I’ve dined all over our fine city, but last weekend I had an incredible meal without even stepping foot into a restaurant. I was cordially invited (ok fine…I invited myself) to Shawn Karls’, MasterChef Canada top 10 finalist, Montreal apartment. I was treated to a 5-course seriously impressive meal that actually tasted even better than it looked (which you will find hard to believe when you scroll down in just a few seconds…).
I was greeted by blasting EDM music, colourful lights, and Doctor Shawn himself (backwards hat and all). His apartment is fit for a chef- two giant racks filled with all the cooking equipment you could possibly imagine, a magnetic knife set, a stocked fridge, and a large table displaying the message “réservé” (for me of course!).
Shawn was born in Vancouver, but grew up in Montreal and truly identifies as a Montrealer. As if we weren’t impressed enough by his cooking skills, he also attended Mcgill University Medical School and is currently a Nuclear Medicine Resident (hence Doctor Shawn). He has an adorable golden retriever. Drinks tons of Diet Coke. Can often be found wearing a backwards hat. And makes really cool art with Crayola Crayons (pictured below).
|Shawn’s Hat Collection
As Doctor Shawn got to work on the first course, I carefully observed his calm demeanour and of course had tons of questions for the self-taught home cook. Here are just a few:
How do you stay so calm in the kitchen?? “Mise en place”. All ingredients are chopped, portioned, and ready to go. All that’s left to do is put them together.
Did you REALLY only have 1-hour to complete those MasterChef Challenges? YES.
Is cooking in the MasterChef Kitchen as stressful as it seems? YES.
First course: Tuna tartare.
Definitely a favourite of the night. Better than any I have had to date. Sweet, spicy, and crunchy. Served with avocado, crispy tempura, and homemade crostini.
Second Course: Banh Mi Pork Belly Bao Buns
These were a labour of love. The buns themselves took hours to make and were pillows of perfection. The pork belly was tender. And the slaw was sweet, spicy, and crunchy.
Third Course: Tuna Sashimi with Green Apples
Shawn definitely thinks tuna is a sexy fish
and used the ingredient twice
in one meal. I did not object. The tuna in this dish was sliced paper thin, covered in a light sauce, and topped with thinly sliced green apples. Overall, the tuna sashimi was crunchy and refreshing.
Fourth Course: Seared Duck Breast in a Soy Glaze with Edamame Purée
I had never had duck prepared this way and loved how it paired with the edamame, pistachio and wasabi purée. The presentation was equally stunning.
Fifth (and final…) Course: Coke Braised Beef Short Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Duck Fat Roasted Brussel Sprouts
The ribs, cooked in a pressure cooker, were literally fall-off-the-bone. And the brussel sprouts (one of my personal favourite vegetables) were easily another favourite of the night. Though I really could say that about each and every dish.
If this were a restaurant, I would order each dish over again. I was blown away by the ease with which Shawn cooked each course and by his unreal plating skills. Thanks again for an EPIC dinner and I can’t wait to continue following your culinary journey!
ON MASTERCHEF CANADA: Sunday nights @ 7pm on CTV
OR WANT TO HAVE SHAWN COOK FOR YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS
? CONTACT HIM ON FACEBOOK