Culinary News

The Buzz: March / April 2018

The Editors
Written by The Editors


In Canada, the gender pay gap is thirteen cents on the dollar. Not as bad as some other countries, but certainly not something that should even exist. Mark Serre of The Morrissey House is doing his bit by offering a 13% discount on Mondays to all women on food purchases, lunch or dinner — a different kind of “ladies night.” More importantly donations, based upon the gross Monday sales, will be made to local charities such as Anova, London Abused Women’s Centre, My Sister’s Place, and Life*Spin.

In the spirit of giving back to the community The Jill Wilcox Foundation was established in 2012 with the hope that the work of the Foundation would nurture the lives of women and children who, in turn, would discover the richness and joy that comes from sharing a well-prepared meal with family. The Foundation strives to help women and children in food related initiatives. wilcox-foundation/

David Chapman of David’s Bistro and his team originally hoped to reopen last fall but that was pushed to February, and now to March 10. Chapman says, “The front of the house is done. There is still some work to be done on the hood vent but they hope to start moving equipment back this week. I am hopeful and anxious.”

Chef Dave Lamers of Abruzzi confirms that he and Rob D’Amico are opening another restaurant later this year, possibly November. It will be in Hyde Park, with a different concept and name. Abruzzi recently welcomed Chef Justin Dafoe, formerly of The Bruce Hotel in Stratford and a graduate of Stratford Chefs School. Dafoe is currently working at Abruzzi, and will be leading the kitchen team at the new restaurant.

Chef/owner Thomas Waite and his staff recently celebrated the Spruce on Wellington’s first anniversary with updates to the décor, acoustic enhancement and the launch of new and accessibly priced menus. Staff now includes corporate chef Ashton Gillespie along with Jamie Sandwith, Larissa McCutcheon and Jason Astels, who are committed to delivering a professional restaurant experience. Waite recently announced a new slate of immersive cooking classes to be held at the restaurant.

Betty Heydon’s Blackfriars Bistro & Catering is now open on Mondays for lunch and dinner. This acclaimed bistro recently celebrated its 22nd birthday. Heydon features innovative, seasonal blackboard specials with cutting-edge menus that respect tradition.

Michelle Pierce-Hamilton of The Tea Lounge is leading a two-week series of Meditation and Tea on March 15 & 22. Guests will enjoy an enhanced experience of tea-tasting after a relaxing and calming meditation. The Tea Lounge is also featuring a St Patrick’s Day-themed afternoon tea on March 18, and a spring-themed vegan dim sum on March 25.

Jeffrey Dennis has taken over as general manager of The Park Hotel (formerly Station Park All Suite Hotel) on Richmond Row. For the past seven years he was the director of sales and marketing at The Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown. Andreea Weldon has been appointed as director of sales and marketing. The hotel is in the final stages of completing guestroom renovations.

The new Forrat’s Chocolate Lounge is open at 60 North Centre Road, across from Masonville Mall in the same plaza as Wendy’s. Chic, casual and comfortable, the lounge features plenty of booths and seating options. Beer and wine as well as some interesting nibbles are available, but the star of the show is, unsurpisingly, the chocolate!

Chef Kim Sutherland has been hired to lead the culinary experience in the new $6.1 million-dollar Boler Mountain Chalet. Well known and respected in the London culinary scene, Chef Sutherland is a local Londoner with extensive experience in large scale culinary establishments, with an eye to local sustainable practices. “Boler is looking forward to opening the full service restaurant in the spring after ski season has ended,” says Sutherland. “Due to the incredible opening to the ski season we decided to postpone the restaurant until the spring. We are booking lots of weddings and corporate events and looking forward to what the other three seasons will bring.” Chef will also be offering special occasion meals for corporate functions, weddings and private events. Seating is available for up to 200 in a variety of private space configurations.

Jim Telfer, president of Grafica Event Planners, has over 30 years of event planning experience working both locally and internationally. Telfer believes in cultivating strong relationships to ensure that your event is built with the spirit of true teamwork. At Telfer’s home décor shop Splash you can find exciting curated décor including art, mirrors, exceptional rugs, custom-designed artisanal pieces, and other unique accents. Explore the eclectic collection of handmade, one-of-a-kind, and designer jewellery and accessories to find the perfect new piece for you or your loved ones.

