LOCAL FLAVOUR: A treat from ‘Mr. Strudel’
When Dave McMillan first visited Delta Hospital’s emergency two years ago for chest pains he was helped inside by three people in blue vests.
He reached into his pocket to pay them for their trouble and they told him there was no need. They were Delta Hospital Auxiliary volunteers.
“I was so impressed,” he says. “Within three hours all tests were done. I found out how, it was hospital auxiliary.”
Dave decided to join the auxiliary and use his talents as a professionally trained pastry chef and cook to work in the courtyard cafe.
Originally from Croatia, when Dave moved to England to become a cook he used his first name (Milan) to create the common Anglo surname McMillan.
But although Dave now calls Canada his home, he still holds those old world talents for making delicious pastries.
“I learned from my grandparents and mother, simple food, no preservatives is better,” he says.
One of Dave’s favourite things to make is strudel, a European pastry popular all over the world.
His apple strudel with raisins is so renowned that he’s earned a nickname.
“I have friends in Richmond, they see me on the streets and they say, OK, it’s Mr. Strudel,” he says laughing.
Dave was a chef at Steveston’s Lion’s Manor until he retired four years ago.
He took his strudel treats to a social gathering last year and has since been asked to cater events.
So, why does Dave enjoy strudel so much?
“It’s so easy to make, so fast, 15 minutes and it’s done,” he says.
Even better, the ingredients are all natural. Ever since Dave’s visit to the hospital a couple of years ago he takes his health very seriously.
The good news is that the ingredients are all things that are good for you: Apples, raisins, brown sugar, bread crumbs, cinnamon, lemon rinds, and vegetable oil.
Of course, like everything in life, moderation is the key. And it’s definitely a challenge to stop at just one of Mr. Strudel’s pastries.
Even if you can’t eat them all, fear not. You can freeze the strudels and then microwave them for a few seconds and they’re just as good.
The dessert is best served with red wine or port, Bailey’s Irish cream, or coffee.
“I’m not making money,” explains Dave about the reason for getting into catering. “I get paid for it, but I’m doing it for pleasure. People enjoy.”
That fits perfectly with his philosophy and that of the Delta Hospital Auxiliary.
Dave says that nearly every dollar spent in the thrift shop or other Auxiliary stores goes back into the hospital.
That way the next time somebody goes to the emergency room at Delta Hospital, Dave knows they’ll be helped just like he was the first time.
1 package of frozen phyllo pastry
7 medium apples (grated)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Roll out four sheets of phyllo pastry. Sprinkle each sheet with vegetable oil, spread grated apples evenly over pastry and add raisins, brown sugar, bread crumbs, and lemon rind. Roll into loaf, brush with vegetable oil and bake at 325 F (160 C) for 15 minutes on bottom oven rack, and then 15 minutes on top oven rack. Cut each loaf when strudel cool, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.