True North - By Derek Dammann and Chris Johns
Derek Dammann is one of Canada’s most extraordinary culinary artists. The creative genius behind DNA and Maison Publique restaurants in Montreal, Derek has grown steadily in stature and influence in Canadian cuisine. True North is a culinary coming-of-age story, of both a chef and a country. Thirty years ago Canada was a culinary backwater. Today it has one of the most dynamic and creative food scenes in the world. That change can be attributed to chefs like Dammann, and the producers, fishermen, farmers, butchers and foragers who supply them with the materials of their trade.
Derek Dammann’s food can be described as regionally inspired, seasonally driven nose-to-tail cooking. But that is just the beginning. Taking inspiration from Italian, British and Quebecois traditions, he is fundamentally a “melting pot” Canadian chef who works with Canadian ingredients from coast to coast. The entire country is his larder. Thus the book is structured to reflect this approach, with over 100 recipes divided into chapters that are arranged not by season or dish but by region: Farm, Vineyard, Pacific, Atlantic, Tundra, Forest, Field, etc., with recipes focused on ingredients from those places. So in the Pacific chapter, we see recipes such as Smoked Oysters, Potted Crab, Crab and Carrageenan Mousse, Chinook on the Beach Haida Gwaii Style, and Smoked Salmon Belly. In the Field chapter we see Slow Roast Shoulder of Pig, Boudin Blanc with Sauerkraut and Ham Hock, and Lamb Brain Profiteroles with Tartar Sauce. And so on. Extraordinary food from an amazing chef celebrating a country’s culinary coming out.
True North offers exceptional insight into real Canadian cuisine in a gorgeously illustrated package. This is in essence a book about the people and places that give this country its distinct flavour, and about the ingredients and ideas that inspire Derek Dammann to create such wonderful, definitively Canadian food.