The BUZZ: July/August 2013

Written by The Editors

May/June 2013


Here’s the latest word on local chefs, restaurants, farmers’ markets, food shops, and culinary events. Send tips to and follow us for up-to-the-minute news on Facebook and Twitter.

There is nothing like “dining al fresco” when the weather really heats up, and London has superb outdoor dining. There’s a very strong café culture in the city, with a diversity of outdoor culinary experiences for everyone. In the summer, you can enjoy dining at a sidewalk café, in a secluded courtyard setting, under a pergola, or on a roof top patio or charming side-street terrace.

Corelicious London is back. This local culinary initiative showcases downtown London restaurants exclusively. Enjoy a delicious three-course prix fixe menu at an amazing downtown restaurant! This promotion will run from July 5th to July 14th.

London city staff continues to study how best to turn curbside parking spots into seasonal outdoor patios for restaurants and bars across London, an opportunity that is available downtown again this year. The Early Bird and Kevin and Denise Greave’s Jambalaya were part of the successful initial pilot last year and are up and running again this year. It also seems likely that boulevard patios will expand into Old East Village. Restaurateurs and some politicians hope it will help invigorate Dundas Street, one of the core’s critical stretches of commercial properties.

Downtown, Gregg and Justin Wolfe of The Early Bird diner and Rob D’Amico and Dave Lamers of Abbruzi Ristorante, and in the Old East, Jeff Pastorius of The Root Cellar are all proponents of the city looking at fresh alternatives for boulevard cafes, such as placing tables and chairs against their buildings and constructing pedestrian boardwalks that would wrap around the sidewalk (in a parking space) as other cities have successfully done. Restaurateurs like Long Phan of Tamarine by Quhyn Nhi would like to see the buses moved off Dundas Street to accommodate boulevard patios.

Across the street from Tamarine, Joe and Sheryl Duby of Blu Duby are putting the final touches on their sidewalk patio as we go to press.

Chef Danijel (Dacha) Markovic of London’s Kantina Restaurant scored a victory in the ninth round of the Discovered Culinary Competition at Nella Cucina in Toronto and is now steps away from winning a cooking experience of a lifetime in Spain. Markovic moves on to the semi-finals of the event, a two-day match pitting 16 chefs from across the country on July 13th and 14th. Four finalists will compete for the grand prize: an all-expenses paid trip to spend a week cooking at a Michelin-star rated restaurant in northern Spain.

Uber-restaurateur/caterer Jess Jazey-Spolestra of The River Room Café and Private Dining and North Moore Catering is in the planning stages for the Rhino Café in the premises previously occupied by the gift shop at Museum London. Jazey-Spolestra recently hired Chef Jamie Craig, formerly of the Stone Willow Inn (Wildstone Bar & Grill) in St. Marys.

Chef Jeff Fortner has taken over the helm in the kitchen at Avenue Dining at the Idlewyld Inn. Diners know Fortner from stints at Blue Ginger, black trumpet, The Hunt Club and, most recently, The River Room.

Habitual Chocolate and Fire Roasted Coffee’s new flagship café downtown at Talbot and King Street is slated to open late July. Pastry Chef Michele Lenhardt, formerly of The River Room Cafe and Private Dining, Black Walnut Bakery Café and Agora at The Art Gallery of Ontario, has been hired by Dave Cook as a chocolatier and baker at the new operation.

Fresh n’ Wolfe is the new fresh, healthy, and fast brother of The Early Bird. Opening soon, it will be serving up sandwiches, paninis, soups, salads, smoothies and similar fare. Located in the front portion of the former Nite Owl. “Come in on your break from the office and grab yourself something great, and to go!” says proprietor Justin Wolfe.

Byron Freehouse will be opening in mid-late summer. Owners Kathryn Banasik and Robbin Azzopardi are describing this new venture as “bistro meets sports bar with simplified food prepared in the freshest way possible, using locally sourced ingredients.” The sixty-five seat “local“ will have a fifty seat patio. On Chef Joshua Sawyer’s menu expect to see such signature items as Grilled Fish Tacos, Thai Curry, Steak and Frites and Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Just down the street, Mark Kitching of Waldo’s on King and partner Mark Navackas are opening a new restaurant in Byron in the premises formerly occupied by Dar’s Diner, to be known as Waldo’s in Byron.

