Simply food


In the third new episode of Market to Table, Chef Dan Frenette visits the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market and cooks up a succulent braised bison short rib cottage pie back in the kitchen, on Bell Fibe TV1 .

Dan writes: “My love for cottage pie grew when I was on tour with The Rolling Stones, as it was one of Keith Richards‘ favourite foods to eat. My boss and mentor at the time, Glenn Wark, taught me how to make the ‘Keith Richards’ cottage pie which was deeper in flavour than any other cottage pie I had experienced. I used the fundamentals of this recipe in creating the bison short rib cottage pie on the show, which wouldn’t taste half as good without the inspiration I received while on the road.”

Dan, Sherry and Keith on the road

I had hoped Dan’s lovely wife Sherry would join us on location and on set for the taping of the new season of Market to Table. When I was appearing on-camera, I found my wife Diane’s presence very useful, as she would tell me things about my performance that perhaps others would not, and make me improve, so I thought Sherry might help Dan with his performance in the same way. Diane also put on my make-up and fixed my hair and made sure my clothes looked good.

But it was not to be, as Sherry was very pregnant at the time and for her to stand around in the cold of farmers’ markets or sit around in the heat of our kitchen studio, would neither have been possible or a good idea.

As it turned out, Dan didn’t need much coaching, spousal or directorial, and took to his new on-camera role like a natural. He also put up with me applying his make-up with patient good humour. I think he has a great future as a chef and TV personality and now that our third show has launched, it’s time to decide about making some more episodes for the series. That decision, of course, is up to the folks at the broadcaster, Bell Fibe TV1.

Dan and Arden at the St Lawrence Farmers’ Market

But the really big news was that, as the first episode went to air on Monday, June 12, Kayla Annabelle was born at 3 am.

Perfect timing and hard to trump that launch. I’m particularly excited about the arrival of this new young lady because we share a June 12 birthday, albeit many decades apart. Welcome Kayla and congratulations to Sherry and Dan.

There is also reason for another celebration, in my own mind at least. This article is my 200th since I started this blog in December 2012. Along the way, I’ve written about my three passions: life, love and whisky. Food has always been a consuming interest and has led to the TV shows and cookbooks. Travel has become a big component of my life, and now we have David Moorcroft’s amazing cruise experiences to add more colour to the site. As well, Jim Walker is telling us about his experiences in the world of wine, and along the way sharing his love of some very good vintages. The site has attracted a good following, and I’m always amazed at how many people seem to enjoy our musings. Long may we be able to continue and grow.

Jennifer has organic carrots and spuds

Meanwhile, Dan hadn’t surfaced in time to contribute more about the food to this article, but fortunately I have his notes from the new cookbook. Don’t be alarmed by the length of time it takes to cook this dish. Most of that is taken up with braising the ribs in a very slow oven. Once that’s done, the rest is easy.

In Market to Table: The Cookbook Dan writes: “Cottage and shepherd’s pie have always held a special place in my heart. It is a perfect combination of simple cooking techniques, with inexpensive ingredients to create comfort food at its finest. It may not be the quickest food to prepare but is worth every minute of effort. I also wanted to create a different version for the second season of Market to Table, and make an impact in my first hosting role.

“We filmed at the St. Lawrence Farmers’ Market one frigid spring Saturday and picked up a fine rack of bison ribs from farmer Arden Vaughan, of Lake Land Meats. She tells me she raises deer and cattle and gets other meats from local farms. Murray Colwell, of Colwell Farms, is out with dental issues the day of our shoot, but Jennifer Matthews fills in with a spirited description of organic Yukon Gold potatoes and bright red carrots, especially sweet. At Marvin Gardens, we come across a wall of fresh asparagus, although at this time of year it’s not local. This gives me the inspiration for a replacement for peas.”


  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Shopping list

  • 2 lb bison short ribs
  • 1 L beef stock
  • 2 large carrots
  • ½ white onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lb asparagus

Filling veggies

  • ½ lb heirloom red carrots
  • ½ lb asparagus


  • 1 cup brown sauce
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ lb butter
  • 2 TBSP kosher or sea salt
  • 1 TBSP ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg


  • 2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ¼ lb cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 35% whipping cream


  • Grape tomatoes on the vine (4 tomatoes per serving)

Preparation and cooking

Step 1

  1. Season the bison short ribs well and then sear in a pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 120°C / 250°F (a very slow oven).
  3. Prepare the braising ingredients: make a mirepoix by chopping the onion, carrots, and celery. Place in a baking dish with the beef stock and add the bison ribs meat side down. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 6 hours.

Step 2

  1. Remove the short ribs from the oven and let them rest for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and start to reduce it in a sauce pan.
  2. Peel and quarter half the potatoes and cook in boiling water with 4 peeled garlic cloves until done, about 20 minutes.
  3. Dice the red carrots and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes.
  4. Blanch the asparagus and chop into ½ in segments.
  5. When the ribs have cooled enough to handle, pull the bones right out and discard. Chop the meat well and add it to the liquid reduction. Add brown sauce, season well and continue to reduce until liquid is as thick as the brown sauce.

Step 3

Strain potatoes and mash well, adding butter, cream and a good grind of nutmeg.

Step 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 355°F.
  2. Assemble the pie: Put the meat in the bottom of a pie dish, then add the chopped heirloom carrots, then the asparagus, then the mashed potatoes starting from the outside and working your way to the middle to cover all the ingredients.
  3. Mandolin the remaining washed, but not peeled potatoes, and arrange the slices on top of the pie.
  4. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Leaving the tomatoes on the vine (about 4 per serving), season with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast along with the pie.
  6. Remove the pie cover, grate some cheese on top and broil until the topping turns golden brown (about 10 minutes).
  7. Serve a good portion to each guest, with roast tomatoes on the vine alongside.

Featured image: Video capture of The Rolling Stone’s Keith Richards in action, with Diane’s distant cousin, drummer Charlie Watts in the background.

NEW_MarketToTable_Cover (002)UPDATE: How about a copy of my e-book Market to Table: The Cookbook as a gift idea for yourself, friends, family or anyone who loves to cook, now available on, i-Tunes and Amazon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.