Culinary News

The Buzz: May/June 2018

The Editors
Written by The Editors

London

The Forest City Cookbook crew have some great news to share. The cookbook is being finalized; the final count is 60 talented culinary artists and 40 dedicated local producers in a stunning 490-plus paged hardcover book, with 135 recipes. Delivery had originally been set for spring 2018, and although it has not all happened as quickly as planned, they’re on track to have a copy to you in late spring/early summer (end of June). forestcitycookbook.ca

Last month the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced revisions to the country-of-origin labelling policy for wines blended in Canada. The term “Cellared in Canada” will be replaced. The label on wines made primarily from imported products may read “International blend from imported and domestic wines,” while those that are primarily domestic may state “International blend from domestic and imported wines.” The change was made to provide more clarity for consumers, and is considered to be more supportive of local growers and producers. The statement “Product of Canada” may be included on wines that are made from 100 per cent Canadian content.

Fanshawe College’s School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts one-of-a-kind Artisanal Culinary Arts graduate program teaches students techniques in gardening, fermenting, preserving, butchering, curing, cheese making, and bread baking. The fast-track curriculum is based on a modified schedule that runs from May to December. The spring intake allows students to work in the on-campus fruit and vegetable garden throughout the semester. This land provides fresh seasonal ingredients for students to use in their labs, and produce is sold at the on-campus farmer’s market every other week. Fanshawe College’s Artisanal Culinary Arts fundraising dinner will be held on October 20, which coincidentally is International Chefs Day.

If you love cold beer and sizzling grilled foods the London Beer & BBQ Show (presented by White Oaks Mall) is the place to be on June 15–17. Bring your friends and quench your thirsts with Canada’s top breweries and Ontario’s craft breweries alike. There will also be a selection of wines, coolers, ciders and spirits. Outstanding food will include everything from barbecued saucy ribs and smoked brisket to roasted chicken, grilled cheese and tacos, prepared by a variety of grill masters from area restaurants. Be entertained by backyard games, live bands, bubble soccer, beer tours, cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, taste-offs and more. westernfairdistrict.com/beer-bbq-show

Congratulations to culinary farmer Paul Spence and his collaborators in the Heritage Grain Bread Camp initiative for winning the 2018 Ontario Southwest Innovative Start-up of the Year Award. Workshops at the camp were hosted by Growing Chefs! and led by chef Katherine Jones and Greg Wade (James Beard Award finalist and head baker at Chicago’s Publican Quality Bread). Collaborators included the London Brewing Co-operative and Fanshawe College’s Artisanal Culinary Arts Program.

Venture London is a collaboration between TechAlliance, the London Small Business Centre, The London Institute, and Farhi Holdings to create the largest entrepreneurship centre in Southwestern Ontario. When fully renovated the 180,000 square foot facility located at 369 York Street is expected to become the focal point of entrepreneurship in London and the surrounding region, providing the support infrastructure that businesses need to succeed. Until the project is completed, the Small Business Centre will move to a second-floor office at 379 Dundas St. (at Colborne).

The Ontario Market Manager Certification Program is the first of its kind: a professional development course conceived by Farmers’ Markets Ontario and developed in conjunction with Michelle Wolf, a certified coach, business owner and former farmers’ market manager. Michelle presents the course material in a series of 12 webinars that are 60 to 90 minutes in length. There are no deadlines to meet, and students learn at their own pace. farmersmarketsontario.com/market-manager-certification-webinars

David Chapman of David’s Bistro and his team are celebrating their 20th anniversary. With a daily prix fixe menu, regular menu, and daily features, there is a constantly changing selection. There is an extensive and sensibly priced wine list with chalkboard additions, and everything is available either by the glass or bottle. David’s Bistro is open for dinner seven nights a week and for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. “It is good to be back and the response has been amazing,” says David. “This city has the most loyal customers in the world, a big thank you to everyone for standing by us through the nightmare on Richmond Street.” davidsbistro.ca

