Pie Digest - Culinary

Page 1



Top Chef Canada Bob Dylan RAISES HIS GLASS

Glamping Freshspoke A PARADIGM SHIFT


A Scotch Aficionado

This piece of the Pie is tasty…

But I’m willing to share. My passion for socializing with friends—dishing and dining—has

inspired some pretty sweet favourites within these pages. Add a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and artful storytelling and you’ll have the recipe for Pie: The Culture of Culinary Issue.

It makes sense for me to launch a hospitality and culinary issue, because that’s where

it all began. Back in my days at Georgian College, then to Dunlop Street, private yachting, international travel, and many titillating events in between.

Returning to Newfoundland to interview Canada’s Top Chef, Ross Larkin, was kind of like

a pilgrimage: we all know the significance of home and Larkin reminds us of the importance of home cooking. From the Rock to the soil, we head to Eigensinn Farms to see first hand what a farm-to-table experience looks and tastes like.

Patios and dining rooms are where some of the best Pie interviews, meetings, and good

times are had and I know this issue will have you yearning for some of the best this country has to offer.

I’m excited to share with you extraordinary chefs, wholesome farm-to-table cuisine, and

modern twists on classic cocktails. I know you’ll love this piece of the Pie. Savour, sip, and celebrate. With love,

Sandra Roberts publisher


Marketing and media inquiries: info@piemediagroup.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the publisher.

published in canada by pie media group


photo sébastien dubois-didcock

a touchless faucet? People can’t keep their hands off it. Should we tell them it’s a touchless faucet?

American Standard’s tradition of innovation and quality continues with the new Beale Touchless Kitchen Faucet. Its intuitive, hands-free operation easily converts to manual. Plus, the sleek, high-arc design is full page a stunning complement to a range of modern kitchen designs. Discover more at americanstandard.ca

Beale Selectronic ® Touchless Faucet Beale Selectronic ® Touchless Faucet


© 2017 AS Canada ULC

American Standard’s tradition of innovation and quality continues with the new Beale Touchless Kitchen Faucet. Its intuitive, hands-free operation easily converts to manual. Plus, the sleek, high-arc design is a stunning complement to a range of modern kitchen designs. Discover more at americanstandard.ca

PIEMEDIAGROUP.COM editor-in-chief

Sandra Roberts

design director

culinary photographer


April Barber

Sébastien Dubois-Didcock

chief financial officer


Eileen Hicks

Dan Lim Rowell Photography Scott Cooper Stephen Plumley Ian McIntosh Braxton Parks Jeff Buchanan Nate Gates Robin Waters Jennifer Klementti Chris Digerati Gabe Toth

Bruce Meyer Kolter Bouchard R. Leigh Krafft Jennifer Kozeil Amy De Wolfe Elle Boutilier Kevin Harris Jennilu Reid Stu Lynam Leslie A Goodreid

cover photography

Sébastien Dubois-Didcock features writer

Dave Gordon features photographer

John Shearer Michael Persico Gab Bonghi


Jennifer Koziel

Pie Media Group - Pie Digest Culinary A content, photography and design agency focused on relaxed luxury and lifestyle brands. Info@piemediagroup.com Discover more at Piemediagroup.com photo sébastien dubois-didcock

best ingredients

The translate to the plate and then to the palate

Era 67

Restaurant & Lounge

64 Mississauga St W, Orillia 705.259.1867 | era67.com

Contents the culinary issue


30 46 70 16 26 40


Pioneering a paradigm shift in how we think about the food we purchase. medley festival

A food revolution created by Philip Moore and Jeff Atley. renegade

Which diet can you make a lifestyle? glamping

Wading through the muck in your Louboutins to get another tin of beluga caviar and a champagne refill. chef michael stadtlander

Inspired dining, as close to nature as possible. top chef canada

Memories of fried capelin and bread at his Grandmother’s table. high tea

Socialites and shopping at Cookstown Antique Market.

