Stellar sources for creative, locally sourced food and drink.
By Don Douloff
In business for 26 years, Vancouver-based Culinary Capers Catering has, for some time, been at the forefront of a locavore philosophy. For this, credit the city’s progressive gastronomic culture.
“In the last five to seven years, we have seen a dramatic rise in our clients’ demand for requesting organic, sustainable, regional menus,” says executive chef Margaret Chisholm. “For the most part, the Vancouver market is discerning, educated and savvy with their culinary knowledge of what is around them and wants their catering menus to reflect this philosophy.”
And being situated on the West Coast is another big advantage.
“There is such an abundance of B.C. farms, [top-notch] artisanal products and sustainable seafood, which really has made it effortless for us to support, collaborate and showcase these fine ingredients on our menus.”
Moreover, Culinary Capers is a founding caterer and event partner, with the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, in providing sustainable and ocean-friendly seafood choices to groups.
“We decided, years ago, to stop serving farmed salmon, to support our local fishing industry,” says Chisholm.
Chives Canadian Bistro
On Dec. 4, 2001, chef Craig Flinn launched Chives Canadian Bistro, in downtown Halifax. “We have focused on local since we opened our doors, working closely with our farmers and artisan food producers each week,” says Flinn. “We change the menu every six weeks or so, but more frequently during the growing months.”
“Sourcing locally is the way good cooking has always been done,” he notes. “Buying directly from local farmers means that the small, independent, family farm can survive and weather the storm against larger corporate farms that grow food for shareholders, not for the public.”
Since it opened 15 years ago—long before the terms ‘locavore’ and ‘100-mile diet’ existed—Winnipeg’s Fusion Grill followed a mandate of fresh, local, wild, organic, sustainable and healthy. In fact, the restaurant is credited with creating modern prairie regional cuisine.
“Freshness has a geography and for us, that’s the prairie, because that’s where we are,” says owner Scot McTaggart. Here, local translates as, say, pickerel from Lake Kisseynew, in northern Manitoba, and pork from a nearby producer. Small wonder McTaggart garnered a Lifetime Achievement Award from Cuisine Canada, for his contribution to the Canadian Culinary Landscape.
Its commitment to eco-friendly practices is strong, and is even enshrined in its mission statement, which reads, in part: “at Pineridge Hollow, geothermal heating and cooling is used year-round; we shop local, we grow organic herbs and vegetables, we run a local farmers market, buy Canadian and North American whenever possible for the store and we seek out suppliers who are kind to the environment.”
Thus, local farmers sausage and Lake Winnipeg pickerel (to name but two), starring in artfully conceived plates.
Don Douloff is Managing Editor of Meetings + Incentive Travel.
PHOTOS OPUS Culinary Capers/John Watson, Chives Canadian Bistro, Fusion Grill, Pineridge Hollow.