Forget about where we took him, where would YOU take Chef Fergus Henderson in Toronto?
Last week Fergus Henderson, Chef of St. John restaurant and author of Nose To Tail Eating/The Whole Beast, was in Toronto to act as keynote speaker at the Terroir Symposium.
As a few of us work on the organisational committee, we had the job (read: extreme pleasure) of showing him around Toronto for a few days...
Here's where we (Arlene, Rebecca, Danielle, Ivy, Malcolm, and I) decided to take him:
Lassale Farm - with Langdon Hall/Stratford Chef's School cooking
Parts and Labour
Jamie Kennnedy Gilead
The Harbord Room
Hooked... the new sustainable fishmongers
Niagara Street Cafe
I think that it would be fair to say that we all have a bit of a meat/wine hangover...
Now the question is... what did we miss out? (Hoof excepted as it is closed for the time being)
What should we include next time?
Oh... and some pics of some of the places mentioned:
Niagara Street Cafe
169 Niagara St, Toronto, ON M5V1C9, CA
432 Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V1E3, CA
488 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1E5, CA
89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA
1 Langdon Drive, Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8, Canada
356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA
Can't say I've heard of this chef, but I think you missed a few worthy spots.
Some ethnic places showing TO's diversity would have been my rec. Also I question Parts n Labour and Caplansky's? No high end places either, to showcase some fine local dining! Why? (Langdon, yes, but that's not TO)
356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA
right, the list is too "white", but I'm not terribly surprised by it.
The industry folk I've come across are hyper aware of others in "their" scene, which all those restaurants fit under. Especially with the proliferation of twitter keeping everybody in touch w/ every minute detail. Most aren't hip to food outside the scope of this "sustainable/seasonal/naturally raised" utopia that they surround themselves in.
Getting dt'ers to travel north of bloor is like pulling teeth.
Basically search any "We're visiting toronto, any rec's" threads and you'll see lots of posts by everybody listing various ethnic places. Personally, I like to take into account the visitor's home, see what they lack vs what Toronto excels in.
Ba Shu Ren Jia
Sukhothai/Khao San Rd
Gourmet Garden Restaurant
4465 Sheppard Ave E, Toronto, ON M1S, CA
Ba Shu Ren Jia
4771 Steeles Ave E, Toronto, ON M1V, CA
398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2, CA
Folks, we've removed a number of replies here that were unfriendly and very personally focused. If you want to offer up your own suggestions, please go ahead and do so, but please omit speculating on the motivations of your fellow hounds or declaring their posts offensive or silly -- rate chow, not chowhounds.
re: Non Doctor
I'm glad you didn't take offense to what I said. Angelsanctuary brought up a good point, I just expanded upon it. I like to think I can see things from both sides of the coin, being involved in the industry like you and at the same time growing up in communities driven by the success of immigration.
Would be interesting to see a meeting of the minds between these wonderful food scenes. It's a shame there isn't much interaction, it's like 2 different worlds to be honest.
While aser points out that the list was "too white", I'd go further to suggest the list was predominantly "WASPy/Continental", rather than " too white".
Chiado, Malena, Mistura, Buca, Joso, and lower-brow restaurants like Europe or Cafe Polonez are technically "white", yet they also didn't end up on the shortlist.
Maybe Chiado and Joso weren't considered because they don't fit with the "ON terroir" thing, since their menus/some ingredients have more to do with their regional European terroirs than ON terroir. Mistura and Buca on the other hand, generally do fit into the concept of "ON terroir".
I would think Cafe Polonez's Polish tripe soup and Zorba's Greek tripe soup (patsa) might have been interesting to Henderson, but I have a feeling that Cafe Polonez and Zorba's are not the types of restaurants that Team Terroir tends to visit, so they'd be off the Team Terroir radar. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Middle Eastern (93 Harbord or Tabule- Tabule uses ON lamb, not sure about 93 Harbord since it's been a while since my last visit), Ethiopian, Persian (Banu uses Cumbrae's meats, so in that sense, they might fit with the Terroir thing), and West Indian cuisines (WI being mentioned already by pinstripepriness,and Rap's mentioned by Aser) also didn't get any attention.
I would be tempted to bring a visiting chef to Ravisoups, to show another type of culinary success in Toronto, that also reflects our multiculturalism.
When I have non-chef, food-oriented visitors from out-of-town staying for a couple days, we often end up with a dim sum meal somewhere near Hwy 7, a meal of mezes (or maybe a late-night souvlaki) followed by galatoboureko/bougatsa/loukamades on the Danforth, a wooden plate combo platter at Cafe Polonez/Chopin/Europe, a locally sourced meal at an upscale continental resto (such as Cava, Globe Bistro, Starfish, Zee Grill, or JKWB way back when), and a dozen pasteis de nata from Doce Minho.
re: Asian restaurants that deserve attention from visiting chefs, I'd add Northern Dumpling Kitchen to the list.
re: Continental restaurants that could have been included. George. I would take a visiting chef to George.
Mind you, most of the restaurants I've suggested, and quite a few of the restaurants others have suggested, lack a certain hip factor. Anyone that has tried to manouevre through the crowd at the Brickworks picnic knows that the hip factor, as well as some impressive people-watching, goes hand-in-hand with terroir and locavores in Toronto. Few of the restaurants on nondoctor's list have low hip factors. Le Select's hip factor is relatively low since it's been around for such a long time, but at least its address is relatively hip, and it has a massive wine collection. Langdon Hall has the lowest hip factor, but it does have the culinary pedigree that the hippest restaurants on the list might be lacking.
2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z8, CA
481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA
93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA
265 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J9, CA
864 College Street West, Toronto, ON M6H 1A3, CA
202 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M5R1J2, CA
1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA
681 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1L2, CA
195 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R2L5, CA
1541 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E, CA
322 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA
147 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1H1, CA
Northern Dumpling Kitchen
550 7 Hwy E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B3Z4, CA
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA
2189 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6E, CA
Ah, I read the article about his trip in the Toronto Star:
Slightly off topic, but, do you know where Lassdale Farms got the seal meat from that they served him? (P.s., did you make a typo on that or did Toronto star, re: the farm name).
They got it from Nunavut, the Stratford kids went on a trip there last year...check out the blog here for more info:
A number of the visits were to see old friends and/or past stages from Fergus and Trevor's restaurants.
There was also a mission to introduce him to some of the young Chefs who were invoved in the Terroir symposium.
As far as I am aware they were most impressed with both Toronto's food and hospitality.