To digest this piece of the pie in its entirety, check our exclusive online stories at PIEMEDIAGROUP.COM



Delicious HEALTHY




Contents the culinary issue

58 34 60 64 72 76

cocktail culture

Kevin Harris is re-defining the approach to the classic cocktail. homestead artisan bakery

Local organic provisions and a hefty pinch of passion for the craft: timehonoured food staples for your table. bob dylan

Iconic singer, legendary song writer, artist, novel laureate… now a maker of fine whiskey. drôrs Modern and contemporary kitchen cabinets and modular cabinetry for the entire home. the ancient dram

From the pub, Bruce Meyer reveals a story about the great scotch aficionados. a look behind the door

Donaleigh’s pub sets the stage for many good times.

BRANDED CONTENT MARKETING We curate custom social content to tell your story in engaging ways









Fine dining north of the core THENORTHRESTAURANT.COM

Chef Marco Ormonde



Tucked in under a tree on King in Midland this Canadian-inspired restaurant is sophisticated and welcoming. Head Chef Saundra Vezeau brings to Maple the familiar quality and love for food found at The North, her sister restaurant owned by Chef Marco Ormonde. Maple’s menu is brilliantly compiled using local ingredients and Canadian staples – think game meats and cooking with beer – laced with a hint of maple to stay true to its namesake. Upscale pub fare, Ontario craft beer, and a perfect selection of wine, The Maple is an approachable restaurant that truly does feed the soul.




Farm to Table

WITH FOOD-TECH START-UP FRESHSPOKE Supported by the vibrant Barrie startup ecosystem | photo sébastien dubois-didcock

We grew up hearing the phrase “Good things grow in Ontario.” The jingle is probably stuck in your

head. More than simply catchy advertising, the motto has credence: consumers are looking inward, rather than outward, for their food. People are hungry for fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients from within their own communities and the farm-to-table industry is expected to generate revenue in excess of $20 billion.

Greater Simcoe Region is leading world-innovation in sustainability and food. Canadian startup

FreshSpoke is a service that connects farmers and micro producers with restaurants and food wholesalers, markets from which they were previously excluded. Partnered with Georgian College’s Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre and other incubators, FreshSpoke has pioneered a paradigm shift in how we think about the food we purchase. The company has allowed us to become closer to the ingredients we consume, taking a bigger stake in farming sustainability and becoming champions of community support. It’s also good business: according to FreshSpoke CEO Marcia Woods, “Consumers care about local and sustainably-grown food and are willing to spend more to get it.”

The start-up has changed the food industry by creating a convenient and cost-effective way for

consumers to purchase locally-farmed meat and produce.

They proudly offer over 1,500 fresh, frozen, and prepared items from a wide range of over 175

regionally-specific producers. The service, available online and on the company’s app, handles every aspect of the purchasing pipeline: ordering, payment, and delivery for consumers as well as local farmers, growers, and artisans.

The company is also setting the international stage. Despite hundreds of applications, FreshSpoke

was one of only eight start-ups invited to participate in a prestigious accelerator held in New York by Food-X, the largest global investor in early-stage food companies. FreshSpoke is even planning to bring Canadian know-how to the United States, launching first in Southern Michigan and Northwestern Ohio.

Think of your last trip to the supermarket. You probably noticed tomatoes from California or

broccoli from Mexico, but the reality is we have options—oftentimes preferable, be they organic or hormone-free—locally. Local also means less transportation, which can be especially beneficial when dealing with livestock; animals endure less stress and are treated more humanely.

It’s also an opportunity to try new recipes or restaurants featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables.

A common misconception is that harvesting occupies a small timeframe, but the reality is that

certain vegetation thrives during the colder months or can be grown year-round. Ontario squash, beets, and leeks are primarily available during the first months of the year and are great additions to some of your favourite dishes. Greenhouse farming magnifies this by producing food outside its typical season. Which means you can ditch the out-of-country vegetation for something grown within a few kilometres of your home.

FreshSpoke’s philosophy is farm-to-table and the company is doing everything in its power to

shrink our collective carbon footprint. They’ve even revolutionized the way we transport meat and produce.

By leveraging the unused cargo capacity of vehicles already on the road, FreshSpoke is able to

deliver to customers’ doors without adding a single truck to the roads. “This drives down cost and gives commercial drivers, including producers, the ability to earn extra income delivering food.”

FreshSpoke is putting a face to food by connecting us with meat and produce farmed by people

in our own communities. It connects producers with a highly-engaged cohort of consumers with incredible buying power—people who value fresh, organic food grown locally and sustainably. They want to know what they’re purchasing and do it in a way that promotes local production while putting money directly in the wallets of farmers.

The FreshSpoke app is available on Google Play and the App Store; freshspoke.com

Michael and Nobuyo Stadtlander

AS CLOSE TO NATURE AS POSSIBLE Believing in people, nature, food and art by

R. Leigh Krafft |


Sébastien Dubois-Didcock

Are you in need of inspiration? There appears to be no shortage of it in rural Singhampton. Canadian celebrity chef, Michael Stadtlander, can be found working on sculptures, repairing outdoor paintings, or crafting a gate to keep adventurous pigs off the lawn. “Being a farmer, you have to know how to do things yourself.” he said, and when he isn’t offering world-class, fine French dining at Eigensinn Farm, he is continually inspired to do so much more. The farm hosts several special Events each year, always a singular, exceptional dining experience, including at least 7 delectable courses, served in uniquely designed dining areas, as you stroll through forest trails, enjoying his newest sculptures and installations. A modern artist, his work includes political and ecological commentary, but allows for bravado and whimsy. He even makes distinctive pottery to frame his culinary masterpieces for Eigensinn’s Events.

He considers carefully when blazing a new trail, cutting down the least number

of trees possible, continuing to honour the philosophies of his teacher and farming guide, Masanobu Fukuoka; Japanese farmer, philosopher and natural farming guru. His gardens and crops are managed by those principles: “as close to nature as possible”, with nasturtiums and mustard greens protruding from piles of rocks.


Eigensinn farm black currant, honey and gin sorbet

Pan fried Georgian Bay white fish and Eigensinn farm morels with green asparagus, in chervil sauce.

Stewardship is evident: “The Farmer” stands in the field, surrounded by a lush sea

of waving grass, composed of various metal pieces. Old, rusted parts of tractors and equipment were donated by local farmers, which he requested; when the sculpture was finished, Michael hosted a meal right there under The Farmer’s supervision, to thank them. He is man of his community, believing in people, nature, food, and art.

He and his wife, Nobuyo, have been bringing farm to table since 1993, presenting

Eigensinn’s Trail 25 Event as a “crystallization of what I’ve learned, gastronomically, technically…” Of course, you don’t have to wait for an Event. Once named one of the world’s 10 best restaurants, it feels more like coming home. Guests who have visited recall the history of the farm, the long table, crystal and linen, big steaming bowls and a sense of wholesomeness. Home is, after all, where you are most yourself; and this is Michael Stadtlander’s home.

Attending one of Eigensinn’s Events will certainly allow you into his creative

vortex, sampling his ingenious and delicious culinary creations. As ever, seating is by reservation, and the menu will be announced, along with a suggested wine list, BYOB. Accommodation at nearby bed and breakfast locations (with shuttle service) enables patrons to come from all over the world to enjoy their evening in total relaxation, and they do. Eigensinn Farm has become a mecca for foodies, chefs, and connoisseurs of fine food worldwide; almost a right of passage. Apprentices, too, come to study and work on the farm with Michael, for six months at time. He finds it incredibly rewarding to see them go on to great successes of their own, and to receive their thanks. An intensive education, it would be: Michael lives by deeper values paying attention to details, never wasting anything, “you could go the easier route, but that’s not an option for me”.


Staff enjoy excellent meals in this beautiful outdoor dining hall. 18 PIE DIGEST

A quaint, unpretentious laneway leads you to the farm’s bounty.

Behind this door, the magic happens slowly in the smokehouse.

Those philosophies guide raising livestock, fowl, gardening, fishing, foraging, and

beekeeping: most of his ingredients are grown and raised on the farm. This level of authenticity and integrity is admirable, indeed, and you can taste it. Michael knows how fortunate he was to grow up this way in Germany: his school in the pine forest, apprenticing in his mother’s fragrant kitchen garden and learning to forage for wild foods in nature. He is a third-generation chef, after his mother and grandmother, and fondly recalls his grandfather’s Volkswagen, with a large tank, delivering milk door to door. In our modern, social, work-a-day world, we can feel quite distant from the land and its bounty, and yet, we are inextricably linked to the natural world in which we have evolved. Is it a memory of wholeness and a sense of connection that brings people back, year after year, to Michael’s table?

