We at foodiePrints celebrate local food. We firmly believe the National Capital Region is well on its way to becoming a food destination.
Needless to say we recommend local food events.
The summer months tend to be rich with outdoor festivals in Ottawa and Gatineau. It may have something to do with compensating for the July and August lull when regulars go away on holiday. It may have something to do with Ottawans trying to get as much as they can out of the warm weather before the mercury starts to drop.
Last week, our posts recommended two events: a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser at Seed to Sausage‘s headquarters in Sharbot Lake ($125/person); and Arboretum Festival’s Chef Sessions ($36+Saturday or Weekend Pass/ person).
This past Sunday, I volunteered to serve and bus tables at the Savour Ottawa Harvest Table event at Brewer Park, which was held in concert the Ottawa Farmers’ Market ($75/person). Eight local chefs and their respective restaurants participated, serving impressive picnic fare (largely cold plates) to a crowd of locavore-enthusiasts that included Ontario Premiere Kathleen Wynne.
Thing is, when tickets (plates) cost $100 or more, we have to question the value proposition.
[Contrary to general assumption, we rarely receive tickets to the food events we promote. When we do, we earn them: we volunteer at the event; we provide coverage (we shoot and hand over shots and copyright); or we participate in communications (we power the event's social media footprint).]
Here’s how the value proposition works for us:
- What cause does the event benefit, if any? Would a direct donation better serve the charity? How much have I already contributed through the United Way (annual donation via payroll deduction)?
- What kind of event is it? Are there chef-lead demonstrations? Is it a seated event, cocktail event, or combination thereof? Will there be long lineups at “chef” stations?
- What will be served? How many courses ($/course)? Is each course a complete dish (protein, vegetable, starch)? Do dishes support local producers?
- Is the price of the food and drink included in the cost of the ticket? Or will tapas plates and glasses of wine or beer be purchased on site?
- Who will be cooking? Are the participating chefs local or visiting? Are they collaborating for the first time? Do visiting chefs visit Ottawa often? How much does it cost to travel to visiting chefs’ cities?
At $250/person, the exclusive “Toronto Takes Over: One Night Only” event, hosted by the Sheraton Hotel (150 Albert Street) to benefit the Ottawa Humane Society and Kurt O. Waldele Student Bursary Endowment Fund at Algonquin College, is more expensive than food events we normally “announce.”
Here’s the deal:
This coming Saturday (August 24), attendees of the “Toronto Takeover” will get the rather unique opportunity to see and taste firsthand the spectrum of sheer culinary talent Ottawa has to offer.
It is no surprise the National Capital Region, home to three culinary schools, produces, by formal training and apprenticeships, skills that are marketable in Toronto’s much more diverse food scene.
Chefs Charlotte Langley and Michael Hay return to Ottawa, representing their respective restaurants in the Big Smoke. Langley, formerly chef of the Whalesbone Oysterhouse and now Catch, brings Nathan Isberg of The Atlantic. Hay, formerly chef of Courtyard Restaurant (and Back Lane Cafe) and now chef de cuisine of Oliver & Bonacini (O&B) Canteen, brings his chef Anthony Walsh.
Attendees will tuck into plates made by likely one-time pairings of local and visiting chefs.
Each chef pair will be supported by other local talent, sous and cooks from some of the better fine dining options in the city. For instance, Sarah Allen of Union Local 613 (formerly of Atelier and Courtyard) and Adam Bannerman of Brut Cantina Sociale will participate.
Mongeon, who is teamed up with Langley to serve the second course, promises a more “intimate experience” than a seated dinner.
Think multi-course cocktail party with live-fire chef demonstrations.
“It is a fun collaboration event of chefs. We’re putting together some good dishes,” he described excitedly on Sunday.
“I have never worked with Charlotte before…but ate at the Whalesbone [regularly] when she was there.”
A sneak peek, Mongeon listed off some components of the dish he and Langley plan to serve: “raw tuna and scallops with dehydrated olives, cured egg yolk, goat cheese curd, creme fraiche, pickled jalapenos, and lime crisp.”
“There will be a lot of small touches…finish with fresh mint and maldon salt,” hinted Mongeon.
Courses will be paired with wines from the Vintner’s Selection, so Colaneri Estate Winery, Coyote’s Run, and Reif Estates. There will be local craft beer options as well. Vankleek Hill’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. is involved.
The ingredients employed are entirely donated by local suppliers. The venue and facilities are entirely donated by the Sheraton.
Almost all proceeds will go to the partnered causes.
Good luck to everyone who will no doubt make this event a landmark statement about the Ottawa food scene.
The Ottawa Humane Society is a registered charity founded in 1888. The Society works in and with the community to provide leadership in the humane treat ment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions, and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.
KURT O. WALDELE STUDENT BURSARY ENDOWMENT FUND was established by family, friends and colleagues to pay tribute to KURT O. WALDELE. Kurt provided exemplary mentorship to many of Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality students and academic faculty. The Kurt O. Waldele Bursary will be presented annually and in perpetuity to students following careers in culinary management and regist ered in the Algonquin College Culinary Skills Training Program.
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is located in the Nation’s Capital and the Ottawa Valley, and is the largest college in Eastern Ontario. Algonquin is a leader in the integration of technology into learning. Algonquin College has a diverse population of more than 19,000 full-time students and over 36,000 part-time registrations in over 180 programs, and is committed to student success.
Date: August 24, 2013
Time: From 6:00 to 9:00 pm
Price: $250/person + fee
Tags: Charlotte Langley, Chef Kurt Waldele Memorial Garden Party 2011, Danny Mongeon, featured, Kurt Waldele, Michael Hay, Ottawa Humane Society