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It’s the peak of summer and most everything is here

chef

All the wonderful Ontario crop is present despite the cold weather and rains which decreased yields and increased prices somewhat. Ontario raspberries are in short supply with only one farmer selling them at the Ontario Food Terminal. There are plenty of apricots available this year of outstanding quality. Ontario cherries have finished and once again they came a poor second in taste and appearance to west coast cherries this year. But Ontario corn once again is super.

Produce normally expected in the early fall has arrived and the Chef liked the pears, brussels and kale that is on offer.

Ontario peas and favas were in short supply along with Ontario celery. To replace the Ontario celery, the chef noted that there was a lot of Quebec celery on offer. One of the farmers who produces a lot of peas told the Chef that he did not have the staff to pick them this year and left them in the fields.

The best Ontario melon producer according to the Chef, did not grow melons this year because the price had been so low last year. For the same reason, there was not a lot of okra, eggplant and tomatillos. Pickers of zucchini flowers (which are very difficult to harvest) were employed on more profitable crops and very few were on sale. The Chef’s main specialty potato farmer died last spring and his widow could not find someone to take the farm over. It was sold for real estate development. This farm produced most of our specialty potatoes.

From the import section the chef bought cherries form Washington State and avocados from Mexico. Despite the rumours of world shortages, avocado prices which went as high as $80 per case have come down to $36-40.

Wild chanterelles and morels are coming slowly from BC but the Chef thinks that the Saskatchewan ones are the best.

To cook all this produce, we thought that there were many good tips in the August edition of Bon Appetit (with a peach on its cover). This edition was titled The Simple Issue. Its recipes contained no more than 5 ingredients, many of which require no cooking. If you can still find it, you will enjoy reading the suggestions.

While softshell crabs have finished, much seafood is available particularly tuna, swordfish, lobsters and scallops from Nova Scotia. Chef Loseto has just returned from Nova Scotia. The best Halifax restaurant that he found was The Kitchen Table. It is run by Joe Maclellan who we were lucky enough to have hired early in his career. The Chef was impressed and thought the restaurant ranked well in Canada by any standards.