Rob Feenie is one of Vancouver’s iconic chefs and there is no question that he has brought a lot of talent to the Cactus Club team.
His Blue Cheese and Apple Coleslaw recipe this week initially presents a few conflicting challenges. Blue cheese immediately makes me think of something sweet, while the apple and salad ingredients take me in the direction of something light and dry such as a riesling, an unoaked chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
The key here is the rich, creamy, strongly flavoured blue cheese. It is going to be the dominant flavour in this salad so we are going to go with a sweeter wine (trust me). It will also need enough acidity to handle the fat in the cheese, mayo and sour cream. Some possibilities include a German Auslese Riesling, a Canadian Riesling Ice Wine, a Chilean Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Hungarian Tokay, a White Port (yes there is such a thing) or perhaps even an Italian Vin Santo. The riesling wines would have the added benefit of complimenting the apple in the coleslaw. Now that would make for a delicious bite.
BLUE CHEESE AND APPLE COLESLAW
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp drained store-bought horseradish
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 endives, finely shredded
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) Granny Smith or Braeburn apples
4 green onions, chopped
½ cup blue cheese (Roquefort, Stilton or Bresse blue), crumbled
Belgian endive leaves, for garnish
Mix together mayonnaise and sour cream in a large bowl.
- Stir in lemon juice, horseradish, sugar and salt.
- Add endives, apples, green onions and blue cheese, then toss together.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavours to develop before serving.
- Divide salad among six chilled plates. Garnish with endive leaves.
Chef Rob Feenie, Executive Chef, Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
The driving culinary force behind Cactus Restaurants Ltd., the award-winning collection of 26 casual fine dining restaurants in BC, Alberta and Saskatoon, Rob Feenie is also one of Canada’s most recognized and celebrated chefs.
At Cactus Restaurants Ltd., Chef Feenie leads the culinary team, blending his talent for creating elegant, globally-inspired cuisine with his passion for simple dishes using fresh, sustainable ingredients. Chef Feenie’s innovative approach to cooking has continued to drive the evolution of Cactus Club Cafe’s menu selections and its commitment to sourcing the best fresh, local and sustainable products wherever possible.
Growing up in Burnaby, BC, Chef Feenie first developed a curiosity for international cuisine over countless traditional family dinners at his Japanese neighbours’ home. This early experience was followed by a high school exchange program where he was first introduced to European chefs and techniques. At 20, Chef Feenie attended the Dubrulle Culinary Institute in Vancouver and upon graduating, became a Sous-chef in some of Western Canada’s top restaurants, notably Le Crocodile and Cherry Stone Cove in Vancouver and The Rim Rock Café in Whistler.
While at Le Crocodile he began a series of work and educational trips, or stages, throughout Europe and North America, starting in Alsace with Chef Emile Jung at Au Crocodile and Chef Antoine Westermann at Le Buerehiesel, both Michelin three-star rated restaurants. In North America he worked with Chef Charlie Trotter, at Trotter’s Restaurant in Chicago, and Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Jean-Georges in New York.
In 1995 Chef Feenie opened the internationally celebrated Lumière Restaurant in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and then Feenie’s, a more casual Canadian Bistro, next door to Lumière, in 2003. Throughout his career, Chef Feenie has secured international culinary recognition, including the coveted Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualitè designations, in addition to the Mobil Travel Guide four-stars designation and the AAA Five Diamond Award. In 2009 and 2011, Chef Feenie won the Vancouver Gold Medal Plates competition.
Chef Feenie has published four cookbooks: Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics, Rob Feenie Cooks at Lumière, Lumière Light and Feenie’s. He also starred on New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie on Food Network Canada for five seasons. In 2005 Feenie became the first Canadian to win on the popular television show Iron Chef America by defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto.