We're at the peak of produce heaven in Ontario.
One of my favourite things about summer is the incredible bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. I love strolling through farmer's markets and seeing the bright colours of the season in the beautiful local ingredients. Naturally, I imagine all the endless possibilities of what I could cook and my excitement turns wistful for a garden of my own. Alas, such is the life of a Toronto urbanite.
Executive Chef John Horne
and Chef de Cuisine Coulson Armstrong
were similarly inspired when they created Taste 174km
, the latest tasting menu at Canoe
. 174km references the furthest distance the ingredients from the tasting menu are sourced from. "I wanted to create a tasting menu with the best of Ontario ingredients, so we called all the farms we could and asked them what their best ingredients were. From there, we started to create the menu," said Chef John.
Here's a look at the vibrant Taste 174km dishes and what Chef John had to say about each of them.
chilled corn soup - cornbread, queso fresco, soy oil + crispy pancetta: "We wanted to make a cold soup because the weather has been so hot. Corn is at its best right now."
artichokes + onions - fried artichokes, variations of onions + organic egg: "Artichokes and onions were always the last two things farmers mentioned when we asked them what they had. Because they were always such a second thought for farmers, I wanted to take ingredients that were being so overlooked and highlight them. The onion is done seven different ways and the artichoke is done three different ways. This was by far, the most conceptual dish we came up with - the amount of lists we had was insane."
great lakes walleye - summer squash, brown butter pipérade + Alliston potato: "I learned how to make pipérade in the south of France and everything in it is in season right now. For the potatoes, I wanted to make an elevated version of shore lunch potatoes. In northern Ontario, shore lunch is a tradition when you go fishing. We decided to shape the shore lunch potatoes into gnocchi. The summer squash is from Tamarack Farm."
pasture raised pork - spiced peaches, Swiss chard, verjus + bacon hominy croquette: "The pork is from Grandview Farms and is paired with summer spiced Niagara peaches. We wanted to use a grain for the croquettes so we went with hominy, which is starchy and holds firmly."
everbearing strawberry - Hewitt’s Dairy yoghurt bavaroise, vanilla chiffon, mint + yuzu: "You can call this Canoe's version of strawberry shortcake. We use everbearing strawberries, which grow from the beginning of summer to the end of frost."
- there is no other cookware that inspires as much excitement, whether you're a home cook or a professional chef. I know firsthand because I'm one of those people who oooohs and ahhhhs at the sight of Le Creuset pots. Their bright, bold colours and beautiful glazing get me a little giddy as I start to imagine all the incredible dishes I'd cook.
This past Monday, Le Creuset celebrated its 90th anniversary with an exclusive bash at Malaparte
. Guests were treated to a refreshing signature cocktail, Vintage Flame, so aptly named to commemorate Le Creuset's first colour of molten cast iron.
Our friends from Hooked
were on hand to serve freshly shucked oysters as everyone sipped, nibbled and mingled during the reception.
In Malaparte's main room, Canada's finest chefs were on hand to serve hungry guests, who wandered from station to station, while interacting with the chefs.
O&B Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh
's Chef de Cuisine Michael Wilson
and the team from Luma served a unique and so very Canadian dish - Fogo Island Capelin & Crab with kedgeree molasses, sweet rice and dulse spice.
Chef Connie DeSousa from Calgary's CHARCUT
turned heads (no pun intended) with her signature Pig's Head Mortadella and hand cranked meat slicer (thanks Chef Rocco Agostino). The delicate pork was mixed with pistachios and truffles, stuffed inside a hollowed out pig's head, then shaved so paper thin, it melted in your mouth.
Chef Massimo Capra
simmered his comforting Tuscan-style Chicken Cacciatore until it was fall-off-the-bone tender.
Chef David Hawksworth from Vancouver's Hawksworth Restaurant
served a refreshing and seasonal bite of Summer Tomato with prosciutto, burrata, fermented chili on toast.
Chefs Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth of Edulis
brought a classic French picnic in the country to life with pâté, herring à l'huile, Dijonnaise potatoes and pickles.
Chef Dale MacKay and Christopher Cho came all the way from my hometown, Saskatoon, to represent Ayden Kitchen and Bar
. The duo served a decadent Saskatchewan Pork Belly with kimchi, turnip purée, kaffir lime and cilantro.
It is always nice to see Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall
, who served his Taste of Terroir dish - a pretty plate of burnt garden onion, black walnut, leaves, flowers and a quenelle of cider vinegar sorbet.
