The Rebel Without A Kitchen's in town for a flavorful cause, and rumblings of a kitchen revolution begin to reverberate in the metro...
The Asian Food Channel presents Toronto-based food truck entrepreneur and King of Pop-Ups, Matt "Fidel Gastro" Basile's "Kitchen Revolution Asian Tour", with an elegant dinner paired with one of the finest hand-crafted single malts, The Balvenie, at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club. The Asian Tour includes stops in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia between September 10 to September 23 in line with the premiere of Rebel Without A Kitchen, Season 2, at the Asian Food Channel last September 11.
Non-traditional, unconventional, out-of-the-box, inventive...rebel. Former advertising man Matt "Fidel Gastro" Basile barged into the Toronto food scene with his innovative and creative Cuban-style sandwiches, popularly known as "Extremo Sandwiches" served from his food truck. With his food truck Priscilla, Matt Basile hits the road with his off-the-wall culinary take on street food, organizing pop-ups in some unlikely spots all over Toronto. In the second season of Rebel Without A Kitchen, Matt Basile continues his adventures in the underground food markets, exclusive private events and the coolest places in Toronto along with his beloved food truck, Priscilla, taking and redefining street food to a different level for a whole new dining experience. And for one exclusive evening at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, I get to sample the unique flavors of Matt "Fidel Gastro" Basile's unique culinary style.
The dinner was made even more special paired with some of the finest hand-crafted single malts in the world, The Balvenie, produced by William Grant & Sons Ltd, an award-winning and independent family-owned distiller established in 1886. The range of single malts served that night each had its own distinct notes and expressions, but all were consistently smooth that can only come from unhurried and slow process of maturation and aging. The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years, matured in two wood types, including the traditional oak whisky cask and first-fill European oak sherry, adds different qualities to the single malt, with hints of vanilla, honey and a lingering nutty sweetness. The Balvenie Peated Cask Aged 17 Years is silky smooth with just a hint of mild smokiness and spice. And finally, The Balvenie Portwood Aged 21 Years, an elegant single malt with with bolder fruit, honey, and spice notes, completes the impressive range.
Throughout the night, I enjoy a never-empty glass of The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years on the rocks, and I get in the groove in no time at all, just in time for Matt Basile's first course.
Matt Basile starts off with his interpretation of North American cuisine with with the elegant Octopus with Fennel and Blood Orange, a delicate dish with bold flavors. The sweet hoisin glaze enhances the subtle, fresh flavors of the octopus, perfectly balanced by the herbs and sharp citrus notes of the blood orange and calamansi...
...paired with The Balvenie Portwood 21 Aged Years. Why not start with the best, right?
Then, Matt Basile brings street food savvy and his "rebel" style with the inventive Salsa Verde Grilled Beef Hearts, tender and rich with a more subdued gamey flavor than kidney or liver. A light sweet glaze provides a rich layer of flavor, drizzled with sesame seeds and micro greens for both flavor and texture. The salsa verde perfectly complements the tender beef hearts, and street food goes a notch higher with Matt Basile's interpretation. Pair this with another shot of The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 12 Years...perfect.
A hearty and comforting Lamb Zoupa and Bread is then served, with vegetables and conchiglie pasta in a light broth. The dish provides just the right richness, flavored by the lamb, perfect after one too many rounds of The Balvenie single malt, and you're just about ready for the mains.
Matt Basile served two options for the mains, the Moroccan Beef Tenderloin with Marian Sauce, Pistachios with Edamame Mash, a tender and juicy fillet of beef with a subtle, nutty sweetness from the barbecue-like sauce...
...and the Salt and Vinegar Prawns with Pickled Cipolini and Trinity Sauce, plump, fresh prawns with a subtle briny sweetness enhanced by the sharpness of the pickled onions and the tart sweetness of the mirepoix. Street food was never this good, and Matt Basile clearly impresses. From the first courses of salad and appetizer to the mains, the range of flavors clearly stand out in every dish. But there's more...
Elvis in a Jar, Matt Basile's homage to the King's favorite banana and peanut butter sandwich, reinvented and served in a jar, is served for dessert to cap Matt Basile's Kitchen Revolution Tour dinner. Soft and chewy rum French toast with maple syrup layered with sweet bananas and draped in rich peanut butter cream...just can't get better than that. But it does. Pour a shot of the premium Balvenie Peated Cask Aged 17 Years single malt, mix gently, and scoop it up for some amazing flavors in a jar. The deep, smoky notes of The Balvenie Peated Cask Aged 17 Years add that extra richness, balancing the sweet and creamy peanut butter and maple.
William Grant & Son's Regional Brand Ambassador for The Balvenie, Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, Chef Jessie Sincioco of the Rockwell Club, and kitchen rebel Matt Basile join guests in a toast with Balvenie's hand-crafted single malt. An amazing dining experience with Matt Basile's trademark rebel style and some of the finest single malts in the world deserves another toast. And another.
Chef Jessie then brings out the undisputed King of Filipino Street Food, the notorious Balut, and a challenge is laid on the table. Matt Basile accepts the challenge, as the guests applaud and cheer. The King of Toronto Street Food versus the King of Pinoy Street Food...
After a few seconds, Matt Basile goes for it. And he goes for everything. And I have just one word. Respect. Matt Basile, in true rebel form, knocks this one out. And his thoughts on the Filipino street food classic? "Exactly as advertised..." says a relieved Matt Basile. Toronto's King of Street Food meets the King of Filipino street food, and Matt Basile impresses me even more, deserving another toast of the Balvenie premium single malt. Cheers to Matt "Fidel Gastro" Basile, and to more good eats from Priscilla the food truck and Rebel Without A Kitchen!
Catch Matt "Fidel Gastro" Basile in Rebel Without A Kitchen Season 2, starting September 11, 10:00pm, at the Asian Food Channel.
Chef Jessie Rockwell Club is located at the Ground Level, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City or call 890-6543 for inquiries and reservations.
Dude for Food is now on Facebook, check out the FB Page for regular updates on good eats. Better yet, click "Like" and enjoy the ride...just look for the FB "Like" widget on the right sidebar.