Ilderton’s Rich and Deb Hunter made a bold decision to make The King Edward’s patio smoke-free this year. They also started offering a variety of beer flights, with five samples for only $8 plus tax. Since their taps are typically split 50/50 between Ontario craft beers and British Isles selections, you can do an Ontario flight, a UK flight, or a mix.

World Tailors is a group of courageous women from around the world who make World Cooks aprons, sold in London, Ontario. They come from refugee camps in the mountains of Nepal, small villages in Africa, cities in South Korea and Afghanistan, and islands like Fiji, among other places.

London’s first “Food Truck Rally” is slated to coincide with the opening weekend of the annual Western Fair, September 6–8.

Eldon House is the ideal place for afternoon tea, served Tuesday through Sunday until September 1st. Enjoy traditional scones with locally made jams and butter, served with a variety of delicious teas on the elegant lawn of London’s oldest residence. Reservations recommended. (481 Ridout St. North, 519-661-5169)

Londonlicious has been a success over the past several years, with participating restaurants completely booked with reservations. Londonlicious returns this summer from July 19th to August 11th. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience an array of three course prix fix menus from diverse restaurants for the amazing price of only $20, $25, $30 or $35 per person. A three-course meal is to be chosen from a select menu at each restaurant. Price does not include applicable taxes, alcohol or additional menu items. Reservations are highly recommended.

Bill & Lisa of Noteworthy Wines are pleased to introduce Grady Vineyards, their latest California supplier, and will be hosting a private tasting event for licensees and restaurant owners on Tuesday, July 23 from 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm. To RSVP, call Bill at 519-914-1204 or email

Signatures! A Taste Test of London’s Best raised over $10,000 to help people living with Parkinson’s disease across Southwestern Ontario. Signatures featured a diversity of local restaurants, eateries and catering companies at the Budweiser Gardens, offering their most popular dishes for all to enjoy.

Denise Duncan, Job Developer, WOTCH Community Mental Health Services, would like to connect London restaurants to qualified and hard working individuals. They offer on-site job coaching and in some cases employers are eligible for wage subsidies to cover training.

The Covent Garden Farmers’ Market has a great variety of vendors and products, from meat (bison, elk, lamb, beef, and pork) to baking (artisanal bread, scones, muffins, gluten-free, and decadent treats). The Covent Garden Farmers’ Market is a producer-based market operated by Christine Scheer and has remained food- and farm-focused. For more information about The Covent Garden Farmers’ Market, including recipes and special events, please go to the farmers’ market blog, at Also, check out the Covent Garden Market’s new website:

Festa Italiana is one of London’s marquee events and also one of the city’s liveliest and most anticipated festivals. Each year the popular event attracts over 35,000 attendees from across Ontario. Organizers are proud to share and showcase all that is Italian. The market square at the Covent Garden Market is transformed into an Italian “piazza” for a three-day celebration of Italian culture, cuisine, music, and dance on August 23 to 25th.

Colombian Festival will be held at Covent Garden Market on July 20th, 11:00 am–11:00 pm.

A Festival of Poland, to be held at the Covent Garden Market on September 7th, is pleased to announce that Olenka And The Autumn Lovers will be performing  at this year’s festival.

Ten Up Sushi has reopened in Old East Village with a new menu that includes sushi and a wide selection of Chinese offerings for eat-in, take out or delivery.

The Chi Hi is getting ready to open at 791 Dundas St (beside True Taco); the restaurant will serve bánh mì. This sandwich is a creation of French colonialism in Indochina, combining ingredients from the French (baguettes, cold meats, and mayonnaise) with indigenous Vietnamese ingredients, such as cilantro, chilli peppers, and pickled carrots.

Speaking of True Taco, Luis Rivas and family are putting the finishing touches on their new location called True Taco “Authentic Comedor Latino” at 739 Dundas.

