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Eggplant salad with radicchio, anchovies and olives.
No. 81

Spit & polish

“I’d say we’ve found our raison d’être,” says chef Zach Kolomeir, who co-owns Taverne Bernhardt’s and Dreyfus in Toronto, the latter temporarily closed due to Covid-19. He’s referring to his recent game-changing addition of a Rotisol, the veritable Rolls-Royce of rotisseries, to Bernhardt’s kitchen arsenal.

“In the beginning, we cooked great chicken. Now we cook great rotisserie chicken,” Kolomeir notes. By “rotisserie chicken,” he means what you’d find at Laurier BBQ, Chalet Bar-B-Q and St-Hubert — “awesome takeout that I grew up on in Montreal,” he says.

The rotisserie upgrade has brought Bernhardt’s closer to that ideal. It has improved the consistency, texture and colour of the chickens, which are locally raised White Rocks. “We’ve seen a huge change in the quality,” Kolomeir says. “Before, the chickens didn’t baste themselves. Now, with three spits on top of each other, they’re all basting each other.”

With the new rotisserie, of course, comes experimentation with other items like Duck à l’Orange and house-made ham. The team is also playing with accessories such as a clamp basket that can fit in a whole leg of lamb, whole stalks of Brussel sprouts or a bunch of quails. They’ve even tried halved Napa cabbage in the vegetable tray beneath the rotating birds, so the tender leaves collect all the flavourful drippings. None of these have made it to the takeout menu, but hopefully they will be served on-site soon.

—Renée Suen

Montreal-style rotisserie chicken with the requisite sides
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bielaski

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