The Great Big Barbeque – PEI Fall Flavours

The salad bar wasn’t all greens: lobster potato salad! photo: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

It’s not often (if ever) that The PEI Brewing Company closes down production for two days, but the Fall Flavours Great Big Barbeque is probably a good reason.

Murphy Hospitality Group closed the brewery Thursday, September 28 2017 to make way for eight local chefs and their creative takes on barbeque. The event was hosted by celebrity chef Corbin Tomaszezki of The Incredible Food Race, Dinner Party Wars, Restaurant Makeover and Restaurant Takeover fame. This was his sixth year hosting an event for Fall Flavours and it’s the people that keep bringing him back.

Tracey Singleton of Versatile Management Group and Chef Corbin greet arriving guests. photo: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

“Besides the food, the chefs, and the incredible backdrop that the island provides—a pivotal part of why I love coming back here is PEI’s the open arms, the hospitality here that welcomes anybody and everybody,” he said. “That’s the catalyst for a quintessential Canadian event, but PEI does it to the nth degree. If there is one thing that PEI could teach the rest of Canada it’s that.”

His enthusiasm for the event was evident in the way he worked the room moving from one station to another and taking the time to talk to as many guests as he could.

The event drew a good crowd of two or three hundred guests both Islanders and visitors alike. The brewery threw open all of its doors; chefs set up food stations in the event hall, the packaging floor, the brewing floor, and the upstairs event space. The Adam MacGregor Band entertained in the main space.

Oyster bar on the second floor of PEI Brewing Co. photo: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

The food was as inventive as it was familiar: the chowder was served in a bread bowl with a little fish-shaped croquette floating on top, the poutine used a cheddar cheese sauce as well as curds, and the pork belly was served on little steamed Chinese buns with wasabi mayo.
The highlight of the event was of course the spit-roasted pig that was actually being prepared at the entrance to the brewery. It was a glistening, fragrant invitation to come inside and its woody fatty fragrance filled the brewery.

All the chefs but one hailed from Murphy Hospitality Group restaurants: TJ Kristalovich, Fishbones; Kyle Panton, Sims; Lincoln Key, MHG Catering; Brock MacDonald, Gahan PEI; Alex Jolin, The Barrington; Brad MacDonald, The Brickhouse; Chris Jeffery, Gahan Halifax; Andrew Cotton, Merchantman; Ally MacDonald, Sims; Jamie Lee Brown, Merchantman; Brandon Bowers, MHG Catering; and Sobeys West Royalty Chef Jordan Dennis.

Dessert is served – chef Brandon Bowers of MHG Catering displays the first dessert out of the wood fired pizza oven. photo: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

As well as roasted pig the other attraction was the tapping of a cask made especially for the occasion. The brewery made a Vic Park pale ale with real tangerine added. PEIBC brewer Jason Hambly took the lead on tapping the cask which didn’t go entirely smoothly. The first tap broke when he hit it with the mallet. The second tap went but released a brief but spectacular geyser of golden ale. The finished product was worth the trouble: a nicely balanced ale, with low carbonation, that usually has a citrus hoppiness regularly, now punched up with the addition of some tangerine.

Tapping the keg photo: Laura Weatherbie/Salty

The PEI Fall Flavours Festival has recently been named as a finalist for the Culinary Tourism Experience Award as part of the 2017 Canadian Tourism Awards. The winner will be announced in Gatineau, Quebec, on November 29, 2017.

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

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