Niagarans craving their favourite dishes of the past will be satisfied with a new dinner series at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. The dining room at Benchmark Restaurant has come alive with the return of notable Niagara chefs to the kitchen to produce their signature dishes with a team of students from the culinary programs. The inaugural dinner was hosted by Chef Mark Picone and enjoyed by a sold-out room that was privy to the description of each dish and the wine pairings.
In attendance at this dinner were those who craft their wines using the grapes of Chef Mark Picone’s vineyard, located on his Vineland estate. Presenting to the dishes with which the wines were paired was Sue-Ann Staff, winemaker and proprietor of Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery, who presented her first-ever sparkling wine. Shauna White, winemaker at Ravine Estate Vineyard, presented her Picone Vineyard Cabernet France, and Charles Baker, proprietor of the Charles Baker Wines virtual label, presented his Picone Vineyard Riesling. Also included in the pairings for the dinner was a wine crafted at the Niagara College Teaching Winery, which was presented by Terrence Van Rooyen, head winemaker and mentor to students of the Winery and Viticulture Technician program at the Institute.
Most important was the inclusion of the students in each element of the meal. The student team responsible for each course presented their dish to the room, giving the crowd a window into Chef Mark Picone’s role as their mentor and to the culinary talents cultivated in the kitchen labs at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute.
To indulge in one of these exquisite meals, make your reservations quickly. While some are already sold out, a limited number of tickets will be released to the public the week of the event.
March 6 – Chef Olaf Mertens
March 22 – Chef Osvaldo Avila
April 4 – Chef Tony de Luca
April 25 – Chef Avi Hollo
May 9 – Chef Michael Olson
To learn more about the signature series, visit the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Facebook Page where each dinner is listed under the Events!