Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lentils, planting 3.1 million acres of lentils last year and harvesting 1.85 million tonnes. This is all serious business so Canadian Lentils, the brand of the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, decided to put some fun into the marketplace. And indeed, it was huge fun.
For the month of June, 24 Food Day Canada restaurants in 7 cities across the nation challenged one another by serving signature dishes in The FunDeLentil Tour. Diners ate and voted on line and now, the votes have been tallied!
The top three dishes as voted by Canadians:
1st place: Chorizo & Lentil Ragout (at right), by Fable in Vancouver (Chef/Owner Trevor Bird)
2nd place: (at left) Sustainable Blue Rainbow Trout with Beluga Lentil-stuffed Summer Squash, Smoked Trout Rillette, Fromagerie Au Fond des Bois, Beluga Lentil Puree, Crispy Pancetta and Camelina Powder, by Brooklyn Warehouse in Halifax (Chef Mark Gray)
3rd place: Lentil Hodgepodge with Spring Vegetables (at right), by Boralia in Toronto (Chef/Co-owner Wayne Morris)
The on-line winner of a trip to one of the FunDeLentil cities and dinner at all the lentil restaurants in that city was Brian Bitz from Saskatoon.
Well-known Canadian food advocate, Food Day Canada founder, and Canadian Lentils campaign ambassador, Anita Stewart, was instrumental in bringing on board the 24 restaurants, which are also Food Day Canada participants committed to using Canadian ingredients.
“I traveled across Canada as part of The FunDeLentil Tour to be a cheerleader for the restaurants and for the growers who feed so much of the planet. The competitors are some of Canada’s best chefs,” said Stewart.
“From the familiar and comforting Lentil Beer Battered Fish and Lentil Chips (above left) at Prairie Harvest in Saskatoon created by Chef/Owner Michael McKeown, to the modernist Red Lentil Fritter with Duck, Carrots, and Beluga Lentils (at right) created by Marc Lepine at Atelier in Ottawa to the decadent and delcious Foie gras-stuffed Lentil Fritter at Vancouver’s Campagnolo, these chefs out did themselves, showing incredible passion and creativity for the versatile Canadian lentil.
From my perspective, they have really raised the bar; the possibilities of cooking this humble ingredient, are indeed limitless.”