Ryen Hodgson has been delighting patrons of the Belmont Diner with his pancake creations for more than 14 years– what started as a simple attempt to make mouse ear shaped pancakes for children, has grown into an art-form Belmont is now famous for. I paid him a visit to learn more about his tasty artwork and learned more about how to create  pancake paintings at home.

Pictured: Ryen Hodgson painting with pancakes.
Pictured: Ryen Hodgson painting with pancakes.

Over pancakes, (of course!) Hodgson talked about his transition from using jugs to shape three-circled mouse ears, to using squeeze bottles for better precision. Now he and his team are known for their ability to create everything from Stormtroppers to sloths– and even Harry the Horse! Anything you can think of, Hodgson can replicate in pancake form.

For the last eight months, Hodgson and fellow chef, Trent Pattison, have tweaked their top-secret buttermilk batter mixture to perfection: a consistency that isn’t too thick and is just viscous enough to paint with. The batter has to be smooth–the proper ratio of eggs, baking powder, buttermilk and flour–no chunks, or else it’ll jam up the squirt bottle nozzle and ruin your masterpiece!

Once you find a recipe that works for you, use the squeeze bottles to shape the outline of your painting–Belmont’s pancakes are outlined with a chocolate pancake batter for more emphasis. After you have worked out your intended shape, layer the batter (pour your mixture at different time to allow for certain areas to darken more). Hodgson says that you will know when to flip your pancake when the bubbles around the edges begin to pop and form holes that stay open on the surface of the batter. Flip your pancake and cook until the other side becomes golden brown– now you’re ready to serve!

Pancake off! Who's Harry the Horse do you think is best? Pattison's (left) or Hodgson's (right)?
Pancake off! Who’s Harry the Horse do you think is best? Pattison’s (left) or Hodgson’s (right)?

There’s less than 100 days to go until Stampede time so there is no time like now to get into the swing of things. Mix things up at your pancake breakfast event this year by dazzling your guests with pancake paintings– feel free to use the tips above to make your own or pay the Belmont Diner a visit to see Pattison and Hodgson in action!

Belmont Diner
Belmont Diner in Marda Loop.