May. 30, 2012 - Issue #867: Nextfest 2012
TZiN welcomes a new executive chef
New executive chef Corey McGuire has taken over the bustling open kitchen to serve up the unique, flavourful creations TZiN has become known for since opening its doors five years ago.
Cooking has always been a passion for McGuire, a graduate of the culinary arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). His professional culinary exploits began 14 years ago with chains such as Joey's and Earl's before he moved on to Madison's Grill, where he worked for seven years before making the move to TZiN.
"You get more interaction, you get to see people, see the smiles on their faces while they're eating and having a good time," McGuire says of TZiN's wide-open kitchen, which is impossible to miss from its position beside the front door.
McGuire had frequented TZiN as a customer over the last number of years and got to know the owners Kelsey Danyluk and Glen Haugh quite well. He always enjoyed the vibe, and of course, the food.
"It's been fantastic and our best gauge is our customers, as well as the feedback that we get," Danyluk says of hiring McGuire. "We're excited to have him onboard. We're a small, but dedicated team and he fits that culture beautifully."
The energy of the dining space is what attracted McGuire to TZiN. Between the interaction with the kitchen, the close proximity customers have to each other and the tapas-style dining, he says it makes it easy to socialize and enjoy an evening, rather than each diner sitting with their heads down, concentrating on their own food.
"In a place like this, everyone's interacting," he says. "There's a nice buzz. You can't leave here and not have had a good time."
Thanks to a window positioned at the front of the restaurant, McGuire also has the opportunity to interact with passersby, who stop to watch him prepare food in the afternoons. Pedestrians and customers might even catch him dancing, which he admits is a common occurrence in his kitchens.
"I like to have a lot of fun when I cook ... whether it's a closed kitchen or an open kitchen," he adds. "It's nice to have an audience to see it now."
Aside from having a lot of fun and ensuring customers enjoy themselves just as much, McGuire plans to incorporate fresh ingredients from the City Market Downtown and add a chef's choice dish on Saturdays to incorporate the fare he gathers from its vendors. He'll also be rolling out new dishes over the coming weeks that make use of locally produced ingredients.
"It's nice to know where your food comes from. If you know the person who's raised the cow from the time it was born to the time it was slaughtered, you just see the passion in their eyes," he notes. "It comes through with the products and that inspires me to do something great with it."
McGuire's skills in the kitchen are evident when he whips up a few of TZiN's signatures following our interview.
First up was the warm mushroom and spinach tart with gruyere cheese and merlot truffle vinaigrette. The pastry, which is house-made and takes a day and a half to complete, is light and fluffy, creating the perfect accompaniment for the filling, loaded with cheese and fresh mushrooms.
Next up came crab-stuffed prawns, which McGuire says is the opposite of what people usually expect. Opposite or not, the giant, juicy prawns, which are butterflied to accommodate the crab-meat filling, are delicious. The crab is clearly the real deal and the creation is complimented by a spicy-yet-tart lemon chili aioli, which adds some bite, but allows the natural flavours to come through.
Next came the grilled Alberta beef tenderloin with rosemary potato confit, carmelized onion and fig coulis. The tender beef was just slightly pink and very flavourful. The potatoes, onions and coulis were all a great sweet meets savoury compliment to the flavours the beef.
To cap it all off, McGuire sent out a slice of flourless Grand Marnier chocolate torte with raspberry Cointreau sorbet. The torte was just the right amount of sweet paired with the tartness of the sorbet.
If he's already mastered TZiN's classics, his own creations promise to be nothing short of delectable.
TZiN Wine & Tapas
10115 104 St
780.428.8946 vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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