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Rory Golden, Executive Chef, Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, Ontario

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See how chefs "north of the border" are inspired by Kraft

Deep in the heart of Ontario, Canada's beautiful cottage country, a chef finds inspiration with Kraft.

We asked Rory Golden, Executive Chef of the award-winning Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka, Ontario, to create a recipe using a Kraft product. He answered our challenge in fine form with a delightful miniature cranberry and honey cheesecake with caramelized raspberry vinaigrette.

For the recipe, he turned to Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Nabisco Graham Cracker Crumbs and developed an intriguing raspberry vinaigrette.

A marriage of flavors

"The beauty of this comes from the pairing of the sweet, creamy cheesecake with the sweet-tart finish of the raspberry vinaigrette," says Chef Golden. "When you caramelize the vinaigrette with the sugar and Grand Marnier, you get a brilliant red color and a great, complex flavor."

"Finishing the mini cheesecake with a drape of the caramelized raspberry vinaigrette adds drama, too," says Chef Golden. "We're always looking for ways to impress our guests – to make their experience memorable. Buffet lines with dozens of mini desserts are really big right now. This recipe speaks to that trend beautifully."

Golden and his pastry chef rely on the quality and consistency of Philadelphia Cream Cheese for many of the resort's recipes. "It delivers a great, creamy texture, and it's a consistent product. We never have to alter our recipes," says Chef Golden. "It also blends easily and is stable. That's important here – as we have 800 acres and don't always know where we'll be serving dessert."

Behind the chef – showcasing the local bounty

Chef Golden is also Vice Chair of Savor Muskoka, an organization that promotes local products. He finds inspiration wherever he wanders. One of his hobbies is foraging, and he carries a mini sea-salt shaker to season his culinary finds out on the field. "I forage for wild leeks, fiddleheads, cattail hearts, mushrooms and milkweed pods. It increases my awareness and appreciation for what's out there," he says.

"This recipe allowed me to highlight the best of Muskoka. I use local Bala cranberries, which are wonderfully tart. The maple syrup is tapped from the resort's maple trees and the wildflower honey is produced in our apiary," says Chef Golden.

"Philadelphia Cream Cheese is a great canvas for these local products. And the Kraft Signature Raspberry Vinaigrette gave it a needed balance of acidity."

Chef Golden unplugged

One of the most striking things about this chef is his creative flair. What fuels his recipe development are the demands of the modern diner. "We cater to so many business people and folks who dine out quite a bit. We want to make a great first impression, so they'll come back," says Chef Golden. "There's such a demand for something new and exciting," he says. Kraft products help deliver that excitement.

Here are a few highlights from our interview with Chef Golden.

KRAFT:

If you were sent to a desert island, what 3 ingredients would you take with you?

GOLDEN:

Wine, Camembert cheese and sea salt.

KRAFT:

What is your favorite kitchen tool?

GOLDEN:

I need my BlackBerry! But I'd also have to say the cappuccino foamer is useful for all sorts of things.

KRAFT:

Where was the last place you dined?

GOLDEN:

Port Carling Lobster Club in Port Carling, Ontario. It has a funny name because lobster isn't even on the menu. We ordered a bunch of appetizers – samosas, Martini smoked salmon, calamari, mussels and flatbread.

What's next for Chef Rory Golden?

In late March, Chef Golden heads up Deerhurst's annual maple syrup festival. More than 1,000 trees will be tapped, filling over 4,000 250mL bottles with the sweet stuff.

Chef Golden – Deerhurst