The BUZZ: New and Notable, September 2012

Written by The Editors


We could be at a literal “tipping point.” At the beginning of May, NDP MPP Michael Prue announced plans to reintroduce a Private Member’s Bill (Bill 107) — an amendment to The Employment Standards Act, 2000 — which will prohibit restaurant owners and managers from sharing in servers’ tips. The Protecting Employees’ Tips Act is scheduled to go before an Ontario legislative committee in November.

Although cheesemaking began nearly a year ago at Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Oxford County, selecting names for the cheeses has been a long, slow process, much like the aging of the hundreds of wheels of cheese in their curing room. The three names cheesemaker Shep Ysselstein has chosen are: Handegg (formerly known as Gunn’s Hill Firm), Five Brothers (formerly known as Gunn’s Hill Semi-Firm) and Oxford’s Harvest (formerly known as Gunn’s Hill Soft).

The McMillan Family and the Lunn Family are two families with dairy sheep, similar backgrounds, ambitions and goals. They recently brought Crossroad Sheep Gouda to Smith’s Cheese at the Covent Garden Market.

In London, Rick Peori of All Bout Cheese is open Thursdays and Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Western Fair Farmers and Artisans’ Market, and Fridays at Masonville Farmers’ Market. Peori specializes in imported and artisanal cheeses and carries Gunn’s Hill cheeses.

The Cheese Poet is passionate about locally crafted artisanal cheese and charcuterie. Chef and owner Erin Harris has carefully sourced exceptional cheeses and other dairy products that are made using the highest quality hormone-free sheep, goat, and cow’s milk from local Ontario farms. As well, Harris offers a selection of fine charcuterie made from hormone-free, whey-fed pork and pastured beef, all from animals raised in Ontario. The cheeses on offer are made with microbial enzymes, and/or organic rennet only, as the Cheese Poet is a vegetarian-friendly business. Open Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market.

New this year, after three years of partnership on the Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit will be held in London on October 22 in conjunction with the 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit. This exciting development will further grow culinary tourism in our bountiful province, while giving both tourists and industry alike a taste of place. The Summit is an annual forum for the tourism industry to learn the latest trends, share new ideas and best practices, and network with colleagues. Entitled Strategies for New Growth, the 2012 conference theme will include insightful discussions to help us explore new areas of growth.

A reception, hosted by Tourism London in partnership with the Ontario Tourism Summit, will feature sixteen wineries from Ontario and include locally sourced tastings highlighting eight London restaurants and some of Ontario’s Southwest’s most delectable destinations. Online registration closes October 13, 2012. All registrations after this date must be made via telephone or on-site at the London Convention Centre.

For three exclusive evenings in October, the London Convention Centre will be transformed into a sensory playground designed to tantalize the most discerning of palates. The awe-inspiring World Wine & Food Experience will boast over 100 world-renowned vineyards, gastronomical offerings from London’s top 20 chefs, and a dusting of entertainment by world-class musicians and Cirque performers. To complete your evening, enjoy a sculpted ice bar and sample offerings from first-rate Scotch and Tequila purveyors. The World Wine & Food Experience has something for everyone. Limited-capacity admission to this event includes a Riedel wine glass, a tasting guide and a tasting-notes tablet. For more information, go to, or the Facebook page, or call Centennial Hall Box Office at 519-672-1967.

With 25 years of food skills training, advocacy for careers in food service, and a commitment to a local, sustainable food system, London Training Centre is pleased to present the centre’s third annual “Food for Thought” fundraiser to support their Local Food Skills Program. On September 6, 250 guests will enjoy a Tapas menu, award-winning local craft beers, Ontario wines, the skills of guest chefs and food artisans, live music, and much more. Every month, the Local Food Skills program culminates in a three-course dinner prepared and served in their kitchen. Demonstrating the skills and experiences gained through the program, this meal is provided by the participants under the guidance of Chef Steve James.

The fall issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine will have a feature about gastropubs. They are featuring three Ontario establishments in the issue, and The Church Key on Richmond Row is one of them. Owners Pete and Vanessa Willis are planning to highlight their gastropub roots on the fall/winter menu. In the meantime, their Salmon-wrapped Scallops are one of the most delicious appetizers in the city.

