The BUZZ: May/June 2013

Written by The Editors
May/June 2013

May/June 2013

The Local Food Act was reintroduced last month, which the province says will help make more local food available in markets, schools, cafeterias, grocery stores and restaurants. If passed, the Liberal government says the Local Food Act would, through education, encourage the growth and development of markets for foods grown and made in Ontario. It would also provide funding for collaborative local food projects. The act would provide funding for experimentation and innovation in the agri-food industry.

Legislation introduced last month in Queen’s Park defines local food as anything grown or produced in Ontario. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, however, says products can’t be label “local” unless they come from 50 kilometers of where they’re sold. $50,000 is the possible maximum fine for businesses that advertise “local” products that don’t meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s definition of “local.”

London City Council agreed to get public feedback on proposed pilot program to allow new-style food trucks. The current bylaw is outdated, because it was drafted to deal with catering trucks, hotdog carts and ice cream vendors. Modern food trucks serve a diverse variety of healthy options and cultural foods in other cities. They are positioned to incubate new businesses and become an alternative launching pad for healthy, creative food. There is, of course, a big difference between the greasy-spoon chip wagon and the food truck that serves healthy gourmet or ethnic street foods. The London Food Truck Pilot Project community meeting is scheduled for May 27th. For Further information contact Michelle Navackas.

Sheila Devost and Tourism Middlesex will be hosting a “Taste and Tour Middlesex” conference and networking event on May 28 and 29 at the Komoka Wellness and Recreation Centre. Tourism Middlesex is committed to heighten awareness and develop and promote partnerships for tourism and tourism-related businesses. They are inviting local farmers, producers and growers to partner with local restaurants and chefs to create farm-to-table tasting stations at an evening tasting event Tuesday, May 28, 5–8pm.

This ticketed evening tasting event is open to the public and will feature some of the area’s most innovative chefs. Tasting samples must be comprised of entirely local ingredients that showcase both chef and farmer/producer. For more information please call Sheila Devost at 519-245-8951 or Bryan Lavery at 519 280-7565.

The former owner of Ann McColl’s Kitchen Shop, London heritage activist and food writer Ann McColl Lindsay, has spent the last few weeks curating the new Eldon House Gift Shop. Lindsay also has working on recreating the original Victorian herb garden at Eldon House.

The Only On King’s Owner/Chef Paul Harding had a winemaker’s dinner with Nick and Nat’s Uptown 21 on April 22, featuring Tawse Winery. Harding is planning two additional winemaker’s dinners this summer. One of the chefs will be Michael Caballo, from Edulis (Voted Best New Restaurant in Canada 2012 in EnRoute magazine, November 2012; and Best New Restaurant – #2, Toronto Life, March 2013). Caballo and Harding worked together at the former JOV bistro several years ago. The date has not been firmed up, but Harding promises an epic event.

The Only On King will also be participating in Anita Stewart’s Food Day Canada on Saturday August 3. The restaurant will offer a prix fixe menu to celebrate their local purveyors to coincide with Food Day Canada. Food Day Canada is an opportunity for all Canadians to join hands in one massive celebration in praise of our farmers and fishers; our chefs and researchers … and, above all, our home cooks.

Chef Erin Harris of The Cheese Poet is returning to the kitchen at Jill’s Table to teach two cheese classes in June. Learn how to craft cheese, prepare cheese-inspired recipes, and create the ultimate cheese board. Harris also teaches at The Arts and Cookery Bank in West Lorne. To learn more, visit their website at The Cheese Poet continues to sell the best grilled cheese in London, available every Saturday at the Western Fair Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market (WFFAM) from 10am–2pm.

Rick Peori from ABC Cheese is opening a cheese shop on Dundas St. across from WFFAM in June. Miki Hambleck of Taste of Hungary, a butcher also at the Market, will be opening a shop next to Peori later in the summer. Miki is well-known for his popular, all-natural, no-filler sausages, bacon, and other delicious meat products.

