This is an upscale cooking school on Parkdale just south of Wellington. They also have a special events calendar where they host meals often with wine and sometimes beer pairing.

The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
The Urban Element
Foods from The Urban Element

Comments

2009 Jul 29
I love this place and have been to a few events. check out my reviews:

Gourmet Supper Club
rachelleeatsfood.blogspot.com

Raw Cooking
rachelleeatsfood.blogspot.com

Red Apron
rachelleeatsfood.blogspot.com

Chelsea Smokehouse
rachelleeatsfood.blogspot.com

2009 Jun 19
My husband and I attended a demo event with Mike Moffat from Play/Beckta and Dirk from Beckta a couple of weeks ago. This highly anticipated experience lived up to and surpassed our expectations eventhough a good friend had talked up the UE's events quite a bit. The theme of the night was "A Frugal Dinner Party".
The chefs started with an artichoke ravioli in a braised leek sauce as an amuse bouche. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious! They described the techniques used and the flavour combinations and the logic behind all that.
We moved onto rice paper spring rolls filled with white asparagus, red cooking beef (recipe was provided and described to us in detail), and some greens. Also amazing... On the side was a little sweet dipping sauce which was mostly soya I believe.
The second appetizer was a trio of perfectly cooked scallops with a side of beans. We learned the how-to's of cooking scallops.
For the main course, we were served pork three ways: braised shoulder (drooling as I recall this one), seared belly and loin. The braised shoulder was prepared ahead of time but the chefs described how to do it (just add water as long as you've picked your meat carefully!) and it was served on a palette of thinly sliced fried potatoes. It was to die for. The belly was deliciously cripsy and a pleasant surprise for me for my first pork belly experience. Thoroughly enjoyed it. The loin was probably my least favourite but still amazing. Mr. Moffat pointed out that it's interesting that most people would probably pick that one as their least favourite of the trio despite it being the most expensive and how with lesser cuts you have to work harder to get a good final product but it's often more flavourful. Interesting... He also mentioned that by serving a meat course in three ways such as this, you can cut costs as opposed to serving only one piece of loin.
Last but not least was an old-fashioned bread pudding. This doesn't appeal to my idea of comfort food since it's not the sort of thing I grew up with but it was delicious. Recipe was provided.
All plates were served with a wine pairing, all of which were decent except the sherry at the end, which was a substitute for an ice wine which was supposed to have been served and was quite disappointing. More effort should have been placed on finding a good substitute. Other wines were an Ontario white, a surprisingly decent rose and a delicious pinot noir.
This dinner felt like an intimate gathering with two of Ottawa's top chefs and was really special. We will be back again! I highly recommend it to any aspiring or seasoned foodie!

2007 Aug 26
Love the space. Attended a party there & had a blast.

2007 Mar 12
continued from below ...

Then came the cheese course! I didn't even know there was such a thing as a cheese course but I love all imaginable types of cheese so I was very anxious as this was being served. The cheese was la grand chouffe from Belgium and served with Bruce's walnut cranberry bread and housemade mustard fruits. Stephen gave us the story on the cheese - he said that he'd had it some time ago and it was rather unremarkable. But when he went to The Cheese Boutique they'd had some in their affinage (cheese cellar) which they'd aged an extra 6 months. Stephen says it made a world of difference, and indeed what we were served was a pretty spectacular "stinky cheese" that was even quite palatable amongst those who did not normally like "stinky cheese". I really was in heaven!

By the time dessert rolled around I was full. Very, very full. But Bruce just had to taunt me with an inspirational gingerbread baked with beer in the batter, and served with a rye caramel and whipped cream. Incredible! However, I very reluctantly only managed to find room for about 3/4 before my stomach started to revolt just from sheer overstuffing. My mouth kept telling me "oh my gawd this is good - get more in there" but my stomach just kept saying "I'm going to explode! I'm going to explode!". In the end my stomach won.

Each course was paired with a specific beer by Stephen, and so the evening was spent sipping fine beer and enjoying Bruce Wood's inspirational creations!

As mentioned, I have a few concerns with the space at The Urban Element - but all-in-all it was a great evening and I'd love to go back again sometime. Chef Bruce Wood is a genius and I'd recommend you try his creations any chance you get!

2007 Mar 12
I attended for Stephen Beaumont's event which was a 5 course meal with a different beer paired to each course.

The space at the Urban Element is pretty impressive. They had about 2/3 of the main floor of the old firehall. You enter into a long (50-70 foot), narrow (20-30 foot) room that is sparsely decorated in what I will probably incorrectly call 'neo-industrial' (dammit Jim, I'm a brewer, not an interior decorator!). The walls show off the old brick of which the firehall was built, and the floors are plain concrete.

As you get to the end of the long, narrow space you see that the room opens up into a much wider space which is the kitchen (shown). It is huge, and modern, and shiny! I have kitchen envy! The kitchen is the rear of the firehall and perhaps 30 x 50 feet. In the center is a countertop which forms a sqaure that traces the perimeter of the kitchen space, leaving ample room outside the counter to walk around it. The outside is also lined with bar stools for people to sit along the perimeter of the counter. Inside the square is a circa 15' x 20' space for the chefs.

The first thing I noticed when we were invited to take our seats was how tightly squeezed together they were. The table was long - their website says 20 feet - but still only took up some 2/3 of the long room so they could have easily lengthened it to give us more room. It sat 20 people with one at each end, so that tells me each person had just shy of 2'3" of space. At $110 a head I don't expect to be packed in like a sardine, especially when they clearly had the space to do it differently. The next thing I noticed was that the washroom door exited off this room about in the middle of the long table - a pretty major faux-pas in my opinion. Washroom doors should never exit off a main dining room like that. Ever. I have a buddy who is an architect who confirmed this for me. I am certain they could have done this differently.

But in general the space was extremely well layed out and decorated, and it made for a pleasant dining experience.

The meal itself was 5 course. Stephen explained beforehand that he and chef Bruce Wood had put the menu together over the telephone, in about 45 minutes of haggling back and forth. And as soon as the food starting coming to the table any concerns I had about the table or the space in general quickly vanished!

We started with bread and a simple pate as an appetizer. I was pretty hungry by this point from a long day, and it was an exceptionally tasty way to satiate my appetite. It did not take long for most people to gobble down their pate, and so soon came the 2nd course : Roasted squash soup. The squash was roasted with thyme, smoked paprika, garlic and seas salt. Finished with leeks, onions and chicken stock it was garnished with spiced pumpkin seeds. The spicing was fairly subtle here so you could still really taste the squash - which I happen to love. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Then we moved on to the main course - bison flank steak sauced with pearl onions, prunes, aged balsamic and Kozlik's triple crunch mustard. The sauce was also made with the same Corporal punishment beer from the Scotch Irish brewing company that was paired with this course. It was served with german spaetzle and sweet and sour red cabbage. Of course any meal served with spaetzle and red cabbage is automatically a huge hit for me as long as the spaetzle are done right - and Bruce's were as good or better than anything I've ever had in Germany. Each diner got a generous 4 or 5 strips of bison served over the spaetzle and cabbage. As Bruce noted the cut was actually somewhat tough which is why it needed to marinate overnight. It was still ever-so-slightly tough when served - I'd have preferred it a bit less so - but just the same this was absolutely to die for! I was savouring every mouthful

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