I have always taken great pride in being an adventurous eater, so when I had the chance the photograph Swallow Tail Supper Club’s latest secret supper, titled Odd Things, I was pretty excited.
Chefs Heather Dosman and Bruno Feldeisen (who you might know from Great Canadian Baking Show fame) whipped up a dinner of beef tongue, pork cheek, tempeh, burdock, durian pudding and more, decking it all out in a variety of foraged ferments and home made condiments.
I joined them in the afternoon for food prep and got to take advantage of the beautiful natural light streaming in through the French doors that led from the kitchen into the backyard. As the light faded I switched from 200 speed film to 800, then 800 speed pushed to 1600 to make sure I squeezed every drop of light from the day. I love the moody, contrasty look of these photos.
Bringing together the world of foraging, all hands in the dirt and connecting to land, with the world of gourmet food and fine dining is what Swallow Tail is about. When she’s not hosting dinners by candlelight in her Mount Pleasant wine cellar, she’s leading mushroom hunting trips on Vancouver Island or recruiting some of the best local chefs to prepare unique ingredients.
And speaking of unique ingredients…
The star of the Odd Things supper—the geoduck! (Pronounced gooey-duck). This strange (and let’s face it, kind of obscene-looking) sea creature is a giant clam that can live to be 100 years old. It’s sustainably harvested on the West Coast, and while it has historically had a big of an image problem, its popularity has been on the rise.
For this meal, the chefs blanched each geoduck and separated the siphon (the tail-like part) from the shell-covered body. They put aside the body to use in stock or chowder later, and proceeded to peel and very thinly slice the siphon. They plated it with radishes and flower petals and served it sashimi-style.
Chefs Heather and Bruno very graciously let me taste everything they made, and I left very full and very happy at the end of the night.