Top 10 Canadian Whiskeys Spirit Lovers Are Drinking

Top 10 Canadian Whiskeys Spirit Lovers Are Drinking

By Doug Radkey, Foodable Industry Expert

Today, among more than 500 Canadian distilled spirit brands available, Canadian whiskey is the number one selling product category, which first started in Quebec City in 1769. To fully enjoy drinking whiskey, you first need to know some of the basics about the spirit itself — the various styles, flavours, and how to pick yourself a bottle.

To help you quench your thirst for knowledge, Foodable presents this list of the Top 10 Canadian Whiskey Brands!

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Richmond Station Serving Up Relatable Food and Hospitality

Steak dinner

A concept that started as a “good space” between two parking garages next to a “crack park” is making its mark in Toronto.

In this Table 42 Vignette, Chef and Co-owner of Downtown Toronto’s Richmond Station Carl Heinrich describes how this nose-to-tail, farm-to-table restaurant operates.

“The way we buy food is a little different. When we want to write the menu, we call a farmer…[we] don’t call ourselves a farm-to-table restaurant, but we are,” Heinrich, who is also the winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Canada, explains. “We buy food directly from people that grow it, and we take a lot of pride in the relationship we have with our (50) suppliers.”

Heinrich admits that the food the restaurant serves is not new or cutting edge, but it is food that people can relate to. People can also related to the service the restaurant provides. In fact, Heinrich contends that it is this hospitality that keeps guests coming back.

“We’re not playing with techniques that nobody’s ever heard of.  We are cooking my Grandmother’s food,” he said.  “It’s our ability to go above and beyond…and really push it to make sure you are really well taken care of…and I think that drives people to come back.”

Highlights from the self-described ingredient focused, technique driven menu range from shareable plates like duck liver pate on pretzel toast, tuna tartare with hukarei turnip, and smoked trout hushpuppies to main dishes like rabbit with corn puree and ramp dumplings, Cornish hen with chickpea panisse, and lobster capellini with red pepper rouille.

Living Up to Your Restaurant’s Sustainability Claims

Organic salad bar with fresh vegetables

Pick a buzzword: local, organic, sustainable – it doesn’t matter which one. Consumers are drawn to them or the connotation of them. What matters is that you can back these claims up.

Toronto Life looked at the claims of local salad bar ingredients and didn’t take them at face value. They found that Canadian restaurateurs were less likely to outright lie when it came to claims regarding the origins and sustainability of their ingredients and can actually find ways to stand behind their claims.

For example, produce is available year-round, even if it is more expensive.

“Anybody that squawks about finding ingredients in winter is using a single-source distributor,” Brad Long, chef and owner of Café Belong, told Toronto Life. “It’s a dead giveaway, because the distributors’ raison d’être is to try to keep prices the same all year long.”

Restaurants can also have a rotating menu that changes seasonally to reflect what is available locally.

“Everything that’s grown locally is cheaper, so there are times when prices can go down, too,” Long said.

Jessica Watchorn, manager at Urban Herbivore, tells Toronto Life that the restaurant uses Ontario produce like alfalfa, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, ginger and potatoes, as well as spring mix, baby spinach, and spinach from California; arugula from Florida; and kale, cabbage, and red leaf lettuce from Canada.

“If it’s in season in Ontario, it will be cheaper and better,” she explained. “We buy in season when we can but obviously for most of the year, all of the food is coming from California, Florida, or Mexico. It’s a salad bar — if we were going to have all local food, we’d have to close the restaurant.” Read more

Community Gardens Allow Victoria to Harvest Food Closer To Home

Urban Garden

The City of Victoria is known internationally for its gardens, but the majority of the province’s produce is not grown locally.

The city does, however, support urban farming and is working with local organizations to establish and enhance its local, urban food systems.

The city is promoting “growing in the city” through a variety of means. Gardens are cropping up along the boulevards of the City of Victoria while local nonprofits are encouraged to begin community allotment gardens, commons gardens, and orchards.

“At a time when climate change is growing more difficult to ignore and fossil fuels are growing more difficult to mine, tending so much grass grows more difficult to justify. People run lawn mowers and weed whackers and leaf blowers up and down the boulevards, burning fuel, belching CO2, wasting time,” Mike Large, owner of website Sweet Greens and boulevard gardener in Haultain Commons, to Eat Magazine. “Boulevards offer us public space to grow local food, diverse ways to improve degraded landscapes, and pleasant paths to build stronger communities.”

City bylaws are being reviewed for changes that better support small-scale urban food production. For example, by allowing urban food production in all land use zones; making rooftop greenhouses and gardens exempt from height and floor space ratio calculations; and making urban food production exempt from needing development permits for landscaping.

The city is also providing a “strategic plan grant” for the funding of the Compost Education Centre in Fernwood; city micro-grants for supplies needed for food production in community gardens; and city grants for neighborhoods where food production is the primary focus. The city has also partnered with the Fernwood Community Center to turn 1800 square feet of decorative gardens into edible food gardens in order to supplement the 700 meals and snacks the centre provides to the community weekly. Read more

Why the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Aren’t in Canada

High-End Restaurant

For nearly the last 15 years, Canadian restaurants, for the most part, have failed to make their way onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, compiled by U.K.-based industry magazine Restaurant annually.

