I am delighted to announce that Chef Carl Heinrich is the next chef in our Chefs #LoveCDNBeef series. Carl is Chef and co-owner of Richmond Station, winner of Top Chef Canada and co-owner of West Side Beef Co.
Before I had tasted his food, before I had met him, even before his win on Top Chef Canada, I had been hearing about Carl. One thing that kept coming up, especially since I’m working with Canadian Beef, was the quality of the beef Carl uses at Richmond Station and the relationship he has with the farmers who raise it.
Carl’s team at Richmond Station talks about this with enthusiasm and two of our other Chefs #LoveCDNBeef Chefs, Rossy and Jonny, mentioned Carl when asked who was doing things right with Canadian Beef. The fact that Carl is also a co-owner of West Side Beef Co., who sells the same beef they use at Richmond Station direct to the public in apartment-sized boxes of mixed cuts for regular-sized freezers, just highlighted what a perfect fit Carl is for Chefs #LoveCDNBeef series.
When Carl agreed to participate he mentioned that it might be interesting if I got the beef for his dish from West Side Beef. He could select the recipe he shared based on what is in the box and so anyone who gets an order can have the exact same quality of meat and dish as I have. Sounded like a great idea to me, so I signed up for the next delivery and less than a week later I was in at Richmond Station picking up my beef from Carl’s partner Kurt.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Carl’s food is simple and well thought out! He keeps his flavours clean, his dishes comfortable and his ingredients fresh and high quality. And he has the skill to bring all of that to the plate and to the diner. Each element in the dish gets the same level of attention and care. Of course that means preparing the dish isn’t necessarily as simple as it looks (but we’ll get to that soon.)
But right now it’s time to learn a bit more about Carl.
Quick Fire Questions:
What is your favourite cut of Canadian Beef?
For Steaks, I’m a Rib guy: nice marbling, generous amount of delicious fat, tender center and chewier, delicious outside. If you can get it on the bone then that is best.
What cut of beef do you think is under-utilized in home kitchens these days?
Blade! Basically the same cut as the Ribeye, but a little chewier and a fraction of the cost. Perfect for long, slow BBQ or pot roast too.
What is your best kitchen tip for working with Canadian Beef?
You have to find the right beef. A great cut of meat always starts with the farmer and the feed. Look for slow-raised, pastured beef with nice marbling and you cant go wrong.
How do you like your steak?
Really depends on the cut. Marinated and grilled for Flank. Roasted for Strip or Rib. Tartare for Tenderloin!
What do you put on your burger?
The simpler the better. A good chutney or relish, a pickle, some cheese and lettuce. The key, though, is the bun: super fresh and soft. Toasted is key!
Do you have a specific butcher, farm or vendor you go to to get your Canadian Beef?
So glad you asked! Knowing where your beef comes from is so important.
At Richmond Station, we use Dingo Farms beef from Bradford, Ontario. Dennis and Denise raise their cattle very slowly on pasture as much as possible and supplement their diet with grains grown on the same farm. The meat is always at least 3 weeks dry-aged before they personally deliver it to the restaurant.
If you can’t go and buy it from them directly on their farm, you can purchase a box of freezer beef through West Side Beef.
West Side Beef is a company that Ryan Donovan, Kurt Krumme and myself own and operate. We purchase the same sides of beef from Dingo Farms, butcher the meat and break it into equal shares that easily fit in an apartment size freezer. When I was growing up my family would, once every six months or so, buy a side or a quarter cow from a local butcher and store the steaks, roasts, and ground beef in the chest freezer for whenever we needed it. West Side Beef operates the exact same way but caters mostly to those who live downtown and don’t have a lot of freezer space. Instead of a half or quarter cow, you get a 30th of a cow, packaged in little vacuum sealed bags. In the share, you’ll have a variety of steaks, ground beef, stew beef and roasts, but also handmade sausages, stock, rendered tallow. The value is great and the beef is as good as you can get.
Your favourite seasoning to use with beef?
Brown butter, garlic, rosemary and black pepper.
Your favourite side dish to go with a nice roast?
The Pommes Kennedy work well in any occasion! Other than that it really depends on the season: peas and asparagus in the spring, grilled zucchini and eggplant in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, and roasted root vegetables in the winter.
What do you drink with beef?
Red wine! Something medium to full body.
Who else does beef right, i.e. what is best restaurant (other than yours) to order Canadian beef (any style)?
Tough question! So many talented chefs out there with great restaurants who serve great Canadian Beef. I recently had a beautiful dry-aged tenderloin at Scaramouche in Toronto.
What is the most adventurous beef dish you’ve seen, made or eaten?
At Fable in Vancouver, Chef Trevor Bird slowly braised beef cheeks and then wrapped them in a grated potato mixture that resembled a rosti, then steamed then deep fried them until super crispy. A beautiful dish, super fun.
A bit more about Carl:
Born in Calgary in 1985, Carl Heinrich clocked a lot of mileage as kid, living in Montreal, the North West Territories, and all over Vancouver Island. At 13, Carl started working as a dishwasher for his uncle and hasn’t left the kitchen since. An inspiring summer stint at the Sooke Harbour House in 2003, his first professional kitchen, proved to be the perfect learning ground for a young, ambitious cook. Carl set off for the Stratford Chef School where he graduated with honours in 2005. After completing his diploma he accepted a job working for Daniel Boulud at DB Bistro Moderne in New York City, where he spent several years learning technique and building a passion for food. In 2008, Carl followed the company to Vancouver as sous-chef of their new location there. He left the company in 2009 and moved to Toronto where he reunited with butcher Ryan Donovan, an old friend from chef school, as sous-chef at Cowbell Restaurant. The two left in the Spring of 2010 to bring farm to table cooking to the new Marben, and eventually to their own venture Richmond Station, which opened October 2012.
Carl’s stages include time in the kitchens at Camille’s West Coast Fine Dining in Victoria, Marron Bistro in Toronto, Gramercy Tavern and Daniel in New York, Georges Blanc, La Regalade, and Le Comptoir in France and Alain Ducasse’ Le Louis XV in Monaco. His experiences working under many talented chefs and running reputable restaurants were great tools, helping Carl earn the title of the Food Network’s “Canada’s Top Chef” in 2012.
Carl’s cuisine is inspired by quality ingredients and driven by classic and modern techniques. He makes food that he knows his mom would like to eat and keeps flavours pure, never getting too complicated.
Chef Carl Heinrich’s Chefs #LoveCDNBeef Recipe:
STATION BURGER WITH POMMES KENNEDY
Note: this post is part of my Chefs #LoveCDNBeef on unsweetened.ca series and Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador series. For more information on my relationship with Canada Beef Inc read about my Foodie Adventure: I’m a Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador. #LoveCdnBeef and my disclosure statement