Everyone knows that the best parties always end in the kitchen. With our series, Kitchen Party, we’re sitting down with Feast On Chefs to get to know them, and the local foods that inspire them, a little better.
Chef Raul Liu
Who Tone Bistro
What’s your favourite seasonal ingredient?
Mushrooms! There are so many varieties, textures and flavours. My favourite is a unique mushroom from Yunnan province in China – it is very expensive and tastes delicious. Something as simple as a Portobello mushroom can be transformed into a main entrée with a Chinese mustard stock braise or a completely different dish with some wine, coriander and garlic. If you don’t learn how to cook mushrooms well, you will never become a good chef.
What’s your drink of choice?
Hands down, white tea. It’s a special tea that’s very light and can be eaten with fish, meat or anything that tastes strong. It doesn’t overpower the flavours of the food you are eating, rather it’s a perfect balance. A strong runner up, for me, is matcha tea. The flavours are fresh, and I find it really relaxing after a long day in the kitchen.
What is your favourite dish to prepare for a group of friends?
I recently moved from China to Canada, so I would prepare Beijing style noodles. It’s an authentic dish that reminds me of home. I like to prepare the noodles in a bean paste with pork belly and lots of fresh vegetables; really, anything from cucumber to turnip and celery. The flavour, the texture, and the aroma are all very nostalgic for me.
What’s the best part of working with Ontario food and drink?
This has been an exciting learning opportunity for me; Ontario produce is fairly new to me as I have only worked in Asia and Europe. The best part, Ontario produce is consistent, safe, and healthy. Plus it tastes really fresh. I love the cornichons here – they’re so tender and make for a delicious addition to my Beijing Smashed potatoes.
Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?
Our primary focus is to highlight Ontario ingredients in eclectic dishes that feature bold flavours from around the world.
Fill in the blank:”If I entered a competitive eating contest, I’d definitely win if the item was _______?”
Fried rice or noodles – they’re two staples I grew up on, and I love them both.
What does your ‘Perfect Weekend’ in Thornhill look like?
I’m new to Canada, and I’m all about discovering fresh, local ingredients, so I spend most of my time going to the York Farmer’s Market in Thornhill. It’s a great place for me to not only learn about local produce but to get a sense of local tastes and preferences. And, no weekend would be complete without a stop at Central Deli or a chance to try one of the mom and pop Korean joints near Young & John.