The International Boston Seafood Show brought with it a multitude of seafood purveyors from around the globe which resulted in some pretty great events around the city. I started my week with the Scottish salmon event at the Moakley Courthouse and followed that yesterday afternoon with an event called Feast your Senses on Canada’s Sustainable Lobster & Mussels at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Cambridge.
The event was held in Le Cordon Bleu’s Technique Restaurant, a place where culinary students and chefs work side-by-side. What a neat space!
I received a very friendly welcome at the restaurant entrance, where I also stopped to check out this beautiful, bright wall decorated with photos and quotes about food. This would be a GREAT place for a blogger event.
The room was set up with rows of chairs with several reserved rows in the front, in addition to a demo table stacked high with lobster and mussels.
The kitchens were massive, truly amazing, and for more than a brief second I was totally jealous of the students in culinary school.
The event was hosted by the Consulate of Canada, and they could not have been more welcoming. This is a broad generalization, I realize, but I don’t think I have ever met an unfriendly Canadian person. Our neighbors to the North are just so nice and happy. I have been to various places in Canada including Montreal, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island (to stalk Anne of Green Gables, I kid you not), and I have always found the people to be so helpful and friendly. I love Canada!
Speakers at the event included Linda Duncan, Executive Director of the Mussel Council of Canada and Ian Wentzell, Chair of the Lobster Council of Canada. Did you know that Canada has the most miles of shoreline in the world? Over 150,000 miles, to be exact! A large portion of the seafood we eat right here in Boston comes from Atlantic Canada, and I was excited to get started eating.
The chef performing the demo was Chef Alain Bossé, also known as the kilted chef. Chef Bossé has an enviable and impressive resume in the culinary and hospitality world, but he was incredibly fun and down-to-earth. I also got a friendly hello from him. And he was indeed, true to his name, in a kilt!
First up were the mussels. I absolutely love making mussels at home and usually put them in some sort of coconut or tomato broth. I actually bought “the perfect shellfish wine” in California and will have that on the blog, with mussels next week. While Chef Bossé cooked, we learned about the mussel farming practices in Canada from Linda Duncan. Both mussel and lobster products from Canada still come from family farmers who have made great strides in making these products sustainable. To make things even better, sustainably-farmed mussels are also more consistent in size and quality, making them an easy dish for restaurants and home cooks alike.
Our first dish:
Atlantic Canada Mussel on the Half Shell with Blueberry Maple Vinaigrette Served on Local Greens
I didn’t know how blueberries and mussels would be, but this dish was incredible. The mussels were cooked perfectly, and the sweetness of the vinaigrette was a nice little burst with the briny and sweet mussels.
The second mussel dish:
Thai Sweet Chili Atlantic Canada Mussels
I was grateful that Chef Bossé encouraged us to pick up our bowls to drink the broth that these mussels were in. It offered up some of my favorite ingredients, chili and cilantro, again, with perfectly cooked mussels.
After the mussels course, we learned a little bit about the Canadian lobster industry. Chef Bossé showed us how to put a lobster to sleep, how to tell if it is done (pull on the tentacle, if it comes off, it’s ready), how to dismantle a lobster hygienically, and even how lobsters mate. He was hilarious.
Then we ate lobster, and lots of it.
Atlantic Canada Lobster Fresh Roll with Maple Ginger Sauce
Again, some of my favorite flavors were used here, ginger, daikon, maple, chilis, and of course, sweet, tender lobster meat.
Atlantic Canada Lobster Cakes with Dill and Caper Remoulade
These cakes were so savory, and there were no fillers here. It was all lobster, some veggies, and a nice, tangy remoulade.
I was pretty amazed and pleased at the size of the sample portions; it was enough for lunch for me! The culinary students in the audience were absolutely adorable, and it seemed like everyone had a really great time. I definitely learned a lot about Canadian seafood, and it made me want to try my hand at using seafood in different recipes as Chef Bossé did here. Everyone involved in the event did a fantastic job and should be commended for the success of the event.
Are you a fan of lobster and mussels? Do you have a favorite way of eating them?