All ’Bout Cheese is the latest business to expand from the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market (WFFAM) and transition to its own stand-alone retail outlet. Rick Peori has been retailing cheese at the WFFAM since 2006. All ’Bout Cheese will still be in the WFFAM on Saturdays but the new shop (across the street) will operate Tuesday to Saturday. There also are plans for a take-out lunch menu and cheese-making classes.

Miki and Agnes Hambalek from Taste of Hungary at the WFFAM will be opening a butcher shop/deli next to All ’Bout Cheese. The Taste of Hungary features take-out and sumptuous Hungarian-inspired food specialties. Agnes, a professional baker and pastry chef, is a well-known caterer.

WFFAM vendors Theo and Gerda Korthof recently opened the very successful Artisan Bakery , just a block west of All ’Bout Cheese.

Western Fair Farmers and Artisans’ Market’s Bliss Gluten-Free vendor Shari Blanchard has returned to the Masonville Market this season. Blanchard has utilized her over 25 years of food service expertise to innovatively create gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free treats from revised recipes which she in turn handcrafted from scratch. Other WFFAM vendors at the market include Burdan’s Red Cat Bakery, Leamington Produce, Jake’s JCJ Apiaries, Edna’s Lorimer’s Adventure Produce and Anything Grows.

The Healthy Eating, Healthy Physical Activity (HEHPA) initiative of the Child and Youth Network has been supporting the Westminster Working Group since 2011. HEHPA works to promote changes in physical behaviour and eating habits to promote healthy, happy living for children, youth, and their families. By coordinating with the Westminster Working Group, grassroots community projects can be created. These projects can be executed on a small scale, to have big impacts.

HEHPA supports the Southdale Farmers’ and Artisans’ Night Market to help bring fresh produce and a sense of community to the Westminster neighbourhood, which has been identified as a food desert. This means that there is no grocery store located in the neighbourhood and no local transportation that will take a resident directly to a grocery store. The access to healthy food greatly impacts the health of a neighbourhood and it is on that note that the Southdale Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market was formed. The Westminster Working Group wanted to make a local food hub where neighbours could meet and shop. The Westminster Working Group will be operating the Southdale Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market every Thursday from 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm during August and September in the parking lot across from Paramount Fine Foods. This community-driven night market helps the residents to know that their efforts within their own neighbourhood can be an influence on the lives of many.

The Raja is London’s elegant Indian food hot spot, where the traditional cuisine and gracious service are a suitable match for the well-appointed decor. To make dining even more pleasurable, Raja is now offering a 4-course RAJALICIOUS Dinner for $29. The first course: Crispy papadum with 5 dufferent chutneys; 2nd course: appetizer or soup; 3rd course: main dishes served with rice, vegetable and Naan bread; 4th course: choices of desserts.

Local Food Feasts catering is a social enterprise business that evolved from Local Food Skills, inspired by a passion and commitment to local seasonal food. The Local Food Skills program provided by London Training Centre is free to people exploring jobs or careers in food. This full-time three-week program provides skills training, industry certifications and learning experiences from farm to fork, including fundamental culinary skills, foodservice styles, growing, harvesting and retailing food at a farmer’s market. Revenues from caterings go entirely to support the Local Food Skills program. Visit their new website

Strathroy Farmers’ Market is one of the area’s oldest open air farmers’ markets and has operated since 1861. The market takes on Market Square behind the town hall in Strathroy on Saturdays from June to October 26th. The market (open 8am–12 noon) is a member of Farmers’ Market Ontario.

Ogilvie’s Food & Artisan Market is the latest addition to the culinary scene with a complement of year round indoor vendors and an additional 60 vendors at the seasonal outdoor market. There is a large patio with landscaped gardens to sit and relax while enjoying the market experience in London`s north west. Ogilvie’s is located at 1331 Hyde Park Road, south of Gainsborough. There are additional parking spaces at The Crossings just under the railway overpass. Open Saturday 8 am–5 pm and Sundays 9 am–3 pm.

