Saturday, March 6, 2021

The Best of Canada On Your Plate at a Chef's Table Dinner by Chef Josh Boutwood in The Test Kitchen

A lavish six-course feast reflecting Canada's finest world-class beef, seafood and wines by one of Manila's best chefs revealed layers of the vast land's bountiful resources. And soon, you too can experience the rich and diverse flavors of Canada on a plate...

The Embassy of Canada in the Philippines and Canada Beef recently showcased world-renowned Canadian produce in collaboration with award winning Chef Josh Boutwood, Executive Chef of The Bistro Group, for a socially distanced Chef's Table Dinner at The Test Kitchen. Each course presented Canada's very best from fork-tender beef to fresh and succulent Pacific and Atlantic seafood and even sweet wild blueberries from the province of Prince Edward Island paired with Canadian wines from the famed wineries of the Niagara region in Ontario. The special dinner also served as a preview to the upcoming Canadian Steakhouse Pop-Up at The Test Kitchen on March 9 to 11. Read on for a taste of Canada on a plate...

Evolving from an exclusive tasting room to a proper full service restaurant, The Test Kitchen in Rockwell is the latest concept from Chef Josh Boutwood reflecting his ingredient-driven culinary style. It's also the perfect stage to properly introduce some of the world's finest produce creatively interpreted in a variety of dishes. Canada's vast and seemingly infinite expanse stretching from the Pacific to the Atlantic yields some of the world's finest produce. And you can experience the bountiful flavors of the land in a special pop-up.

Just like wine, the lay of the land determines the quality of its produce. Shaped and nourished by the seasons, Canadian beef, seafood and agricultural produce are regarded as one the world's best (for more on Canada's finest produce and wines, see my previous post, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter on A Plate: A Lavish 5-Course Feast Inspired by Canada's 4 Seasons with Canadian Beef and Wine at Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Sage Bespoke Grill). 

And what makes Canadian beef and seafood, agricultural produce and wines special? It's the land itself. Food production has played an important role in Canada's long history in a tradition that continues to endure to this day in cattle ranches, farms, fishing communities and wineries scattered across Canada. And that's why Canada is the world's fifth largest agricultural producer. And in this new normal, Canada has also been known as a safe and reliable supplier of quality food products for the Philippines for more than a decade. It's massive food and beverage processing sector, valued at CAD $110 Billion, is guided by world-class food safety measures to guarantee quality food products from Canada. "Last year may have been full of challenges, but Canada's commitment to be a stable food supplier to the Philippines has never waned. In spite of the pandemic, our agri-food exports to the Philippine market increased by 34% in 2020," explained Ms. Lulu LeBlanc, Senior Trade Commissioner of the Embassy of Canada to the Philippines.

And the best way to experience Canada's rich produce and heritage is with a dish masterfully created by one of Manila's best chefs...

The sumptuous feast was a preview to the upcoming Canadian Steakhouse Pop-Up on March 9 to 11 at The Test Kitchen. In partnership with Canada Beef, Chef Josh Boutwood spins his own inventive take using the finest Canadian ingredients for the Canadian Steakhouse Pop-Up. "Canada is a proud partner of The Test Kitchen and The Bistro Group in expanding the presence of Canadian food ingredients in the Philippines. Chef Boutwood's culinary talent have impressed us, and we look forward to seeing more exciting dishes from Chef Boutwood with our ingredients," added Ms. Lulu LeBlanc. 

Our memorable al fresco dinner experience began with a soothing cocktail, the Fireball Whiskey by The Test Kitchen as the first course was served...

Layers of savory richness and textural contrasts come into play with the Raw Beef, Egg, Maple Soy by Chef Josh Boutwood with the deep, bold yet pure and clean flavors of the beef coming through with each bite. Finely minced, the premium Canadian beef just melts in your mouth releasing even more flavors draping the palate with an indulgent finish.  

The fresh onions add both bite and subtle sharp hints to temper the richness of the beef while the egg adds its own layer of creamy notes to the dish. The distinct sweet and salty flavors of maple soy weaves another layer for contrasting yet delicately balanced hints to complete the dish. But it's the beef that clearly is the star of the dish with its fresh and clean flavors. A glass of refreshingly crisp Canadian Gewurztraminer Riesling VQA Carreto Series is paired with the dish. It's the perfect starter to highlight the quality of Canadian beef, and Chef Josh still has more dishes to serve... 

