Visa Infinite Dining Series at YEW restaurant and bar
On Saturday evening, a fortunate group of Visa Infinite cardholders were wined and dined by Canadian Celebrity Chef and restaurant owner Lynn Crawford and YEW restaurant + bar’s executive chef Ned Bell at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.
Owner and Chef Lynn Crawford with Executive Chef of YEW restaurant +Bar Ned Bell
Those lucky enough to have secured a seat for the evening were certainly not disappointed with the six-course feast that was served, each paired with a premium Okanagan wine.
Premium Okanagan Wines that were paired with each course of the dining series
Chef Lynn Crawford, the former executive chef at the Four Seasons in Toronto and New York, may be better known by some for her appearances on the hit Food Network shows Restaurant Makeover and Iron Chef America and more recently through the Food Network Canada series entitled Pitchin' In.
Lynn Crawford - Owner & Chef, Ruby Watchco, Toronto
Chef Ned Bell, meanwhile, is a relative newcomer to the Vancouver restaurant scene, having only taken up the executive chef role with the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver in 2011. However, don't let Chef Ned's youthful looks fool you, as he also has a strong pedigree, having worked in some of Vancouver's top fine dining restaurants including Lumiere and Le Crocodile, training under two legendary Vancouver chefs Rob Feenie and Michael Jacob.
You can't help but love Chef Ned's approach to his dishes, combining fresh, healthy and local seasonal ingredients. His food philosophy is ‘Globally Inspired and Locally Created,’ a process that begins with premium ingredients, sourcing the best of what is available locally and seasonally, and then focusing on flavour. These elements were certainly on show for all Saturday evening.
Ned Bell - Executive Chef , YEW restaurant + Bar, Vancouver
The evening began with a cocktail reception featuring a celebration of West Coast Ocean Wise Seafood including an oyster bar with freshly shucked Kusshi, Gorge Inlet, Kumsmoto, Royal Miyagi and Effingham oysters. The oysters were perfectly accompanied by the 2007 Sumac Stellar's Jay Brut and one of my personal favourite wines for the evening, the 2010 Tantalus Vineyards Riesling.
Selection of Oysters from BC Waters
In addition to the oyster bar, a range of other dishes were served including an Organic Ocean Albacore Tuna, the BC Spot Prawn Salad and Qualicum Bay Scallops. This quality selection of dishes was the perfect start to the evening. If this was the standard of food we were going to be treated to for the evening we were certainly in for a special evening.
A wonderful array of appetizers to start the evening
Soon after the guests took their seats the first course arrived - the Cowboy Spiced Bison Carpaccio Salad. After over-eating a little too early in the evening, the Carpaccio Salad was a great dish to have first up. The theme of having visually appealing dishes was also continued as this one was perfect for the photographers. The wine again was equally impressive. Whoever made the rule that red meat and white wine should not be paired had obviously not tried this combination, as the La Frenz Semillion Knorr Vineyard paired really well with the dish.
Chef Ned Bell putting the finishing touches on the First Course: Cowboy Spiced Bison Carpaccio Salad
By the time the next course arrived I had my second wind and was eagerly anticpating this dish, rumor had it that one single fish was going to be feeding a room of 90 guests. As hoped the West Coast Halibut was fresh, seculent and tender and the Chimichurri sauce and Maestro Pepper Relish provided some punch and flavour to the dish.
Second Course: First of the Season West Coast Halibut with Crispy Chick Peas, Chimichurri, Windset Farms Maestro Pepper Relish and Smoked Sea Salt
With three courses down we were now ready for the feature course, a slow roasted Pemberton Meadows Beef Tenderloin accompanied by mashed potatoes with Sing Lobster whipped throughout it, oh and Chef Lynn's secret ingredient...love. If this wasn't enough, this dish was also paired with the Bordeaux inspired blend from Mission Hill Family Estate, the 2008 Oculus, which is the eleventh vintage for the wine that is the ultimate in Mission Hill’s portfolio. I had eagerly awaited my first taste of this wine, which did not disappoint. Although probably needing another 3-5 years age to soften up and develop further, I was not about to complain as I was drinking one of one of the most expensive table wines made in the Okanagan.Third Course: Pemberton Meadows Beef Tenderloin with Sing Lobster Mashed Potatoes
What a night this had been, great food, wonderful wine and as we were seated at a communal table it also provided an excellent opportunity to meet and mingle with other food and wine enthusiasts. But the night was not over, we were down to the penultimate course, a selection of Dairy Farmers of Canada cheeses. Whilst absolutely delicious, I was grateful for the bite-sized portions as I could not have handled a belly full of cheese at this late stage of the evening. Fourth Course: Dairy Farmers of Canada Cheese
I couldn't believe it, we were finally down to the final course a Warm Pear Cake with Bacon Caramel and Fish & Chips...what Fish & Chips? I double-checked the menu and yes that's what we were going to be served, but with a twist. The "fish" was actually apple fritters and the "chips" were thinly sliced apple chips, what a great twist on a old classic. Even better was the Inniskillin Okanagan Vineyards Winery 2007 Vidal Icewine, which was absoluetly stunning and the perfect way to end the evening.
Fifth Course: Warm Pear Cake with Bacon Caramel
Fifth Course: Bruno's 'Fish & Chips' with apple crisps, apple fritters and 'Tartar Sauce'
I had heard good things about Visa Infinite events but this one just exceeded any and all expectations. YEW restaurant + bar was the perfect venue for this evening, set in the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel. From the servers and kitchen staff to the event organizers, we were taken care of from the minute we stepped through the front doors. Satisfied paletes and full stomachs was not all that the evenings' guests were left with as each couple also received a Visa Infinite gift bag including a wooden cutting board, two fabulous jams, our special event water glasses from evening and best of all a copy of Chef Lynn Crawford's latest cookbook, Pitchin'in.
I would not hesitate to attend another one of these events and I know I will be back to visit YEW.