Speaking of the WFFAM, Glenda Smith (Smith Cheese) — a member of the family of long-time and well-known vendors at the CGM — and her daughter Danielle Smith recently opened a satellite operation on the main floor. Proprietor Danielle received her passion for fresh homemade food from her mother. The duo has been working together for years to create the best recipes, although their recipe for fresh pasta was handed to them originally by one of their regular Italian-born customers whose family had been making fresh pasta the same way for generations.

WFFAM gluten-free vendor, Shari Blanchard, will be returning to the Masonville Market this season. Blanchard has utilized over 25 years of food service expertise to innovatively create gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free treats from revised recipes which she in turn handcrafted from scratch.

The Western Fair District is demolishing four buildings this summer, including the former Imax building, the Western Fair’s old administration building, the Special Events Building and the attached structure that links that building to the rest of the complex. New parking spaces will benefit the WFFAM’s large crowds on Saturdays.

The London Beer & BBQ Show celebrates another Canadian tradition besides hockey: Grilling on the barbeque while nursing our thirsts with some of Canada’s finest craft brews. Sample Ontario’s established culture of craft beers and local grillers and participate in the variety of sports, cooking demos and activities. Agri-plex Western Fair District. June 21-22, 2013. 12 noon to 10:30 pm

On the Move Organics (OTMO) was founded four years ago by Jeff Pastorius, a then-recent grad of Huron University College’s Global Studies and Philosophy Program. A pervasive concern with sustainable food politics soon had him and his friend Dan Hilton obsessively hunting down local organic farms. The Root Cellar is OTMO’s organic cafe, serving breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner. (Open Tuesday & Wednesday 10am-7pm, Thursday & Friday 10am–9pm, Saturday 9am–6pm.)

Tuscano’s Pizzeria and Bistro is a new family-owned and operated restaurant at 1579 Oxford St., directly across from Fanshawe College. “All of our foods are hand-made daily,” reports co-owner Shannon Donati, “from our fresh-baked focaccia bread, salad dressings, hand-crafted pasta and daily desserts. Our Oz Wine Bar allows us to serve high-quality wines by the glass and ensures the perfect temperature and flavour of the wine as it is intended.” Tuscano’s also offers catering, a separate entrance for take-out, and patio dining.

Emily Peat has been making waves in the business plan competition scene this year, winning three major awards that will help put London on the map for entrepreneurial spirit. Peat’s London-based start-up, EcoPlace Organics sources certified organic, locally grown foods from small-scale producers and delivers them to people at work and home. The business launched in London in June 2012, growing to just under 200 customers by December. Peat says the business is ready for its next step — launching Ontario’s first organic grocery store on wheels by June 2013.

The final day for Kantina’s “Break the Chain initiative” was Tuesday, April 30th. This promotion was about breaking the “chain” habit and encouraging Londoners to visit restaurants other than ever-present and formulaic chains and showcasing London’s unique offerings. Kantina’s hours are changing and they we’ll be closed Sundays and Mondays starting in May for the summer.

The Turkish Festival at the Covent Garden Market (CGM) has switched their dates from May 18th and 19th to May 25th and 26th. The Mexican Festival will be held on June 9th and the Columbian Festival July 20 and 21st.

Chef Bhan from the New Delhi Deli at the CGM serves up a melting pot of authentic Indian, Caribbean, Mexican and East African cuisines. Serving homemade non-dairy, vegetarian and meat curry choices, jerk and tandoori chicken, roti wraps, samosas, seafood, duck, lamb and more, Bhan offers lunches anytime, snacks, and take-home dinners when you need a break from cooking. Catering services are also available.

Josh and Jodi Stall offer authentic and eclectic cuisine from around the world at their UpFront at the Market at the CGM. Upfront’s menus aim to entice and satisfy, from the adventurous foodie to more traditional tastes. For seven years, the Stalls welcomed patrons and friends at the original UpFront Café in Strathroy. They are excited to build on that reputation for unique dishes made with impeccable ingredients and imagination right here in London.

