The first time I met Chef John Placko he was using a reverse griddle and the second time he let me make ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
The way to this girl’s heart is through food, especially if it’s science experiment food! I love this guy!
Chef John Placko is one of the first people I think of when discussing molecular cuisine. John’s food is all kinds of sciency fun incorporating many of the techniques you’ve come to expect from an episode of Top Chef and at the same time it’s flavourful, healthy and clean. Something you don’t get when Chefs are so caught up in the technique they forget about the food.
John is smart, personable and approachable. I’ve watched him teach basic knife skills to someone cutting up a carrot and listened while he providing measured and thoughtful critiques to up and coming chefs. Both with equal grace and respect.
And if you want to learn more about some of these fun and funky technique, John regularly runs hands-on workshops at Nella Cucina as part of his Modern Culinary Academy. He also recently launched Powder for Texture, a company providing some of the cool and hard to find ingredients to make things like coconut milk caviar and parsley gel cubes at home.
He recently developed a series of recipes for the Live Below The Line challenge to help participants, like me, eat healthy while eating for under $1.75 per day. More than that, he has taken the challenge himself while doing food demos and manning a booth at SIAL Canada.
To say that John impresses me is an understatement.
So I was delighted when he agreed to participate and watched in eager anticipating as he tweeted his adventures getting the beef to develop this recipe to share with us.
More on that later, tight now it’s time to get to know John.
Quick Fire Questions:
How do you like your steak?
What do you put on your burger?
Caramelized onion and ketchup
What is your best kitchen tip for working with Canadian Beef?
Marinate your beef and cook it sous vide for perfect results.
What is your favourite cut of Canadian Beef?
Rib eye cap. You can’t beat the flavour and texture of this piece of beef.
What cut of beef do you think is under-utilized in home kitchens these days?
Bavette. Such a great piece of beef that’s popular in Quebec but not so much in Ontario and other provinces.
What do you drink with beef?
Cranberry and soda. I’m really not a wine drinker.
Your favourite seasoning to use with beef?
Thyme, garlic, black pepper, mustard and worcestershire sauce.
Your favourite side dish to go with a nice roast?
Peas and mash. Period.
Who else does beef right, i.e. what is best restaurant (other than yours) to order Canadian beef (any style)?
I’d have to say David Lee at Note Bene on Queen Street gets my vote. From his burgers to short ribs and his private stock. You can’t go wrong dining on beef here.
Do you have a specific butcher, farm or vendor you go to to get your Canadian Beef?
My go to place is Black Angus in Port Credit. Mark really knows his beef and they have such a great selection of beef and game products.
What is the most adventurous beef dish you’ve seen, made or eaten?
Deconstructed Philly Cheesesteak at Mini Bar in Washington, DC. Crisp bread cone filled with whipped cheese topped with thin slices of beef tenderloin and blow-torched.
A bit more about John:
John’s career in restaurants, hotels and food companies, coupled with a busy culinary competition roster has taken him from his native Australia to Germany, France and Mexico before finally settling in Canada.
He has represented Australia at the Culinary Olympics and also the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition in France. His most recent corporate position was at Maple Leaf Foods’ ThinkFOOD! Centre, where he spent 3 years as Director of Culinary Excellence.
Modern Culinary Academy
John Placko Culinary Consulting was created in 2012 and after meeting Ferran Adria (el bulli, Spain) 6 years ago, John was inspired to launch Modern Culinary Academy to promote the awareness and education of molecular cuisine. His articles on this subject can be found in Food in Canada Magazine, YFM, Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine and from time to time in The Toronto Star.
Powder for Texture
John’s most recent endeavor was launching a line of ingredients for the modern-minded chef, Powder for Texture, which have been featured in Canada AM, The Space Channel and Global TV’s 16 x 9 program.
Teaching & Giving Back
He’s often called upon to demonstrate and teach this molecular cuisine to numerous culinary groups at Guelph Food Technology Centre, Humber College, Liaison College, George Brown College, Nella Cucina and The Cook Book Store. He now teaches this cuisine part-time at Humber College. Judging duties; Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2013 (Vacay.ca) Discovered Chef Competition, 2012 and 2013.
Chef John Placko’s Chefs #LoveCDNBeef Recipe:
Note: this post is part of my 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. #LoveCdnBeefand my disclosure statement