Pepper Tree Spice Co. (formerly Hyde Park Spice) announced the opening of their second location at 223A Colborne Street, Port Stanley. Thanks to its ongoing success over the past three years at the WFFAM, sharing over 300 organic spices, herbs, seasonings and artisanal blends, Pepper Tree has been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to grow again. To date the response has been overwhelming to their organic, natural, additive-free, salt-free and gluten-free products as well as their line of gourmet organic oils and condiments.

Yoda Olinyk is the chef, owner and sole proprietor of Yoda’s Private Catering. After working in various restaurants in London, St. Marys and abroad, this past spring she left a position at The Only On King to devote herself full-time to her catering business. Her kitchen/storefront is now open at 161 Ross Street, St Thomas. In addition to catering, Yoda’s offers locally-sourced Pre-Made Meals, available for pick-up Tuesday–Saturday, or for delivery to London and area. Contact or visit www.letyodacookfor

FreshFest is a celebration of local farmers and the food they grow, presented in partnership with area chefs, vintners and brewers. The signature food event started in 2009 and each year has included an evening of delectable tasters, live music, culinary workshops and fundraising events in support of the CASO Railway Station in St. Thomas..

For FreshFest’s fifth anniversary, the evening tasting experience returns this year with more music plus two more days for a three-day festival, July 19th to 21st. The FreshFest Weekend will be a collaboration of good eats and good fun with partners the North America Railway Hall of Fame (CASO Railway Station), Horton Farmers’ Market and Elgin County’s “Savour Elgin.”

FreshFest Friday Tasting Event showcases local food, culinary conversation at workshops in the “Waiting Room,” and the sweet welcoming refrains of Don Durkee & Tom Stark, Shuug and the Temporary Men’s pleasing blend of “County Music” and a surprise not-to-be-missed headliner. Friday July 19, 5:30–11 pm at the CASO Station.

Horton Farmers’ Market Morning — Enjoy a FreshFest breakfast and other special events at Horton Farmers’ Market, Manitoba Street, St. Thomas, Saturday July 20, 8 am–12 noon.

The Sheridan Band is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a CD release and a FreshFest Saturday Boardwalk Party with their high-energy Celtic music. The evening also includes an Elgin County Pie bake-off and auction, BBQ dinner, cold refreshments and sweet treats from the bakers of Elgin County. Saturday July 20, 5:30–10 pm at the CASO Station.

Savour Elgin Culinary Mystery Tour — Load up the car with your children or friends, take a trek to the country where our food is grown, and follow your map on one of three Savour Elgin Mystery Tours. Friday July 19 to Sunday July 20.

Chef Ian McGill has stepped down as Chef of London’s Bray­wick Bistro to head the kitchen at Backstage in Stratford.

Eddington’s of Exeter is open for lunch all summer long, with a new seasonal menu getting rave reviews. Gourmet Pizza is served Thursday nights, and fresh Lake Huron Pickerel on Friday nights, but check out their Events Calendar for upcoming theme nights.

The 7th Annual Stratford Garlic Festival takes place Saturday September 7 & Sunday September 8. Celebrity Chef presenters include Elizabeth Baird (Canadian Living), Rose Murray (author/chef), Emily Richards, and Chef Darryl Fletcher (Chef D-TV). Enjoy garlic braiding workshops, garlic growing presentations, Ontario Garlic Market, and a celebrity chef competition (chefs TBA). For more info, including the extensive musical lineup, go to

Chef Bryan Steele and Sommelier Peter Lavoie have invited some of their favourite wineries from around Ontario to The Prune Restaurant for a Winemaker’s Dinner Series. Dinners will complement the wines three boutique wineries, from Niagara (Pearl Morissette Niagara Vineyards on Friday, July 26), Erie North Shore (Muscedere Vineyards on Friday, September 20), and Prince Edward County (TBA). For more info, visit or call 519-271-5052 and ask to speak with Peter.

