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A marriage made in heaven. Philadelphia™ Cream Cheese makes seafood sing



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For more than 30 years, The Boathouse Restaurant has turned the bounty of BC’s waters into dishes that surprise and delight diners. The chain in the Vancouver area specializes in serving fresh, local, sustainable, quality seafood in settings with patios that are consistently voted Best in Vancouver.

By Jane Auster

Photography by Amanda Palmer

Regional Chef Brent Fisher came on board 10 years ago and has watched The Boathouse drop anchor from its original location in Coal Harbour to the present seven restaurants.

What he found when he took over chef operations was not only a varied fresh seafood (and steak!) menu, but also a commitment to innovating recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese, a growing staple of The Boathouse’s kitchens. Philly Cream Cheese is an integral ingredient in recipes from apps and mains to desserts, and from brunch to dinner.

“It’s a versatile product that can be used with both savoury and sweet items,” says Chef Brent. “Realistically Philadelphia is unmatched in terms of quality. We have tried other cream cheeses, but they just don’t have the same quality, texture and consistency.”

Take The Boathouse’s Hot Crab Dip, featuring fresh crabmeat, cream cheese and roasted peppers with pita chips for dipping. The kitchen staff experimented with the recipe trying out other brands of cream cheese, but came back to Philly every time. Now the Hot Crab Dip is one of The Boathouse’s top five sellers, along with another favourite, Crab Stuffed Prawns, with cream cheese, herbs and crabmeat. Both also happen to be Chef Brent’s personal menu picks.

For him, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and seafood are definitely a marriage made in heaven. “Anytime you mix dairy with seafood it is a match no matter what type of dairy it is,” he explains. “Cream cheese has the sweetness and richness of butter but with more volume. It stands out more, and it is not greasy. Typically seafood is considered a rich item, and the addition of cream cheese makes it even richer and brings out the flavours.”

Any time Chef Brent wants to raise the richness of a dish, he turns to Philly. “It’s so versatile you can substitute it for other ingredients to create a dish that is a little healthier but also rich-tasting,” he says. “In other cases, if we want to stuff something like our Crab Stuffed Prawns, we look at Philadelphia Cream Cheese as a primary ingredient.”

It’s also top of mind when the restaurant chain updates its menu, with small tweaks every month and major updates at least four times a year. Chef Brent creates new tastes by taking dishes like lobster stuffed salmon, made with butter or mayonnaise, and changing it up with Philly Cream Cheese to achieve a richer texture that doesn’t melt away when cooked in the pan.

“We’re constantly doing menu development and looking at new menu additions,” says Chef Brent, who works closely with his Kraft sales rep, offering new ideas, research and product samples. For this winter the chef is considering adding a smoked salmon panini with Philadelphia Cream Cheese, arugula and roasted fennel, as well as a seasonal warm salad.

The restaurant’s love affair with cream cheese doesn’t stop with seafood apps and entrées. It’s also the primary ingredient in the final sweet sendoff: The Boathouse’s New York Cheesecake and Crème Brulée.

“Whenever I need that rich taste and texture,” says Chef Brent, “I turn to Philly.”

For more inspiring ideas and recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese visit

Chef Brent’s top 4 reasons to make Philadelphia Cream Cheese your top pick:

  1. Highest quality product – with a rich, unsurpassed taste and texture
  2. Flavour – when you cook with Philly, its flavour doesn’t melt away
  3. Consistency – Philly is reliable first time, every time
  4. Versatility – Chef Brent is able to develop new recipes and change up old ones by adding Philly