Vancouver Island, B.C., Aerie Resort & Spa, Chef Castro Boateng

Mar 1, 2008
2008 / March 2008

Castro Boateng Believes that good things come to those who wait. The executive chef at Vancouver Island’s Aerie Resort & Spa incorporates the Slow Food philosophy — a grassroots movement founded in 1989 to counteract the global trend toward a “fast food” lifestyle — into his culinary mission.

Slow Food aficionados believe that “everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible.”

In other words, “Slow down, you move to fast. Let’s make this moment last.”

Boateng, who grew up in Toronto, emigrated with his family from Ghana when he was eight. Reared by his father in a single-parent household, Boateng showed little interest in culinary pursuits until, at age 18, he took a job as a dishwasher in a hotel where the chef, who noticed a spark of talent, encouraged him to explore his options.

Less than a decade later, after stints at renowned dining rooms around the world including the Westin Turnberry Resort in Scotland and positions in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, Boateng returned to Canada to accept the position of sous chef at the Rimrock Resort Hotel in Banff.

Now, heading up the kitchen at the Aerie Resort & Spa, Boateng is eager to share his culinary passion and cooking philosophies with visitors and locals alike. His obsessions include fresh fare that is clean and organic. He’s known for experimenting with unusual flavors and has a keen interest in curing and braising meat. Embracing a philosophy that focuses on seasonal, regional and organic cuisine, Boateng believes that each meal should be an unforgettable experience.


Pan-seared black cod with cherries matelote and cilantropickled cauliflower Serves 4

For the pickled cauliflower:
1 ounce onions
3 ounces olive oil
6 ounces fresh cauliflower florets
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon coriander seed Juice of 1 lemon
4 ounces white wine
2 ounces olive oil
½ ounce fresh chives
¼ ounce fresh cilantro
½ ounce fresh chervil
2 ounces olive oil

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add onions. Sweat until soft. Add cauliflower florets, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorn, salt, coriander seed, lemon juice and white wine. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (cauliflower should remain crunchy). Set aside. (Pickled cauliflower may be made up to five days in advance of serving.) When ready to serve, mix in chives, cilantro and chervil. Add olive oil and toss.


For the cherries matelote:
20 fresh cherries pitted (reserve 4 with stems)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
½ clove garlic
3 tablespoons brandy
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
10 black peppercorns
¾ cup pinot noir
½ ounce butter
3 ounces reduced veal stock
1 tablespoon honey Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add minced shallot and garlic and sweat until soft. Flame with brandy. Add thyme, bay leaf and peppercorn, and reduce au sec (until nearly dry). Add pinot noir and reduce again by three quarters. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Blend in butter, veal stock and honey. Add pitted cherries. Adjust seasoning and reserve for plating.


For the black cod:
4 3-ounce pieces black cod (sablefish)

Sear black cod on all sides until golden and cooked through.

PRESENTATION: On each plate, place a strip of cauliflower salad running from top left (11 o’clock) to bottom right (5 o’clock). Place the matelote sauce on the lower part of the plate and position a piece of the black cod on sauce. Garnish with reserved stem cherries.


Modern sushi

3 ounces foie gras
3 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon Madeira wine
1 cooked lobster tail
½ ounce mixed sprouts
1 sheet rice paper
Raspberry powder (available in health food stores)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Combine foie gras, brandy, Madeira, salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate for 2 hours. Combine lemon juice and olive oil to make vinaigrette. Split the lobster tail lengthwise and season with half of lemon vinaigrette. Soften the rice paper sheet in warm water and place it on a dry cloth. Layer the rice paper with foie gras, then sprouts, then lobster. Sprinkle with reserved lemon vinaigrette and raspberry powder. Roll sushi-style and cut into 4 pieces.

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