This year's celebration of Canada's 150th birthday was, in one word: polarizing. But, one thing people can collectively support is food that is grown regionally and locally. Food Day Canada, on August 5th, 2017, is all about celebrating just that--Tthe wonderful terroir of our country's land, the oceans that surround it, the rivers that run through it and the ingredients that come from all of them.
The day is meant to inspire everyone, regardless of where they are across the country, to cook a meal that highlights local ingredients. Head to a local farmers' market, take a road trip out to the country to meet a farmer or two, visit a winery--wherever you go, the initiative's founder, author and University of Guelph food laureate, Anita Stewart wants you to appreciate what's in your own backyard and, most importantly, genuinely enjoy it.
"It's like asking someone who their favourite child is," jokes Anita Stewart, Canada's leading local food advocate and founder of Food Day Canada, when we asked her to pick a few places she'd like to eat at this year. With more than 250 restaurants participating in the initiative on August 5th (now in its 14th year), we wouldn't even know where to begin.
To start, here are 10 of the places Ms. Stewart would eat at on Food Day Canada 2017, from Vancouver Island all the way over to Fogo Island, if she had a teleporter.
Sooke Harbour House (Sooke, B.C.)
Vancouver Islands place to dine with amazing views, the ocean view is good too #sookeeats #localfood #food #beautifulfood #foodphotography #foodpresentation #localeats #dining #westcoastcuisine #westcoast #locallysourced #supportlocal #vancouverisland #comedinewithus #sooke #sooketourism #sookeharbourhouse #hotel #boutiquehotel #resort #getaway photo credit: @creationsbymoi1
Perhaps one of Western Canada's most famous hyper-local restaurants, Sooke Harbour House, is a destination restaurant that is definitely worth a plane, boat or car ride to get to. The grounds surrounding the small inn and eatery is ripe with all sorts of ingredients, which you can see being plucked, pulled and dug by staff as they pop in and out of the kitchen throughout the day.
Waterfront Wines (Kelowna, B.C.)
Now in its 13th year of business, Waterfront Wines has become one of the premier restaurants of interior British Columbia. In the height of summer, when Kelowna farmers' markets are bursting at the seams with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, you can expect nothing but the freshest ingredients from chef Mark Filatow.
Sage Restaurant (Enoch, AB)
Chef Shane Chartrand is on a mission to spotlight contemporary Canadian Indigenious cuisine across the country. Stationed at the River Cree Casino just outside of Edmonton, Chartrand's culinary foundation is based on ingredients of the land, be it bison, mustard, wild turkeys, Saskatoons or otherwise. There is only a handful of chefs in the country placing their focus on this kind of cuisine and this chef is one of the most passionate about it.
"He is one of the most thoughtful chefs I’ve ever met," Stewart writes in Sage Restaurant's listing on her Food Day Canada site.
Rouge (Calgary, AB)
Famous locally for its epic backyard garden, Paul Rogalski's restaurant, Rouge, is also an award-winning fixture in the list of Canadian fine(r) dining. The historic home that Rogalski's concept inhabits in the city's Inglewood neighbourhood only adds to the elevated service and beautifully prepared food. On August 5th, a table on the back terrace is the perfect place to sit back, relax and celebrate Canadian ingredients, some of which pulled straight from the garden just mere feet away.
Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market (Shaunavon, SK)
Head to southern Saskatchewan to find this ingredient-driven eatery tucked into a small town in the beautiful and underrated Cypress Hills area of the prairies. Expect big meaty plates like the smoked Saskatchewan brisket or bison carpaccio that's finished with a chili and garlic-infused Three Farmers camelina oil.
"It’s a beautifully designed menu, one that would be at home in any urban restaurant in Canada," writes Stewart about Harvest Eatery's offerings.
Fusion Grill (Winnipeg, MB)
Never one for the limelight, this Winnipeg restaurant is well known to locals as a tried and true place for a meal, but is overlooked by most visitors. Don't let the name fool you either, you won't find a global hodgepodge menu in this small, but elegant 40-seat restaurant. Instead, you'll discover plates of Manitoba bison ribs, pork chops, locally-grown shitake mushrooms, pickerel, pike and more of what the bountiful prairie province has to offer.