Katherine Bansick and Chef Robbin Azzopardi are expected to open the new Byron FreeHouse in July in the space formerly occupied by La Bella Vita Ristorante on Commissioners Road.

Under the Volcano, London’s original Mexican food restaurant, recently moved from Richmond Row to the former Cityview Restaurant at the corner of Wharncliffe Rd. and Riverside Drive. Dagmar Wendt’s Under the Volcano has been a local dining institution having served London for over 35 years. It’s the fourth incarnation for the restaurant, which creates both regional Mexican and Tex-Mex styles. The new location is smaller but it has its own parking lot. Dagmar tells eatdrink the response to the new location has been overwhelming.

Ruth-Anne Drennan Stricket’s gluten- free specialty shop is now open in East London. Ruby’s Pantry offers a wide selection of gluten free products including fresh baked goods from Organic Works and Jubilee Kafe. They also offer gluten-free soups, side dishes, sauces, cookies, baking mixes and flours, chutneys, pastas, treats, the list goes on! 125 Clarke Rd, in the Birdie’s Nest Plaza, across from the Marconi Club. Closed Sunday and Monday

Fire Roasted Coffee founder Dave Cook’s new flagship cafe, across from Budweiser Gardens at King and Talbot Street, is expected to open in late May. The corner premises in the renovated Wallace Building are being transformed into a cafe featuring Fire Roasted Coffee and Habitual Chocolate. The adjoining building will be used as a satellite micro-facility to create gourmet chocolate from raw cocoa beans.

Empower your kids with the interest and enthusiasm to get gardens growing. The Junior Gardeners program will introduce children ages 6-11 to a food’s journey from seed to table. A Loblaw Master Gardener and In-Store Dietitian will conduct the first part of an interactive experience that concludes with a lesson from a PC Cooking School Coordinator on how to prepare a garden fresh salsa. They will complete the class by enjoying the salsa in a healthy cheese Quesadilla served with crispy corn tortilla chips and guacamole. $20. Saturday, May 25, 2–4 pm at Loblaw’s Richmond North location and Saturday, June 1, 1–3 pm at the Wonderland South location.

Barrking Hill Farm opened in 2006 with the goal of producing healthy meats raised on natural feeds in a humane environment. They are producers of a variety of meats (beef, pork, chicken, rabbit) raised without hormones, vaccinations of anti-biotics. They grow their own feeds without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Their products can be found at both Exeter and Masonville Markets.

Danielle Brodhagen spent the last five years developing Stratford’s Culinary Tourism Program. She is the founder and the force behind the award-winning Savour Stratford Perth County Culinary Festival and past co-chair of Slow Food Perth County. Danielle has recently joined the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance team as Director of Product Development.

Cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen’s new “osteria” Monforte on Wellington has opened to rave reviews. There are limited changing daily lunch and dinner menus, well-chosen wine selections, cheese and house-made charcuterie to purchase as well as coffee and espresso.

After 29 years of leadership in assisting the Stratford Chefs School to its place as the pre-eminent culinary training program in Canada, Eleanor Kane is stepping down but will assist in an advisory capacity to the to the school and its Board. The Board of Directors of the Stratford Chefs School is pleased to welcome Rochelle Marshall as the new Fundraising and Development Officer.

Chris and Mary Woolf have supported local farmers, artisans, and sustainable and organic producers for 19 years. Woolfy’s at Wildwood is their little restaurant that let the seasons dictate their menus. The scoop for now … Woolfy’s Restaurant and “Little Red Cafe” will remain closed for 2013. Chris and Mary will be found at the St. Marys Farmers Market this summer with their wares.

Pam Rogers from Kawthoolei Organics has returned from Burma for the season. Rogers offers fresh organic sprouts, chilies and early spring arugula and can be found at the Stratford’s Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market and the WFFAM on Saturdays.

