To the Windy City and Back
This past July, Executive Chef Ron McKinlay made his way to the Windy City where he joined forces with Executive Chef John Shields of the Michelin-starred restaurant Smyth, for a multi-course collaborative dinner. Embracing farm-to-table cooking with a seasonally driven tasting menu, Chef John Shields together with his Executive Pastry Chef and wife, Karen Urie Shields, have today earned two Michelin stars for their 10-plus coursed affair — a nod to their time in Smyth County, Virginia.
Months after their first collaboration, it was Chef McKinlay’s turn to play host to Chef Shields on Friday, October 28, where Visa Infinite diners were treated to the Toronto iteration of Canoe x Smyth, a culinary showcase of show stopping dishes defined by each party’s home.
To kick off the evening, diners were welcomed with a reception in the Canoe bar featuring live music from Michael Saracino as they enjoyed Woodford Reserve feature cocktails, rosé brut and passed canapés. Smyth’s seaweed tart with sunchoke and burgundy truffle and smoked cod and caviar doughnut made their way to eager diners alongside Canoe’s fried oyster with lobster and pickled dill and crispy beef with swordfish and fried bread for first bites of the evening.
Once seated, Chef Shields presented the first course: uni ceviche with preserved melon and bergamot paired with a 2019 Cave Spring Riesling. For the second course, diners enjoyed Chef McKinlay’s Newfoundland blue fin tuna with mackerel and bonito paired with a 2021 Scarbolo ‘il Ramato’ Pinot Grigio.
White wines were then swapped for red as the third and fourth courses took the stage. Chef McKinlay’s matsutake and scallop ravioli with caramelized onion and vermouth velouté wowed, pairing beautifully with a 2019 Le Clos Jordanne ‘Le Grande Clos’ Pinot Noir. To follow, aged beef with braised kombu, cabbage and hay from Chef Shields was next paired with a 2018 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon ’Estate’.
To finish, Smyth Pastry Chef Jenna Pegg presented a divine dessert of roasted potato ice cream, raspberry and roses. The evening concluded with a rousing round of applause, several thank yous and a few final photos to capture the teams that brought the magical collaboration to life (again!).
Many thanks to everyone who joined us for this special evening!
Ron McKinlay, Executive Chef, Canoe
John Shields, Executive Chef & Proprietor, Smyth & Loyalist, Chicago
Brian Barker, Executive Sous Chef, Smyth & Loyalist, Chicago
Jenna Pegg, Pastry Chef, Smyth & Loyalist, Chicago
Billy Woon, Senior Sommelier, Canoe
Steve Dolinsky, Emcee
Photos by Hector Vasquez.