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Luma's Adventures in Iceland

11/12/2015 | 16:49 PM
We are so excited for Taste of Iceland to begin tonight!  It's the second year that Luma will be hosting the Icelandic festivities.  This year, acclaimed Icelandic Chef Ylfa Helgadóttir, Chef de Cuisine and Owner of Kopar will be joining Chef du Cuisine Michael Wilson and O&B Corporate Executive Chef Anthony Walsh to create authentic Icelandic delicacies.  Taste of Iceland runs from Thursday, November 12 - Saturday, November 14, 2015 - there are limited reservations left.  Our special Evening in Iceland is already sold out - thanks all!

Earlier this year, Chef Michael traveled to Iceland for the Food + Food 2015 Festival, where he collaborated with Chef Viktor Örn (who came to Luma for Taste of Iceland last year) and the team at Lava Restaurant to prepare a special dinner using Icelandic ingredients only.  Here are Chef Michael's photos from his incredible adventures in Iceland!

The morning drive to work through a snow squall

The Blue Lagoon - one of the most visited attractions in Iceland

Lava Restaurant's dining room at the Blue Lagoon

Hallgrímskirkja church is Reykjavik's main landmark and its tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the city

The hot dog is a point of Icelandic national pride!

Höfði - a house in northern Reykjavik

Hanging with the Mayor of Reykjavik

Incredible design in the new Harpa Concert Hall and Concert Hall

Gullfoss is a waterfall in the canyon of Hvítá river - it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Here's Guillermo and I enjoying the sights of beautiful Iceland.

The Great Geyser

When in Iceland...

17 Hákarl - Icelandid fermented shark. It's often eaten with a shot of the local spirit called Brennivín. Eating hákarl is usually associated with hardiness and strength.

Crab + Langoustine; Beef + Barley Soup

Skyr Marinated Lamb, Lamb Tourtiere and Spiced Tomato Chutney

Kitchen Staff at Lava Restaurant - thanks for your help!

Chefs Viktor Örn and Þráinn Freyr Vigfússon from Lava Restaurant; and the ever so dapper Chef Viktor at the Food + Food closing party

Thanks for a great time in Iceland!

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A couple of weeks ago, the team at Biff's Bistro invited guests to the Dirty Bits Party! Here are some photos my colleague Nicole snapped of the festivities!
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America Restaurant has launched its new fall menu - here's a look at Chef Bill Osborne's new dishes!

New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant
Bella Casara Burrata with arugula, pickled cherry, balsamic

New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant
Heirloom Tomatoes with 100km squash, olive oil, monforte dairy goat feta

New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant
Wild-Caught Salmon Fillet with minted peas, buttered fingerling potatoes, cucumber

New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant
Whole Roasted Dover Sole with charred lemon, brown butter, parsley

New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant New Fall Dishes at America Restaurant
10oz New York Strip Loin

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Canoe Twenty - Tasting Menu

10/08/2015 | 19:59 PM
It's been twenty incredible years at Canoe.

Earlier this year, Canoe hosted special Saturday openings featuring dishes from years past, dating back two decades.  Canoe Twenty, the latest tasting menu at Canoe, commemorates the restaurant's 20th anniversary with dishes celebrating the present day Canoe. 

"You'll taste ingredients that are in season, sourced from coast to coast from both small suppliers and larger producers. Over time, as the seasons spread across the country, we'll change where we source some ingredients - which is pretty special when you think about it!" says Executive Chef John Horne.

Here are beautiful shots from my recent Canoe Twenty photo shoot - with insights from Chef John on each dish.

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

Mason Jar
:  "Coming from a farming family, preserving was the only way to keep your hard work from spoiling. This mason jar is a play on preserving ingredients at their peak so you can enjoy them throughout the winter and spring months."

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

Lobster Carpaccio - pickled daikon, sesame shrimp cracker, lobster vinaigrette + screech Marie Rose sauce
"One of our long time suppliers, "Lobster George" of Yarmouth Lobsters was recently hospitalized.  We wanted to continue to use his amazing Yarmouth lobsters to help support him while he recovers. Lobster is something that always has appeared on Canoe's menu. We wanted to do something different and came up with lobster carpaccio."

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

Forest Lasagna - wild James Bay rabbit, matsutake, heartnuts, caribou moss + evergreen Mornay
  "This dish is very much about what’s in season in our forests that can be harvested. We also wanted it to remind you of a walk in the woods on a crisp fall day, and bring up some smells, textures and tastes you might experience in that setting."

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

Fogo Island - jigged cod, Tanner crab boudin, ocean salt potatoes + pickled seaweed
:  "This was inspired from a recent trip to the East coast for a collaborative dinner with chefs from the U.S. and Canada. We were shown so much of Newfoundland - their sights, smells, and ingredients. Upon returning to Toronto, we were approached by a group of fishermen from Fogo Island to buy their crab, cod and other seafood delights. Buying direct ensures the fishermen receive 100 percent of the profits."

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

Cerf de Boileau Venison - Swiss chard, Jerusalem artichoke soubric, dehydrated grapes + ice wine jus
: "Venison is traditionally harvested at this time of year, so you can stock your freezer for the winter months. We sourced this amazing venison from a Quebec farm.  Something that is often overlooked are the amazing grapes we have in Ontario at this time of year, so we wanted to highlight them with venison."

Canoe Twenty Tasting Menu

100km Squash - cattail crêpe, white chocolate ice cream, Prairie seeds + grains
: "We wanted to do a spinoff of the classic pumpkin pie. When we started to see the amazing squashes being harvested, we switched gears to highlight them while playing off of pumpkin pie."

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Icons & Innovators - Susur Lee

10/01/2015 | 15:12 PM
Icons & Innovators - Susur Lee

The first time I attended the Icons & Innovators breakfast series at Toronto Region Board of Trade was three years ago, featuring our very own leaders, Peter Oliver and Michael Bonacini.  It was an inspiring discussion on what it takes to be successful and how you learn from each step to become a true icon and innovator.

Since then, Kostuch Media has continued the series with more of our industry's greats, including Mark McEwan and Zita Cobb.  We couldn't be more proud to be presenting sponsors.

Yesterday morning, I was delighted to attend the latest installment featuring Susur Lee - a chef who has truly helped shape Toronto's culinary scene with his passion for innovative East-meets-West cuisine.  Michael Bonacini delighted enthused guests with his memories of meeting Susur thirty years ago in his introduction.

Here are some shots from yesterday's thoughtful Q&A, hosted by Rosanna Caira.  If you missed it yesterday, stayed tuned to their website to watch the interview soon.

Icons & Innovators - Susur Lee

Icons & Innovators - Susur Lee
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