November 2003 Edition
The Flavour of Canada

Sean Doucet, CEC, Executive Chef

Delta Barrington & Delta Halifax

The Delta Barrington & Delta Halifax are the largest hotel operation in Halifax, offering a total of 500 rooms. Delta Barrington is a boutique, city-centre property that attracts primarily business-oriented clientele and discerning leisure guests. The Delta Barrington is joined by a pedway across Barrington Street to the Delta Halifax, which serves both the conference/ business or family leisure guest.

The Delta Barrington offers executive meeting/conference & banquet service, in-room dining, and semi-casual dining at the Stone Street Café, or guests can meet for a quiet drink at Trader's Bar. The Delta Halifax offers similar conference meal service as well as both traditional fare and innovative regional cuisine at its outlets: the Crown Bistro and Sam Slick’s Lounge.

Outlets Manager, Sue Warner, notes that the Delta's proximity to other downtown attractions is a big advantage. 'We’re very close to the Metro Centre and the World Trade and Convention Centre so we certainly get a lot of diners as a result of concerts, sporting events, high-profile extravaganzas like the Nova Scotia Tattoo and the public trade and exhibit shows. We’re also very close to the Halifax waterfront, which attracts a lot of tourists, especially during the summer months.'

Delta’s Executive Chef, Sean Doucet is responsible for menu creation both at the four food and beverage outlets and for banquets. Says Sean 'I strongly believe that dining is about much more than eating. I want to deliver a dining experience that will excite people. I have aimed for that by developing innovative dishes that feature fresh ingredients, careful preparation and beautiful presentation.'

As a seafood lover working in the Maritimes, Chef Doucet couldn’t be happier. 'I usually have at least fifty percent seafood content on the menu. Visitors to Nova Scotia expect to see it and I'm happy to oblige because I love preparing seafood.'

Growing up in the French Acadian community of Pont d'Eglise in southwestern Nova Scotia - where fishing is an important industry - also gave him insights on the preparation of seafood. 'I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment with an appreciation of great food. I've always understood that fresh ingredients from local suppliers are fundamental; I think I had an innate sense of that when I was young, working for local fisherman, butchers and farmers.'

Regardless of whether the dish is from land or sea, Doucet strives to deliver innovative selections and has developed such favourites as Truffle Scented Lobster Risotto with Frizzled Leeks & Chive Oil and Roasted Veal Noisette.

And says Doucet, being Executive Chef at the Delta is about more than just menu creation. 'I'm not just creating menus, I am managing a large staff. There's a strong leadership aspect to my job, and this helps me keep sight of the fact that I'm running a business operation. Although my responsibilities are different than the sales and reservation staff, we're all part of the same profitable commercial enterprise.'

Key to the Delta's success has been their ability to challenge traditional expectations when it comes to banquet dining. 'People have low expectations of meal quality and presentation for banquets, but there's no reason why a banquet meal should be any less satisfying than a restaurant meal. I've developed 'restaurant quality banquets' here at the Delta. Our banquet meals are served straight off the line, we don’t use hot boxes for storing meals after they come out of the ovens - and our guests tell us that they've never had banquet food of this calibre. I have no hesitation in saying it is the best in the city.'

The Delta Halifax and the Delta Barrington have been partners with Sysco for several years. 'We use Sysco for a number of reasons, most importantly for its customer service, which is fantastic. Sysco is the biggest and the best at what it does, and I think the size and scope of its operations allow the company to offer more options and flexibility to customers like Delta.' says Doucet.

By the end of 2004, the Delta Barrington and Delta Halifax will have completed an extensive two-year capital renovation process. This final stage will include complete renovations to the hotels’ food and beverage outlets and banquet facilities. Guests can be assured that along with the renovations, the Delta hotels will continue to serve up wonderful meals, combined with attentive service, in an inviting atmosphere. ¨

Lemongrass Speared Halibut with Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Serves 8

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple (the sweeter 'golden' pineapple is recommended) 1/2

Red onion, finely diced 1/2

Red pepper, finely diced 60 mL or 4 Tbsp

Rice wine vinegar 30 mL or 2 Tbsp

Honey, vary amount depending upon sweetness of pineapple 15 mL or 1 Tbsp

Chopped cilantro or parsley 15 mL or 1 Tbsp

  • Remove skin from pineapple, cut pineapple in half and remove core. Cut pineapple into one-half inch (1 cm) thick slices and grill until they are marked and golden brown in colour.
  • When pineapple has cooled, dice it twice the size of the onion and pepper and mix all together in a bowl. In a jar, combine vinegar, honey and cilantro; pour over pineapple mixture, season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Lemongrass Halibut

Halibut fillet 2 kg or 4 lbs

Bunch lemongrass 1 bunch

Whole lemon 1

Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Portion the halibut into 8 pieces that are 7-8 ounces (220-250 g) each. Cut lemongrass in half lengthwise (if they are really big they can be quartered). Spear the halibut with the lemongrass, going with the grain through one side to the other.
  • Heat a medium size cast iron or non-stick skillet until hot. Pour a small amount of oil into the pan, season the fish with salt and pepper and sear in pan for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. The fish should be finished in a 375° F (190° C) oven for a couple of minutes until it is firm to the touch.
  • To serve, spoon salsa over one side of the fish. This is very nice served with a risotto or sweet potato mash.