In a small clearing, he gestured at a statue from a previous Event. “The Chef”, he

explained, “is like a messenger, the liaison between the farmer and the people”, and Michael Stadtlander is both, providing a very classical, refined, sensuous experience in his own personal art gallery. His culinary mentor, Vincent Klink, is known to host a jazz performance, read from his own work, and then advertise for his restaurant, when he isn’t painting or mountaineering. If you set the bar high, your students will rise. Now it’s Michael’s turn; he is offering you more than sumptuous sustenance for your body. What you take away is up to you, and if you can be open enough to receive it, you, too, may be inspired.


Cookstown Greens by

Jennilu Reid

Walking up to the classic red barn at Cookstown Greens Farm, you can’t help but notice

subtle hints of onion, garlic, and fresh herbs, teasing olfactory organs. There is something to be said for the quiet charm of a thriving vegetable farm, especially one that grows organic produce ethically, cared for by people who genuinely love what they do.

Vicki and Mike Ffrench, lovers of root vegetables and routines, are truly committed to

their life’s work at Cookstown Greens. They manage 5 heated greenhouses and 100 acres of farmland that supplies a multitude of retailers and farm-to-table restaurants spanning the GSR and the GTA. Methodical farming methods include a strict three-crop rotation which contributes to above-average flavour. No wonder these vegetables are sought after by the regions top chefs.

At the mercy of the weather, the Ffrenchs keep diligent records year after year to help

them determine trends and what to expect when harvest season rolls around. During hot and dry summers, irrigation is almost constant on the 100 acre property using water from Egbert Creek, which runs along their property then into the Nottawasaga River.

Cookstown Greens harvests an endless list of organic vegetables, priding themselves

on their potatoes and rightfully so, once roasted they literally melt in your mouth. Summer tomatoes, garlic scapes and bulbs, six varieties of onions, a blend of summer greens for every palate—the farm even supplies chefs with Jerusalem artichokes, rutabaga, and black salsify.

Recent dabbling in the realm of mushrooms has taken their product line up a few notches.

The endeavour has produced oysters, shiitakes, and chestnut mushrooms which have made their way into megalopolitan markets.

Cookstown Greens is certified organic outdoor farming with traditional roots, and the

Ffrenchs have mastered the art of quality farming.





Fun with Fungi know your mushrooms by

Jennifer Koziel

Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus Sulphereus

Chicken of the woods has vibrant yellows and oranges. The magic of this mushroom: when cooked, it resembles chicken in taste and texture – it’s truly a plant-based eater's dream. It works amazingly in pasta, as taco filler, in a sauté, or as deep-fried “chicken” fingers. You want to harvest this mushroom when it is young; the older the mushroom, the more bugs it will have, and the tougher the mushroom becomes. 22 PIE DIGEST

Lobster Mushroom Hypomyces lactifluorum

Generally found in late August to October, this fungus is an easy one for beginners to identify. It has ridges instead of true gills. This is a parasitized mushroom and it's colours range from burnt red to oranges when young, and as it decomposes it turns a brilliant fuchsia colour. There is no distinct stem or cap, it is irregularly shaped and the surface is rather hard. It has a distinct seafood smell, stronger with age. This mushroom can be tricky to clean; it’s best placed in water and soaked for a few minutes. When grated, it can be used like crab, moulded into crabcakes. PIE DIGEST 23

Chanterelle Mushroom Cantharellus

These Golden Chanterelles are a wonderful find in the forest. There are over 40 different varieties found in North America. The flavour of this mushroom is mild, nutty, almost apricot-like. Many prepare this mushroom sautéed in butter or used in cream sauces, served with chicken or egg dishes. These mushrooms start to come out mid July and are abundant in the fall. When looking to identify this mushroom, look for colours that range from off-whites, golden yellows, to brightoranges. It has “false” gills or forked ridges that squiggle between the stem across the underside of the cap. The flesh of a chanterelle will rip apart like string cheese and will appear almost fibrous.


