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Chef Jane Tran on the Importance of Competitions & her Recipe for Asian Surf and Turf

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Jane Tran wasn’t always a chef. In fact, in a previous life she worked in the world of finance. But after years of working away at a desk, she opted to trade in her suit for a chef hat and decided to follow her passion for cooking. 

After attending culinary school, Chef Jane worked for Bar Boulud, under Chef Daniel Boulud in both New York City and London, UK as a chef de partie. Chef Jane continued on her culinary journey in London, UK before venturing off on a year-long working holiday across the world. Jane travelled to the U.S., Asia, and Europe – all while staging with renowned chefs.

Chef Jane returned to her hometown of Toronto where she established Chau – a pop-up style company that serves up tasty Vietnamese and Chinese-influenced bites at festivals and events across the city.

Last year, Jane wasa participant in the Garland Canada Culinary Competition at RC Show 2019. This experience was a first for Jane, who had competed in culinary competitions previously, but never in front of a large, live audience with cameras zooming around the stage. While she admits the competition could be stressful, she explains that it was stressful in the best way possible.

For Jane, entering the Garland Canada Culinary Competition was an easy choice. She had the desire to get out there and compete against some of the best chefs in Canada. Personally knowing some of the competitors from the 2018 competition (and knowing that they were competing again in 2019), Jane was introduced to the idea of competing. However, being able to conquer that fear of performing live was what really drove her to compete. 

Jane adds that the competition was a rewarding experience and that she enjoyed the fellowship of the competition. She also highlights the importance of representation in the culinary industry. As an Asian female chef, she feels like it’s vital for her to compete in these industry events. These competitions shed a spotlight on underrepresented or up-and-coming chefs.

At this year’s RC Show, we’ve switched it up with a new competition – the Garland Discovered Culinary Competition. While the competition style is different, the stakes are just as high! This competition saw chefs from across Canada battle it out over a series of mini competitions at Nella Cucina in Toronto. The finalists from these rounds will go head-to-head at RC Show 2020 for a cash prize. The competitors will have to challenge themselves in this black box show of skills.

For the Garland Canada Culinary Competition, Jane Tran stuck to her roots of high-end, Asian cuisine and created a take on surf and turf. Here’s her tasty recipe from the competition:

Asian Surf and Turf Recipe

Sirloin

Sirloin

1 teaspoon togarashi

2 tablespoon Kosher salt

2 tablespoon butter 

1 garlic clove

Instructions

Season sirloin with togarashi and salt. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes. 

Sear in a hot frying pan on both sides. Baste with butter and crushed garlic. 

Cook in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until medium rare. Rest for five minutes before cutting.

Pomme Purée

1 kilogram russet potatoes

450 grams unsalted butter, diced

1 cup heavy cream 

2 tablespoon white miso

Instructions

Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add potatoes and cook for eight – 10 minutes until fully cooked. 

Drain and put through a mouli/potato ricer. Add cubed butter, miso and heavy cream, whisk until fully combined. 

Scallop Crudo 

4 large scallops

1 large french shallot 

2 tablespoon fish sauce 

4 tablespoon canola oil

Ingredients

Pat dry scallops and slice one centimetre thick pieces on a bias. 

Brunoise shallot, add champagne vinegar, fish sauce, whisk until well combined. 

Watermelon Radish

Watermelon radish, peeled

1 litre water

2 cups rice wine vinegar

1 sheet kombu

½ cup honey 

¼ cup kosher salt

Instructions

Using a mandoline, thinly slice the watermelon radish. 

In a small pot, add the litre of water, kombu, sugar, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Pour over sliced watermelon radish. 

Assembly

On medium heat, add 1 cup of quinoa to a small pot of water. Cook for four – six minutes until quinoa pops. Add quinoa to plate. 

Add sirloin, puree, scallops, and garnish with watermelon radish slices and microgreens (cilantro, chives).

To learn more about the competitions at this year’s RC Show 2020, or to enter for yourself, head over here.

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