Pop Up Hamilton: Showdown

Pop Up Hamilton: Showdown

Out of all Pop Up Hamilton locations: a warehouse, church, castle, and even a film set prison to name a few, Pop Up Hamilton: Showdown was in a restaurant. In true Pop Up Hamilton fashion, the location of the event wasn’t revealed until the last minute. Although the location wasn’t an unconventional space transformed, this particular restaurant didn’t disappoint. The Edgewater Manor is a stunning locale in a restored Stoney Creek mansion built in the 1920s. But to amp up the challenge, Pop Up organizers Dave and Nicole decided to make the wine the focus. Instead of what chefs are used to – creating a dish and later pairing it with a wine – each of the four chefs was assigned a wine from Peller Estate Winery, Trius Winery or Thirty Bench Winery and challenged to create a unique dish to complement the wine – not your obvious pairings.

Of course there was a surprise or two (see video below) and a silent auction to raise funds for Food4Kids. To stick with the culinary theme, gift certificates from Hamilton restaurants like the newly opened Sasso, Saltlick Smokehouse, The Other Bird, Nellie James, The Ship, Butcher and the Vegan, and Cake and Loaf were up for grabs plus gifts from Nicklebrook Brewing, RGB, Peller Estates, and more. The winner of Pop Up Hamilton: Showdown was voted by attendees after the innovative four-course meal. Chef Dan Megna of Lake Road Restaurant and Twisted Lemon had $1000 of the night’s proceeds donated to Food4Kids on his behalf.

Check out the competing dishes below. Cheers!

Pop Up Hamilton

Course 1: Jonny Blonde

Pop Up Hamilton Showdown
Course 1 of Pop Up Hamilton Showdown: Chef Jonny Blonde

With the Trius Brut sparkling wine he was assigned, Chef Jonny Blonde of Jonny Blonde Kitchen started off the night with foie gras on a biscuit, quail terrine, and pickled fennel and goat cheese salad with an exploding grape. Similar to champagne, the dry wine blended chardonney and pinot noir with notes of green apple and lemon.

Even the chefs enjoy a toast in the kitchen!

Course 2: John Taubenberger

Pop Up Hamilton Showdown
Course 2 of Pop Up Hamilton Showdown: Chef John Taubenberger

Having worked in restaurants like Baci and La Cantina, we were lucky to have Chef John Taubenberger of The Edgewater Manor cook in his home for the second course. Chef John said he was lucky too, “We get to come to work and chop stuff up.” He paired his 2014 Peller Estate “Private Reserve” riesling with citrus, floral, peach, and an amazing acidity with foie gras on a bed of tomato and apricot, foie gras stuffed gruyère (cheese puff) and a beautiful mango, watermelon, and lavender palate cleanser. Then, he surprised everyone with foie gras ice cream (can you feel the liver love?).

Course 3: Dan Megna

Pop Up Hamilton Showdown
Course 3 of Pop Up Hamilton Showdown: Chef Dan Megna

You could hear the oohs and aahs as Chef Dan Megna announced the star of his dish: a prosciutto wrapped kangaroo loin. His Thirty Bench 2013 Winemaker’s Red, a blend of merlot, cab franc, and cab sauvignon complemented the kangaroo, beat-parnsip-sweet potato side, and sauteed brussel sprouts with bacon bits.

Course 4: Stephanie Brewster

Course 4 of Pop Up Hamilton Showdown: Chef Stephanie Brewster
Course 4 of Pop Up Hamilton Showdown: Chef Stephanie Brewster

To end the evening on a sweet note, Chef Stephanie Brewster of the Royal Botannical Gardens, Chopped Canada winner, and Fanshawe College culinary instructor was assigned a 2013 cab-franc Peller Estates “Signature Series” red ice wine with sweet raspberry and strawberry undertones. She created a honey and goat cheese pannacotta with raspberry jelly, chocolate custard, and honeycomb sponge taffy. 

For the night’s entertainment, Tenor Ernesto Ramirez and Mezzo-Soprano Michelle Bogdanovich were dressed as waiters and surprised us with their opera singing!

Congratulations to Chef Dan Megna for his Pop Up Hamilton win!

Pop Up Hamilton Showdown
Pop Up Hamilton’s Dave Hanley (left) and Lake Road’s Chef Dan Megna (right)

The next Pop Up Hamilton event is Dine in the Spotlight on May 3 with the HPO. You’ll get to eat the creations of top Hamilton chefs Dan Megna, Patrick Weise, Jonny Blonde and Salar Madadi on stage with the orchestra playing from the seats. Plus – wine pairings by Chateau Des Charmes with a cocktail reception featuring The Hamilton Brewery!

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