Morel Mushroom Morchella esculenta

These are one of the most prized edible fungi, gathered in the wild. Every spring, mushroom enthusiasts and foraging chefs hunt these little forest treasures. It is best to look for these fungi in pastures, sites of fire, meadows and orchards. There are some key identification characteristics with the true morel that should not be mistaken with a false morel. The colour of this fungi can vary from blonde to dark grey. It has a honeycomb-like exterior, with “combs� or pits on the outside cap that can be tight or loose and form an imperfect pattern. True morels, when sliced in halves, are hollow in the center, from the stem to the tip of the cap. The base of the cap is fused to the stem, unlike false morels. High in protein and fiber, it offers a meaty texture and has an earthy and nutty flavour. Morels are high in iron, copper, vitamin D, folate, riboflavin, zinc, and antioxidants. This mushroom is great cooked low and slow for best flavour extraction, or breaded, stuffed, or fried. PIE DIGEST 25



R. Leigh Krafft |


Nate Gates

You would think that Ross Larkin's specialty is humble pie, when he talks about

filming and competing in The Food Network’s 2018 season of Top Chef Canada. Yet, when he joined an elite, chosen few, Larkin went on to win the prestigious title, representing Atlantic Canada and his home province, Newfoundland. His modesty is perhaps due, in part, to how he developed on his career path. Once he “got serious about food”, he realized that he could learn something valuable “from everyone in the kitchen”, and he started listening, watching, reading, and studying intently. “Chef” is a title he uses when speaking to others who “have earned it, out of respect”, and yet, as Chef de Cuisine at one of Canada’s top restaurants, he smiles and says… “you don’t have to call me that.” While he may feel he is lacking in formal culinary training, he has more than made up for it with sheer ingenuity and creativity; made from scratch is an understatement.

When you live on The Rock, as it’s affectionately referred to, you are at once

connected, yet distant… “we’re the last stop for ferries, shipping… you can’t always count on everything always getting here. You have to know what’s on the Island and use it.” A sudden cold snap that damages greens, storms that keep the fishermen off the water; learning to substitute has become a passion and a science for Larkin. “When everything is growing, we preserve it… it’s what we have.” He describes using seabuckthorn, now heralded as a super-food, to make a vinegar, (the acidic berries act as a substitute for citrus).

One of the challenges of competing on the show was exactly that; he is accustomed to

preparing his own seasonings months in advance, “rather than just reaching for something that can build flavour quickly.”

Larkin discusses his approach to food, preparing and presenting a plate, and to life, in

much the same way: simple is best. He thoughtfully arranges temperatures and textures together, complimenting one another, but with the basics of only a few ingredients. That does not mean uncomplicated flavours; on the contrary, he strives for “food that will eat differently, but give you flavours you remember… you build around it, it’s warming; makes you feel good.” He speaks about connecting to something familiar, perhaps a childhood experience. Not surprising, since his own fondest food memories are with his family, sitting down at his grandmother’s table to fried capelin and bread.

It’s a cue to discuss points of etiquette: he encourages people to be open-minded, to

have a sense of place. Wherever you go, focus on that experience; anticipating what you will get, something new and unexpected, as opposed to what you won’t have. Of course, in Newfoundland, you will get cod, fish and brewis, fish cakes, but also “beautiful vegetables, hidden gems that we don’t share… that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!” 26 PIE DIGEST



The incredible dishes created and plated by Larkin for the win certainly have garnered

international attention. “The culinary scene is changing in Newfoundland, with many young, talented cooks and chefs who want to be here and be a part of it,” observes Larkin, with food as the tip of the proverbial iceberg, in terms of relaxed luxury lifestyle on the Island.

Newfoundland boasts beautiful boutique bed and breakfasts, unique artisans, breathtaking

landscapes, fine dining, and “a welcoming reputation throughout the world”.

In the interview with the Publisher at Raymonds, Ross Larkin adds “nobody moves to

Newfoundland for the weather, but everywhere you go, people have a lot of heart, you have a great work ethic… proud to be from Newfoundland.” As for the title of Canada’s Top Chef, it’s “great for the Island, to bring this back home, here.”

