Oct/Nov 2015 Feb/Mar 2015 - Page 16

inthekitchen

inthekitchen

feisty on ice

Chef Mandel Hitzer of deer + almond harnesses free spirited energy into border-crossing tastes and boundarypushing culinary adventures .
by Arvel Gray
“ I fell in love with flavours at the age of nine ,” Mandel Hitzer says . He fondly remembers his grandmother and mother filling the kitchen with the intoxicating aromas of bread baking , roast beef , and Yorkshire pudding . By the time he was a teenager Mandel was cooking for his four siblings , smitten with the pleasure of creating good , simple food .
That childhood passion is now at play at deer + almond , a 68-seat restaurant in the heart of Winnipeg ’ s Exchange District , where seven days a week chef Hitzer serves up tapas-style dishes that challenge culinary convention with a clever mix of global styles and ingredients .
The ‘ almond ’ in the restaurant ’ s name is the German translation for Mandel . The deer is a symbol of nature ’ s elegance , a description that applies to his menu as well as the sleek and inviting decor . Thick wooden slabs for tables and a scattering of antlers pair with potted plants and modern art . There ’ s sparkle from polished barware and suspended filament bulbs , glittering like frost in a forest .
“ Sharing food is a tradition that is replicated in every culture around the world ,” says Hitzer , whose strong sense of the global community seeps into his menu planning : he ’ ll pair rabbit ragout with herb gnocchi , Manitoba pickerel with Hungarian sausage , and Alberta lamb with pumpkin curry , coconut and bamboo shoots . While trying to source as much local and national produce as possible , Hitzer also leans on the palates of Asian cuisines , where clean , pure flavours hold sway on the dinner plate .
14 ciao ! / feb / mar / two thousand fifteen