Falconetti’s is part of the fabric of the Drive, featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives for its home-made sausages and known by Vancouverites for it’s rooftop patio in the summer. The other night, it was host to an epic Chef Off. Johnny “Bridge and Tunnel” Bridge and Shaun “Smooth“ Snelling went head-to-head in an Iron Chef style competition with the backdrop of a glowing downtown Vancouver and two grills as the stage. DJ Coner was spinning soul jams on vinyl to set the tone as everyone kept nice and toasty with heat lamps and red wine.
Four courses were prepared by each Chef, and guests tasted two dishes at the same time in order to rate them for the People’s Choice award. Plating, Creativity, Sportsmanship were all rated out of five and Taste of course had the most weight at 10. Three judges were also on hand to grant the Champion Chef title. The secret ingredient of the night- Jameson Whiskey. As MC and General Manager Jessie concluded, “Everything your about to eat has alcohol.”
Two Appetizers were served to get the crowds palette intrigued. The third course, a main, though was the closest call. Contender Chef Johnny, fighting for the title of Champion, presented a
“broken down whiskey” tahitian vanilla glazed pork, Jameson bacon relish, nestled in a barely risotto and whiskey jam.
Donning the golden apron, Chef Shaun served up slow smoked strip lion in Jameson roasted pan jus, with a side of butternut squash ricotta gnocchi and arugula. The chefs served the plates explaining to guests their creation.
“What’s better than sugar and alcohol” Jessie asks as the last course is served. Of course, the desert stole the show with Chef Johnny Bridges using a spray bottle to douse his smores in Jameson, and then light them on fire with a torch, and repeated several times. Jameson squirts as shots were also a novelty for guests brave enough. Sticky toffee pudding with a Jameson caramel drizzle and a dollop of creme fraiche was Chef Shaun’s way to end the night. Choosing between both deserts though was hands down the hardest part.
In the end, Master Chef Shaun in his gold apron kept the title- scoring the People’s Choice Award by a mere-margin of 3 points winning over the judges. His reign continues, but Chef Johnny isn’t discouraged. He’ll be in a oyster shucking competition just two weeks from now at Happa Izakaya, facing off against his tattoo artist.
Falconetti’s managed to eliminate the jealousy of watching Gordon Ramsey be a judge and instead let the patrons play the part. Four courses of gourmet plates, Malbec or Shiraz, quality tunes, and part General Manager part Stand-up Comedian all make for a solid hump day. Once it’s all over, if you want the week night fun to continue all you got to do is walk downstairs for some Karaoke. Get your taste buds ready for the next one!
Written by Alina Anghel, a Contributor for Tangoo at Vancity Buzz. Connect with Alina on Twitter at @cheriealine.