Those seem to be the key words, home and here, when we look at Larkin’s cuisine and

his raw ingredients. Working with his respected mentor, Jeremy Charles, at Raymond’s, in Newfoundland, culinary innovation “is based on what’s available… I never know what’s coming through the door, berries, mushrooms, but I know what time the fish came out of the water, and what part of the water it came from.” Ross Larkin takes the character and history inherent in the flavours of traditional foods and transforms them into a fine dining experience with his fresh, ingenious use of only a few key components.

“I grew up berry picking with my grandparents, hunting and fishing, but some people,

they have their boat and they have their house and they fish and they hunt. They literally live off the land and they’ve been doing it for centuries,” he said. “They have fish, salt fish, berries and preserves in the pantry, moose, rabbit and partridge in their freezer, vegetable gardens and root cellars… it’s not about trending toward foraging or sustainability, it’s just something that’s always been done here. It’s how you live… coming full circle; we know our history and we remember our heritage and it’s always been honoured and appreciated.”

Let’s let the Chef have the last word. He’s earned it.



SPIRITS, SNACKS, AND SPECTACLE AT MEDLEY Annual Medley Food and Drink Festival by

Kolter Bouchard |


Jeff Buchanan

You’re driving along the highway—“hey,

Medley has partnered with award-winning

what’s that?” Twin skydivers, smoke trailing from

Canadian chefs to include master classes

their packs, a Canadian flag suspended between

and smaller, more intimate workshops in its

them. It’s your first look at Medley Food & Drink

programming. Guests can interact with industry

Festival, a collection of curated experiences for

experts, learning how to take home cooking to

those hungry—and thirsty—for refined Northern

higher degrees of proficiency. The festival treats

Summers. If the sky-bound entertainment is

cocktail preparation with the same reverence and

any indication, this is something so completely

enthusiasm it does food, offering flare bartending

revolutionary in the industry as to be in a lane of its

events, a primer on Caesars, and a cocktail


competition. It truly is a food and drink show.

Medley is the brainchild of Phillip Moore

Even the way the fare is presented is unique.

and Jeff Atley, friends and business partners

Organizers preserved some of the staples of food

sharing thirty years of experience in marketing

and beverage festivals, such as exhibition-style

and hospitality. The initial conversation began,

food vendors and meat-and-cheese pairings, but

unsurprisingly, over a couple drinks and what

have done so with a Food Truck Corral—complete

was initially a thirty-minute catch-up grew into a

with 1800s-style wagons—and Charcuterie Cave,

three-hour business development. It’s clear they’re

respectively. There’s absolutely no pretension here:

just as excited to enjoy the festival as the guests

it’s extremely accessible for both retailers and



The pair have created an experience targeted at

Regardless of when you arrive and how long

small-to-medium- sized Canadian cities, opening

you stay, the festival is designed to allow guests to

to retailers and high-earning individuals who may

enjoy it in their own way.

not typically travel to existing food and beverage

It's important to the organizers that there is

festivals. Moore & Atley also want to redefine what

an effortless flow and each guests' experience

these festivals encompass: beer and wine, sure,

can be unique. Lounges and other activations

but also music and spectacle. They want to make

are strategically placed in order to facilitate the

a statement: “we’re appealing to people who are

dichotomy of families and singles or couples.

enthusiasts of food & beverage culture, but want

"Guests should look forward to buskers, a kid's

something bigger.”

zone, axe throwing and car shows.


One of the festival’s signature non-edible

It’s a matter of broadening guests’ horizons.

offerings is the 20 minute Chill Zone: an air

“We want to keep our network diverse—a good

conditioned yurt where guests can cool down with

balance of big and small vendors.”

a cocktail and escape Canada's July heat. Guests

will also have access to one of the largest private

responsible for the festival’s being, they have

collections of antique wooden boats in Ontario,

abstained from managing vendors’ directives.

being displayed by Heritage Boats. These, in

According to the pair, their clients already have

addition to the lakeside venues and other not-so-

great ideas—brands just need a big enough

subtleties like Muskoka Chairs, cuts to the heart of

platform to make them happen. In fact, Medley

what organizers believe to be Canadians’ fondest

and its clients have a symbiotic relationship—

memories of Summer: an eagerness to enjoy the

each has grown the other into something bigger,

natural beauty of this country.

