Cooper’s Room, The Spirit Of Hospitality Scholarship Dinner at Pearl Diver

I was given the opportunity on Wednesday June 8 to cover the launch of Cooper’s Room. The late Brian Cooper, former Dean of Hospitality and Tourism at George Brown College, will be honored with a series of seasonal dinners at the new permanent “Cooper’s Room” at Toronto’s Pearl Diver Restaurant.1-DSC_06941-DSC_07051-DSC_0710The funds raised will go directly to a scholarship fund for deserving young chefs to be.To hear Pearl Diver partner and George Brown graduate Rudy Gou talk about the influence and impressions left on him by not only Brian Cooper but the entire Cooper family, it was evident that this is a pay it forward event and a tribute to a man that inspired so many of Toronto’s and indeed the world’s finest chefs.1-DSC_07211-DSC_0712 Rudy Guo has amassed a culinary empire with four other highly successful restaurants in China.1-DSC_07141-DSC_0732The guest for this inaugural evening was the amazing Chef Michael Blackie. Born in England. raised in  Montreal Michael has been at the top of his culinary game for 27 years at some of the finest kitchens in the world. His current gem is called Next, in Ottawa and if tonight’s sampling is any indication, a must visit restaurant! 1-DSC_06951-DSC_07011-DSC_07201-DSC_0723 The evening began with a healthy dose of Lager and Oysters followed with some amazing appetizers from Tempura battered fried cheese curds with a sriracha maple sauce, roasted mushrooms on toast, rare Tuna sashimi pizza, to my favourite, “The Dirty Frenchman”. 1-DSC_0700I asked Micheal to explain his creation. A hulled out baguette, stuffing fried in duck fat with sauerkraut cover in pepper gouda and duck confit re-stuffed and sliced served over a tear mustard mayo. 1-DSC_07251-DSC_0727The seaming simplicity of the food belied by the wonderful fresh flavours. All served on wooden planks. 1-DSC_07281-DSC_07341-DSC_0733The mains featured 36 hour sous vide pork belly, digby scallops, crispy shallots and cashew encrusted bone pork ribs.1-DSC_0743 At the end of dinner Chef Blackie and Rudy Guo posed with this beautiful rustic sign with “Cooper’s Room” engraved on it only to take it away and return covered in some of the most amazing desserts. 1-DSC_07491-DSC_0750A most pleasant experience for a most worthwhile cause. I believe that great restaurants remain great not only for their food but mostly for their hospitality. The hospitality I felt tells me that these people and their talents have an influence not only in Toronto but indeed around the world. Thanks to all!! And special thanks to KJ Mullins for having to go out of town!~

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