Ernest’s Diner has been one of my favorite hidden gems here in Edmonton. For those who don’t know, Ernest’s Diner is located at NAIT and the cuisine is prepared by second-year Culinary Arts diploma students. Rewarded as top 100 restaurants in Canada with Open Table both in 2016 & 2017, it’s hard not to indulge in some high-quality food without breaking the bank.
In the start of 2009 the program, the Chef in Residence program was introduced as part of the Culinary Arts diploma, kicking it off with a Canadian celebrity chef, Rob Feenie. The Chef in Residence provides the students with the rare opportunity to learn straight from one of the best chefs in the world. For the most part, the residency lasts between 3-5 days. This year, they introduced David Hawksworth as the Chef in Residence.
I was given the opportunity to enjoy a 3-course lunch menu created by David himself, prepared by the culinary students and serviced by hospitality students. David Hawksworth, a Vancouverite launched his own restaurant named Hawksworth Resturant in the heart of downtown Vancouver. In 2012 and 2013, Hawksworth was awarded Resturant of the Year & Chef of the Year with Vancouver Magazine Resturant Awards and for 4 years straight has won, Best Upscale Dining as well as enRoute magazine’s Top 3 Best New Resturants.
The first dish that was served was Beet Salad with goat cheese, pine nuts, and raspberries. Normally I’m not a huge fan of beets, but I’ll give anything a try. Surprisingly this dish was actually really tasty.
Second, we were served with Classic Fish Soup with included halibut, side stripe prawns, mussels, clams saffron in tomato broth with a side of grilled focaccia. For someone who also doesn’t normally eat fish, this was dish was both delicious and filling. The best part was dipping the focaccia in the tomato broth.
And finally, we finished off the lunch with Vanilla Panna Cotta, which simply is champagne poached fruit. Probably my favorite out of all 3, but I could be biased as I love dessert.
With every visit that I take to Ernest’s Diner, whether it’s to try out a lunch menu during the Chef in Residence week or to indulge in the new season’s menu tasting, I’m always so impressed with the work and quality that both the students and the department of culinary arts and professional food studies put together. Ernest’s Diner will always be one of the top hidden gems when it comes to food that I will recommend to anyone who lives in Edmonton or is just visiting.