience, everything looks so good!

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  21. I never seen anything like this, looks really delicious!

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  22. You lucky duck, what a fabulous experiance! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  23. How fun and great experience! I loving doing things like that

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