Not your average pancake during Van Foodster's Pancake Challenge
Richard Wolak is on roll, challenging the chefs of Greater Vancouver.
His previous poutine challenge aligned with the then hot topic of poutine being our National food. His current challenges though were not spurred by group discussion and merely by an idea that probably came to him in his sleep. On the table now is the Pancake Challenge which wraps up on November 18th and the Burger Challenge which began Monday and runs until November 30th.
I love a good challenge and it seems that Vancouver's chefs do to. Let's face it though, it's a challenge just to survive in the culinary world in this city with the top notch competition that exists. Regardless, many were eager to up the ante and partake in the Pancake Challenge.
In this particular challenge, creativity was key. Chefs were encouraged to dream up savoury and/or sweet pancakes and were given only one rule: each creation must have a minimum of three local ingredients in the dish. The chefs stepped up to the plate with an open mind and produced some very unique dishes.
I took part in the challenge too, but not in the kitchen; I went on a little tour with Richard Wolak to taste a few of the creations alongside Cassandra Anderton of Good Life Van, Louisa Chan of Ming Pao Daily, Thor Diakow from Breakfast Television and Alyssa Dawson from Novus.
The three restaurants we visited were Fishworks (savory), Bob Likes Thai Food (savory) and Catch 122 (sweet).
FISHWORKS - 91 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Fishworks is a restaurant proud to be on the West Coast shown through their utilization of our bountiful, fresh seafood. Their menu boasts a variety of ocean delights but I'll bet you've never had a seafood pancake before though.
Creation: Pancake aux Fruits de mer aka pancake with seafood. ($14)
Created by: Chef Shallaw Kadir
Local Ingredients: Baynes Sound Manila clams, B.C. Honey Mussels, Squid, Qualicum Beach Scallops
I was a bit skeptical at the idea of having shellfish in my pancake but was pleasantly surprised when I dug in. The texture was odd, mushy because of the moisture from the seafood and the abundance of chunks that were in it which made it hard to share in this case. I recommend squeezing some of the lemon on it rather than letting it sit as a garnish; seafood always tastes better with a little citrus. Also be sure to add the soy sauce "syrup" as the saltiness from it brings out all of the flavours of the dish. As far as creativity and culinary prowess goes, this one is high on the list.
BOB LIKES THAI FOOD - 1521 West Broadway, Vancouver
This is Bob's second location and it has a very different vibe from the Main Street restaurant. The rainbowed walls are as vibrant and unique as the dishes that they serve, especially when Bob is thrown in to a creative challenge. This man loves to compete and create!