Veggielicious 101 @ Bent with Susur Lee!

Post published by Penny Pong {Intern @ Foodinthecitytoronto.com}

The only way to describe how I got to meet and cook with Susur Lee is, serendipity.

When Grace asked me to attend the Veggielicious 101 event at Bent (@BentRestaurant) with Susur Lee (@SusurLee), I was excited and scared all at the same time. But how could I pass this up? I’m a vegetarian and the event was called Veggielicious 101. I live in the neighbourhood (about 2 minutes away) and it was with Susur Lee! My decision was further validated when I went to practice yoga a few days before and who was in my class? Susur. It was a sign.

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When I arrived at Bent I instantly fell in love with the look and feel of the space. I adore nostalgia and when you are there, you can feel the sense of how much family means to them. From the old aquarium up-cycled into a desk, to the wall of little treasures collected over the years by the Bent/Lee family, to the blown-up old school pictures, it is a place where you feel at home.

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Chef Lee met and greeted each of us as any good host would. He then served some appetizers: chicken dumplings for the non-vegetarians and avocado and goat’s cheese tacos for the vegetarians.

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He engaged us in a conversation about health and why many people think vegetarian dishes are tasteless and boring. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 15 years and to hear Susur speak so passionately about creating delicious and healthy dishes was inspiring. This is the reason why Susur is who he is. He has led the way in making Toronto a world-class destination for food. He does this by doing what no one else does. When everyone is doing meat, and more meat, he’s trying out a new vegetarian tasting menu…and what a menu it is!

Singapore Slaw

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Dip Three Ways – served with Baked Garlic Lawash

  1. Hummus of Romano Beans w/Salted Chilies & Sherry Vinegar
  2. Spicy Mustard Seed Tomato Stew w/Walnut & Curry Leaf
  3. Caribbean Eggplant Babaganoush w/Cilantro

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Each had such unique and amazing flavours. The combination he comes up with is his specialty and shows it in something as simple as dips.

Tingly Chilled Soba

Made with vegetables grown in the garden behind Bent, this dish is one to relish. We got to tour the garden and I can tell you that garden is full of love. Because I ride by almost everyday, I see the man who tends the garden and he plays beautiful Chinese music to his very healthy and happy vegetables. The fusion of the cold soba noodles with the vegetables and confit of Shitake really does create a ‘tingly’ sensation on your taste buds.

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Chickpea Tempura Tofu

  • This tofu dish will change your mind on tofu. While lightly crispy on the outside, the soft tofu inside melts in your mouth.

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Wild Mushroom Quinoa Risotto (vegan option available)

I eat A LOT of quinoa. So, I know my quinoa, and some how I still never thought to use it in risotto. It’s a delicious, complete protein. This version with roasted cauliflower, Romano Parmigianino emulsion and tempeh crouton was divine.

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French Meringue with Golden Licorice

A highlight to the afternoon was to actually see Susur in action. We got to see him make his famous French Meringue. He encouraged us to give it a try. I had so much fun trying to make my own perfect pastry. Can you tell which one I made and which one he made??

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I’m a dessert fiend. No matter how much I have eaten, there is always room for dessert in my books. The meringue is perfect. It’s light and sweet, and balanced exquisitely with tart lemon curd, blueberry, peach, passion fruit sauce and finished with raspberry coulis.

We were also treated to some of the signature cocktails available at Bent. We watched and learned to make the “Asian Caesar” and “Karate Kid II”

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It was an amazing afternoon spent learning, cooking and talking with the other bloggers and Susur. It’s encouraging that he is using his influence to start the conversation about how wonderful and tasty vegetarian dishes can be. He has brought the beauty of fruits, vegetables and grains into the limelight in a bold and masterful way with this tasting menu. I’ve been raving about it so much; I already have 2 reservations set with friends.

The 5-course tasting menu is available from September 9th through until September 20th and is well worth the $45.

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This workshop was complimentary but Foodinthecitytoronto.com remains unbiased in our content

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Leave a comment

  1. September 4, 2014 / 12:16 am

    All the food looks absolutely amazing, You’re so right too! the decor really is very comfortable and that adds that little something too 🙂

  2. Elli
    September 4, 2014 / 9:33 pm

    Yummy!!! Will visit Bent soon! And well written article!

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