A chef's canvas-A A +A
Friday, October 12, 2012
WHERE'S much you can learn about the preparation of crocodile dish from talking to an Australian chef, such as crocodile meat being white and it taking hours to be braised.
And that without spices, crocodile meat can be bland.
It turns out that there’s patronage for crocodile dish at Canvas, a bistro bar at The
Terraces at Ayala Center Cebu that offers Australian cuisine. It’s a no-frills restaurant that segues into a bar at night.
At Canvas, you won’t be let down by the food. Each dish has its own appeal.
So at the bistro, don’t miss out on the slow-braised crocodile and chorizo jambalaya with risotto. It’s an adventure of the palate and the mind. Your eyes see a dish of rice with a sprinkling of olives and some meat chunks, your tongue tastes something delightful, and your brain tells you you’ve just eaten a crocodile.
Steve Shrimski, the Australian chef who runs Canvas with his Cebuano wife Eya Rapes-Shrimski, says that while their dishes have authentic Australian flavor, they try to suit the taste to the preference of the customers. Take the braised crocodile and chorizo jambalaya with risotto as an example. A customer can ask that it be made really hot and spicy, or tone it down.
The menu has dual pricing, and the entrees are offered in small portions, allowing you to eat less and pay less.
Eya says at Canvas, service is customized. “Standardization is no longer the key. Customization is.” She trains her wait-staff to observe the customers and listen to them.
She narrates about one regular customer who takes his lunch at Canvas at a specific table at a specific hour with a specific dish suited to his taste. Without looking at the clock, the wait-staff would know the time by the arrival of this customer.
Steve, always on the lookout for new things and trends, manages the menu. Dishes that Steve plans to put on the menu list first pass through Eya’s discriminating tongue.
Eya admires the way her husband can come up with something scrumptious out of a small idea.
Steve was a hotel chef for 20 years before he settled down as an entrepreneur. The Shrimskis resided in Australia before they moved to Cebu in 2009 and set up Canvas.
The Shrimskis want their customers to have an enjoyable dining experience at Canvas.
Almost always, the ones who’ve been there return, order the dish they had in their first visit, and try out another.
And when they come back, they see a different set of paintings displayed on the unfinished wall. Except for the paintings, the walls are unpainted and unadorned.
Eya says they designed the interiors of Canvas with a minimalist feel. It is not an artsy restaurant; it is a restaurant with a mini painting gallery. The paintings, done by local artists and fine arts students, are up for sale.
When the paintings are not to your liking, just look at your plate because you will definitely like what you see and eat.
“The plate is the chef’s canvas,” Eya says.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 13, 2012.