Speaking of Richmond Row, The Tasting Room is quickly approaching its tenth anniversary. Chef Paul Eadie tells eatdrink he is putting the finishing touches on his new menu, available at

Upfront at the Market’s eclectic menus reflect owners Josh and Jody Stall’s passion for bold, exuberant and diverse flavour combinations. The cuisine is a fresh amalgam of world-inspired signature dishes with diverse influences and ingredients. Check out their rotating roster of international-themed dinners.

The flavours and textures of Korean food are exhilarating. Manna Grill at 276 Wharncliffe Road in London has been a Korean hot spot for as long as we can remember. We love their fiery kimchee. Now there’s a new kid on the block — Lee Chul Wha — serving delicious versions of bibimbap and bulgogiKorean House at 170 Adelaide Street and Hamilton Road has some serious culinary aspirations and great word of mouth.

Penelope Holt’s micro-bakery, LOAF, proudly keeps it slow and organic with sourdough loaves at Covent Garden Farmer’s Market Thursdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Organic Works Bakery is a stylish Bakery and Cafe located in the heart of London’s SoHo at 222 Wellington Street, between Simcoe and Horton Streets. Owner Peter Cuddy looked far and wide and discovered he couldn’t find bakers who created this way, so an idea was born. They specialize in recipes made with organic, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan ingredients that tantalize the palate.

Jack DiCarlo, who has retired after 27 years as maître d’ at Michael’s On the Thames, was legendary for serenading diners. DiCarlo, who was sad to leave behind the legacy he’s created at Michael’s, has left the restaurant in good hands. London’s “celebration destination” welcomes Michael Hearse as its new General Manager. Hearse is an experienced food and beverage manager and, in addition to applying his skill and knowledge as a restaurateur, is focused on creating great dining experiences for this perennially successful establishment. Michael’s on the Thames’ owner-operator Brian Stewart has expressed his gratitude for Jack DiCarlo’s many years of service.

Porcino opened its doors at 1700 Hyde Park Road just over a month ago, and restaurateurs Gino Parco and Dave Todesco are receiving accolades for their authentic Italian cuisine and wood- fired pizza oven.

Paramount Fine Foods is the new go-to place for the authentic, marche-style Halal, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant opened at 769 Southdale Road East (at Adelaide) in mid-June. The restaurant has an attractive stone facade and sports chandeliers, waterfalls, an attractive patio, and a wood-fired oven. Everything on the menu is prepared in- house using fresh ingredients. The bakery produces fresh baked pita, and menu items include shawarma, falafel, tabbouleh, shish tawouk, and their specialty, charbroiled chicken and beef. Also on offer is a full line of hand-rolled, house-made Arabic sweets and pastries. Paramount is hoping to open a gourmet Halal butcher shop in the near future. Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 pm.

Eatdrink writer and culinary guru Jane Antoniak is finalizing plans to open her own boutique shop, Saucy: Meats & So Much More! at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market on Saturdays Saucy will feature some of the best of regional meat products, including from Metzger Meats of Hensall. Butcher Gerhard Metzger (Did you know metzger means butcher in German?) is known for the exceptional quality of his products, all made with artisanal passion and care. Saucy will also feature products from Martin & Teresa Van Raay’s The Whole Pig, and there will be a full line of regional sauces and spices from suppliers such as The Garlic BoxSteed & Co. LavenderPristine Olive Oil and Stonewall Kitchen.

In early September, the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market will also be welcoming some new vendors to the Artisan floor. Among them is Kantina Café. Owner Miljan Karac and Chef Danijel Markovic, who reinterpret classic cuisine with plenty of skill, expertise and local flavours in their downtown London restaurant, are opening a satellite operation at the top of the stairs. Also, Lindsay Reid of Lindsay’s Bakery is expected to move inside to the second floor after the market season ends.

Also in the market, you can find the sweetest of goodies at Candy Culture, where colourful candy favours are abundant. Come by and try unique products like candy aquariums or decorative candy batons. Or talk to them about customizing candy favours for your upcoming event or creating a one-of-kind candy buffet for your wedding.

