In this two-part series, we connect with Top Chef Canada's newest local contestants and share their favourite recipes
Food Network CanadaSeason 9 of Top Chef Canada has just launched and the latest series promises to showcase the most diverse group of chefs in the show’s history. We caught up with Gastown's Pidgin sous chef Kym Nguyen, to chat about their favourite spring dish to cook, and what it means to be a part of the show this year.
See below for Kym's celeriac and buttermilk cream recipe and watch Top Chef Canada on Mondays at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on the Food Network Canada...
BCL: What does competing in this season of Top Chef Canada mean to you?
KM: It means a lot to be to be competing on Top Chef Canada as I can show everyone what diversity can bring into the kitchen—showing Canada who I am as a chef and as a person, combining unusual flavours and breaking food traditions.
BCL: What is your favourite spring recipe to cook?
KM: The dish is celeriac on celeriac on celeriac. It is a celeriac and buttermilk cream, salt-baked celeriac, celeriac remoulade, pickled celeriac, brown butter crumb, Granny Smith apple and scallion oil. It brings freshness, fat, acidity, sweet and savory all in one dish. It's perfect for spring!
Celeriac and Buttermilk Cream Recipe
- 3 to 4 small/medium celeriac
- 500 ml buttermilk
- 500 ml 35% cream
- 1 lb unsalted butter
- 150 ml basic pickling liquid 1:1:1 (white wine vinegar, white sugar and water)
- 1 Granny Smith apple
½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or ponzu
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup milk powder
- 300 g salt (for baking)
- For salt-baked celeriac: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Lay salt on a baking tray and place two of the smaller celeriac on the tray (adding extra salt over the top) and bake in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Once it’s cooked and cooled, you can cut off the outer layer skin.
- For pickled celeriac: Make a basic pickling liquid, 50 ml white wine vinegar, 50 ml white sugar and 50 ml water. Place ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer just till the sugar has dissolved. Peel the outer skin off the celeriac and cut the celeriac into a big cube by cutting off all the round edges off all sides (this will later be used for the celeriac buttermilk cream). You can cut the celeriac however you wish for pickling, I have used a mandolin and done paper thin strips. Once your celeriac is cut, pour your pickling liquid over it and just let it sit till you are ready to use it.
- Celeriac remoulade: Cut off all the outer skin. Using a mandolin, slice the celeriac 2 mm thick. Then you can lay them on top of each other and using a knife, cut into matchsticks. Place into a bowl, add the mayonnaise, soy sauce (or ponzu) and fresh lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
- For the celeriac buttermilk cream: Using the trim from the pickled celeriac, roughly chop the celeriac into small pieces and place into a pot with the whipping cream and 100 g of the butter. Cook on medium-low heat with a lid on. You want to gently cook the celeriac to make sure you’re not giving it any colour. Cook for 20 minutes. Once the celeriac is softened, strain off the liquid and add the celeriac into a blender. As you’re blending to a smooth purée, add 2 tablespoons of cold butter and gently pour in the buttermilk as it’s spinning to your desired consistency. Season with salt.
- The brown butter crumb: In a pot, melt down your butter on a medium heat. You’ll know it’s ready when you notice brown specs and a nutty aroma. Pour into a bowl to stop the butter from cooking further and perhaps burning. Whisk in the milk powder and the butter will start to form into a crumble texture.
- For the Granny Smith apple: Cut the apple keeping the skin to whatever shape or size you desire. I’ve chosen batons.