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CONTEST: Win a mini-getaway at Fairmont Winnipeg - A frontal shot of the Fairmont, which is located at the heart of Winnipeg's downtown!

A frontal shot of the Fairmont, which is located at the heart of Winnipeg's downtown!

By: PegCity GrubOctober 14, 2014 // Food Tours

Chef Eraj Jayawickreme at the Velvet Glove inside Fairmont Winnipeg. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)
Chef Eraj Jayawickreme at the Velvet Glove inside Fairmont Winnipeg. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Meet Chef E at The Velvet Glove

The Velvet Glove
Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel
2 Lombard Place
204-957-1350
Neighbourhood: Downtown
Website: velvetglovewinnipeg.com
Facebook: Fairmont Winnipeg
Twitter: twitter.com/VelvetGlovewpg/
Eraj Jayawickreme's Website: erajjay.com

The moment chef Eraj Jayawickreme walks into the room, the energy shifts.

You find yourself smiling, laughing more and generally feeling pretty darn happy.

You can't help it. Jayawickreme is a force for fun. He is also a passionate and dedicated cook who takes food very seriously.

Chef E, whose family hails from Sri Lanka, calls Toronto home. Winnipeg is just the first stop on a global food adventure that he and his wife are starting. They hope to make pitstops around the world with Chef E cooking along the way. For now, Winnipeg and The Velvet Glove are his focus and home.

"My legacy is to bring people back here (to The Velvet Glove) and also to have unpretentious food," he says.

He's off to a great start.

Since taking over the kitchen at the Fairmont in mid-August, Chef E (as staff call him) has completely revamped the restaurant and lounge menu.

"They brought me here for a reason. There's no use lollygagging," says Chef E.

His energy, whimsy, creativity and talent shines through. From his bison carpaccio with hay mayonnaise to his rabbit rillette to his maple-cured arctic char, Chef E has put his stamp on the dishes.

Pork three ways—a hearty plate of luscious pork tenderloin, cheek croquette and crispy pig ears—defies any and all expectations.

Sometimes Chef E is adding a new spoke to the wheel, other times, he sticks to classic menu items but with his own touch.

For example, a simple French Onion Soup with cheese gougeres is a standout.

"I love clean, simple plates that aren't overly complicated. I don't want my food to be intimidating."

That said, a lot of thought, time and preparation goes into his plates. Rabbit rillette goes through umpteen cooking stages before the decadent slivers of tender rabbit end up on the plate.

House-made pickled vegetables, mustard, mayonnaise are now standard. Infusing, brining, braising and many other multi-step cooking methods are now also in place. Presentation is also well designed.

Escargot in garlic butter, garlic mousse and roasted green beans comes in its very own garden—a big, beautiful tangle of moss.

Whatever is on the plate, know that Chef E is behind the scenes making food fun inside The Velvet Glove.

Bison Carpaccio at The Velvet Glove
Bison Carpaccio

Rabbit Rillette with house made cranberry chutney, mustard and toast points.
Rabbit Rillette with house made cranberry chutney, mustard and toast points.

Dessert is served. Poached pear, deconstructed creme brûlée, rooibus and orange pot de creme and dolce de leche whipped cream and caramel popcorn with chocolate bacon.
Desserts are served. Poached pear with pistachio mascarpone, deconstructed creme brûlée, rooibus and orange pot de creme and dolce de leche whipped cream and caramel popcorn with chocolate bacon. Macarons, peanut butter ice cream with chocolate "dirt."

Chef E and server Maria inside the kitchen at The Velvet Glove.
Chef E and server Maria inside the kitchen at The Velvet Glove.

CONTEST: From Dusk until Dawn

Peg City Grub and The Fairmont Winnipeg have hooked you up with one, sweet mini-break. Start your 'vacation' with dinner for two at The Velvet Glove by new executive chef Eraj Jayawickreme. After dessert, settle back into your room upstairs at the Fairmont Winnipeg for a luxurious overnight stay.

Here's how to enter: • Answer this question: What country is Chef E's family originally from? • Post answer in comments section below. • A winner will be randomly chosen from all correct entries.

From Dusk until Dawn ends Tuesday October 28. Good luck.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for everything foodie in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.

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