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Kiss the Chef: DaiLo

A recipe from DaiLo guaranteed to get you some.

Photos by Ishmil Waterman
Words by Nicole Pimentel

In a time when the food scene is on a high, Toronto Chef Nick Liu opens up about being the “bad-ass big brother” of pan-Asian cuisine and what it takes to standout in the restaurant industry today.

DaiLo, in its literal translation, comes from Cantonese origin, meaning ‘Big Brother’ which is used as a term of endearment to show love and respect to an elder. It is also interpreted to mean “Boss, or Bad Ass”, both of which Lui considers a reflection of both his personality and culinary style.

Nick Liu, owner of DaiLo

At the age of 19 and straight out of culinary school, Liu began work at the sophisticated, long-standing Toronto establishment, Scaramouche where he cut his teeth for nearly a decade. Fast-forward to 2013, upon his return from world travels, Lui would spend the next 3 years would running Niagara Street Café, which would earn him notable acclaim for his ever-changing menus and creative takes on Asian ingredients. From here Liu began to operate on-trend pop up restaurants throughout the city until he found the space where he would occupy his very own brick and mortar restaurant. Enter DaiLo. The hot new College Street restaurant where vintage photos of Liu’s family adorn the raw unfinished walls, hand painted in detailed chinoiserie style murals. Brass plated filigree screens separate the banquets, while rich teals

Enter DaiLo. The hot new College Street restaurant where vintage photos of Liu’s family adorn the raw unfinished walls, hand painted in detailed chinoiserie style murals. Brass plated filigree screens separate the banquets, while rich teals make up the seating arrangements.

Nick Liu, owner of DaiLo cooking

With his roots in Asian fare and his training in French Cuisine, Lui describes his style of cooking as ‘New Asian Cuisine’ – Asian food that has not yet been created. Travelling the world and cooking in Michelin star restaurants throughout Europe, London, Australia and Singapore, Liu developed his unique culinary style from a collection of flavors and experiences around the world. Finding their way onto the creative menu, Asian-inspired and high-quality ingredients like Ponzu Beef Carpaccio, Truffle Fried Rice, Peeking Glazed Duck Breast, Fried Watermelon and of course, the ‘guranteed to get you some’ melt in your mouth Pumpkin Dumplings.

When pressed on if we could expect something from him in the near future, Liu, with a sheepish grin jokingly replied “yes, but I can’t tell you more than that” as he slowly pulled what appeared to be an architectural floor plan off the table, out of sight.

pumpkin dumplings from DaiLo

Pumpkin Dumplings
with brown butter soy, truffles, almond crumble, white rabbit candy glaze

Makes approx. 4 servings

Ingredients needed:
1 pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2T Veg oil
1/2 ” piece of ginger sliced thin
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
3 sprigs thyme
1T salt
2T rice vinegar
piping bag
1 pkg. wonton skins
1 egg beaten

Method:
Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all the seeds.
Drizzle veg oil on the two halves and sprinkle 3T brown sugar, 1T salt, the sliced garlic, sliced ginger and thyme on the pumpkin as well.
Place on a baking tray and bake at 425 with the skin side down until the flesh is soft and nicely caramelized.
Scoop out flesh and place in a food processor with rice vinegar.
Puree until smooth and season with more salt and brown sugar if necessary.
Put puree in a piping bag and pipe approx.
1T of puree in the middle of 20 wonton skins.
Brush 2 sides of the wonton skins with egg wash and fold over to create a triangle.
Seal edges well.
Brush a small amount of egg wash on one of the corners and connect the two corners sealing them to form a tortellini style dumpling.
Keep dumplings in fridge or freezer until needed.

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