Steph Wants

Greasy Spoon Diner Supper Series Vol. 15 ft. Pekka Tavela

* Warning: This post contains major food porn, proceed at your own risk *

If you caught my last post about the Greasy Spoon Diner Supper Series, you'd be familiar with the meaning behind the pop-up dinner. All proceeds from the evening go towards A Better Life Foundation, a charity founded by Mark Brand in 2012. The dinner series has become my favourite time of each month, there's a magical feeling from being surrounded by others who want to give back to our community and love food as much as I do. Last month, Chef Pekka Tavela from Wildebeest prepared a fantastic five course meal at the usual venue, Save On Meats.

We settled down with our first drink — Weiss City — wheat beer, limoncello, plum brandy, fresh lemon, and orange bitters. This was the sweeter drink of the evening but SO tasty and easy to drink - it was dangerous.

Then came our first course, Pot Pie, made with puff pastry, lamb sweetbreads, onions, mushrooms, and citrus cream. I don't have sweetbreads often but everything about this dish worked. You know I like my onion & mushrooms combination.

I enjoy setting up a scene when I'm shooting food on location at restaurants but lately I've sparked an interest in capturing emotions. I want to go beyond getting a shot of a scenario and connect on a human level. I'm not interested in a pose, I always preferred catching the natural reactions.

I've shot chefs in their element before but never have I experienced such incredible synergy between a chef and his team. The kitchen operated so efficiently — everyone was focused on their own responsibilities, as well as being a proactive team member. Whenever something needed attention, there was clear communication. The atmosphere was intimidating for a first-time observer (like myself) but was phenomenal to watch.

This is one of my favourite shots from the kitchen. I love the action and the mood of the photo.

This is one of my favourite shots from the kitchen. I love the action and the mood of the photo.

Next up was Chef Pekka's spin on Hash & Egg; confit rabbit, smoked potato, soft poached farm egg, and parmesan foam. It was served with The Pavela; cava, lillet rose, grapefruit bitters, smokey scotch.

Take a moment to admire that perfectly executed egg!

Chef's Ruben & Chips — this dish featured veal tongue, St. Pauline Cheese Panna Cotta, Pickles & Sauerkraut, Rye Crisp, Onion Chips, Smoked Veal Tongue Katsuobushi; paired with Pillow Talk — cherry, absinthe, apple, citrus.

The man behind it all, Mark Brand, one of Vancouver’s most recognized entrepreneurs.

Back in the kitchen, Chef Pekka is preparing the next course with the team.

The Chicken & Waffles was made from game hen - seared breast, roulade leg, brown butter waffle, maple Bourbon gel, and berry & rhubarb compote. Paired with Jersey, Sure! — bourbon, tuaca, red wine, espresso. 

Usually, we stop at four but this time there was a surprise ending —

Last but not least, the surprise dessert was an Eclair filled with espresso cream, topped with chocolate ganache and sprinkles, paired with DTC — a shot of port finished single malt + dark lager, cacao to conclude the evening because we weren't spoiled enough already.

Besides eating for a cause, I love tasting each Chef's creativity and their independent interpretation of Greasy Spoon. As always, I had an incredible time — if you follow me on Snapchat, you would know!

Come out to the next one on June 27th, 2016 featuring Chef Derek Gray from Osteria Savio Volpe. Tickets are $95 per person and can be purchased through EventBrite here or check the Greasy Spoon Diner website here for more details.