Written by Beth Harding
Three Edmonton chefs have joined forces to collectively form Mirepoix Trio, a group who thrives on the complexities of flavour and execution of vegan cooking. Despite their varied backgrounds, it’s their common passion for food that drives them.
“It’s one thing we truly connect on and we’re obsessed about it,” says Rylan Krause, a soon-to-be Red Seal chef who is one of the three vegan chefs who comprise the Trio.
The other two chefs are Art Institute of Vancouver-trained Jade Wu, and Adam Zarycki, who has trained on the job for over six years — “dish pit, up,” in his words. While these entrepreneurs may be 30 and under, they have combined experience of over two decades and draw from cooking experience in a variety of restaurants and travelling to other countries. The trio met while working at a vegan restaurant, Noorish Conscious Eatery on 109 Street.
So why cook vegan? “It just feels right,“ says Wu, who spent time on a vegan farm and gained plenty of knowledge from that experience. For Zarycki, an avid animal rescue and rehabilitation advocate, cooking vegan is a moral issue. Krause loves the ingredients: “I’m vegan because of the food — nothing excites me more than what the vegan diet contains.”
While the trio have their respective reasons for cooking vegan food, the fundamental principles of culinary arts are paramount to them.
“Cooking is about creating things for people to enjoy and just because we use a different set of ingredients doesn’t make the cooking different; it’s just a different way of expressing the core principles,” says Krause, who recently won a pork rib contest demonstrating core culinary principles. “People who cook meat are just as passionate about food as we are.”
Currently the Trio host pop-up restaurants all over Edmonton, with the next one being this Friday, April 18, and Saturday, April 19, at Upper Crust Café, 10909 86 Ave. The pop-up concept as a venue is giving Mirepoix the best of all worlds right now.
“We are free to experiment with things we are into at that moment and not be tied down to a theme of a restaurant,” explains Krause. The pop-ups are also generating a foodie buzz and tend to sell out, with an average of 75 per cent of their clientele being omnivorous, according to Zarycki.
The pop-ups are also a way to grow the business, Krause says.
“Until we have capital to have our own restaurant, we are building our fan base and doing everything we can to generate a revenue stream,” he says.
To that end, in addition to the pop-ups, Mirepoix is developing a retail product line of on-the-go and easy-to-use vegan foods which should be available later this summer. For details, check their website www.mirepoixtrio.com.
Mirepoix Trio has also provided an original recipe that was developed in typical Mirepoix fashion — developed together, as a collective. Each course of a pop-up is one person’s concept and the others support the idea and play off it.
“Recipes are no one’s idea and everyone’s idea,” says Krause. As Zarycki likes to put it, they “literally play softball with flavour profiles and concepts.”
Green Papaya Salad (Som Dtam)
• 2-3 Thai bird’s eye chilies
• 1-2 garlic cloves
• 2 Tbs Palm Sugar
• 1 Tbsp tamarind
• 1 Tbsp lime juice (preferably fresh)
• 1 Tbsp Tamari
• 1 sheet nori
• Pinch salt
Combine all above ingredients into a blender and pulse until mixed well
• 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/3 cup shredded carrot
• 10-12 Long beans cut 1 inch in length
• 1 cup shredded green papaya
Mix above ingredients well with the dressing, massing the salad with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients. Garnish with toasted peanuts.
Beth Harding has lived in Edmonton off and on for about a decade and is still finding wonderful nooks and crannies to explore. She is an avid foodie and knows her local farmers well. Beth has trained in energy healing in the Algonquin Indian tradition and takes that training with her into her heart-centred business coaching and development business, BEST Events & Other Stuff. Beth’s greatest joys in life: her child, music and cooking for people she loves.