more spectacular. Medley Food & Drink Festival

will be the new forbearer of Canadian Summers,

Medley Food & Drink Festival is an opportunity

Though Moore and Atley are principally

for markets to showcase local producers—

signalling throughout markets across the country

distilleries, vineyards, and restaurants chief among

that it’s time to embrace what unites us: our

them—but also national ones. This means guests

rich and varied landscapes, our indomitable

can get reacquainted with products and services

cuisine and libations, and our family and friends.

offered by their neighbours and also get to know


companies that have traditionally operated outside their borders.


Ryan Rowell


Owner Melanie Barrett and her team work

Chef Sarah Jones has been with Melanie

hard in their bustling downtown Barrie bistro.

since she took over the bistro in 2011. Together

The cozy dining room gives guests a unique

they have strived to achieve a balance in their

experience with the comfortable familiarity of

menus, often being ahead of food trends and

being in someone’s home. Having been in the

fusing familiar home cooking with interesting

industry for 20 years, Melanie always knew

twists and melding of flavours.

the sense of community that she wanted to

achieve in her own restaurant.

people coming back for more. Their open

Her staff shares in the same values and beliefs

kitchen allows guests to watch as their dishes

and continue to invite guests into the bistro,

are being prepared, fresh to order. Offering an

with their own brand of ‘Groovy’ banter. From

array of gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free and

the minute you walk in the door, you can

other dietary modifications to their dishes,

expect to be treated like an old friend who has

there is nothing that they won’t do to make

come to visit.

your visit exceed your expectations.

Guests can always expect to see something

These intriguing twists are what keep

It’s not uncommon to have one of the

new on the menu, as it changes with the

cooks deliver your food to the table or to see

seasons. Sourcing fresh and local ingredients

your server plating up a dish. The sense of

is an important step in preparing their ever-

comradery is evident in the way that the bistro

evolving, yet familiar dishes.

hums with excitement as it fills up.


The staff work closely with each other to

Melanie and her ‘Groovy Family’, as she

give you the very best, whether you are coming

affectionately refers to her staff and guests

in with friends, family, or looking for a romantic

alike, have formed an undeniable bond. The

night out with your significant other.

sense of comfort and outpouring of love that

goes between everyone, including Mel’s toddler

Groovy Tuesday’s Bistro hosts everything

from birthday parties to intimate wedding

Frankie, is evident in every experience that

gatherings. Putting love into every event that

makes Groovy Tuesday’s Bistro what it has

they plan, they always cater to what their guests

become. To be here is to be fed, to laugh, and to

are looking for. Bringing back old favourites

indulge. This is a family that you want to be a

from one of the 28 menus that they have created

part of.

to date is something they love. Building custom menus for events always brings out their flare for creativity. There is no challenge too big for this little bistro.

73 Collier Street, Barrie | groovytuesdays.ca














Jennifer Klementti

High Tea in Cookstown

What is High Tea? Unknown to many, the term High Tea was actually developed in working class communities of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in response to industrial workers coming home famished after a long grueling workday. This altered the manner in which the upper class took tea. The elite society adopted the term High Tea in place of their routine afternoon tea, and it became a bridge between two meals. Historically accompanied by lighter fare such as crackers, cheese, cold meats, and fruit, High Tea had become a mini-meal in itself. In our stunning event space, High Tea is our specialty. The antique dining table takes centre stage, surrounded by unique collectibles and antique pieces. Open 362 days per year, our event room exudes ambience, and is an ideal spot to host an event, or attend one hosted by us. “Today’s little moments become tomorrow’s precious memories”

CookstownAntiqueMarket.com PIE DIGEST 41

LIBERTY NORTH All-inclusive Hospitality by

Kolter Bouchard | Morgelli Photography

The most stressful part of hosting an

Liberty North offers 5,000 square feet of

event is planning the logistics. Sometimes,

event and meeting space, set to nearly double

you just about want to pull out your hair.

after a late-2018 renovation and expansion.

You’ve selected the venue, then what? Food.