Broadway to the Max returns to The Wave (formerly known as The Max) in the Western University UCC Building with a sure-fire musical-comedy dinner theatre experience from Musical Theatre Productions. The show subversively manipulates memorable numbers from such classic treasures as Dreamgirls, Sweet Charity, Nunsense and The Will Rogers Follies as well as showstoppers from recent Broadway hits Something Rotten, The Book of Mormon, Waitress, Young Frankenstein, Spamalot and more. The show, created by Rick Smith and Grant Statchuk, is produced by Susan McKone and Joe Recchia and directed by Rick Smith. Music directed by Andrew Rethazi-Recchia and choreographed by Andrea Gittens and Thalia Ranjbar. Prior to the show, patrons will enjoy a three-course dinner (with choice of entrée). Running Wednesday June 20 through Saturday June 23Doors and bar service opens 6pm; dinner begins 6:30pm; performance begins 8pm. Dinner and show package $48. Limited show-only tickets $28. Saturday June 23 $28 matinee at 1:30pm, with no dinner service. Tickets available through the Grand Theatre box office in person, at 519-672-8800, or at mtplondon.ca/broadway-max.

Chef/owner Thomas Waite has closed The Spruce on Wellington. The building is now the premises of the boutique catering company The In Home Chef, which he started in 2010. Waite offers cooking classes, pop-up dinners and a private dining room. Waite has partnered with Chef Ashton Gillespie in this new venture. theinhomechef.ca

Villa Cornelia is a blend of taste & tradition, featuring timeless decor and Chef Ryan Hancock’s innovative cuisine. There is a stellar appetizer of Avocado, Smoked Salmon & Crispy Pancetta. Main courses include: Saltimbocca Chicken Breast Wrapped in Prosciutto, Stuffed with Mozzarella and Fresh Sage; a daily pasta special like Fettuccine with Pulled Pork; or Grilled Beef Tenderloin on Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with a Roasted Shiitake Demi-Glace and Seasonal Vegetables. Open for lunch and dinner. villacorneliarestaurant.com

The Rec Room at Masonville Mall is more than 35,000 sq. ft. of Canadian-inspired “Eats & Entertainment” all under one roof. Part of Cineplex, The Rec Room is a premier social destination and gathering spot for corporate events, groups and parties. Each location is customized to the individual community. There are two different restaurants to choose from: THREE10 features wood-fired, Canadian-inspired cuisine, and THE SHED features poutine and donuts. 1680 Richmond Street North.

The building at 613 Dundas Street that once housed Chapman’s Bakery, vacant for nearly two decades, is being reimagined as Baker’s Dozen, an incubator for artists and craftspeople.

Willie’s Café, in the London Food Incubator at 630 Dundas St., has added some new menu items, including Avocado Toast with feta, onions, tomato and a six minute egg and a Triple B Melt with in-house roast beef, bacon, blue cheese mayo, and caramelized onions on a grilled ciabatta bun. Also returning is an old Willie’s favourite, Warm Spinach Salad with fresh baby spinach, red peppers, onions and mushrooms sautéed in balsamic vinaigrette, topped with crumbled feta. There is catering, take-away and plenty of eat-in or patio seating. Open 11:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday to Friday. Parking is now available in the municipal lot behind 630 Dundas, off Queens Ave, with access to Willie’s through the blue door at the rear of the Food Incubator. williescafeandcatering.com

Peter Cuddy recently opened Origins Co., a grab-and-go coffee shop that serves up fresh juices, smoothies and smoothie bowls, as well as baked goods with gluten-free options, using ingredients that are ethically harvested, non-GMO and organic where possible. It also serves Bulletproof coffee, espresso, and teas. 140 Ann Street (at Talbot Street), Monday to Saturday. originsco.com

Petojo Foods and Catering started in February 2015 with prepared frozen foods and catering services. Chef Anthony Abdullah and his sister Kimi Abdullah wanted to create a platform for Indonesian cuisine, which they feel is not well represented in Ontario. They are looking to secure a permanent production kitchen with a space for limited dinner service each week. As well, they hope to begin serving hot food at their booth at The Market at Western Fair. This summer they will continue to participate in the farmers’ markets at Masonville and at Goderich. petojofood.com 

Gloria Palcich’s Keto Health Foods provides gluten-free and sugar-free meals, desserts, bagels, and snacks at the take-out and delivery location at 416 Hamilton Road. The evolving Keto Health Foods previously delivered to London clientele who follow a ketogenic lifestyle. Customers can now order on-line (the menu is updated weekly) and then either pick-up or have their orders delivered. ketohealthfoods.ca

Karri Egan’s CommonWealth Coffee Co. opened across the street from the Grand Theatre in April. It’s a stylish true third-wave coffee shop, with west- to east-coast roaster offerings.