Chef Andrew Ellerby of The McEwan Group
presented Parker House Rolls with BBQ beef brisket, guacamole, dill coleslaw. They looked adorable in the Le Creuset dishes.
By night's end, it was time to cut the cake - shaped like the iconic vintage Le Creuset pot and so life-like that it was hard to imagine eating it. But we did - because there's always room for cake.
Happy 90th, Le Creuset!
One of my favourite things about summer is enjoying all the incredible locally grown fruits and vegetables the season has to offer. Chef de Cuisine Motonobu Nishimura
has certainly brought out the best of summer in these new summer dishes at Auberge du Pommier
. Here are a few shots from our photo shoot.
Tomates - Ontario heirloom tomato, olive oil, Monforte sheep’s milk cheese
Méli-Mélo d’Été - New Farm greens & sprouts, shaved summer squash, nasturtium, romanesco
Risotto - Northern Woods mushroom fricassée, fromage Comté, sweet corn, porcini jus
Saumon - grilled B.C. salmon, dried olive & caper tapenade, artichokes à la Grecque, basil, lemon emulsion
Boeuf - 48 day dry-aged rib eye, grilled zucchini, bone marrow & herb crusted potatoes, rosemary jus
Fraise - strawberry savarin, poached strawberries, basil parfait, vanilla Chantilly
Here's a look at Chef de Cuisine Luke Kennedy's beautiful summer dishes at Jump
Squid Ink Linguine Vongole with clams, crispy pork belly
St-Canut Porchetta with butter beans, tomatoes, green beans, chicharrón
Grilled European Sea Bream with warm potato salad, white balsamic, crème fraîche, herb and shallot butter
Reservations for Summerlicious 2015 are now open! Here's a sneak peak at what our restaurants are offering this year from July 3-26, 2015.
We're also hosting a Summerlicious Culinary Event, A Dinner in Peru - for more info, please click here
Keep an eye out for contest ballots when you dine with us - and enter for your chance to win a $1000 O&B gift card! Also, post photos of your O&B Summerlicious dishes on Twitter
for your chance to win one of the $25 O&B e-gift cards given away daily during Summerlicious!
/ $45 dinner
. Call 416.637.5550 or reserve online
Warm Cashew Cheese with summer pollen, new farm greens, puffed barley, sour cherry honey
Salt-Baked King Salmon with vadouvan chickpea, cauliflower, foraged greens
Auberge du Pommier
/ $45 dinner
. Call 416.222.2220 or reserve online
Terrine - chicken terrine, preserved peach, sauce verte, pickled mushrooms & vegetable marmalade
Boeuf - beef filet, summer vegetable ratatouille, basil, fingerling potatoes, olive tapenade
/ $25 dinner
. Call 416.861.6996 or reserve online
Semolina-Crusted Peameal Bacon Schnitzel with fingerling potato salad, beans, sage brown butter (photo by Allison Woo)
Prairie Grains “Fried Rice Bowl” with poached egg, tofu, black bean sauce (photo by Allison Woo)
/ $35 dinner
. Call 416.860.0086 or reserve online
Braised Pork Belly with celeriac rémoulade, grilled peach compote & almond caper sauce (Photo by Allison Woo)
Truite au Piperade with tomato & pepper purée, summer vegetable, Bayonne ham & 50 minute hen’s egg (photo by Allison Woo)
/ $45 dinner
. Call 416.364.0054 - phone reservations only.
Ontario Bufala Mozzarella with shelled peas, coriander, candied walnuts & king crab (photo by Allison Woo)
Pan-Roasted Heritage Salmon with local asparagus, watercress semolina & wild rose tartar sauce (photo by Allison Woo)
/ $35 dinner
. Call 416.363.3400 or reserve online
Ramp Kimchi Tomato Salad with cucumber, coriander, spring onions, ricotta
Basil Ricotta Agnolotti with artichokes, Parmesan cream
/ $35 dinner
. Call 647.288.4715 or reserve online.
Watermelon + Beet Salad with spiced redskin peanuts, mint, pickled onions, watercress
Cornmeal-Crusted Fish Cake + Pickled Shrimp with cherry tomato and corn salsa, peanut romesco, fennel
O&B Bayview Village
/ $25 dinner
. Call 416.590.1300 or reserve online.
Peameal Pork Schnitzel with breaded peameal bacon, cabbage slaw & lemon butter (photo by Allison Woo)
Vegetarian Pad Thai with crispy tofu, bean sprouts, rice noodles & fried egg (photo by Allison Woo)