On Monday, Sept. 21, Bar St-Denis is hosting Kira German and Alex Henderson for the launch of the duo’s newest project: e brodo. German spent the last four years as the chef de cuisine of Nora Gray, which consistently ranked among the best restaurants in Canada while she was at the helm. It was during German’s tenure as chef that she began working with Henderson, who would serve as her sous-chef and main collaborator until his departure last year where he left to work for Ari Schor at his new restaurant Beba.
For German, pasta has always been a passion. While her culinary background is extensive, pasta is her most prominent area of expertise. E Brodo, which translates to “and broth,” is a subtle reference to an iconic dish from Emilia-Romagna: tortellini en brodo, a dish significant to Henderson and German’s working relationship.
“When I worked [the] pasta [section] at Nora Gray, I started in the winter and there’s always a soup,” Henderson says. “Kira told me that the soup was tortellini en brodo so that I would get better at making tortellini, but actually the soup could have been anything I wanted it to be. She just tricked me into making a fourth pasta that stayed on the menu.”
The reference speaks partly to the tradition of making one of the most iconic dishes of Italy’s most famous pasta town, but it’s also a nod to the history of friendship and collaboration between the two cooks.
While the name draws inspiration from a traditional dish, e brodo isn’t limited to reproductions of traditional pasta. Instead, the cooks focus on rendering clever adaptations of classic dishes, building upon them with a freedom rarely offered within the institution of Italian cuisine.
“With this [pop-up] we don’t have to be super traditional,” says German., describing the way in which she hopes to distinguish the food of e brodo from the pasta of Nora Gray. “It’s nice to be able to make pasta, something we love, but it’s not like we’re in an Italian restaurant — we can do whatever we want.” Said German, That freedom is expressed in dishes like the cheese-curd and pecorino stuffed gnocchi, for example, that’s given the classic cacio e pepe treatment but is iconoclastically finished with pink peppercorn.
In terms of format, the menu will be fixed and priced at $48 a head. Included within are three antipasti prepared by Dave Gauthier and Emily Homsy of Bar St-Denis and three pasta courses (one meat, one fish and one vegetarian) cooked by Henderson and German followed by a simple dessert of homemade cookies and candies made with Martini vermouth, the events’ sponsor.
The pop-up is the first of what is expected to be a series of dinners throughout the winter and into next year. For both German and Henderson, e brodo is a departure from the trappings of restaurants, a chance to develop a more personal style of cooking but most of all, it’s an opportunity to experiment and cook dinner for a night with friends.
Reservations for the one-night-only E Brodo event at Bar St-Denis can be made via Resy.
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