September 22, 2010 by
Well, another instalment of my favourite annual event, Taste Local! Taste Fresh! has come and gone. Once again it seems the fine folks at Foodlink had it all sorted out including the weather! It probably comes as little surprise that I would gravitate to a food-fest showcasing the region's best farms and restaurants. It has been my pleasure to be part of TLTF every year since its inception, having represented a few different restaurants and farms. Throughout the years I've made everything from pumpkin pie to spit roasted lamb, smoked cheddar sourdough to homemade sauerkraut, a task always made easy from the start with beautiful ingredients. This year it was my pleasure to be paired with the Stevanus Family Farm, a producer I have no lack of familiarity with. I've been proudly serving their veggies for six years at three different restaurants and now finally at my own! It seems worthwhile to mention that my relationship with Dale and Linda Stevanus began way back at the second annual TLTF event. I was at Benjamin's Restaurant and we were paired together, since then, thanks to the work of Foodlink through events like these I have strived to snatch up as much of Dale and Linda's produce as I can. I have always felt that these are the real success stories of TLTL -- chefs meeting farmers, growing new relationships with them and developing a deeper understanding of where the food comes from. This understanding for me is the inspiration for what we do at the restaurant, the passion, respect and genuine excitement for working with this region's best!
This year Dale had grown me some amazing sweet potatoes, something rarely grown in these cooler parts of Ontario. With Golden Hearth Bakery on our side we prepared a sweet potato flat bread, rolled out and charcoal grilled onsite. The bread was topped with a sweet onion jam and fresh tomato-herb salad. The latter was picked fresh from the farm that very morning… it doesn’t get fresher than that! We also served up piles and piles of paper thin potato chips cut from six different varieties and seasoned with dill flower salt. Working with a farm with so much variety makes it easy to put forth a good table.
This Sunday U21 will venture a little further from home and represent Waterloo Region at Perth County's Savour Stratford event. It’s a similar concept to Taste Local…just a little further down the road. For us this is great opportunity to meet both new customers and farmers as well. We are paired with Everspring Farms, a duck producer, by far my favourite fowl! We will be preparing duck confit and serving it with a Millbank cheddar cookie, Stevanus Family leeks and micro greens from a nearby greenhouse. It’s no accident that I'm bringing ingredients from our backdoor to theirs… can't pass up a chance to show off!
Finally I need to mention Iron Chef Uptown will be running on Wednesday evenings at 9:30 pm starting October 6. There is still room for a couple more chef teams so pass it along. We will be featuring local farms and food as both the secret ingredient and the judges! No charge to get in but we are accepting food or cash donations for the Waterloo Regional Food Bank. So come check out the action. Follow us on Twitter for up to the minute details at nnuptown21.
Photo by Sara Geidlinger