Don’t let the self-deprecating name fool you. Grub To Go is “The only 100% all-Canadian restaurant anywhere — and if there’s another, I’d love to talk to them,” says owner and chef Robert Rose, formerly a pastry chef at Langdon Hall and chef at The Belfry/The Church in Stratford. Robert and his wife, Jessica, opened the 85 Downie Street takeout-only, modeled after famed Trotter’s To Go in Chicago. Their best sandwich so far is Pork Terrine with Cider Pickles and House Spicy Mustard. The Roses enhance their Canadian-only ingredients with heritage food strategies like drying and preserving seasonal fruits for fruit salads in winter, or substituting hand-rendered lemon balm oil for imported lemons.

Flavors of Stratford — Off the Eaten Path Culinary Walking Tours offer a unique downtown tour of Stratford’s sensational culinary stops.  Meet the passionate culinary artisans who work wonders with the best of what grows here and the best from around the world, all on a delightful tour of the senses. Join your Flavors of Stratford tour guide for a delectable two-hour walking/tasting tour of our epicurean gems. Tours are offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, and again Friday and Saturday afternoons for $42 per person. Call 519-272-6409 or

1-877-812-8687. Please reserve your spot two days in advance. Meet at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie Street, ­Stratford.

The Stratford Garlic Festival, September 8 & 9, is a true celebration of the most pungent bulb!  Celebrities such as culinary expert Elizabeth Baird, master gardener Sonia Day, Chef D TV Darryl Fletcher, cookbook author Rose Murray, and professional home economist Emily Richards share their garlic secrets throughout the weekend. The festival features an extensive Ontario garlic market, garlic food vendors, cooking demonstrations, educational talks, fascinating presentations, and musical entertainment. Saturday’s garlic dinner will be a highlight, along with Sunday’s garlic chef competition and garlic-braiding demonstrations. Make your way to the Old Stratford Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, September 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to enjoy this tasty community project of the Kiwanis Club of Stratford. Cost: $5 per day, with free parking on-site.

Your Local Market Coop hosts nutritional workshops that expand traditional, health-creating cooking skills including: Healthy Sourdough, Traditional Bone Broth, and Preparing Nuts and Dried Seeds. Led by Samantha Bankert, RHN, the workshops run Wednesday evenings in September and October. For more information, visit

Pairing Dark Ale and Stinky Cheese! Taste your way through an afternoon with cheese expert Liz Payne on Saturday, October 20 and Saturday, October 27. The Milky Whey Cheese Shop, 118 Ontario Street, Stratford. For more info, call 519-814-9439.

Stratford is the perfect destination for a unique Culinary Getaway. Our experts share their passion in professional guided workshops. Try your hand at truffle making, learn about healthy teas, or create a meal just like your favourite Canadian celebrity chef. Each package includes a culinary experience, accommodation, and dinner. Watch for new culinary getaways focusing on Raw Food, Fermentation, and Seasonal Preserving. More information and details for booking are available at

Join a guided pub crawl with a haunted twist on Stratford’s Pubs, Pilsner and Spirits tour! Tour Stratford’s original brewery and six historic pubs, each with its resident ghost. Sample local micro-brews at each stop and hear haunting tales of spooky spectres. Tours begin at 7 p.m. on October 25 and 30.  Cost: $25 + HST. To reserve a space or book a custom tour, call 1-800-561-7926.

Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival, September 21–23, 2012, is Ontario’s premier culinary event. Meet culinary celebrities and celebrate the creative partnerships between producers and local chefs that result in innovative and delicious culinary presentations at tastings and learning events. Free music concerts, artisanal markets and street theatre all converge in Stratford’s heritage garden district for a flavourful weekend of fun!  Highlights include:

BBQ, Blues & Brews — Southern Style! Spend a night savourin’ and swingin’ under a tent in Stratford’s historic Market Square. Inspired by traditional southern pit BBQ, Hog Tails BBQ Road Show brings authentic finger-lickin’ southern fried chicken and Kansas City award-winning ribs washed down with Ontario craft brews. Sway to the sounds of the New Country Southern Rock by Dry County, outlaw indie country band New Country Rehab, and a special appearance by Ginger St. James, a sassy blend of blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll, at the Saturday night party. You’ll get a beer sample passport and choose from the Southern BBQ menu of Southern Fried Chicken, Kansas City Style Ribs, Mac & Cheese, and Homemade Cornbread, served in a biodegradable take-out box (just in case you can’t finish it). Saturday, September 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.  $40 per person plus HST includes meal, entertainment, and beer samples. $25 per person includes entertainment and beer samples. Age of majority required.

