From farm to table
For both Cochon555, and for the new Sky Bistro menu set to launch this spring, Chef Scott has been working directly with the farmers from Bear and The Flower Farm, located just outside Airdrie, Alberta. It's a family-run farm that produces free range natural pork that's loaded with Omega 3s. Pigs here are raised mostly outdoors with a plant-based diet that is thoroughly conscientious. For a chef, it's undeniably good.
"I'm looking for consistency in the product, for great marbling and for a great flavour," he says. "What these farmers have is exactly what I'm looking for. And I know exactly what I'm getting."
Pork has become a key product on the cutting edge of the farm-first approach to cuisine because diners love eating it, whether it's pork belly, pork loin, pork shoulder or smoked ham (just to name a few of the products the Bear and The Flower offer). But also because chefs generally love working with pork.
"Pork is very versatile, there are so many things you can do with it," Chef Scott says. "You can really showcase the flavours of Alberta."
What is Cochon555?
Cochon555 is a renowned culinary event that's held annually in places like New York City, San Francisco and Napa Valley. It's a fundraiser, a culinary competition and a theatrical good time. It comes to Canada for the first time later this month in Banff. Proceeds from the event will be split evenly between The Banff Food Bank and The Piggy Bank, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and public education of heritage-breed pork. The Piggy Bank offers support to local farmers, educators and industry professionals in order to help forward their mandate of creating "Noah's Ark" for heritage breed pigs.
At the event, Sky Bistro will be serving a "Welcome Bite" to event guests as they make their way into the hall. They'll be getting guests excited and offering a simple yet incredibly complex pork dish.
"It's important to me to showcase every part of the animal," he says. "This may mean that preparing a dish takes longer or it requires a higher technique and skill. But ultimately, it's a way to both reduce waste and prepare a really special dish. It's worth it."
For Cochon555, Chef Scott is preparing a confit shoulder of pork with smoked and pickled jalapeño and cold-pressed Canadian canola oil chimichurri. The shoulder will be cooked in the fat rendered from the skin. The skin will then will be dried and turned into chicarrons, a style of pork rinds popular in Latin America. Chef will smoke and pickle jalapeños in-house for a smoky element and then top with chimichurri sauce that has a local spin.
“This will allow us to use parts of the animal that are not always used and align us with the values of using as much of the animal as possible,” Chef Scott says. “We are going to mix it up a little and forage our own backyard (outside the national park of course) to find some spruce leaves to add a Rocky Mountain element to the chimichurri.”
Bear and The Flower’s pork will also be featured in the new Spring 2018 Sky Bistro menu. This time, it's a twice-baked pork belly that has been braised for 24 hours. While it warms, it gets pressed. It's then seared, adding a crackling element, and served with polenta and shaved fennel. To finish the dish, Chef garnishes it with pickled radish and the same chimichurri which he'll be using at the Cochon555 event.
"The creaminess of the polenta, the quality of the pork from Bear the The Flower's Farm, the crackling of the skin and then some pop from the pickling — it's going to be good!"
The dish will feature on the new menu at Sky Bistro, slated to launch May 1.
Don't miss the new menu at Sky Bistro. Book the Sky Experience to try the dish for yourself.