A regional chapter of a men’s culinary group, Les Marmitons, paired up with Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery on May 29 for a virtual dining and food education experience.
Les Marmitons Niagara chapter president Michael Berlis chose to team with Ravine chef John Vetere to highlight one of his specialties – brisket.
“For the last few years he was working at Oast House and he was known for his brisket,” Berlis said.
“It is a somewhat complicated, long process to put together a good brisket, but he's certainly created a name for himself in that.”
Vetere noted, “I'm lucky that BBQ has this enigma kind of interest around it that people are just generally drawn to.”
“In terms of brisket, it's like this weird thing that everyone loves but no one really knows how to cook. So I think it was a perfect topic because there's a lot that goes into barbecue. There's a lot of alchemy that happens behind the scenes.”
Previous to COVID-19, Les Marmitons Niagara would meet regularly at Niagara College for guided culinary experiences and workshops facilitated by area chefs. This past year has pushed the culinary group to find inventive ways to keep its members engaged, including virtual cooks through Zoom with professional chefs.
“We obviously can't sit down and make a brisket, in a short 12-hour stint, but what we're doing is kind of a combination thing,” Berlis said.
“We’ve ordered some brisket from (Vetere) so he's preparing it as a takeout dinner and then each individual Marmitons will pick it up and bring it home.”
The chapter president says participation in these online events has varied during the pandemic but the men who are participating enjoy the virtual offerings. Last Saturday, 23 of the Niagara group's 39 members took part.
“I think we've been trying just to think of different formats and different ideas throughout the last year just trying to keep people interested,” he said.
The element of interaction through these online events is a big factor during the planning stage, said Vetere.
“We workshopped maybe a cooking class and then kind of came to the conclusion of a meal to go with some Q&A and a little demo video.”
Les Marmitons Niagara will continue to look for innovative ways to keep members engaged while focusing on education and support of the culinary and wine industry, Berlis said.