Late last year I was invited to an open house for a catering company called Encore. They’ve been in business for 36 years so they know a thing or two about throwing a fantastic event.
Last year, I was completely blown away with dishes like this:
and of course, can’t forget these:
I’ve been to a number of catered events with finger foods but I was completely floored with the depth, breadth and quality of the dishes they were able to bring out and the staff they had service the event were phenomenal.
So early on this summer, I received another invite from them, this time to a Bloggers’ Tasting Menu event, where I, along with several other influential food bloggers around the city were invited to taste a special menu prepared by their chefs and kitchen staff.
Of course, I frantically RSVP’ed simply because the experience with Encore was so amazing the first time.
With an astounding 10,000 square foot kitchen, Encore Catering is able to handle small to large catering events both corporate and private. Encore caters an average of 1000 events a year and some reaching an attendance list of about 1500 guests! After being here experiencing their catering service first-hand, I can say that they really care about the overall guest experience on top of the amazing food.
The founder, Cary Silber, started the company back in 1979 and has always been on top of food trends to make sure that the services he provided at the company was top notch and an experience like no other.
As I walked through the door, we were greeted with sparkling water and fresh fruits and a look at the menu for the night.
After all of the bloggers rolled in, we were walked into their massive kitchen where our meals were being prepared and we got shots of the food being prepped.
The first thing we tried from the kitchen was the Lobster BELT. A miniature one-bite sandwich comprised of a buttery and toasted brioche bun, butter-poached lobster, egg, bacon, lettuce and slices of cherry tomato. A rush of familiar flavours with one hefty upgrade with that lobster. Simply amazing. I just sat down and I can tell the rest of the dinner was going to be amazing.
Second up was the Pastrami Salmon Maki Tempura:
An interesting take on the salmon maki. The deep frying makes the eating experience completely different as it actually cooks the salmon inside and something I could totally see being served at many of the networking events I go to. Now onto the heavy hitters of the night, a taster of the mains.
More little bites of food. Here we have the Serrano Ham and Quail Egg Bruschetta. If you’ve never tried Serrano ham before, it is honestly one of the best ham experiences I’ve had. It’s a bit pricey to get this type of cured meat, but the flavour is completely worth it. The bruschetta is salty and rich from the ham and has a nice crunch thanks to the piece of bread that has been fried in clarified butter. And when that little quail egg pops in your mouth, the yolk becomes this silky sauce that covers the tongue. The rapini does a great job in finishing the bite by cutting down any leftover saltiness from the Serrano ham, but to be perfectly honest with you, I love the saltiness.
As an Asian who has tried a fair share of pork belly baos, this one is very good. The pork belly was rich as it should be and seasoned perfectly. That white thing there that looks like the top of a button mushroom is actually a really cute small bao. This bite along with the pickled celery and chili kewpie was so satisfying that I wish it were a full sandwich.
Here’s an hors d’oeuvre that you won’t see everyday. Chateaubriand steak miniature tacos. Super tender pieces of steak on top of a spiced “taco” crisp topped with some salsa. Sooooooo goood….mmmmmm…..
This was the most beautifully plated dish by far of the night and also the most interesting dish. Here we have a beet tian. A tian is actually a French term which in modern cooking means that vegetables have been cooking in the oven with no additional liquids. Traditionally a very simple and humble dish, Executive Chef Wanasingha transformed it into something completely magical. First of all the white layer on top is a Chevre foam which is goat cheese whipped into a foam. The foaming of the cheese made it ever so delicate to compliment the subtle sweetness of the beets and enhance of the overall earthiness of the dish. And the reason why it was first served with a mini mason jar on top was that it was filled with smoke, adding a layer of flavour that takes this dish to a whole new level.
When your gourmet dinner is being catered by professional chefs and you get to watch. #foodgasm #encorebloggerbites A video posted by The Piquey Eater (Katherine C) (@piqueyeater) on
Without a doubt, the beet tian was the winner for me tonight because of the execution and the concept. Bravo!
Another hors d’oeuvre was served at this point and it was a duck confit beignet. Duck confit is cooking salt-cured duck leg meat in its own fat. Luscious to say the least. So essentially what they did was stuff duck confit into a doughnut. I’ll be honest, you cannot go wrong there.
Now for the last main before the desserts, they had a mango chipotle spiced seafood medley, all of which were extremely fresh and perfectly cooked to perfection. To finish off the spiced dish, you have the cooling and refreshing gazpacho shot. Unfortunately I couldn’t really try the gazpacho since I had a irritating cough that day, but I’m sure it would have been good with the seafood.
Absolutely beautiful presentation of the gorgonzola (yes that’s cheese) and pear panna cotta. With the consistency and creaminess of a good custard, that panna cotta was to die for. A very delicious and delicate dessert amuse.
And for the final piece to end the night, a vanilla semi freddo (semi-frozen) sitting in a beautiful pond of strawberry rose consomme. A light and creamy dessert and that strawberry rose consomme is something to sit in awe of, its flavour was so balanced. I need a bottle of that ASAP.
The whole night was filled with great conversation and great food. I can confidently say that I can see why Encore has been in business for so long and have had so much success over the years. The dedication of the staff and the pride they take in their work, whether it’s with the food prep or the service you get, is truly excellent and outstanding.
If the night wasn’t enough, Encore finished off the night with a takeaway box with their macarons.
Here are some links to their blog and their website:
Website: Encore Catering | Food with Elegance
Blog: Encore Catering Blog
Until we dine again,
-The Piquey Eater
Disclaimer: This meal was provided for free but of course and always, all opinions are my own