When I first came to the National Arts Centre, I remember making the whole evening a grand affair. An affair that started way before the actual performance night. I was fever high in anticipation as I pick the most appropriate black and gold gown to sit atop everyone else in one of those seemingly private and exclusive seats the lined the side walls of the Southam Hall. That was for Miss Saigon. That was years ago. Yet I remember the evening incredibly well and I suspect I will remember it for the rest of time.


Adding to that memory is one very recent experience at the NAC, their newest venture into making music, particularly the orchestra, more modern, more accessible – the Casual Fridays or in social media speak, #NACOFRIDAYS. As we’ve said before, “there are few good things that are universal in this world and when you pair them together – Music, Food, Wine, Friends, the magic is even more incredible.” That couldn’t be more true with NAC’s Culinary Overture at Casual Fridays.


From chilli rubbed flank steak to grilled octopus, from silkened tofu to braised pork tostadas, the 3rd and last installment of the National Arts Centre’s social and culinary overture promises to be another memorable evening of great good, great wine and sublime performances. It has become a highly anticipated event in the capital as it really is the coming together of all the great things in life.


While ITALY was the inspiration to both music and menu last #NACOFRIDAYS,  time time Chef John Morris and the NAC culinary team have put together quite a sumptuous spread, re-imagined cuisine with a slight and delightful twist inspired by postcard from the New World.


Though I can’t seem to find the words precisely fitting to describe how absolutely delicious these tapas are, here’s the menu, paired with either Pinot Noir from MacMurray Ranch or Chardonnay from Edna Valley, that we can all drool over until Friday, June 6th:

  • Smoked chili rubbed flank steak on aged cheddar & chive cornbread with lime mayo
  • Braised pork tostadas with cilantro, feta & avocado
  • Crispy chicken & sweet potato pancakes with redeye gravy
  • Wild mushroom & asparagus pissaladière with tarragon foam
  • Country sausage & jack cheese on a buttermilk biscuit
  • Panisse chickpea “fries” with roasted garlic & capsicum aioli
  • Roasted baby beets with lemon crème fraîche, crumbled honey toasted walnuts
  • Soy, maple & ginger glazed tofu on egg noodles, charred green onions, miso dressing
  • Grilled octopus with shredded fennel & napa cabbage, three citrus & chervil vinaigrette


5:30 PM • Pre-concert Reception

A glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage Culinary Overture – Tapas prepared by the NAC culinary team with Live jazz accompaniment.

7:00 PM • Concert with the NAC Orchestra with FORSYTH’S DOUBLE CONCERTO

A 90-minute performance, it will be an early start, early finish, no intermission show. A perfect on-stage introduction to exceptional music and guest artists at the NAC.


8:30 PM • Post-concert reception

A reception with complimentary coffee and tea (cash bar available), where you can mingle with fellow music lovers and the NAC Orchestra.



Don’t miss out. Get your Culinary Overture tickets today! Offer available in person at the NAC Box Office or by telephone at 613 947-7000 x620.





You can win an amazing National Arts Centre Casual Fridays Prize Package, which includes TICKETS to the Culinary Overture and PASSES to the Casual Friday Reception right here at Twenty York Street!




And… do you know what’s more exciting? We are giving away THREE #NACOFRIDAYS Prize Package! That’s a prize package valued at $200 each and we are going to have THREE winners to an evening with Pinchas Zukerman, Superstar Leila Josefowicz and of course, friends! That’s right, 3 winners!!!



We are drawing one winner from 3 of our Social Media network so make sure you are following: one in Twitter @20YS, one in Facebook at Twenty York Street and right here in the blog, To enter, which of the “New World” tapas are you most excited to try at the #NACOFRIDAYS!


Winners will be chosen at noon on Thursday, June 5th so make sure your Friday evening is good and ready! This is one evening at the NAC that you really don’t want to miss!

Don’t walk, run and enter below! Good luck and see you at the concerto!

Editor’s Note: Thank you to the National Arts Centre (NAC) for providing the prize package so our Twenty York Street readers can have a chance to WIN a night with the NAC orchestra! BIG thank you to Mr. Dwayne Brown of Dwayne Brown Studio and Love Ottawa for providing the beautiful images for #NACOFRIDAYS. For more chances to win, our friends Don and Jen are also doing a contest at Foodie Prints #NACOFRIDAYS #Giveaway here!

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