Sharinne Snellen at Sha Choix jewelry and gift shop in Wortley Village offers private shopping parties catered by her husband, executive chef Juriaan Snellen, with wine, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Joelle Lees of Michael’s on the Thames is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the restaurant in March. Former owner Brian Stewart has given Lees menus and articles dating back to when he opened the restaurant. Lees is putting together a 1983 throwback three-course dinner menu complete with period items and pricing.

Nutritionist Julie Kortekaas and Chef Shayna Patterson’s Rebel Remedy has launched a series of two- and three-day “Reset” programs, featuring cold-pressed juices, functional remedy drinks, traditionally brewed kombucha, and fibre-rich healing foods. The spring menu will come out at the beginning of April, and will include sandwiches and salads that highlight the produce of our local foodshed, while promoting traditional ingredients like bone broth, offal, sourdough, sauerkraut, and algae. As always, Rebel’s many vegan options are soy-free.

Keto Health Foods, providing gluten-free and sugar-free meals, desserts, bagels and snacks, recently opened their first take-out location at 416 Hamilton Road. Keto Health Foods previously delivered to their growing London clientele who follow a ketogenic lifestyle. Customers can now order on-line (the menu is updated weekly) and then pick-up at the Hamilton Road location, or have their orders delivered.

Situated in the Diamond Flight Centre on Blair Blvd. (one block north of Oxford St. off Crumlin Road), the Katana Kafé & Grill overlooks the main runway of the London International Airport and uniquely combines the romance of aviation with fabulous food. Executive Chef Chris Morrison has just released interesting new lunch and dinner menus. Tasty surprises include Lobster Tail and Chorizo Pogos, with an emphasis on sophisticated comfort food.

CommonWealth Coffee Company is opening at 478 Richmond Street around mid-March. It will be a true third-wave coffee shop, with west- to east-coast roaster offerings. The concept for the space looks impressive. Next door, Kari Egan’s Roli Poli–Hand Rolled Ice Cream features premium ice cream, but also vegan-friendly, non-fat yogurt and coconut milk ice cream. Roli Poli is also located at The Market at Western Fair.

Katherine Jones, executive chef of Growing Chefs!, has worked hard to challenge the perceived limitations of children and youth in the kitchen. During her maternity leave in December, chef Ryan Wishak was welcomed to the team. Wishak is a Fanshawe College Culinary Management graduate with 15 years of experience in the industry and is classically trained in Italian cuisine. Over the years, a who’s who of women chefs has participated in the Growing Chefs! program, including Kim Sutherland, executive chef of Boler Mountain; Michele Lenhardt of V Food Spot; Yoda Olinyk of Yoda’s Private Catering; Nancy Abra of From My Garden; Shauna Stewart, of The Livewell Community; Chandany Chen of Abruzzi; Ellen Lacroix of the Great Canadian Superstore; Vicci Coughlin of The Telegraph House; Laura Wall of Petit Paris; Tracy Little of The Springs Restaurant; Marisa Verbeem, Amanda Jeffery and Carolyn Nesbitt-Larking, just to name a few.

The Boombox Bakeshop is the brain child of Alexandra Connon. With a love for baking, passion for music, and support of family and friends, the bakery was born. It is a veg-friendly bakery and cafe specializing in vegan goods and gluten-free vegan goods. On offer are signature seasonally-flavoured cupcakes, pop overs, cookies, sweets, and other delightful seasonal surprises. Connon is all about supporting local, whether it’s promoting local bands, or sourcing fresh organic produce from local farmers and distributors. Even the coffee is roasted locally and specially blended for the shop.

Londoners know long-time vendor Mimi Mobarak for her West and East Indian and Guyanese Kitchen at The Market at Western Fair. Mobarak and husband Sheik also operate the West Indian & More Kitchen on Jalna Boulevard, where they serve hot and fresh Halal specialities and takeaway foods like authentic curries, butter chicken, hand-rolled rotis and real jerk. Plant-based dishes include doubles (a chickpea sandwich of sorts), veggie samosas, potato pies with herbs, and aromatic ginger soup. Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 11–7.

