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ON THE 11th HOUR: when the war went quiet
The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor hosted its 3rd Annual Perfectly Centered Culinary Festival at the Joe Byrne Stadium in Grand Falls-Windsor, N.L. on Aug. 17.
Touted as the largest food day festival of its kind in the province, a handful of Canada’s top chefs featured locally-sourced food from the land and the water.
Scott Morash of Halifax, N.S., was one of the chefs who participated in the festival. He took time recently to tell our readers about himself and his experience at the event.
Tell me about your work as a chef
I’m currently working as a marketing associate for Sysco (food distribution company). I’m a salesperson and culinary consultant for my customers.
Did you always want to become a chef?
I grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia called Chester. I lived beside a restaurant called the Captain’s House (bed and breakfast and restaurant). When I was 14, I started mowing the lawn at this restaurant. At 15 or 16 I started bussing tables ... Walking through the kitchen to pick up my orders gave me that first love of cooking.
Did others in your family enjoy cooking?
My mother (Sandy Morash) and her family are from Prince Edward Island. My grandmother (Irma Goodwin) is a phenomenal cook and we started to share a love of cooking. She is an avid reader... she would go through magazines and find recipes and photocopy them and send them to me.
What did you do when you finished high school?
I went to Dalhousie University and studied geophysics. I continued to work in restaurants in Halifax to help pay tuition ... I worked at Chives Canadian Bistro. The chefs Craig Flinn and
Darrin Lewis who owned the restaurant rekindled that love of food for me. I realized that looking at minerals through microscopes was far less enjoyable than creating something almost out of nothing. So, I left Dalhousie (after three years) and went to culinary school (Nova Scotia Community College).
What did you do after graduation?
I moved back into the city and worked at a couple of smaller bistros ... I decided to try my hand at something a little bit larger scale and got a job at Delta Halifax. I was there almost four years ... That’s when I met an executive sous-chef Jamie Mullett who is now the corporate chef with Sysco in Halifax. But, after about four years there, I started to get a little bit sick. I had some kidney failure. I started dialysis and realized that the kitchen life wasn’t really conducive to my wellness. I left Delta Halifax and was employed by Sobeys as an in-store chef. I was creating recipes and interacting with the customers and offering cooking classes.
Let’s talk about the culinary festival in Grand Falls-Windsor. Was this your first time participating in the event?
I’ve been a part of it since it started (three years ago)… It has become my absolute favourite culinary event of the year.
What is it about the event that you love?
It’s such a fun experience and the folks in Grand Falls-Windsor are amazing people, incredibly appreciative. They are passionate about food and they love to learn new recipes.
Where did you get your ingredients?
Primarily from Mark’s Market (in Wooddale near Grand Falls-Windsor). That’s one of the highlights of the event. We get to spend time with Chris and Dick Oram ... they allow 10 or 12 chefs from away to come and raid the farms and gardens. They are just as excited as we are to see us there harvesting fresh cabbage and peas and carrots and herbs and fennel. It’s just a great way for us to connect emotionally to the food. We pick it with our hands, and we know the family who planted the seeds and we get to serve it to the people. It’s incredibly rewarding from a chef’s point of view.
Do you have a family?
I have a wife, Sara, and four-year-old son, Scotty, named after my father who donated his kidney, giving me an opportunity to have a healthy life and start a family.
How is your health now?
I had my kidney transplant eight years ago. My kidney came from Newfoundland and my father (also named Scott Morash) donated his kidney to a Newfoundlander. So, there is this real strong Newfoundland connection that I feel and to be part of this event brings it all full circle. I’m doing incredibly well. I feel fantastic. Life has been nothing but a godsend.
Lobster and Roasted Corn Chowder From Chef Scott Morash
3 cooked lobsters (approx. 1.5 lbs meat, roughly chopped)
4 ears fresh corn
2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (sweet potatoes are a great substitution!)
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup flour
½ cup cream sherry (can be substituted for white wine)
1-½ cup white onion (diced)
¾ cup carrot peeled and diced
¾ cup celery peeled and diced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
4 slices bacon (thinly sliced)
2 tbsp. fresh tarragon
2 tbsp. dill
1 tbsp oil (canola)
¾ tbsp Kosher salt
½ tbsp ground black pepper
Cook live lobsters in a pot of boiling salted water. (8-10 minutes per pound)
Transfer immediately to an ice bath to stop cooking process.
Shuck corn by removing the husk and silk. Brush with oil and season with some of the salt and pepper. Cook on a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and cool. Slice off the corn kernels, reserving the cobs.
In a large sauce pan cook sliced bacon on medium heat, stirring often. Remove bacon from pan, reserving the fat. Add the butter to the pan. Add diced onion, celery and carrot, cook for five minutes continuing to stir. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with sherry or white wine, use a wooden spoon or heat proof spatula to ensure nothing sticks to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and cream, increase heat to medium high. Bring mixture to a boil. Use a whisk to ensure a smooth consistency. Reduce to a simmer and add the cubed potatoes and reserved corn cobs. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove the cobs and add the chopped lobster and corn kernels. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Serve immediately and garnish with chopped fresh herbs. Enjoy!