Patrick’s Beans Chocolate Covered Coffee Confections are now ready to go. Made with medium-roasted organic Honduran coffee and a mix of organic dark and milk chocolate, they are available in select retail locations. Check the store finder on the website for new coffee blends and upcoming promotional events. patricksbeans.com

Marc Forrat’s Chocolate Lounge opened mid-February in the plaza at 60 North Centre Road (just east of Masonville Place mall). The licenced bistro has a stylish decor with plenty of comfortable seating. In addition to the selection of truffles and other fine chocolate, Forrat offers sweet pastries, fondue, charcuterie, and sweet and savoury crepes. There is a selection of wines and local beers and a variety of martinis. The seven-year-old franchised Forrat’s lounge in Byron has a similar format. Forrat continues to operate his original shop in Covent Garden Market. forratschocolates.ca

T.G. and Sam of TG’s Addis Ababa Restaurant recently celebrated the restaurant’s 15-year anniversary. This gem is tucked inauspiciously between Burwell and Maitland on Dundas Street. The menu features an outstanding offering of elaborately spiced and perfectly prepared Ethiopian specialties. Vegetarians and expats flock here. 465 Dundas Street (at Maitland). 519-433-4222

The latest venture of brothers Ilias and Dimitris Korakianitis, co-owners of Kosmos Eatery, is located a few doors down from Kosmos on Richmond Row. Dimi’s Greek House will serve traditional Greek Food with a modern twist. It will also have a 24-seat patio.

Byron Freehouse is under new ownership. Brothers Sam and Dan Aboumourad are the successful owners of the St. Thomas Roadhouse, and are bringing their experience and enthusiasm to Byron.

The Twisted Toque Social Grill, a Canadian-themed franchise restaurant pilot, has ceased operations in the ground floor of the former Park Lane Hotel at 186 King St.

The Organic Works Bakery has temporarily closed for a business makeover and brand overhaul.

“As one door closes another chapter begins for the Blu Duby team” read the surprising notice that the downtown restaurant was closing on April 28. Blu Duby North remains open at 745 Fanshawe Park Road, just west of Wonderland. bluduby.com

Stratford

The Open Kitchen program is a direct result of building the Stratford Chefs School kitchens at 136 Ontario Street. For the first time, the school can welcome the public into the facility, not just as dinner patrons but also as active learners. Do you want to know more about vegetarian cooking? How to sharpen your knives? Discover more about sous vide cooking? Opening the kitchen to public cooking classes has, in return, opened the door for new community partnerships. Bradshaws & Kitchen Detail is the 2018 Open Kitchen Season Partner, providing students with the knives, wine glasses, and kitchen tools used during the classes, as well as take-home gifts offered with select classes.

The annual Stratford Chefs School’s Long Table Dinner is affectionately called the friend-raising event. Sunday, September 9. stratfordchef.com

Perth County Slow Food Market goes outdoors starting Sunday, May 6. Enjoy Perth County’s local produce, meats, breads, cheese, coffee, pastries, preserves, prepared foods, handmade artisanal products, and gluten-free and vegan options in Stratford’s Market Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays until Thanksgiving. Parking is free on Sunday in downtown Stratford.

Stratford Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon at the Agriplex Building at the Rotary Complex.

Don’t miss Bradshaws annual Spring Open House on Sunday May 6 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.. You are invited to see all of the newest spring arrivals. There will be lots of fun and unique lines to show, door prizes, and a free gift with your purchase. bradshawscanada.com

Come to the wild side on Savour Stratford Foraging Treks as seasoned forager Peter Blush, of Puck’s Plenty, leads you on a trek along beautiful forest trails in search of wild edibles. Take away Peter’s favourite recipes to showcase your fresh picks. Information and tickets at visitstratford.ca/member/Pucks-Plenty

The self-guided Savour Stratford Chocolate Trail introduces you to world-famous confectioners and bakers. Sample decadent treats and meet the makers. Twenty-seven delicious treats will tempt you. visitstratford.ca/stratford-chocolate-trail

Bradshaw’s Kitchen Detail presents Spring Grande High Tea at Revival House Sunday May 27. Enjoy a selection of Sloane teas, sandwiches, scones, petit fours and chocolates. The scene will be set with music by Rick Francis and gorgeous florals by Stratford Blooms. bradshaws.worldsecuresystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=283290

Chef Ian Middleton is now the chef at Bard’s 27 Marketplace. Join Bard’s on Market Square for an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch on Sunday, May 13. Karen Emeny will be playing acoustically for your listening pleasure.

