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Do you choose restaurants based on their use of local and seasonal ingredients?

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This is Gremolata's Discussion Topic of the day for Tuesday, June 23, 2009.

With the Brickworks Chef's Market designed to bring fresh local food from rural Ontario and make it easily accesible to local chefs, we wanted to know your thoughts on local ingredients and their importance. So, do you eat exclusively at restaurants in Toronto serving food from local sources? Do you ask? How important is it to you?
Post Reply By James in ETOBICOKE on 6/22/2009 11:33:00 PM

The use of local and seasonal food does influence my decisions around a restaurant pick. I like the idea of supporting local farms and frankly the food tastes better when it is in season. (case in point this week--there really is nothing like a in season Ontario strawberry!) In my neck of the woods I recommend Joy Bistro and Amuse Cuisine (both Queen Street East) they are committed to using local,and in season on their menus...and the results are delicious!
: )

BTW: My two top picks from a recent NYC trip are two places fully committed to local and seasonl food--The Spotted Pig and Momofuku. (momofuku lists the farmers they partner with on the wall!)
Post Reply By Kathleen in TORONTO on 6/23/2009 10:38:16 AM

I have always tried, but it is hard to do. Sometimes you go to a restaurants thinking that the food is local but it turns out that they use wholesale for about 80% with only 20% from local sources. The smart restaurants list their sources and it makes it easier to understand where their food comes from. It would be nice if there was some form of standard for knowing which restaurant uses local 100-mile farm-fresh food. Even "local" does not mean it is not mass produced either. So this can sometimes be an issue.

Overall, I think more restaurants should make local ingredients a priority and be upfront with customers on WHERE they get their food from!!!
Post Reply By Georgina in WOODBRIDGE on 6/23/2009 10:58:52 AM

Always! It is better for you and the flavour can't be beat! More restaurants should focus on local. It may be more expensive, but the quality is evident and the good customers will always pay a premium for quality!
Post Reply By Franco in RICHMOND HILL on 6/23/2009 12:17:43 PM

YES! YES! YES! Maybe I am a bit too political in my choices but I grew up on a farm and now live in the big city. The best meals were from my childhood where we would pick in the morning and eat at night. I udnerstand the struggles of farmers and it is important to support our local seasonal ingredients - whether we cook at home or choose a restaurant to eat at! I have actually made comments to restaurants serving summer salads with mangos when beets, tomatoes, artichokes, and local greens are readily available! For Shame!
Post Reply By Sarah in TORONTO on 6/23/2009 1:55:27 PM

For sure, especially when dining locally. You can't run a high- end restaurant and not use the best of local ingredients to make dishes the very best they can be. Ingredients speak for themselves.

That said, one can easily find so many low-end establishments - offering no gastronomy whatsover - like so many restaurants throughout North America that use cheap, bland, and lifeless ingredients, just because they are cheap, and they know their customers want "more" on their plates.

There is absolutely no way a good restaurant in this Province can use terrible produce that is out-of-season, and not local.
Post Reply By Richard in STRATFORD on 8/1/2009 9:16:59 AM

Has anyone heard of Savour Ontario? It is a program run by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs that promotes restaurants that serve Ontario food on their menus.

You can find the list at www.savourontario.ca.

If you know a restaurat that isn't on the list and you would like to recommend them, you can let us know by emailing savour@ontario.ca.

We want to make it easier for everyone to find local foods.
Post Reply By Franco in GUELPH on 9/4/2009 9:14:50 AM

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