Soups Surreal has also joined the Slow Food Perth County Sunday Market, offering a variety of hand-crafted soups to enjoy at the market as well as frozen soups to take home.

Stratford’s newest culinary trail is a sweet treat! The Savour Stratford Maple Trail is the third in Stratford’s culinary trail offers. This self-guided tour presents 12 maple-inspired stops from maple balsamic vinegar, to a maple smoked bacon BLT and a Canadian Maple Manhattan! Other Savour Stratford culinary trails include the Chocolate Trail and the Bacon & Ale Trail, each available all year round for $25 plus HST.

GE Café Chefs Series Cooking Classes offer hands-on cooking classes with celebrated Ontario chefs in Stratford. May 5 Chef Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall, May 26 Chef Paul Finkelstein of Screaming Avocado, June 2 Chef Nick Beninnger of Nick and Nat’s Uptown21 and June 23 Chef Bryan Steele of The Prune. Check out menus and book online

Go to the wild side on May 4 for Spring Foraging. Join seasoned forager Peter Blush of Puck’s Plenty as he leads you along the beautiful Avon Trail is search of wild edibles such as wild ginger, cattail shoots and assorted wild mushrooms. Take away Peter’s favourite recipes to showcase your fresh picks.

Springworks: Spoken Word Coffeehouse Poetry @ Revel Caffè. Gardens and Fields, Grandkids and Groundhogs with award-winning poet and filmmaker Elizabeth Zetlin, whose work celebrates the human community. May 9 at 7 pm. Free. 37 Market Place, Stratford. Check out all the events from May 9–19 online.

Savour Stratford presents a Cider & Cheese Tasting. Open your taste buds to a whole new world of fresh cheese pairings with cider — the new wine! Cheese specialist Liz Payne will lead your tasting at The Milky Whey Fine Cheese Shop, Stratford, Saturday, May 25, 3–5 pm, $27.50 plus HST.

Savour Stratford presents Artisanal Cheese Making at Monforte Dairy. Learn the process and stages of making great cheese before savouring an exclusive experience with a Monforte cheese tasting and pairing with VQA wines. Monforte Dairy, 49 Griffith Rd., Saturday, June 1, 3–4:30 pm, $25. plus HST and nominal handling fee.

Stratford Chefs School invites you to their second Long Table Dinner — a relaxed gathering of supporters and friends, around a long beautifully appointed white dinner table in the lush setting of the park system in Stratford. Sunday, June 9, $175 per person.

Tour four of Stratford’s historic pubs, sample a local micro-brew at each stop and hear the tales and spooky stories that haunt Stratford’s downtown during the Pubs, Pilsners and Spirits Tour on Thursdays, June 13 & 27. More dates are available from July–October. Meet at Stratford Tourism Alliance, 47 Downie St, Stratford, 8 pm, $25/A plus HST.

Pork-a-palooza! Stratford has dedicated the month of June to celebrating pork. Savour the Bacon & Ale Trail, take in a bacon cocktail tasting and delicious pork menus. Selected restaurants, chefs, producers and shops are creating special menus, pork events and tastings. Stratford is not only the home of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival but also to the National Pork Congress, and the town is going hog-wild.

Stratford Blues and Ribfest, June 21-23 – International rib teams come to Stratford for a weekend of delicious BBQ along with live music at the William Allman Arena, Lakeside Drive at Morenz Drive.

Pazzo launches a new taverna in May. With Chef Yva Santini’s Italian kitchen, Taverna at Pazzo brings a brand new direction to the city’s main corner. In the kitchen, sustainable seafood like oysters, crab and lobster joins house-made pastas and gnocchi alongside locally-sourced steaks and produce. Simplified flavours in the Italian tradition paired with wines by the glass, bottle or barrel, Taverna is taking its cue from the neighbourhood restaurants of New York.

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The Editors