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Foreign Concept hits it out of the park

It is officially the Year of the Rooster, and what better way to celebrate Chinese New Year, is a banquet dinner with friends at Calgary's newest darling, Foreign Concept. Chef-owner of Foreign Concept, Chef Duncan Ly, Chef Jinhee Lee, and Anju's head chef, Roy Oh, came together to produce a spectacular, gastronomic meal for the exclusive Visa Infinite event honouring their Vietnamese and Korean heritage.

With John Gilchrist as MC, Chef Duncan Ly introduced his first course, Wu Kok. Confit duck croquettes with gold leaf and tomato confit. Light and tasty, it was a very exciting way to start the dinner.

The next plate was created by Chef Jinhee Lee, who is Alberta's Gold Plate winner and will be in Vancouver next week to compete for the national title, with Duncan Ly as her sous chef. Duncan himself won six consecutive years of medals of Gold Medal Plates. Chef Jinhee Lee, delivered a gorgeous painter's palette, Gu-Jeol-Pan.

Arranged in a circle, were small piles of fresh, chilled ingredients that we placed in paper-thin crepes, shrimp, grated egg, cucumber, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, Asian pear, and walnuts. We topped it with a light Korean mustard sauce. It was easily one of the best dishes of the evening.

Chef Roy Oh, left a busy Saturday night post at Anju to join the fun and plated us Tangsoo Yuk, a lightly battered sweet and sour pork with pineapple, green pepper, and wood ear mushrooms, all served in a hollowed out pineapple boat. We devoured it at Olympic speed.

The next three dishes were a team effort from the three chefs: Man-Do-Guk delicate kimchi and pork dumplings; Galbi Jim, luscious, mouth meltingly fabulous beef short ribs; and Cha Cha, potato crusted Sea Bream.

Visa Infinite dinners are something quite special. Most often the restaurant is booked out for the event and evening events start with cocktails and canapés. It always feels like an intimate, exclusive party where chefs do their best to impress and good wine flows easily. Only Visa Infinite card holders have access to booking the events, but you're welcome to bring along friends. BC wines accompany each course and ticket prices include food, wine, and gratuities, usually hosted by Calgary Herald's John Gilchrist.

Upcoming events in Calgary this season include a modern Mexican dinner collaboration with Native Tongues and Ox and Angela (March 1); Brittany seaside brunch at Suzette (March 19); a River Cafe brunch (April 9); dinner at Whitehall featuring only wines scoring 90points and above (April 20); a collaborative dinner from teams at Teatro and EAT (April 27); a Dim Sum instructive demonstration and feast at SAIT with Chef Instructor Hayaoto Kamitsu, Chef-Owner Foreign Concept, Duncan Ly, and SAIT Baking and Pastry Chef Rolf Runkel; and later in the year, a dinner collaboration with chefs from blink and CinCin (June 15).


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