09 May Jonathan Cartu Reviews: Meet the chef: Graham Momer appreciates all things Okanagan
Gray Monk Estate Winery’s Executive Chef at The Lookout Restaurant loves his Okanagan cuisine
Graham Momer is a true local, born in Kelowna and graduating from culinary school at Okanagan College. He recognizes and seeks out the world-class ingredients available locally in the Okanagan and appreciates international influences and ingredients, especially from Italy. In February 2020, he took on the role of Gray Monk Estate Winery’s Executive Chef at The Lookout Restaurant, curating a locally driven seasonal menu.
Q: What motivates and inspires you as a chef?
A: I am motivated by the fact I get to eat delicious food when I am done cooking. I am inspired by all the beautiful products of the Okanagan Valley.
Q: How would you describe the type of food you like to cook?
A: I cook Okanagan Cuisine with a predominant but not exclusive Italian influence.
Q: What might diners not know about you?
A: My least favourite food is canned tuna, I hate it! I can’t even be around it, there is a protocol for disposing of it after my wife and kids have had it for lunch. Did I mention that I hate it … why are we even still talking about this?
Q: Describe a couple of your most recent creations.
A: I literally just finished baking the best banana bread I have ever baked with my kids. Secret ingredient: coconut yogurt. We have homemade pizza most Sunday nights, most recently we had chorizo, potato and chimichurri pizza. It was OK.
Q: What’s your favourite local product and how do you use it?
A: Okanagan heirloom tomatoes are simply the best. I put them on toasted tomato sandwiches or a simple tomato salad with shaved Grana Padano, olive oil and balsamic.
Q: If there’s one important piece of advice you might have for home cooks, what might that be?
A: Just have fun, have a drink, relax. Don’t over think anything, don’t stress about anything, just cook! Not everything will turn out perfectly and that is OK.
Crispy Potato & Crab Cakes
During this time strange time we are living in, I think it is important to take a moment to splurge and treat yourself and your loved ones. Making a nice a meal and enjoying a great bottle of wine with your family can provide a much-needed escape.
4 small Russet Potatoes
1/2 lbs (680 g) crabmeat (Dungeness or King)
1 tbsp (15 mL) dill stems, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter
¼ cup (60 mL) Grana Padano, grated
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt to taste
¼ lb (114 g) crabmeat, for garnish
Crab & Miso Remoulade
1 cup (250 mL) mayonnaise
1 tbsp (15 mL) miso paste
¼ cup finely diced dill pickle
1 tbsp (15 mL) dill, finely chopped
¼ lb (114 g) crabmeat
Steam the Russet potatoes for 22 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for several hours, until cool throughout. It is best if you choose smaller potatoes as they will steam more evenly. The crabmeat will also need to be divided into three different portions of the recipe, be sure to reserve the nicest pieces for the final garnish!
For the remoulade, combine all the ingredients except the crab and whisk. Taste and season if desired. (It should be salty enough.) Fold in chopped crabmeat and set in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Peel cooled potatoes using a paring knife and grate coarsely. Combine potato with crabmeat, melted butter, garlic, dill stems, and Grana Padano. Season with a pinch of salt and taste. Now form the mixture into 4 even balls and press into puck shapes using a ring mold. In a frying pan on medium heat, warm a little oil and sear crab and potato cakes on both sides. Be sure not to crowd the pan. Once they are golden brown, place in the oven and get ready to plate. Place the crab cakes in the centre of the plate and top each cake with a large dollop of remoulade. Garnish the plate with more chunks of crabmeat and crisp vegetables marinated in a little lime juice, salt and honey.
Pair with Gray Monk Unwooded Chardonnay.