J. K. Farm (Hillier, Prince Edward County, ON)
Chicken liver mousse with apple and #jkfarm blackcurrent harvested today. This plant #ribesnigrum gives us abundant fruit for drink syrups, jam and savory sauces. Delish!! . #jksummerdinnerseries #jkfarm #jkhillier #feastON #terroir #gastronomy #canada #ontario #pec #princeedwardcounty #visitthecounty #countyup #localfood #chefs
It goes without saying that any chance to have a bite of Jamie Kennedy's food should be taken advantage of. Kennedy's namesake farm offers dinners on Saturday nights throughout the summer and seeing as Food Day Canada falls on a Saturday, the chef has prepared a special menu in collaboration with Canadian wine.
"Yep, it’s rustic but it’s also as real as a meal, anywhere in Canada, can be." says Ms. Stewart.
Read more about chef Kennedy's inspiring approach to food and how to get a seat at his barn dinner...if there are any left!
Taverne Monkland (Montreal, QC)
Once again our restaurant will be proudly participating in a nation-wide event that we hold close to our hearts, Food Day Canada. Our nation will be turning 150 this year and our city turning 375! So on august 5 we’re planning a very special locally sourced menu that is an expression of our terroir and what we believe to be truly Canadian, Quebecois and Montrealers. We will be taking reservations for this event. For more information about what Food Day Canada is check out http://fooddaycanada.ca/about/ and you can find information about our involvement at http://fooddaycanada.ca/events/monkland-tavern-montreal/ #CanadaIsFood #FoodDayCanada #canada150 #mtlfood #ndg #monklandvillage #montreal375 #localisbetter
A go-to dining destination in Montreal, Taverne Monkland looks well beyond the typical foie gras, maple syrup and poutine stereotypes that many expect of Quebec's gastronomic mecca. The restaurant's honest focus on showcasing the province's terroir (well before it was the cool thing to do, may we add), has helped it receive numerous awards and accololades throughout its 22 years in business. We think it's a safe bet that the sweeter-than-sweet Quebec strawberries you can find at all Montreal markets right now will make an appearance on its Food Day Canada menu this year. Très bon!
The Canteen (Dartmouth, N.S.)
Dartmouth restaurateur Renée Lavallée's popular little sandwich shop, The Canteen saw a substancial change in location, size and concept earlier this year. Formerly situated above the Two if By Sea coffee shop, The chef's restaurant now serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner and makes everything from bagels to sandwich bread and even pitas in-house. Make the trip over the bridge to Dartmouth for dinner on August 5th to see what Nova Scotian ingredients Lavallée lovingly cooks up.
Nicole's Cafe (Fogo Island, NFLD)
Lunch: Fogo Island cod-pot cod fish & chips. Cod pot is a rather new device for cod fishing that is unique to Fogo Island. It is a sustainable way of catching cod. Cod fish swim into the baited pots, but are unable to swim back out. This design prevents damage to the ocean floor, as well as allows the fish to stay alive for several days in the cod pot to keep the flesh fresh from toxin attack when the cod dies in a stressful way. #fogoisland #joebattsarm #nicolescafe #codpot #cod #fishandchips #fishnchips #fogoislandcod #newfoundland #newfoundlandcuisine #newfoundlandfood #fogoislandfish #fogoislandfood #foodstagram #sustainablefish #sustainableseafood #nfld #andhwangatlantic2016
While Fogo Island Inn gets most of the culinary coverage glory when it comes to this very remote chunk of the East Coast, Stewart happily points out the interesting food that one will find at Nicole's Cafe. The cozy little eatery loves showcasing succulent seafood that's found just off nearby rocky shores; and its sister business, Growlers Ice Cream, makes an array of ice cream infused with wild berries found around Fogo. Very cool!