Chef Armstrong talks octopus, wine & sacrifice

Angela Aiello of iYellow Wine Club is spending her summer chatting with some of Toronto's best chefs over a bottle of Aveleda Vinho Verde, a refreshing wine from Portugal that is light enough to pair with some of your favourite summer dishes.  iYellow Wine Club is a Chew Street favourite and we are so happy to share these food and wine conversations with you!

Angela's latest conversation in this series is with Chef Coulson Armstrong from the award winning contemporary Canadian fine dining restaurant, Canoe.  

 Who most inspires you in your cooking philosophy?  
I feel my inspiration comes from all around, market trips on the weekend. Spending days off at the farm and cooking for the farmers. Its a very grounding experience to cook for someone that puts so much effort into the product we cook with every day. 
What's your favourite place to sip on a refreshing glass of white wine like Aveleda Vinho Verde from Portugal? 
I love picnics, on days off I'll bike to Toronto island and set up a little charcoal pit. The Aveleda Vinho Verde has a perfect amount of sugar to make it easy drinking on a summer day. 
What is the most challenging thing about being a chef? 
Balance, between being creative, healthy, and family time. There's a thin line to balancing all the important stuff outside the kitchen. Lots of sacrifices have to be made to others that support you and your career. Giving back to those people and youself is super important. 

What do you love most about the Toronto culinary scene? 
The community of support, Toronto is becoming a globally recognized city for culinary. We can only get there with everyone supporting restaurants and then the restaurants giving back to the community as well. 



When you were thinking about a dish to pair with Aveleda Vinho Verde from Portugal what ideas came to mind? 
First thing I thought was seafood, such a classic paring. The Vinho verde reminded me of a great Canadian riesling. Both wines would pair perfectly with the spicy charred octopus. 
Can you explain your dish and why it pairs with Aveleda? 
My dish is charred BC octopus, with cornmeal crusted skate wine. Fingerling potatoes and spicy mayo. The wine goes great with seafood and the spicy mayo will balance perfectly with the young white wine.