Celebrate pork in Stratford, in June. Take the Stratford Bacon & Ale Trail, a self-guided tasting tour of delicious pork and beer-inspired treats at selected restaurants and pubs. Stratford also welcomes the Ontario Pork Congress (June 20-21), Canada’s largest pig trade show, which brings together all segments of the pork industry to showcase new technologies, get educated about the latest issues and celebrate a healthy, vibrant sector. visitstratford.ca/culinary-adventures#trails

York Street Kitchen has moved back to York Street, opening for dinners this season as well as the usual fantastic lunches! Check out the new space and new menu. yorkstreetkitchen.com

Stratford Blues and Rib Fest (June 22 to 24) is a family-friendly gathering over slow-cooked BBQ and all types of blues music. It supports The Huron-Perth Centre for Children and Youth, the Stratford Kinsmen Club, and area Girl Guides and Boy Scouts. Activities include free live music at Veterans Drive Band Shell, award-winning rib trucks and other food vendors, licensed beverages, Weekend Warrior Amateur Open BBQ Competition, horse-drawn carriage rides, talented artisans and unique craft merchants, musicians workshop tent, young musician’s talent show and workshop, children’s activities, car show, and many other activities. stratfordbluesandribfest.ca

The Prune’s new chef is Jamie Crosby from Grey Gardens in Toronto and the Little Inn in Bayfield. Menus are inspired in part by the bounty of local producers and growers. Bar One Fifty One has a relaxed and elegant vibe, the perfect backdrop for signature cocktails and a varied wine list and a seafood influenced menu. Bubbles and Oysters anyone? theprune.ca

Summer season at The Red Rabbit means the return of the pre-theatre menu (fixed price) and to being open 7 days a week. Their “sister” location, Okazu 85 Downie, is Stratford’s hot spot for delicious chef-inspired cuisine and the perfect late-night stop for grown-ups. Join them for dinner to taste global fusion prepared with local inspiration or stop by for innovative, fresh cocktails shaken or stirred by their fabulous staff until the wee hours. OkazuSnackBar.com

Mercer Beer Hall and Kitchen has a great menu items (but retains some favourites) and offers and inspiring number of awesome beers on tap and in bottles. mercerhall.ca

Raja Fine Indian Cuisine, the ultimate place for authentic Northern Indian food in Stratford, has re-opened after a seasonal hiatus. Foods are prepared from scratch with fresh ingredients with a mixture of fresh and dried spices. The level of spices and heat can be adjusted to guest preferences. Each dish has its own unique taste. In addition to spicy dishes, Raja offers popular milder Indian dishes such as Butter Chicken, Korma, Tikka Masala and more. rajastratford.ca

This season, The Mill Stone features a globally-inspired all-day menu, bolstered by a rotating selection of feature dishes that focus on lighter and healthier fare with plenty of vegetarian, vegan & gluten free options. New this year is a “Nose-to-Tail” feature that explores the “hidden gems” of whole animal butchery. Sweetbreads, chicken hearts and cod tongues are just some of the dishes they have in store. This high-energy bistro features locally-brewed beer on tap and a varied bottle list, with a focus on Canadian wines and a refined international selection. themillstone.ca

Around the Region

Kitchen Smidgen is a small bakery — a smidgen of a spot along the beautiful Thames in St. Marys — operated by Cindy Taylor. Stop by for sweet and savoury treats, perhaps pick up some C’est Bon cheese or Transvaal Farm preserves. kitchensmidgen.com

Sixthirtynine restaurant participates in Oxford County Cheese Days every Saturday. During this Tourism Oxford Event the restaurant offers cheese and wine pairings in the afternoons, and has different items on the menu to accommodate Oxford County Cheese Days. sixthirtynine.com