Bhan Mudliar, owner of The New Delhi Deli at Covent Garden Market, came to Canada from the Fiji Islands. Mudliar serves exquisite homemade Caribbean-Indian cuisine. Try the jerk chicken, oxtail, curry goat, roti wraps, samosas, seafood, curry chicken, a variety of daily soups and Jamaican patties. Mudliar also offers a selection of gluten-free, veggie, and vegan options.

The first annual London I BEER & Bacon Festival is coming to the London Convention Centre on March 24. Over 20 Ontario breweries, cideries and distillers and more than 12 local restaurants are coming together for this event. Not a fan of bacon? Vendors will have non-bacon dishes and a few vegetarian dishes as well.

The Cocktail Show will take place on Saturday, April 14 from 3 pm–11 pm at Budweiser Gardens. Attendees will have drinks prepared by world-class mixologists, and have the opportunity to discuss different cocktail varieties with brand ambassadors and to learn from experts in the field of mixology. cocktail-show

Curley Brewing Company recently opened at 1700 Hyde Park Road. The business, co-owned by Nigel Curley and Kelsey Watkinson, features a vegan café serving light lunches, kombucha, coffee and baked goods, and offers four small-batch beers on tap that are also available to take home in 500 ml bottles.

London Training Centre is pleased to offer the Culinary Pre-Apprenticeship program again beginning May 1. The six-month program is fully funded by The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development and includes an eight-week paid placement in London restaurants. This program is an ideal opportunity for people working in the industry to enhance their skills and move their careers forward. The course will explore, in detail, safe knife skills, kitchen sanitation and safety, fundamental cooking principles, menu design, pastry baking and bread making practices, nose to tail butchery, identification and use of seasonal produce, stock and sauce making. The theoretical classroom learning will be pertinent to the tactile practical applications in the kitchen environment.

Limited enrollment and small class size (12 students) will offer a greater opportunity for an exclusive student learning experience. Applicants must have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent and the ideal candidate will have previous restaurant experience and a strong interest in a culinary career. Deadline for application: April 23.


The York Street Kitchen is back on York Street in the space previously occupied by Linleys Food Shop. Open every day from 11 am to 4 pm. Check out the new space and new menu.

Stratford Chefs School alumna Chef Loreena Miller leads the Revival House kitchen with a background in French cuisine and a passion for Perth County inspired dishes. Revival House continues its focus on the locals during the winter/spring months with Thursday to Saturday dining after 5 pm and weekend brunch, now both Saturday & Sunday 11am–2 pm.

The Common is a new restaurant in the space previously occupied by Monforte on Wellington. It features an eclectic mix of comfort food from around the world. Chef/owner Tim Otsuki blends and elevates the traditional with the contemporary. The tagline is “Eat Without Borders.”

The Bruce Hotel has welcomed Molly Berg as General Manager. A native Californian, Molly has worked as the Director of Operations at Château du Sureau, a Relais & Chateaux property, and for other fine properties in La Jolla and San Diego. The Bruce also welcomed Joe Duby as Food and Beverage Manager for the hotel.

2018 Stratford Chefs School Open Kitchen Cooking Classes now in session. Starting in March and running until the end of September, the Stratford Chefs School opens its doors to home cooks looking for hands-on skills building classes that are as informative as they are fun. March and April classes include Pasta, Sourdough Bread, Indian Curry, Vegetarian Entrees, Cooking with Pressure Cookers, Taste Wine like a Pro and a special St. Patrick’s inspired Irish Meal. Classes are held in the school kitchens at 136 Ontario Street and range in cost from $45 to $75.