The Prune has also started a Plates and Grapes evening every Thursdays starting at 7:30pm. Food ranges from $10-$15/plate, while wine ranges from $5/3oz, $10/6oz. For weekly menus, visit

Congratulations to former Stratford Tourism Alliance Culinary Program Development Coordinator Danielle Brodhagen on her new position as the Director of Product Development at Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA).

Flavours of Stratford — Two guided walking tours present locally produced culinary delights from unique food destinations and passionate artisans. Morning tours run 10:30–1:30 pm. Afternoon tours run from 2:30–5:30 pm. Conclude with a custom sandwich and sample of craft beer or wine. $36/person, Wednesday-Sunday during July and August.

Monforte Savouring Sundays — Join Monforte foragers on an edible journey discovering seasonal foraging with a sustainable focus. Monforte Dairy, 49 Griffith Rd., from 11 am–1 pm. $25/adult & $12.50/child.

Enjoy a VQA winery tasting paired beautifully with a selection of Monforte Artisanal Cheeses. Monforte on Wellington, 80 Wellington St., from 2-4 pm. $25/adult & $12.50/child.

Gather for a Forest-to-Table Adventure: a four-course Sunday dinner featuring locally foraged finds, handcrafted cheeses from Monforte Dairy and Ontario VQA wines. $50/adult & $25/child. Enjoy foraging on its own or continue savouring Sundays with Monforte at the Wine & Cheese Pairing and during a dinner that features your own foraged goods. Savour all three for $100/person. Tickets can be purchased online at

Participate in making fresh artisanal cheese and tour Monforte Dairy with esteemed cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen. Monforte Artisanal Cheese Making continues with a tasting of several varietals of Monforte cheeses. $25/person. Monfore Dairy, 49 Griffith Road.

The annual Flavours of Perth Pork and Corn Supper BBQ features local summer fare, famous steam engine cooked corn on the cob and mouth-watering pies for dessert. Bid on your favourites in the World Famous Celebrity Pie Auction! This Stratford Perth Museum fundraiser is held at Shakespeare Optimist Hall from 5–7 pm.

Take Time for Tea — Refresh and relax on the spacious back porch of the Ambercroft while enjoying exclusive English “Cream Tea,” featuring homemade ginger scones, lemon curd, empire biscuits and three specially selected teas. 25$/person at 3–5pm 129 Brunswick St. every Tuesday for the months of July & August.

Stratford enthusiasts guide you on the Pubs, Pilsner & Spirits Tour, a walking pub crawl through Stratford’s Victorian downtown. Sample four Ontario craft beers as you hear about the spirited side of Stratford and the tumultuous brewing history of Perth County. $25/person.

Experience ancient rituals and learn about Herbal Infusions for your Health. Taste the local flavours of herbal teas that will calm, stimulate, build immunity, detox and heal — a guide to blending selected herbs as you create your own signature blend to brew at home. $75/person. Stratford Tea Leaves, 433 Erie Street.

Candy Chocolate Barr’s Candies invites you into the kitchen to explore the techniques of hand crafting a favourite candy recipe in an exclusive custom designed workshop. No licking the spoon! After learning the candy maker’s secrets hands-on, indulge yourself in a take away selection of favourite candies and chocolate treats. $75/person. Chocolate Barr’s Candies, 136 Ontario Street.

Join seasoned forager Peter Blush in Foraging for Wild Edibles as he searches for wild edible plants and mushrooms along southwestern Ontario’s Avon and Thames River Trails. Learn how to identify, harvest and, most of all, cook and taste these delicious wild delicacies. $30/person.

Venture downtown to indulge in a Savour Stratford Culinary Trail. Sample your way along some of Stratford’s finest artisan shops, pubs and restaurants on the Maple Trail, Bacon and Ale Trail, or the Chocolate Trail. $25/trail.

Mark your calendar for the award-winning Savour Stratford Culinary Festival, presented by GE Café Appliances September 20–22, 2013. Celebrity chefs prepare innovative tastings, stroll through the outdoor farmers and artisans market, enjoy live music and more!

Our readers want to know, so send us info about culinary events, fundraisers, and regional news. With BUZZ in the Subject line, send to: 


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