When Chef Devon Apperloo (Cook Apprentice 2018) is cooking, he doesn’t have to travel far to grab the freshest produce possible. He just needs to walk out the back door.
“There are not many restaurants in Lethbridge and area where you can walk down to where the produce you use is grown,” says the Broxburn Vegetables and Café head chef. “We grow everything in house, so if I need green tomatoes, I can walk into the greenhouse and pick the perfect ones for the job.”
Apperloo started in the Broxburn kitchen as a baker in 2018 after finishing the college’s Cook – Weekly Apprenticeship Training System (WATS) program. Not long after, he signed up for the new Baker Apprenticeship WATS program, from which he will graduate in May, all while overseeing the Broxburn kitchen and a team of five full-time and seven part-time employees.
“When I was young, I had the dream of one day having a kitchen where I could just experiment, not necessarily to sell or make for service, but just to make food. For me, Broxburn has been that place where I can be creative, serve good food and learn things I couldn’t elsewhere. If my staff and I want to try a new technique or make a new recipe, we do it. Then we take what we learned and apply it to our daily service.”
To check out what Chef Devon Apperloo is cooking up at Broxburn Vegetables and Café, visit broxburnvegetables.com. To book a table at the Garden Court Restaurant, where Chef Apperloo and other Culinary alumni learned their trade, call 403-320-3230. And to see the recipe for the focaccia bread, go to www.widerhorizons.ca.
Smoked Tomato Soup
8 large or 16 small beefsteak tomatoes
2 tbsp canola oil
1 small white onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic
1 c. white wine
1 c. vegetable stock
1 dash liquid smoke
1 c. heavy cream
Salt to taste
White sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Place tomatoes in a rimmed baking sheet or shallow roasting pan and roast until they soften and split.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the onion and garlic, and combine in a heavy pot with the oil and 2 tbsp salt. Let this sit for 15 minutes to extract moisture from the onion. Turn on the heat and stir frequently. When they begin to stick and colour the bottom of the pot, add the cup of wine and deglaze the pot. Reduce wine by half, then remove from heat.
- Add the roasted tomatoes and a dash of liquid smoke to the pot and return to a boil. If the mixture is too dry at this stage, add the vegetable stock.
- Once hot, scoop portions of the soup into a blender. Blend the soup starting at a low speed and increasing until a strong vortex is formed. Slowly add a portion of the heavy cream to the blender, emulsifying the cream into the soup.
- Pour the blended soup through a sieve and push soup through with a ladle. The finer the sieve the smoother your final soup will be, but the harder it will be to pass.
- Once the entire pot has been blended, return the soup to the stovetop, and boil it again. Add additional salt and white sugar to taste. Makes three litres, or enough to serve eight.
- Serve right away or cool quickly in the refrigerator. If the soup separates while sitting, just whisk it back together before serving.
520 mL warm water
15 g. active dry yeast
30 g. honey
2 tbsp. plus ¼ c. olive oil
15 g. salt
900 g. bread flour
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
1 large or 3 small cloves of garlic
- In a medium bowl, mix the warm tap water, yeast, honey and oil. Stir until the yeast is dissolved.
- Pour the liquid mixture into a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and add the flour and salt. Mix on a low speed with the dough hook for four minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for an additional eight minutes. Alternatively, combine the liquid and flour mix in a large bowl and stir, then turn out onto a clean counter and knead by hand for 10 minutes or until smooth.
- Oil an entire cookie sheet with your oil of choice, such as an olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and round it into a smooth ball. Place it on the oiled cookie sheet. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel for about 30 minutes, until the dough has risen significantly.
- Meanwhile, mince the garlic and combine it with ¼ cup oil. Finely chop the herbs and set both aside.
- Once the dough has risen, turn into onto a clean surface (the dough should be oily). Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten and stretch the dough into a rectangle slightly larger than the pan. Gently transfer to the oiled pan. If it does not fit perfectly, it will stretch slightly during proofing.
- Cover the dough with the damp towel again and proof again in warm environment for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Brush the dough with garlic oil and sprinkle it with herbs and salt. Poke holes in the top of the dough with your fingertips. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top sounds hollow when tapped and is a nice golden brown. Enjoy!