Canadian Chefs Cook up Regional Cuisine at UMass Amherst’s Berkshire Dining Commons on Oct. 19

AMHERST, Mass. - Nine chefs from universities in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec will prepare the "Flavors of Canada" on Tuesday, Oct. 19 from 5-9 p.m. at the Berkshire Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The chefs, who hail from the universities of British Columbia, Western Ontario, Guelph and McGill University, will showcase students’ favorites and regional specialties from their home campuses. The featured recipes will include mesquite-grilled wild British Columbian salmon with blueberry grapefruit salsa and West Coast bannock, braised beef short rib pate chinois with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, Ontario maple- roasted vegetables, vegetable-crusted chicken and spicy tomato sauce. Each university will provide two main entrees, two side dishes and a dessert.

The event is part of UMass Dining Services’ Visiting College Chef Series. UMass students will be asked to select for their favorite item from each university.

"This is the first time for us to invite four Canadian university chefs at one time to join us for this special event," says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst. "It will probably be a ‘first’ for the nine Canadian chefs to all be cooking together at an American university."

According to Toong, Canadian cuisine varies from region to region and has been strongly influenced by many races. The native heritage introduced foods such as buffalo, wild rice and of course, maple syrup. The earliest settled regions, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, have particularly rich traditions developed by the French, Scots and Irish settlers. Ontario and Quebec are known for maple syrup and related products and Quebec, in particular has its specialty dishes like tourtiere or meat pie. The prairie provinces provide wheat, corn, pork and beef that is the envy of the world. Southern Ontario and British Columbia have vast market gardens and orchards, as well as vineyards. Extensive coastlines east, west and north provide delicacies including lobster, Arctic char and smoked salmon. This rich base of regional specialties and products was enriched by European immigrants from Germany, Italy and the Ukraine. Other waves of immigrants brought with them hot spices from the Caribbean, curries from India, satays from Indonesia, sushi from Japan and rice dishes from many provinces of China.

"All people who came to Canada brought traditions with them and--true to the Canadian mosaic--adapted them to local conditions," Toong says. "The Flavors of Canada event is one you won’t want to miss. Not only will our students able to sample some delicious dishes, but become a little more familiar with some culinary traditions of our northern neighbor. Chefs will do a demonstration and give a brief talk on the cuisine that they selected to represent their particular region of Canada."

The event is open to the public for $12.50 per person.