Trendy Ingredients: Popcorn

 I‘m so not a trendy chef,” says Rhonda Viani with genuine modesty, which belies the fact that for 10 years she’s been delivering cutting-edge, mind-blowingly delicious desserts out of the West kitchen on South Granville. (Smart diners always know to save room.) “I love playing with that sweet and salty contrast, but there’s more to it than just a finishing sprinkle of Maldon. It’s all about playing a trick on your brain.” By infusing sweets with a savoury element, Viani uses techniques more common on the other side of the kitchen. Take her popcorn ice cream. “You taste the cream and expect cold, sweet, and creamy…then you get this weird but delicious contrast, a savoury flavour at such a deep level. Photos: Carlo Ricci, Illustrations: Claire McCracken






The revelatory part of Viani’s Chocolate Trio dessert isn’t the chocolate-it’s the ice cream. Popcorn is steeped in the custard before the ice cream is churned so that every bite is infused with a toasty, nutty flavour










Bruno Feldeisen at Yew at the Four Seasons makes a killer popcorn crème brûlée, while at Le Gavroche, the legendary French restaurant celebrating its 35th anniversary with a new chef-owner and a new menu, a garden carrot cake with carrot ice cream plays similar tricks on the palate


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