Farm tours are available at Stonetown Cheese, an on-farm cheese plant and purveyor of Swiss mountain-style cheeses. Hand-crafted by master cheesemaker Ramon Eberle using unpasteurized milk from farmers Hans and Jolanda Weber’s herd of Holsteins, Eberle creates nearly a dozen types of Alpine-inspired cheese. 5021 Perth County Line 8, St. Marys, stonetowncheese.com

Every Saturday in May, hit the open road to Canada’s Dairy Capital in Oxford County and enjoy the day celebrating all things cheese. The Oxford County Cheese Trail offers amazing culinary experiences, games, delicious local cheese menus, artisan workshops and of course, all the cheese you can get your hands on. tourismoxford.ca

Taking inspiration from its namesake, the Huron County author Alice Munro, The Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story will focus this year exclusively on women authors. The current women-led movements addressing gender equity and advocating for social change has affected every industry, including literature and publishing, making this year a perfect time to spotlight some of the incredibly talented and diverse voices of Canadian female authors. alicemunrofestival.ca

Dave’s Pub & Grill at the Oakwood Inn provides a relaxed atmosphere with the wood beams and stone, and is filled with mementos from the rich history of namesake David Scatcherd, who bought Oakwood Resort in 1981. It has been a family run business since then. The Dave Scatcherd Annual Charity Golf Tournament has raised millions of dollars for Community Living London and South Huron. The Memorial Tournament continues to fundraise for these organizations, as well as Sari London and Jessica’s House in Exeter. It will be held this year on June 12.

Langdon Hall Hotel & Spa in Cambridge has been ranked in fifth place among the best restaurants in Canada by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants. langdonhall.ca

Restaurateur Nick Benninger (owner of multiple restaurants in Kitchener-Waterloo including Feast On-certified Taco Farm) and filmmaker Taylor Jackson have launched their online show Nick and Taylor Make a Food Show.

Who doesn’t like a Creamsicle? Railway City Brewery Co. in St. Thomas has captured the essence of one of summer’s iconic flavours. Orange Creamsic Ale is a full-bodied ale with a silky-smooth finish from one of the region’s pioneering craft breweries. They hand zested fresh oranges and added whole vanilla beans and oats, creating aromas of sweet vanilla and slight citrus notes. Orange flavours dominate through the creamy mouth feel, leaving the taste of vanilla on the tongue. Cheers! railwaycitybrewing.com

Upper Thames Brewing Co.’s Dead Reckoning Ontario Pale Ale is made using locally-grown malt and hops. Malted barley from Bellville’s Barn Owl Malting Company provides a solid malt backbone to support a lively punch of citrus, pear/apple fruit and aromatic cedar notes imparted by Cascade, Glacier and Rakau hops from Tavistock Hop Company. Open six days a week, they offer six core beers on tap and a selection of four to five one-off and seasonal offerings. Live music every Saturday afternoon, free brewery tours, and Food Truck Fridays are not to be missed. upperthamesbrewing.ca

After more than 45 years and three generations, Jackson Fish Market in Port Stanley closed permanently in April, citing that it did not have a fourth generation to carry on.

The Arlington Hotel in downtown Paris ON re-opened its doors in March following an extensive renovation and redecoration of the historic building. Owned by The Other Bird group (who are behind London’s Hunter & Co. and Rapscallion Rogue Eatery in Hamilton), this boutique hotel has 24 guest rooms inspired by authors and creative minds. From the playful Dr. Seuss room to the luxurious Oscar Wilde executive suite, each guest room features unique decor and touches. The hotel’s blackboard-menu-based restaurant is named edit. (with the tagline “eat. drink. indulge. together.”). It also underwent a transformation. Under Chopped Canada-winning chef Paddy Townsend, edit. offers a rotating assortment of flavour-focused fare with playfully-named dishes like Darkwing Duck and Thanks Foie the Memories. The space features a cozy bar and an intimate vibe. arlingtonhotel.ca

Good music has customers bopping their heads from the moment they walk into your restaurant. Playdio makes this happen with research, tactical programming, and playlists custom-designed for your business. They take care of licensing fees, and your device is free. To request a free consultation visit playdio.ca/bettermusic

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About the author

The Editors

The Editors