“Farm to table” has been a restaurant biz buzzword for the past decade, but there are some Canadian chefs who are giving the culinary practice more than just lip service.
This October, as part of the exciting Dinner Series collaborations for the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival, Vancouver chef David Gunawan will welcome into the kitchen of his groundbreaking restaurant Farmer’s Apprentice Toronto chef Dave Mottershall of Loka.
Just one of the many dynamic duos dishing up the infrequent opportunity for diners to taste two celebrated chefs’ top shelf cooking in one meal, Gunawan and Mottershall–the two Daves, if we may–will be serving a six-course dinner that puts their philosophies where your mouths are.
Mottershall says while at Loka they don’t use catchphrases like “farm to table,” or “nose to tail,” to describe what they do, he knows that for many guests, those are easy ways to articulate what they do. The chef tells Daily Hive a bit more about what they do at Loka:
We are an exploration of Canadian cuisine and sustainability is a priority which is why we have a zero waste policy in the kitchen. We buy whole animal and know our farmers, we only serve sustainable seafood. We want to support Canadian farmers, fishermen, and food producers and if being labeled ‘nose to tail’ helps guests explain we’re conscientious about what we serve we’re okay with that.
For Mottershall, the challenge never comes in putting those great seasonal, local ingredients to use on his menu, but rather in finding the ingredients and the suppliers to begin with. They’ve lucked out in building a relationship with their fish supplier that’s so close, the company can tell Mottershall and his staff the name of the fisherman who caught each fish.
True, that sounds like an episode of “Portlandia,” but in the movement to bring Canadians to a deeper awareness of where their food–of where real food–comes from, it’s a powerful notion.
At Loka, their restaurant starts with those ingredients, and Mottershall says that’s why their menu changes daily. “Every Saturday our farmer comes with $200 worth of produce, we don’t tell him what to bring us, simply whatever is leftover from the market and would be waste, which ties in with our zero waste policy,” Mottershall explains.
“Saturday is the most exciting day because we look at what we have and build a menu from there,” adds Mottershall.
The excitement in the kitchen and at the table is similar at Farmer’s Apprentice. Gunawan’s award-winning restaurant has been a torchlight of sorts for Vancouver restaurants who want to focus on the absolute freshest of-the-moment ingredients, sustainability, and zero waste, showcased through beautifully presented food prepared using classic techniques. It’s fine dining realized in a humbling ground-up way.
What Gunawan has done with Farmer’s Apprentice, and the chef himself, are the prime draw for Mottershall, who cites Gunawan as the reason he is most exciting to head west in October to take part in EAT! Vancouver.
“I’m a lifelong student and always seek to learn from other cooks. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a kitchen that inspires me,” explains Mottershall. “[Gunawan’s] food is stellar and it’s a great opportunity to collaborate with someone so talented.”
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Gunawan and Mottershall’s EAT! Vancouver collab dinner also happens to be the most intimate on the roster, with only 32 available seats for each of two seatings that night. It’s a rare chance to taste what two of the country’s finest chefs are doing with sustainable–and, yes, “farm to table”–cooking.
When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Time: 1st seating at 5:30 pm, 2nd seating at 830pm
Where: Farmer’s Apprentice, 1535 West 6th Avenue, Vancouver
Tickets: $135.00 plus tax (includes wine and gratuity); available online
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Daily Hive is proud to be the exclusive media sponsor of EAT! Vancouver 2016