Event Recap: David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary AdventureJanuary 5, 2019 | 795 Views
“The 12th Annual Adventure”
By Jacob Richler, Editor in Chef, Canada’s 100 Best
Well, that came up quickly: mid-July, a frightfully early Sunday morning start, and all of us gathered again, North-bound on the flight to Masset for the David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure at The Clubhouse. The twelfth annual, no less. As usual this time Hawksworth’s culinary friends included some longstanding regulars (chef Dino Renaerts, sommelier Mark Davidson, me) and some new and recent additions (chef Phil Scarfone on his second trip, and chefs Quinton Bennett and Adam Pegg on their first). And we all touched down at The Clubhouse brimming over with the same keen anticipation.
We were well aware that the fishing season had gotten to a very slow start. And we were also all cognizant of its subsequent turnaround, into some of the best fishing anyone–even Screamer–could remember, before slowing down again as the commercial boats moved in. But which of those seasons we’d be getting into on that first afternoon, nobody knew. So we made short work of our Clubhouse and headed down to the docks to find out.
It was windy out there. Coho Point, well off-shore and deep, was the general consensus for reliable action. And that’s where Evan took me, chefs Quinton and Adam–while chef Phil toiled away on our welcome dinner. Between the three of us we released a small Chinook and kept a handful of plump Coho (some of them double digits). Not a great start, but encouraging enough. Especially–fortunately–for our appetites. Because we returned to find that chef Phil had pulled out all the stops. We started with a salad of heirloom tomatoes with eggplant and whipped ricotta, moved on to a risotto enriched with kernels of sweetcorn and topped with hot-smoked sablefish, then to a loin and belly of roast Berkshire pork with stone fruit mostarda, and closed with a lavender pound cake dressed with roasted strawberries.
No one had trouble sleeping that night and we got off to an early start. Phil was deservedly off-duty now, and it was Adam’s turn to stay behind and sacrifice a day for everyone else’s evening pleasure. On the boat, Evan suggested Coho Point again–but as we rode past Bruin Bay, the conditions gave us pause. It simply looked too perfect to ignore. So we agreed to put in an hour or so before tide change. And we did, without a bite, and so gave up.
Evan reeled in the rod on the starboard downrigger. Then the two moochers. And as I reached for the last rod to take it in, wham! Thirty minutes later we had 33 pounds of tyee on board. The fight was much more fun for me than him; the fish was pristine, not a scale out of place, but it took at least 20 minutes to revive him enough to release safely. And that was as good as my fishing got that trip. Indeed, no one else caught a bigger one.
But unlike the fish, the meals maintained and built upon their superlative early pace. That night, La Quercia chef Adam Pegg proved himself to be easily among the very finest pasta makers in the country with a nettle-filled rotolo of the most exquisite delicacy, dressed with a judicious sprinkling of brown butter and toasted sliced almonds.
And on the final night, newly appointed Hawksworth chef Quinton Bennett established himself as an eminently qualified new collaborator for David Hawksworth; their meal spanned a reimagined chowder of Manila clams, Dungeness crab, and piccalilli, roasted duck breast with miso-glazed cherries and charred lettuce, and pine ice-cream with mushroom “soil.” And then it was time to leave the happy island of four-and-five course meals, and go on a diet and try and trim down a little in time for the 2019, 14th annual…you-know-what.
The 13th annual David Hawksworth & Friends Culinary Adventure at The Clubhouse is scheduled for July 14 to 18, 2019.
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