November 2004 Edition
Flavour of Canada

Allen Ribble

Executive Chef

The Holiday Inn Airport West

Winnipeg, Manitoba

"My creative juices start flowing when I know that a guest is dining with us for a special occasion, but I also want to enhance people's everyday dining experience."

The Holiday Inn Airport West is a multifaceted property which caters to families, seniors, and children as well as business professionals. Located just 5 kilometres from downtown on the TransCanada Highway, 2520 Portage Avenue, this location is a hub of activity for travelers.

The hotel is home to three dining venues, Bellbottoms Restaurant, The Chateau Riel Room and the Birchwood Ballroom which offer patrons a wide range of dining choices - everything from casual fare, to fine dining to banquet style dining.

"We have a very diversified menu at the Holiday Inn Airport West, it is truly continental as we cater to all kinds of tastes," says Executive Chef Allen Ribble. "We offer Four-Star service and we also offer upon-request custom items for all occasions."

Favourites include everything from Seafood Risotto, Salmon with Mango Sauce, and Blueberry Fusion Chicken to name a few. Ribble draws inspiration for these menu innovations from his belief that all patrons should enjoy a pleasurable dining experience - no matter the occasion.

"My creative juices start flowing when I know that a guest is dining with us for a special occasion, but I also want to enhance people's everyday dining experience," says Ribble.

Ribble was inspired at an early age to become a chef after witnessing a gala ball which involved fine dining with very professional food presentation, including a buffet complete with ice carvings and food platter displays.

He began working in the foodservice business over 38 years ago with CP Hotels, and also spent time working across Canada in rail service before settling in Winnipeg where he has been working at the Holiday Inn Airport West location for the past twenty years.

Working from one central kitchen, Ribble and his team of 12 kitchen staff serve the three major dining venues including of course the Birchwood Ballroom.

"I enjoy hosting large gala dinners - and we have a very special event coming up, the Ducks Unlimited Manitoba Provincial Volunteer Conference, where we will be challenged to create an array of interesting dishes that feature wild game."

For Ribble, Sysco is a one-stop shop and he relies on the advice of his Sysco Marketing Associate Monique Mulaire.

"I enjoy the fact that with Sysco, all deliveries are prompt. The service is excellent. The variety of products is also very appealing and they're always updating products," says Ribble.

"As we work to increase our market share in the Winnipeg Hotel and Restaurant field we will continue to rely on Sysco. We hope that by providing quality in our guest facilities and dining facilities we will make the Holiday Inn Airport West the destination of choice in Winnipeg." ¨

 

Chocolate Meringue Torte

Serves 10

Ingredients:

Meringues

Bitter cocoa powder 35 g or 3 1/2 Tbsp

Confectioners' sugar 150 g or 1 cup

Egg whites 5

White sugar 150 g  or 2/3 cup

Mousse

Semi-sweet chocolate 160 g or 5 1/2 oz

Butter 100 g or 6 1/2 Tbsp

Egg yolks 3

Egg whites 4

White sugar 25 g or 5 tsp

Chocolate strips, for garnish

Method:

  • Preparing the meringues: Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Butter and lightly flour the baking sheet or cover the baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the cocoa powder with the confectioners' sugar and sift together. Beat the egg whites until firm (about 5 minutes) adding 1 1/2 Tbsps (45 mL) sugar halfway through. As soon as the egg whites are stiff, add the remaining sugar at low speed, then with the wooden saptula, quickly fold in the cocoa-sugar mixture.
  • Draw 3 ovals 10 inch by 5 1/2 inch (26 x 14 cm) on the baking sheet to guide you when making the meringues. Take the pastry bag with the 1/2 inch (1 cm) nozzle, fill it with chocolate meringue and make three ovals by squeezing out the meringue in a spiral. Once this is done, using another pastry bag with a 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) nozzle squeezing out all the remaining meringue into long strips.
  • Bake in a 300°F oven for one hour and 5 minutes. Check the colour of the meringue after 15 minutes of baking. The meringues should not brown. If they do, lower the heat of the oven. The Meringue strips will be done first and should be removed from the oven, the large ovals will require approximately 10 minutes longer. When cooked the meringues will be hard and will detach easily from the baking sheet.
  • Prepare the chocolate mousse.
  • When meringue has cooled completely, place one of the ovals on cardboard or platter. Using flexible spatula spread a layer of mousse over the meringue. Place second layer of meringue atop, and then another layer of mousse, then the last meringue. Cover cake completely with the remaining mousse. Garnish with chocolate strips and sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar.

