Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Accolades With Attitude

I enjoy food. I like growing it in my garden. I enjoy procuring it through the local producers I have come to know since moving to Kamloops. Here I am last spring at the Jay Springs Lamb ranch with one of my favourite local producers Jennifer, a.k.a. the "lamb lady."

As you can probably tell from the number of times I blog about cooking, I also enjoy preparing food. This love of food has been handed down to all five of my kids, and in Alexandra's case it has become a career choice.

She attends the culinary arts program at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). She is in her final term at TRU and it is a demanding one. The students run a restaurant called Accolades. This restaurant is not what you might expect from a group of chefs-in-training. From TRU's web page:

"This hidden gem offers some of the best cuisine in Canada. Accolades was awarded the “stars of excellence” twice from the national restaurant guide, Where to Eat in Canada."

Tuesday night Jay and I had dinner at this "hidden gem." My first thought as we were seated at our table was that I had seriously underdressed for the occasion. (This is not the first time in my life I have had this thought.) I had assumed exchanging jeans for cords along with upgrading my plain hand knit socks to ones with a fancy pattern would be good enough.  The problem was I had upgraded my wardrobe for a three fork dining experience but this turned out to be a five fork establishment. Looking across the table at my husband did manage to give me some comfort. He had clearly been thinking along the lines of a one fork place which bumped me from the unenviable position of  being the worst dressed customer in the restaurant. 

If the place setting wasn't enough of a clue as to how much I had underestimated this restaurant, the menu left no doubt. There were four courses, along with an amuse-bouche for starters, and a sorbet palette cleanser between the third and fourth courses. I had never even heard of an amuse-bouche. What can I say? I am a farm girl from northern Idaho. I don't think Idaho has amuse-bouche.

First Course

House Made Italian Sausage Ravioli
Apple Squash Puree
Tomato Vinaigrette
Cilantro Drizzle

Second Course

Lemon Ginger Broth with Pork Won Ton

Third course

Pan Seared BC Spot Prawns
Potato-Shallot Roll
Saffron Foam

Fourth Course

Lamb: Confit, Loin, and Sausage
Turned Saffron Westwald Potatoes
Thyme Jus

I'm a little embarrassed about this next item. I started eating my dessert the minute it was placed in front of me, and it wasn't until it was almost gone that I remembered to take a picture. Hazelnut white chocolate cheesecake can do that to a person.


Hazelnut White Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate Chip Cookie Base

Newly Minted Chef, Complete With Attitude


  1. "I don't think Idaho has amuse-bouche." Best line.

  2. Yummy! Beautiful presentation!

  3. LOL, I would have been a good match for Jay in the one fork category. The food looks amazing there--I would love to have a chef in the family capable of such creations.

    I thought the a-b only existed on Top Chef.

  4. @kate - It may have acquired it after I left. :-)

    @Tana - It was delicious. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    @Ric - Yes, having a chef in the family definitely has its benefits. The great thing is that all my kids love to cook, not just the chef. And maybe Accolades copied Top Chef.

  5. Wow! Very impressive, and congratulations to Alexandra!!

  6. That looked so good. The prawn and lamb left my mouth watering. And congrats to Alexandra :)

  7. I remember one post in which Rebekah amazed me with the care and effort she put into a bowl of oatmeal--more than I think goes into an entire week's worth of meals in our house. That may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. =)

  8. @Hege - It was delicious! The best part is I can get Alexandra to make replicas of the dinner here at home. I have already asked her to do the ginger won ton soup.

    @Keri - The prawns were great, but the lamb was even better!

    @Ric - We tend to be a bit crazy. What can I say! :-)

  9. Crazy in a really good way.

    The US is a little gun happy. Knowing guns are around in rural areas (and the semi-rural area I grew up in) never worried me. Seeing them in the city though is always unpleasant.

  10. It all looks so good. I am so jealous.

  11. Oh my goodness, now that is what I call an experience in eating! Yum.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!