The 18th annual Food Day Canada takes place this Saturday, August 1, and while the ongoing pandemic continues to change the way we experience food and drink, it hasn’t hindered our pride and appreciation for the country’s incredible culinary community and prolific bounty.
The annual celebration is not only a way for chefs and restaurants across the country to showcase how far Canadian cuisine has come, but as a way to thank those who work year-round to provide them with the best fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients available.
The impact that COVID-19 has had on restaurants has been well documented--and rightfully so--but often overlooked are Canada’s farmers and producers who, while also facing tremendous challenges, are the reasons our favourite restaurants have been able to survive.
There are a multitude of ways to celebrate Food Day Canada, and while the ensuing list focuses primarily on restaurant offerings, you can honour Canadian cuisine by visiting farms, grocers, and farmers’ markets like Winnipeg’s Saint Leon, Calgary Farmers’ Market, and Granville Island Public Market.
Here are 11 culinary events to check out on Food Day Canada to show your support for the Canadian food industry.
Pluvio (Ucluelet, B.C.)
This year, chef Barr and partner Lily Verney-Downy are celebrating Canadian fishers, farmers, and ranchers with a four-course, seasonally-inspired menu. Highlights include lingcod ceviche with fermented tomatoes and garden nasturtium, and poached Pacific side stripe shrimp with summer squash, foraged sea asparagus, chilled dashi, and local kombu.
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar (Vancouver, B.C.)
Vancouver Magazine Awards’ 2018 Chef of the Year, Alex Chen is known for producing some of the best seafood on the West Coast, and one of the reasons for that is his strong relationships with local fisheries.
So it should come as no surprise that Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar are keen to shine a light on the rich, seasonal bounty of their surrounding region by partaking in another seafood-forward Food Day Canada menu. Boulevard is also home to one of Canada’s premier pastry chefs, Kenta Takahashi, who will ensure your experience ends on a high note.
River Cafe (Calgary, AB)
Owner Sal Howell has established a culture at River Cafe that places the utmost emphasis on serving sustainable, regional cuisine. In addition to growing their own produce, River Cafe is a stark supporter of local producers.
For Food Day Canada, chef Ross Bowles has assembled a hyper-local tasting menu, ripe with locally-sourced ingredients like sea bass from Deep Water Farms, duck breast from Heart Rock Ranch, bison from Borderland, and Alberta rainbow trout.
Harvest Eatery (Shaunavon, SK)
Considered by many to be pioneers of modern Saskatchewan cuisine, chef Garrett Thienes and his wife Kristy have been championing local producers since opening in 2013. Located in rural Shaunavon, Harvest Eatery has become a dining destination that draws in foodies from all over the world.
One of the highlights at Harvest Eatery is chef Thienes’ refined rendition of the classic regional dish, perogies and sausage; hand formed perogies with vibrant pops of purple beet juice, served with local lamb sausage, crabapple chutney, and chef Thiene’s secret merguez spice.
Atelier (Ottawa, ON)
Atelier chef Marc Lepine’s credentials speak for themselves. Since opening Atelier in 2008, the multiple-award winning chef has delivered an array of creative and innovative offerings, always inspired by what’s in season.
While guests of Atelier rarely, if ever, get to see chef Lepine’s multi-course tasting menu beforehand, it’s safe to say that those who are lucky enough to secure a seat will be in very good hands.
George (Toronto, ON)
George Restaurant chef Lorenzo Loseto has put together a Food Day Canada menu that highlights a range of incredible ingredients from Toronto’s markets. From fresh scallops with watermelon and pickled vegetables to beef ribeye with zucchini and corn foam, to a lemon yogurt cheesecake with raspberries and honey, we wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s menu matches the quality of chef Lorenzo’s Gold Medal Plates-winning dish.
Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)
A mainstay on nearly every restaurant ranking list in the country, Langdon Hall’s culinary creations are rivalled only by the majestic elegance of the neighbouring landscape.
Executive chef Jason Bangerter’s Food Day Canada menu is no exception. From an heirloom rose salad with butter lettuce, lilac vinegar, and rose water jelly to a deviled hen egg with black truffle, to bairdi crab with creamed corn, yeast butter, and chickweed, this seven-course menu is truly one of a kind.
Taverne Monkland (Montreal, QC)
Taverne Monkland has served as a Montreal institution for decades, and the team behind the culinary program--led by chef Josh Crowe and sous chef Mischa Ozols-Mongeau--have garnered five Food Day Canada Innovation Awards.
For this year’s Food Day Canada, the award-winning kitchen crew have put together a multi-course, a-la-carte menu featuring dishes such as homemade focaccia with heirloom tomato, magda zucchini, house-pickled eggplant, and basil; salt-crusted Quebec celery root charcuterie with lemon thyme, browned butter, pickled green blueberries, and fossilized garlic; and a pan-seared Lake Erie walleye with pickled rhubarb, grilled spring onions, caraflex cabbage with rhubarb gastrique, and herbed butter.
Les Jardins Sauvages (Saint-Roch de L’Achigan, QC)
Chef Nancy Hinton and forager extraordinaire François Brouillard were championing concepts like farm-to-table, locally-sourced, and sustainability long before they became common buzzwords in the global culinary community.
And Les Jardins Sauvages’ Food Day Canada showcases that ethos to the fullest. The eatery’s four-course menu features unique and thought-provoking dishes that highlight the local bounty. One of the most intriguing is a seaweed and buckwheat noodle salad with sea asparagus, sea rocket, Nordic shrimp, smoked eel and Arctic char, housemade kimchi, black peanuts, and wild ginger miso.
Raymonds Restaurant (St. John’s, NL)
Chef Jeremy Charles has built a reputation for a cuisine that celebrates both modern and traditional ingredients of Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the years, Raymonds Restaurant’s affinity for using only the freshest ingredients from local purveyors has enabled the St. John’s eatery to redefine the meaning of rustic East Coast cuisine.