Breakfast with Culinary Champions: Connie DeSousa, Finalist on Season 1 of Top Chef Canada, returns to the festival to join Carl Heinrich, Winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Canada, for an exclusive breakfast. Hear behind-the-scenes secrets from Top Chef Canada, and watch Connie and Carl compete in a Black Box Challenge. Sunday, September 23 at the Stratford Country Club, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. $30 for adults, $20 for culinary students, $15 for children under 12.

Savour Stratford Sunday Tasting: The highlight of the Culinary Festival, this tented garden party in Stratford’s Market Square presents 30 top local chefs paired with Perth County producers to create an array of seasonal morsels to savour, complemented by Ontario VQA wines and craft beers. Sip and sample all afternoon while enjoying musical entertainment from The Boxcar Boys and Jazz Gents. VIP Ticket $125 per person plus HST includes early admittance and a one-of-a-kind VIP bag filled with products and coupons from area businesses! Regular admittance is $75 per person plus HST. Sunday, September 23, from 1 to 4 p.m. 1-800-561-7926

The Talks & Tastings lineup is also impressive. On Saturday, September 22, check out:

Bacon and Eggs: Chef Mike Booth and Farmer Janet Cox will stimulate both your palate and your mind with artisanal bacon and eggs. Learn the key differences between meat and eggs from small-scale, artisanal, pasture-based production and those raised using large-scale factory-farming methods. Explore the differences, enjoy hands-on experiences, and taste heritage pork and eggs. 10–11 a.m. $25.

Fortified Wine Tasting: Jamie Drummond, former Sommelier for the Granite Club and the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar, and Senior Editor for Good Food Revolution, takes you on a revealing tasting from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $25. Age of majority required.

DIY Cheesemaking & Tasting: Ruth Klahsen of Monforte Dairy teaches you how to use one recipe to make three different cheeses at home, including what equipment you will need,, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. $15.

The Apartment Farm Tasting: David Tracey, ecologist and author of Urban Agriculture, will dig in to show that no matter what size your “farm,” you can grow more than you thought possible, from 12:30–1:30 pm. $15.

Riedel “O” Stemless Wine Tasting: Enjoy a tasting of Ontario wines with Riedel’s Wayne Bentley using the stemless Riedel “O” glasses and see how the enjoyment of aroma, taste, texture and finish of a wine is maximized by the right glass. Attendees take home a set of 5 “O” glasses. In the Bradshaws Kitchen Classroom, from 2–3:30 p.m. $60.

Cooking with Ceramics: Traditional Methods for the Modern Kitchen: Presenter Emily Richards will teach you about the traditional tagine, using a pizza/baking stone in your oven and on your BBQ, how to make a crusty and chewy loaf of bread using simple local ingredients and a classic French oven, and various other ideas and benefits of cooking with ceramics. In the Bradshaws Kitchen Classroom, 12 noon to 1 p.m. $15.

The Sweetness of Bees: Dr. John Pollard, a bee researcher, will talk about what is being done to save the honey bee and local beekeepers. Stuart Arkett will walk through the basics of beekeeping, and attendees can try their hand at honey extraction using a hand-cranked machine. (There will not be any bees in the demo.)  9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Cost: The Savour Stratford Wristband — $5.00.

Henckels Knife Sharpening 101: Knife Specialist Jamie Rowlad of Zwilling J.A. Henckels will teach you how to properly hone and sharpen your knives at home. If you own a sharpening steel but don’t know what to do with it, this demo is for you! And learn how to use a whetstone and practice with Jamie’s guidance. In the Bradshaws Kitchen Classroom, 10:30–11:30 am. $15 per person.

Coffee 101: Discover the joy of making coffee: from selecting the right beans to how to grind, brew, froth and tamp your way to a better home-brewed coffee or espresso. And enjoy a coffee and a freshly baked scone from Revel Caffè.  Bradshaws Kitchen Classroom, 9–10 a.m. $15.

Whisky vs. Bourbon Tasting: Ever wondered what makes Canadian whisky, Scotch and Bourbon different? Join Davin de  Kergommeaux, Canada’s leading expert on whisky, in a tasting that will demonstrate the complex flavours of this legendary drink. Tasting Tent South, 2:30–3:30 p.m. $45.

