There were a total of four pairings by Chef Vitaly Paley at this event; Hazelnut Yogurt Tea Cakes (with raspberries), Peach Passionfruit Smoothies (with coconut water and chia seeds), Quail Tikka Masala (with radish and cucumber raita), and Bananas Foster Parfaits. Each recipe was made with at least one of the Liberté’s yogurts and were otherwise created with fresh, local ingredients. I had the privilege of meeting and speaking with Chef Vitaly about how he came up with the different recipes and what he was going for:
When creating my own culinary experiences, I love to combine regional flavors with historic techniques,” said Chef Paley. “Adding Liberté yogurt to the mix allowed me to expand my repertoire and create pairings that stay true to our shared passion for flavor-focused innovation while honoring simple, pure ingredients.
Chef Vitaly created some inspiring pairings for the different Liberté yogurts, both their Greek and Méditerranée varieties. One favorite of mine was the Bananas Foster Parfait as it creates an amazing snack, dessert, or even (for some of us) breakfast.
What was truly amazing to me was that this parfait was made with french vanilla yogurt! I normally cannot even smell french vanilla yogurt with out feeling ill. I blame all the summers I spent with my grandmother as a child. She loved french vanilla yogurt–and at that age I didn’t like any yogurt.
Fast forward about 15 years, and here I am with this delicious looking little parfait eyeing me from across the table and an acclaimed chef smiling at me, explaining how he came up with this particular pairing. I had a nice big spoonful before I even heard him say…french vanilla. Now, it may have been my matured tastebuds, but this yogurt was different than what I had encountered in the past. The french vanilla was creamier than others I had tried in the past, and it left no bitter aftertaste. The french vanilla pleasantly surprised me, and the parfait glass was empty in a matter of seconds.
- 2 bananas
- 6 T brown sugar
- 2 T rye whiskey
- 1 T butter
- Pinch salt
- 2 containers of Liberté Méditerranée French Vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Chef Vitaly was a joy to be around. He’s renowned for his cooking and I was a little starstruck having known him from his winning role as Iron Chef America 2011. He owns three restaurants in the Portland area (Imperial, Portland Penny Diner, and Paley’s Place), is a published author (The Paley’s Place Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from the Pacific Northwest), and was, most recently, nominated as a 2012 and 2013 James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Outstanding Chef. Chef Vitaly and Vitaly Paley Restaurants have earned recognition in national media outlets including Food & Wine Empire Builders 2012, Saveur Magazine’s “Top 100,” The New York Times, appearing on The Martha Stewart Show, Wall St. Journal, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Wine Enthusiast, GQ, Oprah Magazine, USA Today, Travel & Leisure and Food Arts as well as local support and accolades from local media outlets such as The Oregonian, Portland Monthly, Willamette Week, PortlandFoodandDrink.com and Wine Press NW.
What I enjoyed most about meeting this chef was his focus and knowledge of the depth of flavors associated with the foods he prepared. He very obviously enjoyed cooking with high heat (the oven pictured above is 700°F+ and goes all day long!). He is excited to be working with Liberté and his positivity is infectious.
Liberté yogurt began in Montreal, started by the Kaporovsky family in 1936, and has since made its way to the U.S. Recently introduced to the Portland area, Liberté stays true to its roots of excellence and distinction, producing a delicious yogurt with simple ingredients, notable flavors and a clean, pure finish.
Liberté Yogurt has two different lines: Greek and Méditerranée. The Méditerranée flavors consist of whole milk and cream, as well as live, active cultures and real fruit. The Greek is made with fat-free skim milk. The yogurt is finished with high-quality fruit. And as you should expect, they refrain from adding gelatin, sugar substitutes or preservatives. Their yogurts also come in a variety of flavors including: blackberry, blueberry, peach & passionfruit, lemon, strawberry, coconut (Méditerranée only), french vanilla (Méditerranée only), and plain (Méditerranée only),