Friend of The Pointe: Chef Duncan Ly
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Chef Duncan Ly is currently busy putting his stamp on Calgary’s foodie map, but for a brief time he called Tofino home. His start in the kitchen began at the Wickaninnish Inn—dishwashing! It was there, Duncan says, that the intoxicating smell of our West Coast chowder became a catalyst for his passion for cooking.
Over the following years Duncan applied himself with vigour and determination. After leaving Tofino, he worked with some of the country’s top chefs and esteemed restaurants (Vancouver’s Diva, Calgary’s Catch, Hotel Arts) and earned himself a number of culinary awards, medals and recognition (including six consecutive years of winning medals at the Gold Medal Plate competitions). He was awarded the prestigious Karl Schier Award as “Vancouver’s Top Apprentice,” and represented Canada as an apprentice at the Bocuse d’Or, a biennial international gastronomy competition held in France.
Things came full circle when Duncan returned to his home province, Alberta. After starting at our Relais & Châteaux property many years ago, he brought the prestigious R&C designation to Kensington Riverside Inn—Calgary’s first property to be awarded this status.
Now an experienced chef, Duncan launched his own restaurant in Calgary’s Beltline neighbourhood in January 2017: Foreign Concept. Drawing from Duncan’s Vietnamese roots and Executive Chef Jinhee Lee’s Korean heritage, Foreign Concept offers bold and modern pan-Asian made-from-scratch food.
We are delighted to have been a part of Chef Duncan Ly’s outstanding journey into the fantastic world of food, and grateful he continues to be a part of our wider culinary community. He is one of our generous contributors to the Wickaninnish Cookbook. If you haven’t picked up your copy, here’s a sneak peek of his recipe for Coconut Green Curry Mussels below. Enjoy!
Mushroom Tortellini with Chive Oil
2¾ cups (345 g) flour, plus additional for rolling
⅞ cup (145 g) semolina flour
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt
2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
1 small bunch chives
½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
MUSHROOM F I L L I NG
1 lb (450 g) button or mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme, leaves only
¼ cup (60 mL) sherry
2 tsp (10 mL) whipping cream
Prepare the pasta: In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all the ingredients and mix for approximately 10 minutes or until smooth and slightly springy to the touch. Form it into a ball and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes.
Using a pasta roller, roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets. Divide the dough into three smaller portions, and feed the first through the pasta machine at its widest setting. Turn the setting a notch narrower and feed the sheet through again, repeating until the sheet is quite thin, but not so thin it will tear. You may need to dust the dough generously with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rollers. Repeat with the remaining portions of pasta dough. Allow the pasta sheets to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Using a round 3-inch (8 cm) cookie cutter, punch out 16 circles from the pasta sheet. Cover the pasta with a damp towel until ready to use.
Meanwhile, make the chive oil: In a blender, combine the chives and oil and blend for about 3 minutes. Strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer.
Make the mushroom filling: In a medium saucepan, sweat the mushrooms for about 2 minutes, then add the shallots, garlic, and thyme and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes. Add the sherry and reduce the liquid until dry, then add the cream and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
When the mushroom mixture has cooled, place one small dollop of the mixture in the centre of each pasta circle. Fold the pasta in half over the mixture, forming a half-moon shape. Then fold the two ends together and press tightly to form the tortellini. Whisk a little flour and water together to create a paste and use it to seal the tortellini. Repeat the steps until you have 16 tortellini.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then carefully drop the tortellini into the water and cook for 3 minutes. They should float to the top when they are ready. With a skimmer, remove the tortellini from the water, divide between two plates, and drizzle with chive oil.