Another sip of the Canadian Gewurztraminer Riesling VQA Carreto Series cleanses the palate for the next dish, the Canadian Mussel and Lobster Adlai Porridge. The large yet soft adlai grains are infused with the fresh briny flavors of succulent Canadian mussels and lobster for a hearty and comforting dish. Each bite of the soft adlai grain delivers a fresh burst of briny sweetness from the plump mussels and lobster for yet another indulgent finish. Seafood harvested from cold waters just have so much flavor than the catch from warmer tropical seas. The mussels are sourced from PEI Mussel King, one of Canada's largest processors of live and frozen cultivated mussels. A family-owned company for over forty years, PEI Mussel King follows stringent quality standards for its farm to marketplace operations with global sales accounting for 75% of its total output. 

Elegantly plated, the Canadian Scallop Mousseline transforms succulent scallops with its silky smooth texture for a lavish flavor experience. The colors of the dish are a visual cue to its flavorful and fresh notes, draped in a creamy sauce for that perfect mouthfeel and finish. Sourced from one of Canada's largest purveyors of food ingredients from meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, vegetables, potato products, dairy, baking products, sauces and condiments, Hightower caters to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, QSRs and households around the world. And the rich yet delicately nuanced notes are perfectly complemented by the Gewurztraminer Riesling VQA Carreto Series from the family owned and operated Pillitteri Estates Winery located in Niagara on the Lake. Established in 1948, Pillitteri Estates Winery now produces more than 100,000 cases complying with the high standards of the Vintners Quality Alliance or VQA. Pillitteri Estates Winery is also widely known for that uniquely Canadian wine, the Ice Wine.

The first of two beef courses were then served, starting with the Braised Short Rib, Pineapple, Scotch Bonnet paired with the Pillitteri Exclamation Merlot VQA. Tenderized in the sous-vide for hours, the prime Canadian short rib is fork-tender and juicy with that melt-in-your-mouth finish followed by bold beefy notes. 

The quality of the Canadian beef short rib becomes apparently clear right from the very first bite...

...followed by a complex weave of contrasting notes from the tart sweetness of the pineapples to the mild, soothing and lingering heat of the fiery Scotch Bonnet combine a smooth and seamless blend. Chef Josh Boutwood orchestrates a medley of flavors in this dish, but the quality and flavors of the beef still shines.

Pure and real beef flavors drape the palate with each bite, the same qualities that made Canadian beef famous the world over. You just can't go wrong when you're using one of the world's finest ingredients, and Chef Josh Boutwood is clearly in his element focusing on an ingredient-driven culinary philosophy. 

But Chef Josh isn't done just yet. The Angus Ribeye, Red Potato, Sunchoke is a fitting finale to a Canadian feast. Perfectly grilled to medium with a juicy pink center capped by a lightly charred crust, the Angus Ribeye has that butter-like texture for a beef experience like no other. 

Served with a side of Canadian potatoes and slathered in a tart sauce, the savory flavors of the Angus Ribeye brings its buttery notes and texture with each slice and bite. The finest ingredients and masterful execution come together in a memorable evening hosted by the Embassy of Canada in the Philippines and Canada Beef at The Test Kitchen.  

For dessert, Chef Josh Boutwood served his Blueberry, Maple Honey Comb to cap a lavish feast with premium Canadian ingredients. Sourced from the family-owned Jasper Wyman & Sons Canada Inc., the wild blueberries are harvested from over 10,000 acres in Maine, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. And the flavors just pops in the mouth with its all-natural sweetness. But dessert isn't complete without the famed Ice Wine of Canada. The Pillitteri Vidal Ice Wine Carretto VQA with its familiar sweetness completes the dessert in true Canadian style. Handpicked and pressed while the grapes are still frozen, the sugar concentrations are at its flavorful peak resulting in its decadent smooth sweetness followed by hints of berries, lime and vanilla.

Chef Josh Boutwood and The Test Kitchen brings the flavors of Canada in a variety of dishes on March 9 to 11 with the Canadian Steakhouse Pop-Up for a memorable taste of the Great White North. World class Canadian beef, seafood and produce take the stage at The Test Kitchen, all you have to do is call to reserve a table.

As we continue to transition in the new normal, embark on a culinary journey with your palate without going too far with the Canadian Steakhouse Pop-Up at The Test Kitchen. And find out for yourself why Canadian beef, seafood, wine and produce are among the world's very best, one plate at a time at The Test Kitchen. 

For more on Canada Beef, visit their website at You can also check out their FB Page at and IG Feed at @loveCDNbeef. You can also follow the hashtag #loveCDNbeef and #makeitCDNbeef on social media for more updates.

The Test Kitchen is located at the Ground Floor of One Rockwell East Tower, Makati or call 0977 288 5751 for more information and inquiries. You can also visit their FB Page at

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