No restaurant meal has found its way into the hearts of Ontarians quite like Swiss Chalet’s Festive Special. We asked four Toronto chefs to transform the classic combo into a gourmet dish. Here’s what they came up with.
Make a gourmet meal out of the Festival Special: Quarter roast chicken, stuffing, cranberry sauce, Chalet sauce, side dish (including mashed or baked potatoes, fries, rice, coleslaw, salad, corn, or mixed vegetables), bread roll, and Lindor chocolates.
Okay to use: Condiments or drinks available at Swiss Chalet.
Not okay: Any extra ingredients.
Daniel Park’s Hako Swiss Chalet (pictured above)
Park showcased the unique preparation techniques of Osaka’s hako (“pressed”) sushi, which he employs at House of Moments. Using a special wood box, he moulded layers of bread, baked potato, sour cream, and pulled chicken breast to make small rectangular pieces of sushi, which were topped with a pat of butter and chicken skin. They were baked until the top was crisp, then given a dollop of cranberry sauce, ketchup, gravy, or sour cream. The hollowed-out roll was filled with stuffing and the Lindor chocolates were presented in a nest of potato skins.
House of Moments, 105C-388 Carlaw Ave., 416-901-6003.
Doug Penfold’s Croquetas de Pollo con Mole Poblano
It took Cava chef and co-owner Doug Penfold four tries to perfect this recipe. He puréed mashed potatoes and stuffing to a dough-like consistency, then flattened the mixture with a tortilla press, topped it with a blend of shredded chicken and cranberry sauce, and rolled it into a tube. Penfold brushed the croqueta with a thick stock—made by simmering Chalet sauce, diced chicken bones, and skin—then rolled it in fine breadcrumbs, made from the dehydrated roll. Deep fried till golden, the croqueta was plated on a sauce of Lindor chocolates, stock, coffee, and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.
Cava, 1560 Yonge St., 416-979-9918.
Matty Matheson’s Autumn’s Afternoon Walk
“I just wanted to take the piss out of fine dining and show that if you serve less food, you can easily triple the amount you charge for it,” said Parts & Labour chef Matty Matheson of his deconstructed dinner. He smeared the plate with crisscrosses of mashed potato and cranberry sauce. On top: a chicken-leg roulade, oven-broiled stuffing, corn kernels, and “gravy snow,” a concoction made from Swiss Chalet sauce and maltodextrin (an additive not found in the Festive Special, but we let it slide). Matheson served the Lindor balls in a bowl of milk, because, “Milk and chocolate, bro.”
Parts & Labour, 1566 Queen St. W., 416-588-7750.
Peter McKnight’s Warm Chicken Terrine
To make this terrine-like dish, Peter McKnight, chef at The Ace, lined a square mould with stuffing and formed a mixture of mashed potatoes, bread, and water around a saucy centre of pulled dark meat and gravy. The whole thing went in the fridge to set for a few hours. McKnight speared the loaf with shards of crackling, made from deep-fried chicken skin, and served it with a sweet mole sauce of ketchup and the puréed chocolate truffles.
The Ace, 231 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-792-7729.
Swiss Chalet’s Festive Special ($14.29 and up) is available until Dec. 30.
Note: This article was credited in print to an incorrect author. The author has been updated.