Cooking With FLARE: Meet Hunky Chef Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter, the chef behind Antler, a new game-centric restaurant in Toronto, answers our rapid-fire food Qs and shares the recipe for his go-to V-Day dessert. (You’re welcome)

michael hunter antler restaurant

Chef Michael Hunter at his Toronto resto Antler (Photo: Saty & Pratha)

You’re making dinner for a lady. What’s dessert?
Chocolate mousse (see below). At the restaurant, we finish it with cedar dust, which we make by dehydrating and grinding boughs, but you don’t have to do that at home…obviously.

Sexiest ingredient?
Oysters.

Least sexy ingredient?
Offal, specifically liver.

What’s on your dinner-date playlist?
John Lennon.

Your best date ever?
We went to Langdon Hall [a posh inn and restaurant in Cambridge, Ont.], had the tasting menu and then champagne in the Jacuzzi.

Who was it with?
[Laughs] Next question.

You forage for wild ingredients. What’s your greatest find?
Morels are my all-time favourite.

You also hunt. What do you say to haters who think hunting is wrong?
I ask them if they eat meat. Then I ask them where they get it and if it’s sourced ethically. That usually quiets them down.

Favourite Canadian food city?
Montreal. I ate my way through the menu at Au Pied de Cochon [the foie gras–obsessed Plateau restaurant] in a couple of sittings.

Describe the life of a chef in five words or less.
Humility, dedication, sacrifice.

It’s the end of a long night in the kitchen. You eat…
Chocolate and an espresso.

Your trashiest indulgence?
A meatball sub.

Death-row meal?
Venison heart.

antler restaurant

Michael’s Chocolate Mousse (Photo: Saty & Pratha)

Michael’s Chocolate Mousse
225 g 70% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar 3 tbsp dark rum
3 tbsp room-temperature water
2 cups 35% whipping cream, chilled

1. Heat chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a medium pot partially filled with simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch water) until almost melted. Using spatula, stir until smooth. Set aside.

2. Using a large whisk, beat egg yolks, sugar, rum and water in a metal bowl. Place over simmering water. Whisk constantly until thickened and increased in volume. (Ribbons should form when whisk is lifted.) Remove from heat. Set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a clean whisk or electric mixer, beat whipping cream in another bowl until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.

4. Using a spatula, gently stir egg yolk mixture into cooled melted chocolate until evenly mixed. Next, fold in egg whites, then whipped cream, until no streaks remain. Cover with plastic wrap pressed over surface. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Scoop into dessert dishes. Mousse will keep well, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Makes 12–18 servings

Tip: Lazy types can melt the chocolate in the microwave. Place in a glass bowl and heat on medium (keeping a close watch) for about 3 minutes. You can also garnish mousse with crushed hazelnuts as pictured above.

Stylist: Talia Brown.  Shrt, 18 Waits. Bracelets, both King Baby, Holt Renfrew.
Hair and Makeup: Natalie Ventola, Orige and M.A.C, P1M.ca
Art Direction: Brian Anson Wong
Editor: Rachel Heinrichs

More Cooking With FLARE:
Meghan Markle’s Apple Butter Toast
Joy McCarthy’s Chia Strawberry Pudding
Tara O’Brady’s Rhubarb-Rose Gimlet 
Heidi and Claudia’s Blueberry Pie 
Sid and Chloé’s Runway-Inspired Pasta 

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