L’Espace MC Chef’s Marie-Chantal Lepage has invited fellow friend chefs from restaurants all over the province to cook for one evening, one chef at a time. The first of six chefs to heat up MC’s piano was Montreal’s Helena Loureiro. An evening filled with mediterranean inspirations and more-than-succulent seafood.
An affordable 100$ experience, that is if you don’t indulge in all of the «extras». We tried Helena’s wine, privately imported from Portugal; a very mineral almost spicy white for 65$. We also bought a bottle of her organic olive oil Acushla, also imported from Portugal for 22$. Helena’s wine and oil are exclusive to her restaurants and Cantinho in Montreal. We just couldn’t resist. Here’s why…
The Six Course Meal
When eating at l’Espace MC Chef, Marie-Eve and I always sit at the counter, because it’s where you get a real taste of the action. For a foodie like me, it’s an exhilarating kind of action. And the service is always exceptional at L’Espace, come lunch or dinner. Reputation in hand, we expected nothing less than exceptional.
The evening with Helena featured two hours of grilling, whisking, finger-pointing and twirling around. Everything calculated to the pin point of perfect texture and succulent flavours. Even umami dropped by the Helena Loureiro Papillae Parté.
1-The mise en bouche was served in the boutique : piglet with apple butter and raisins. Crispy skin, sweet tender raisins and a velvety butter to accompany a surprisingly moist meat. Champagne in hand, the bite set the tone for a gastronomical evening.
2-Cherry tomatoes and goat cheese served with Helena’s olive oil. A simple dish that splashed umami all over my mouth. The goat cheese was not too overwhelming, delicate even. The oil brought pepper to the plate (!) with grand pleasure. A refreshing dish.
3-Seared tuna, spicy pineapple with a seaweed salad. Impressive detail, summoned with sea asparagus tempura. I could have eaten it like popcorn. The tuna’s delicate sesame lining brought a Japanese influence to my palate and the pineapple, a Hawaiian punch.
4-The pièce de résistance of the evening was the grilled seafood: scallops, calamari, octopus and giant shrimp in a garlic and piri-piri concoction. Watching Helena Loureiro from the sideline cook the seafood with such respect for the produce impressed me. It all looked so easy. The dish captured all of her attention and truly seduced me. What an incredible artist.
5-A delicate braised veal cheek as a witness of Helena’s immense cooking talents. Tender, melting and divine.
6-I named the dessert the Ball of Pleasure- in my head, Ball of Confusion playing on repeat. Deconstructed strawberries and raspberries inside a ball made of iced chocolate mousse crouching atop a vanilla meringue and a catwalk of caramel. As a token of greatness, a leaf of mint sat on the ball as an angel on a Christmas tree. The gifts all for my palate.
The evening was superb and worth every penny. Now I can just imagine a culinary experience in one of Helena’s restaurant. Which is definitely where I’m going very soon…
For more information about the other chefs visiting L’Espace MC Chef, go to www.mcchef.com.