Helen Edley loves to spend her time outdoors geocaching with friends.

LUNCH OUT with top chef Garrett Schack

Public Market’s casual fare



Slabs of crisped pork belly stacked like artwork behind the glass counter of Roast are among the first things Garrett Schack points out as we meet outside the Victoria Public Market eatery.

But the executive chef of Vista 18 was drawn here by the promise of perfectly prepared meat.

Part of the lure is the reputation of George Szasz, Schack explains while we peruse the lunch options.

“He’s practically one of the pioneers of (charcuterie) in Victoria. Not that he invented charcuterie but he’s been doing it a long time.”

In what I later find out is self-professed chef geek perspective, Schack quickly points out the Henny Penny oven filled with roasting root vegetables and lamb. It can cook meat perfectly – there’s that draw – with a combination of dry heat, or an injection of steam to keep portions evenly moist.

Schack has yet to eat at the relatively new Roast, owned and run by Szasz and Ryan McGregor, but seems confident.

“There’s been lots of talk about Roast, and the Public Market from among my colleagues,” he says.

The woman behind the counter chops a slab of the crisp fat from atop the porchetta for my sandwich. As she shaves perfectly medium juicy prime rib for Schack’s sandwich, he asks where the buns are from. As she struggles to recall, the baker himself hustles around the corner carrying a brown box filled with rows of Portuguese buns.

“Casa Nova (Catering),” Schack guesses correctly. “The ingredients are great but a fresh bun makes all the difference.”

After a stop at the self-serve soda fountain for a pull of Phillips Ginger Ale, we settle into bar seats, facing glass that separates us from the meat from which our sandwich fillings were so recently cleaved.

“I love that you can sit here and see it,” he says. “It gives you a bit of an old world feeling.”

Cautiously he peels the brown paper from his cleverly labeled beef sandwich. The sticker shows a profile of a cow’s head, while mine features a piggie profile.

With a little more abandon he hefts the beef, caramelized onions and chimichurri-sauced sandwich up for a bite.

“Delicious sandwich, healthy portion size, he didn’t disappoint,” Schack says, referring to Szasz’s reputation.

I fear the texture of fat, so with slight trepidation at the bits of soft fat chopped into my sandwich, I take a bite. I’m stunned by the fantastic crunch added by the top crispy bits. The combined salty pork flavour and a surprise of broccoli is fantastic.

We watch as the sandwich maker pulls roasted veg from the beloved Henny Penny, and sets them below chickens slowly turning in the rotisserie. The delicious drippings season the veggies beyond good, the Vista 18 chef points out.

“And you can come down on your way home from work and buy a rotisserie chicken. They’re far and above better than roasting one in your oven.”

Schack finishes his sandwich, while I pack a portion away for later. Cautious of our ongoing recovery from the illnesses that seems to be plaguing the city, we opt not to swap bites.

Lamenting that loss, we split a salted chocolate cookie to lift our spirits.

It does the trick.

 

Just Posted

REVIEW: Journey enjoyable, destination elusive with Griffin and Sabine

Monday reviewer Sheila Martindale offers up her take on latest Belfry Theatre production

Victoria Symphony, other Royal Theatre users hammered with huge rent increases

Symphony already planning to move half its concerts to UVic’s Farquhar Auditorium

Glittering, Olympic medal-winning lineup coming for Stars on Ice

Tickets go on sale this Friday for Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre show May 14

Artwork, storytelling fuels romance at the Belfry

Adaptation of Griffin and Sabine books hits the stage in Fernwood on Dec. 4

Magic of Christmas lightup night tonight at the Gardens

Butchart’s unveiling their annual Twelve Days of Christmas displays and festive activities

Kendrick Lamar leads Grammy noms, where women make a comeback

A list of nominees in the top categories at the 2019 Grammys, including Kendrick Lamar, who is the leader with eight nominations, were announced Friday.

Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ tops Golden Globes nominations

“Vice” topped all contenders Thursday, in nominations announced at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, including best picture, comedy and best actor nominations for Christian Bale.

Actor-comedian Kevin Hart will host 2019 Oscars

Hart will host the 2019 Academy Awards, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the actor-comedian.

Margaret Atwood to write sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Publisher McClelland and Stewart says it will publish ‘The Testaments’ on Sept. 10, 2019

Rat Pack revisited with Christmastime show at McPherson

The music and mirth of Frank, Sammy and Dean in the spotlight Dec. 20

Behind Bars: Steppin’ out at Veneto

Brant Porter orchestrates the cocktail menu at popular Victoria beverage stop

CHRISTMASTIME FILM: Classics revisited at Cincenta, The Vic

Monday columnist Kathy Kay touches on some holiday film options at the theatre

Most Read