Sake and Sashimi: Jake Richards of Grape Expectations and Kristin Donovan, owner of Hooked, the sustainable fish store, take you on an intriguing journey pairing a variety of sakes, from Izumi Spring Water Sake Co., Ontario’s only sake brewery, with different types of sustainable fish. Tasting Tent South, 1–2 p.m.; $35.

Butchery: Everything But the Cluck: Join the Executive Chef and Head Butcher from The Healthy ButcherDave Meli, as he guides you through the beak-to-tail use of a free-range chicken from Neubrand Country Produce. In the Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival Chefs Learning Centre, 11 a.m.–noon. Cost: Savour Stratford Wristband — $5.

The Butcher’s Ultimate BBQ: Chef Mark CutraraCowbell Restaurant, and Sommelier Jamie DrummondGood Food Revolution, present a cooking demonstration and wine tasting combo. Chef Cutrara will show you how to select your meat and will share his grilling secrets to cook the perfect BBQ, while Drummond will present a tutored wine tasting to accompany it.  Chefs Learning Centre, Sunday, September 23, 12:30–1:30 p.m.; $15 (includes wine tasting).

For more details on Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival, visit the website at

Herb & Sherry Marshall of Park House bar and restaurant in Goderich, have an exciting project on their hands. They are moving and refurbishing the former CPR Station, built in 1908, and converting it to a restaurant. They are moving it 300 yards closer to the water at the Goderich Harbour/Main Beach. When completed, it will be a 320-seat restaurant, to open next summer. The project is now in the hands of a mover from Whitby.

Pat & Kevin’s On The Square in Goderich is a new deli diner that is now adding weekend omelette bar and brunch options.  Located in the former home of Sweets and Memories, the deli makes tasty Montreal-style brisket sandwiches.  Besides adding more breakfast items, Pat and Kevin are also offering a half-pound Bagel burger made with their own mix of ground beef and smoked meat and served on a choice of bagel.  Open daily from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come hungry!

Liz & Frank Ihrig of The Hessenland Inn are putting a new twist on their annual fund-raiser dining event for Parkinson’s.  Novemberfest, formerly known as Oktoberfest, will be held on Saturday November 10 at the picturesque Inn in St. Joseph, between Grand Bend and Bayfield on highway 21. Come and enjoy German food, beer and entertainment, including a tapping of the keg, the band Edelweiss Trio, a silent action, an impressive German buffet, and Paulaner Oktoberfest beer straight from Germany. Tickets are $65.

Reviving the Lost Arts: From One Generation to the Next.
Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers didn’t “add water and stir,” “heat and serve,” “refrigerate after opening” or “microwave on high.” They kneaded, proved, rolled, pulled, punched, let sit, canned, baked, simmered, tapped and boiled. Join us as we celebrate our Ladies of Elgin as they share some of their finest tips and techniques. You’ll love being able to say, “I made it from scratch!” September 13, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Saturdays in September — Clovermead Annual Honey Harvest Festival. Come and see how honey is harvested from the hive, dip your own beeswax candle, safely see a live beehive opened, and ask your questions. Bee Beard demonstration at 2:30 p.m., plus wagon rides, bee barrel train rides, jumping pillow, pedal go-karts, music, animals, and buckets of fall family fun on the Adventure Farm! $10 per person; group of 5 is $45. 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Clovermead Bees & Honey Adventure Farm, 11302 Imperial Road, Aylmer.

Birtch Farms and Estate Winery invites you to a two-day kickoff to the fall festival season on September 15 & 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pick your own apples and pumpkins, take the family on horse-drawn wagon rides along the “Apple Tale Trail,” and visit their newest attraction, “Farmer Bob’s Adventureland,” an interactive play area with pedal carts, mazes, play structures and games. Enjoy scarecrow-making, a corn maze, a food tent, wine-tasting, new product sampling and strolling musicians. Fresh-baked apple fritters, apple pies, apple muffins, caramel apples and much more will be available throughout the weekend. Admission: $6 per person over 2 years of age. 655514 15th Line, Woodstock,

Our readers want to know, so send us info about culinary events, fundraisers, and regional news. With BUZZ in the Subject line, send to:  editor@eatdrink.caWe tweet and retweet, post to our Facebook page, and print all the news we can. Let’s get better connected!

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The Editors