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The beer chef

Jessica Ireland | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 18th, 2010



Chris Goddard started on a Steam Whistle beer assembly line. But now he's worked his way up to the assembly of something slightly more delicious.
As both the director of marketing for Steam Whistle Brewery and their resident traveling beer chef, he gets the appetizing job of showing audiences how beer is for more than just drinking while cooking

He's one of the featured demonstrators at the London Food and Wine Show this January and he's bringing with him a full menu, with Steam Whistle brew as the featured ingredient.

“Beer can add different things (to meals),” he said. “It can bring out the sweeter parts — the toasted grains coming through — and the bitter flavours as well.”

While he hasn't had any formal culinary training, he's really come into his own in terms of creating dishes, he said.

“Ask guys I lived with in university — I was one of the least inspired cooks out there,” he admitted.

But having worked in the beer business for years now, he's refined his palette through weekly beer taste-testing and through visits to culinary colleges — he was at Fanshawe last year for an Iron Chef competition. He has also received some great barbeque training from three-time Canadian barbeque champions, Cedar Grilling Company.

It's through all these experiences that he gets his inspiration for dishes that you'd never imagine would include beer. From breads to batters to soups, beer can be added to just about anything. Marinades, especially, can benefit from a bit of beer — it can be a substitute for whenever the recipe calls for wine, said Goddard.

Even delectable desserts can be given the beer treatment — at one of his college stops, he was treated to crème brûlée that included some Steam Whistle, which brought out the more savoury side of the drink, he said.

While the idea of traveling around and cooking with beer sounds like fun, Goddard takes his recipes seriously. He's into keeping his menus seasonal and local to wherever he's staying. He's already got various farms he'll be visiting when he gets to London.

But wherever his next ingredient may come from, the main ones will always be beer and creativity.

“I take flavours I know and experiment with them...add new flavours or add more or less,” he said.

“Cooking is about experimenting.”

For those interested in getting a taste of what cooking with beer is all about, they can check out Goddard at the London Food and Wine Show, Saturday January 16 at 8 p.m. at the Western Fair. He'll be doing a 45-minute demonstration on the Food Network Stage of a full menu — and audience members will get a chance to taste some of the creations. Visit www.westernfair.com/shows/winefood.html.

For more information on Steam Whistle Breweries or to see more recipes, visit www.steamwhistle.ca.
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