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Rod Schubert C.C.C.

Executive Chef

Wascana Country Club

Regina, Saskatchewan

At left

"I am always thinking about how I can change a dish to make it look better or taste better."

Rod Schubert C.C.C.

Executive Chef

 

Just minutes from downtown Regina, the Wascana Country Club is a haven for golfers. It’s one of just a handful of private golf clubs in Saskatchewan and has earned the distinction of being one of the province's premier courses. The pristine par 72 course is located along Wascana Creek and is carefully landscaped to provide a beautiful well-maintained, well-conditioned course. And, though it is located just a few kilometres from the city, it's quiet enough to give the illusion of being many kilometres out of town.

Members and guests commonly refer to the "WOW" factor to describe the beauty and the character of the Clubhouse facilities which are home to The Spike Lounge which offers causal dining and the Fairway Room which offers fine dining.

In addition to members who join the club primarily to golf, the Wascana also has a very active social membership which allows non-golfers to partake in everything that the Wascana has to offer - including its fabulous on-site dining.

Executive Chef Rod Schubert is responsible for the creation and implementation of menus for all areas of the clubhouse and was drawn to the Wascana as a place where he could utilize his ideas and creativity.

"The Wascana is famous for theme nights, steak nights and special Sunday family events," says Schubert. "And we host birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, business meetings and banquets so I must create and implement a wide variety of menu items for a diverse range of activities."

Of course the club has many regular customers so it’s important that the menu stays interesting.

"My biggest challenge is keeping the menu ideas fresh. As a private club we are dealing with the same clientele on a daily basis," says Schubert.

And while some chefs might find that challenge daunting Schubert thrives on creating new and interesting dishes.

"My need to create comes from my inability to accept things as being good enough as they are. I am always thinking about how I can change a dish to make it look better or taste better."

Schubert's innovative menu ideas were recently recognized at the Canadian Culinary Federation Regina & District's Iron Chef Competition. The competition, which benefited the Regina and District C.C.F. and Special Olympics Saskatchewan, mimicked the popular "Iron Chef" television show. Many chefs from the Regina area participated and Schubert's team took first place. The Strawberry Sable recipe was one of the winning creations.

Schubert has been using Sysco as his primary supplier since he became a chef.

"I use Sysco because of the great service and the quality and variety of products. I also appreciate that they are always on the cutting edge of what is happening in the food service industry."

With food revenues increasingly steadily at the Wascana over the past three years, there are plans in place to expand the kitchen and food outlets. And of course, Schubert is sure to be there, providing innovative menu ideas to make the Wascana Country Club more than just a haven for golfers, but a superlative dining experience as well. ¨

Ken Ramage

Marketing Associate, Sysco Food Services of Regina

4 year service partner to the Wascana Country Club

Sysco Marketing Associate Ken Ramage has been working with the Wascana Country Club since he inherited the account in 2000 and he has never looked back.

"TheWascana Country Club is one of my favourite accounts," says Ken. "It's one of those accounts that I learn from and I use that knowledge when I am serving other accounts."

Ken enjoys working with Executive Chef Rod Schubert and he meets with him about two or three times a week depending upon the season.

"Rod is very organized," says Ken. "And, we're always there to find solutions. The Wascana has high expectations of their suppliers and my challenge is to meet those expectations. With the support I get from the team at Sysco this is much easier to do."

And, Ken's goals for servicing the Wascana Country Club account are simple. "We're both striving to be number one in our industries, and I want to do everything possible to meet or exceed the Wascana's expectations ensuring that Sysco's name is the first one on the speed dial!"

 

Strawberry Sable

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Cookies

Butter 4 oz

Sugar 4 oz

Egg 1

Vanilla 1 tsp

Flour 6 oz

Salt 1/2 tsp

Baking powder 1/2 tsp

Pomegranate Syrup

Water 2 cups

White sugar 10 oz

Pomegranates, crushed 4

Lemon, cut in half 1

Whipped cream

Sliced strawberries

Shaved chocolate

Method:

  • For Cookies: Lightly dust a cutting board and roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 - 21/2 inch rounds and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350°F for 4-6 minutes. (should make about 3 dozen cookies)
  • For Pomegranate Syrup: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to syrup. Strain and cool.
  • To Assemble: On a plate, using 3 cookies per plate, alternate layers of cookie, whipped cream, sliced strawberries and shaved chocolate, finishing with a cookie top. Drizzle with syrup and garnish as desired.