Patricia Urquiola Luncheon


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We, the Inform Interiors Kitchens & Bath department, were given an opportunity to introduce Patricia Urquiola to a few select members of the Vancouver design community over lunch in our B&B Italia/Boffi showroom during her recent visit. Guests were greeted with a glass of Manciant Cremant de Bourgogne at the Boffi Salinas island in our front window, designed by none other than Patricia.

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Inform Cooks in the Major Leagues

 

In our past Inform Cooks posts, we’ve done our best to provide you with simple recipes that we adore. In this instalment, we’ve upped our game with the help of a heavy-hitter. Chef Reuben Major is a long time contributor to the local culinary scene and most recently Co-Founder and Culinary Director for Vital Supply Co.  He came to us well equipped with his tools, ingredients and values, and effortlessly assembled a top-notch dish that left us salivating for more. We usually provide our guest chefs and cooks with pots, pans and other tools that we carry in-store but on this occasion there was no need. Chef Major’s brought his personal pots and pans which he brought with him were the Demeyere collection designed by John Pawson. Though Chef Major has been using them tirelessly for a decade, which is apparent from the patina, the cookware has perfectly retained it’s form, appeal and cooking power. How many sets of pots have you purchased in the past 10 years?

 

 

Chef Major’s culinary prowess was ingrained in him from a young age. As a boy, he would pick his own ingredients from the garden, construct dishes and feed the family without thinking much of it. Food, after all, is a necessity that everyone must take part in. The process felt natural to him. After moving to the city and getting a job at Earl’s as a busboy, he worked his way into the kitchen and up the culinary hierarchy eventually serving as director of culinary and bar development, a position he held for six years. It was then time to explore new paths, develop his breadth of skills and seek out new challenges.
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Inform Cooks | ¿Que Paso, Taco? by Drew Dunford


Phoenix kitchen from Varenna

In Mexico, taco culture is a way of life. A unifying factor and daily staple for people of all social and economic levels. Mexicans eat them so much and so often that the expression echarse un taco (to grab a taco) is synonymous with the very act of eating. Case in point: the average Mexican consumes 135 pounds of tortillas a year. If and when you find yourself in Mexico (and many regions of the USA), you’ll find taco stands of all description gracing practically every street corner, town square and roadside rabble. These are gathering places: young and old, rich or poor, day or night—it doesn’t matter. Because tacos, chico.

 

At its most basic level, a taco is some kind of cooked filling lovingly ensconced by a tortilla made of nixtamal (masa dough—another subject for another time). The variety of fillings is dizzying: tacos al pastor (marinated and roasted pork with chunks of charred pineapple), barbacoa (lamb, slow-roasted in a pit or oven), carnitas (pork leg and ribs, braised and later seared), tacos de pescado (beer battered and deep fried white fish) and carne asada (grilled beef) barely scratches the surface of what’s out there. And that doesn’t even begin to include the scope of taco’s cousins enchiladas, gorditas, huaraches, sopes, tostadas, chilaquiles, tamales, et al. Not to mention the innumerable regional varieties, specialties, tweaks and twists. What is an aspiring taco aficionado to do? You could truly spend a lifetime exploring this one simple dish. And what a lifetime it would be.

 

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Golden Apples | An ode to the humble tomato, by Matthew Fort

“If you want to love Italian cooking, you have to love the tomato.”

I sat at a table on the platform at the station of Villarosa in central Sicily. The table was covered with a paper cloth and set with a knife, a fork, a side plate and a tumbler. I had bread and wine. A small, scrawny cat sat silently beside me. Sparrows skittered among the metal struts above me. Clouds moved shadows across the tanned and gold hillside beyond. And then came the unmistakable perfume of frying onions and bubbling tomato, rich, velvety, slightly rasping, slightly cloying, carrying the promise of flavour to coat the fat tubes of penne I was going to eat – penne con salsa di pomodoro, salsiccie e ulive. What a beautiful thing the tomato is, I thought.