Stratford Chefs School is pleased to partner with Chef Neil Baxter during the 32nd year of his renowned springtime weekend cooking classes. Chef Baxter will lead the students in cooking four menus over the weekend: two dinners and two lunches. Participants will be provided with course material to take home as well as all ingredients, wine, apron and knives. 2018 Weekend Cooking Class dates are: March 23–25, April 6–8, April 20–22 and April 27–29th. Please contact Chef Baxter directly:

The “String Bone presents Live at Revival House” monthly concert series features Canadian musicians in a one-of-a-kind concert setting. Upcoming performers include Irish-born, contemporary Canadian folk artist Irish Mythen with Toronto duo Harrow Fair (Miranda Mulholland of Great Lake Swimmers and Andrew Penner of Sunparlour Players) with their foot-stomping brand of folk-rock, Oh Susanna/Sunparlour Players, and Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. Preferred seating is available with pre-concert dinner reservations.

Junction 56 is Stratford’s newest distillery — recent winner of six medals in the latest edition of the Canadian Artisan Spirit competition, one for each product entered. The distillery specializes in vodka, gin and moonshine. Stop by on a Saturday for a lively and informative tour. Be sure to try Sugar Shack, maple flavoured moonshine as well as Fireshine (cinnamon) and Eclipse (anise) flavours.

Swan Parade Weekend: April 7–8. Stratford salutes spring with the quirky ritual of marching the swans to the Avon River. Family fun starts Saturday downtown with live entertainment, music, street performers and a quest for decorated swan topiaries. Sunday’s family entertainment begins with a Swan Fair at the Festival Theatre Lobby from 10 am to 1 pm. The Musical March brings the children together to meet the Swan-y Street Party from noon to 3 pm along Lakeside Drive, with the swans parading at 2 pm led by the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums. Food trucks on site.

Puck’s Plenty Early Spring Foraging begins April 21. Join naturalist/forager Peter Blush as he searches forest trails for wild edibles such as wild leeks, trout lilies, saddle mushrooms, wild ginger and more while you discover the natural beauty of forests and field around Stratford. Learn to harvest these delicious gems of nature sustainably. Recipes for seasonal wild edibles will also be supplied. Meet at 96 Birmingham Street, Stratford. 10 am –1 pm, $35/person, 519 271-3726, to reserve your space.

Around the Region

At Jakeman’s Maple Farm near Beachville, the delicious pancake breakfast with homemade maple syrup served by Oxford’s 4-H members. Weather permitting, enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride or take a stroll through nearby Trillium Woods.

McCully’s Hill Farm Maple Syrup Festival offers a chance to see maple syrup being made. Take a horse drawn wagon ride through the sugar bush, see how sap is collected, tour the sugar shack, and stop by the barn to see what the animals are up to. Enjoy a warm pancake breakfast featuring McCully’s own maple syrup.

The Village Teapot in Ilderton is owned and run by Gaynor Deeks and Jana Yassine. Gaynor is originally from the UK, Jana from Chatham, ON. They are both tea drinkers, sandwich makers and know a good scone when they see one. Located in one of the oldest properties in the town, believed to be at least 145 years old, the premises retain many period features.

For the third year in a row, Dairy Capital Cheese Fest is back in Woodstock. Connect with cheese makers, artisans, restaurants and breweries and of course, eat some delicious cheesy goodness. April 28.

Grab your girlfriends and head to Exeter for the sixth annual Ladies Night Out on Friday, May 25 from 4–10 pm. Over 25 retail businesses and restaurants will be ready to give ladies the VIP treatment. Join Eddington’s of Exeter for Ladies Night Out — it’s Friday Night Pickerel Night, plus Gourmet Pizza Night has been extended to Friday just for the ladies. There will also be a selection of wine/sangria/Bellinis for 40% off. Reservations are recommended.

Alton Farms Estate Winery, near the community of Forest in Lambton Shores, offers Winter Hike/Snowshoe/Ski Weekends in March. Spend the afternoon hiking, snowshoeing or skiing through three kilometres of vineyard and wooded trails. After your adventure, warm yourself at the outdoor wood fire, purchase a glass of hot, spicy mulled wine or enjoy a wine tasting in the Tasting Room. Parking and use of trails are free. Check in at Tasting Room for a trail map before starting your adventure.


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The Editors

The Editors