We’re not a country much given to horn-tooting, but for the past two decades, Heritage Minutes have helped celebrate major moments in Canadian history. So who will celebrate the Minutes themselves? Chefs, that’s who—by turning those awesome interstitials into equally awesome dishes.
Maurice “Rocket” Richard: In 1944, the hockey legend was spending a day off helping his family move—until he was suddenly called in to play against Detroit. Despite lifting heavy furniture all day, Richard scored five goals and had three assists in a 9-1 Habs victory.
The Drake One Fifty’s Jonathan Pong opted for an all-over green dessert, explaining, “I know arugula and apple work really well together, and I wanted to do something refreshing for summertime.” He started with a sweet and grassy apple-celery sorbet on a bed of arugula dressed in grapeseed oil blitzed with arugula leaves for a deep-green dressing. Little chips of lime-meringue cut through the rocket’s bitterness, and on top, “snow” made from buttermilk and puréed arugula completed the monochromatic dish.
Basketball: The sport’s inventor, James Naismith of Almonte, Ont., fashioned a net from peach baskets with the bottoms cut out—much to the dismay of the old caretaker, who needed those baskets back.
Winnie: Before setting off to fight in the First World War, Captain Colebourn named a black bear Winnie, after his adopted hometown of Winnipeg. A decade later, on display at the London Zoo, Winnie inspired A.A. Milne’s iconic character.
Steve Gonzalez of Valdez had to combine the two Heritage Minutes into one dish. He grilled peaches with honey (Winnie the Pooh’s favourite food) and vanilla beans, reasoning that vanilla represented the, ahem, Caucasian roots of the sport, while the grill (or grillz) stood for the bling that today’s b-ball players buy with their millions. Basil leaves gave a floral element to the dish, which was served in the rim of a carved-out peach basket.
Orphans: In the 1850s, many Quebecois families adopted Irish children whose parents died while crossing the Atlantic. Not wanting to lose her Irish heritage, little Molly Johnson begged (in adorably broken French) to keep her last name.
Swiss-born Léonie Lilla of Farmers Daughter’s Eatery grew up eating blood pudding and potatoes, just like little Molly would have. Lilla mixed those traditional ingredients with a fried egg, house-made rye bread, pickled Portobello mushrooms, and tomatoes to make a fun breakfast plate. “I used a lot of shapes and colours, because that’s what children are attracted to,” she says. “The dish should be adaptable to age. A younger kid would like the circles and triangles, and an older kid would want the sausage and eggs.”
Wilder Penfield: In the 1930s, the good doctor made great strides in mapping the human brain and treating epileptic seizures. A housewife’s cry of “Burnt toast! Dr. Penfield, I can smell burnt toast!” became one of the earliest Canadian memes and the bane of neurosurgeons everywhere.
Canoe pastry chef Robert Gonsalves has a weakness for burnt toast with marmalade, so this dish was a bit of a gimme. He first made ice cream by frying French toast in butter till it burnt, infusing the bread with milk, pureeing it, then whipping it into a frozen custard. Dollops of caramelized white chocolate, vanilla-milk gel, smoked-vanilla crème, and a whipped ganache surrounded the ice cream, with bitter-orange marmalade and granola on top. To finish, Gonsalves blowtorched bits of wood, burnt toast, and sugar, then trapped the smoke under a cloche, which, when released, gives diners a whiff of campfire with their dessert.
HUMBLE SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE HERITAGE MINUTES
Mel Lastman vs the cannibals.
That time Prince lived here.
Margaret Trudeau and the Stones party at the El Mo.
Jimmy gets shot on Degrassi.
Mel Lastman calls in the army.
Tweet us your suggestions with the hashtag #NewHeritageMins. For more on the original Heritage Minutes, visit here.