While not the only list in town, it is one of the most sought after.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t list-worthy restaurants in Canada. There certainly are, but the high-end Canadian restaurant scene is relatively small. And some restaurateurs feel the price to make the list may just be too darn high.

Joe Beef co-owner David McMillan recognizes that competition for the list is fierce – and that to get on it, Joe Beef may have to change. Restaurants that make the list typically have a technically ambitious menu and introduce a tasting menu of more than a dozen dishes.

"I find that list is very high end, right? Not to denigrate any of my peers that want to go after tasting menus, white tablecloths, crystal glasses, the elite and expensive meal. That's never been our thing," McMillan told CBC News Canada.

Just the opposite. Joe Beef is known for a “loud bistro vibe, and a menu that focuses more on flavor and fun than breaking new ground” and “accessible food.” Read more

Montreal Chefs Fighting Global Food Waste

Food Waste

Montreal chefs are stepping up to fight food waste. But they’re not doing it alone. They are part of a waste reduction campaign launched by world-renowned Italian chef Massimo Bottura.

The initiative was launched in October 2015 at the 2015 Milan Universal Exposition, the theme of which was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and focused on global issues like ensuring the food supply for future generations. The food waste generated by Expo Milan is being used to run a local soup kitchen.

The initiative has generated so much global interest, that Bottura has begun expanding — and Montreal is first on the list.

"We try to involve all the best chefs in the world, to get together with them, share these ideas, and build the future by fighting waste," Bottura told CBC News Canada. "To build a better future, to build dignity, because it's not just about a soup kitchen."

But the amount of food waste can be overwhelming — even to the most seasoned chefs.

"You arrive in the morning and a truck arrives and that's the trash from Expo Milan, and it's beautiful food," Winter Russell, a chef at Montreal’s Candide restaurant, told CBC News. "We made a dessert of golden prunes and it was magical. The grocery store had brought too many, and they had thrown out those that had even tiny bruises on them — and there were cases of them."  Read more

Cinara Represents in Top Dish Round Two Vancouver

Rabbit

In the second of this three-part mini-series, we find ourselves in Vancouver visiting Chef Lucais Syme at Cinara, where traditional European cooking techniques meet unique twists and turns.

The Italian-inspired bistro takes pride in its modern, seasonal, local cuisine and house-made favorites — like the bread made in-house for the anchovy toast and the rabbit loin wrapped with house-made bacon, both featured in this episode, as well as pastas, preserves, and cheeses.

"We only use pristine ingredients.  Much of it right outside of our doorstep, and we pair it with a lot of care, a lot of heart, and simplicity," Syme said in this episode of "Top Dish". "We like to use ingredients locally and the philosophy of Italy to make our cuisine…I don't like to overcomplicate. I believe each ingredient should sing and no ingredient should be placed with incongruent ingredients."

So what did Mijune Pak, founder of Follow Me Foodie and Vancouver native think of our contender?

Well, the cuisine queen absolutely loved Syme’s no-waste approach to the rabbit prep, incorporating everything from the liver to the kidneys.

How will this feedback impact the final score? Stay tuned for part three when "Top Dish" visits Toronto and the final results are revealed.

Failure to Launch: Canada’s No-Tipping Trend

Failure to Launch: Canada’s No-Tipping Trend

The long-held custom of tipping bar and restaurant servers is hotly debated across the United States. In Canada, the discussion surrounding the no-tipping concept is fierce, but the action is slow.

An American Express survey recently revealed that, in the United States, approximately 18 percent of restaurants have already implemented a no-tipping policy or system with nearly 30 percent planning to implement the same at some point in the near future.  Further, 27 percent of respondents have no plans for no tipping; 17 percent would jump on the bandwagon if their competitors did; and 10 percent are, as of yet, undecided.

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Asian-Canadian Chefs Changing How Vancouver Experiences Asian Cuisine

Asian Food

Montreal is known for being Canada’s capital of food, but in Vancouver, Asian-Canadian chefs are shaking up the culinary scene.

Young guns like Curtis Luk, Jack Chen, Clement Chan, Alex Chen, and Angus An are changing the way Canadians see and experience Asian food.

Luk, a Season 2 Top Chef Canada winner who tells the South China Morning Post (SCMP) he is “endlessly fascinated” with the techniques and ingredients of Chinese cuisine, runs a Western Canada-focused restaurant featuring seasonal tasting menus that use local ingredients.

"I believe we excel at East Asian cuisines with a fun and casual spin, but, ultimately, the strength is in the mid-priced dining options of all nationalities,” Luk told SCMP. "Although I don't necessarily look at the ethnicity of our clientele, a large portion of our customers are of Cantonese or Asian descent. When I walk through the dining room, I hear Cantonese being spoken and I do appreciate their support of a restaurant that is very much in the style and philosophy of west coast Canada.”

Chan, who represented Canada in the World Culinary Olympics and has been named national chef of the year, serves authentic pan-Asian fare at Torafuku, with dishes that represent bold flavors traditionally found in Korean, Vietnamese, Taiwanese and Japanese cuisine. Read more

Bold Moves: The Reinvention of Boston’s

Bold Moves: The Reinvention of Boston’s

In tough economic times, casual dining experiences are among the first to go in family budgets and no one knows that better than Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar (Boston’s), a Dallas-based casual-dining concept with locations across the United States. After stalled growth, the brand is focusing on internal changes it believes will drive a positive outlook for 2016 and beyond.

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