Tomatoes: round, squat, tomatoes like gurning faces, plum-shaped, plum-sized tomatoes, grape-shaped, grape-sized, tomatoes the size of baking potatoes. Tomatoes red, orange, green, reddish-orange streaked with green. Shiny, perfect tomatoes, tomatoes cracked and fissured. There are fresh tomatoes, dried tomatoes and tinned tomatoes. There’s polpa, passata, concentrato, doppio concentrato, and ‘strattu, Sicily’s extreme tomato paste. There’s sugo (straight tomato sauce), ragu (tomato and meat sauce) and sugo al carne (tomato sauce in which hunks of pork, veal and/or beef, have been quietly stewed, allowing the meat juices to quietly permeate the vegetable mass). There are even sauces made by roughly chopping raw tomatoes. The culture surrounding tomatoes in Italy surpasses anything in the food universe for variety, ingenuity, and splendour, subtlety and downright deliciousness. ‘It is the lifeblood of Italian food’, writes John Dickie in Delizia, an iconoclastic analysis of Italian food, ‘– some would say of Italians themselves.’

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Inform Cooks | Burrata & Olive Tapenade Crostini

 

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Arne and Carissa, Inform’s Kitchen & Bath designers, are back again to share another simple yet delicious recipe. This Burrata & Olive Tapenade Crostini is sure to be a hit at any small gathering. If you missed their previous post on how to make fresh pasta from scratch, you can check it out here.

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Multidish by Maxime Ansiau for Seletti

This dish is perfect for sharing with friends and family. The homemade Crostini is a terrific base for the lush, bold flavours of the Olive Tapenade & it’s all balanced by the delicate creaminess of the Burrata Cheese melted overtop. You can even impress your guests with these fun facts…

Tapenade is a very old recipe. Then named Olivarum conditurae, it appears in Columella’s De re Rustica, written in the first century. Cato the Elder ( 234-149 B.C.) includes a recipe for Epityrum, an olive spread very like a tapenade, in chapter 119 of his “On Agriculture.”_

The word burrata means “buttered” in Italian. Burrata is now considered an artisanal cheese and maintains a premium product status even after it became more widely produced and available in the ’50s. This wasn’t always the case; it was once considered a by-product, a useful way to use up the ritagli (“scraps” or “rags”) of mozzarella in cheese factories throughout Italy.

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Inform Cooks

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As Kitchen designers, we not only love creating new kitchens but love creating within the kitchen too – a passion that transcends from our work into our everyday routine. The term “Heart of the home” greatly applies to us.

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We decided that we’d share a simple, delicious recipe with you.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with pasta from a box but fresh pasta can elevate a simple dish into something special and memorable. It’s also dead easy and only takes a couple of minutes to whip up. Here’s our “Pasta Fresca per Inform”, serves four.


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KBIS | Counter Culture

The 2014 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) made its return to Las Vegas this year – over 75,000 visitors wandered the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Centre over 3 days. Pouring through the new finishes, materials, appliances, and systems first-hand is very much a Kitchen Designers’ “kid in a candy store” scenario.


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Sub Zero & Wolf showed off their new lines at a private event held at the Mandarin Residential Suites. Three luxury suites decked out by Bruce Anderson Interiors; the working kitchens featured the New Generation appliances from Wolf and Sub Zero. The most obvious change in the Wolf line has been in the appearance of their wall ovens.  I’ve shown the Transitional double oven pictured left.  There’s also a Contemporary series, and Professional that sports the iconic red knobs.  The Contemporary and Transitional series are a huge aesthetic improvement over their previous lines.

Wolf has also added to their “lifestyle” appliances with an integrated coffee maker.  It looks quite slick in both “Transitional” and “Contemporary”, but the nicest feature is the milk system.  Rather than having to clean milk residue out of the plumbing as has been the case in most coffee machines, Wolf’s system is self contained, allowing you to simply remove it and wash it in the dishwasher.

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