They can accommodate up to 500 people

Linens. Atmosphere. Oh, the caterer pulled

for a banquet-style event and up to 800 for a

out at the last minute and you suddenly have

standard reception. The space can be divided

an extra forty guests showing up? What now?

to accommodate a number of separate

or associated events, such as seminars,

Welcome to all-inclusive hospitality in

Greater Simcoe Region. The team at Liberty

conventions, galas, and private celebrations.

North offers single-invoice assurance, which

means you only deal with one contact.

venue offers full-service on-site catering.

Event Manager Lori Buch will create a

Experienced chefs work with you to develop

bespoke experience using the many services

a memorable menu that highlights whatever

the company offers—ensuring you’re not

mood you want to set. One of the group’s

spending valuable time chasing down

signature features is a chef’s table, manned

subcontracted labour.

by Executive Chef Mark Brasier—this can

help foster a close bond amongst an intimate

In addition to a sprawling floor plan, the

group of friends or colleagues. 42 PIE DIGEST

"Get ready for a good time"

Treat yourself to a menu expertly paired

Focus on enjoying your event by letting

with wine and spirits.

the Liberty North team skillfully execute an

extraordinary affair. Take pride and comfort

The team also offers off-site and corporate

catering: LN to go. Guests have been so taken

in knowing you have on your side a crew of

with the fresh menu at Liberty North that

individuals adept at every aspect of party

many wanted takeaway versions of the same

planning, ensuring its absolute success. And

gourmet meals. From creating meals for your

most importantly: get ready for a good time.

weekend at the cottage, catering an office luncheon, and serving a plated 5-course dinner on a private island.




Tempting menu. Locally sourced ingredients. Premium coffee


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Which diet can you make a lifestyle? CONSISTENCY AND COMMITMENT by

Amy De Wolfe | photo Sébastien Dubois-Didcock

It is well-known that fad diets have developed into a profitable industry, always featuring a new diet-du-jour on the menu. But why? Fact is, not all diets are designed for everyone. We are each unique in the way we navigate our lives regarding work, health, and routine (or lack thereof ). If you find a diet that you can stick with, chances are you will see results. The most important factors are consistency and commitment.

Ketogenic (KETO) Lifestyle This diet is currently flooding social media feeds everywhere. It’s likely that your friend/ co-worker/cousin is trying it, and you watch on as they drop weight quickly… or struggle to manage. Doctors recommend KETO to lower blood sugar and balance hormones. The Skinny: By upping your fat intake and lowering your daily net carbs to 20g or less, your body starts to absorb fat instead of carbs for fuel. The exact amount of fat required varies from person to person, so expect a learning curve before discovering your sweet spot. The Verdict: The KETO lifestyle is effective for weight loss – IF you can stick with it. Cheating on carbs will get you into big trouble (literally). Luckily, there are great carb replacement recipes out there to help you battle cravings.

Plant-Based This is about eating plants, plants, and more plants! Vegetarian, vegan and most raw diets fall into this category. The Skinny: Plant-based diets call for little-to-no consumption of animal products. There are healthy plant-based choices. Sprouts, spinach, and anything that travels straight from the earth to your plate. But, there are less than healthy choices… Think french fries and vegan birthday cake. The Verdict: Supplements and guidance can help for long-term success. Beware of processed vegan food products. Vegan does not always equal healthy, but healthy can always be vegan.

Paleo The Skinny: Paleo is based on the ancient Palaeolithic Caveman hunter/gatherer diet of lean proteins, veggies, nuts, seeds, other oils and a generous sprinkling of wild berries. You have to drop dairy, processed food, and agricultural grains. The belief is that hunter/gatherer diets are genetically natural, and can eliminate modern health issues like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The Verdict: It is impossible to replicate a hunter/gatherer diet with the cultivated meat and produce available in modern-day grocery stores, as they have different nutritional profiles than their wild counterparts. Sticking to Paleo principles is a healthy diet worth striving for.


Elimination or Gut Health Diet This is the diet your naturopath swears will reduce your adult-onset acne, bloating, headaches, stuffy nose, insomnia, eczema, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, muffin-top… you get the picture. The Skinny: This diet requires you to eliminate specific foods from your diet for a three-week period, then slowly add them back one at a time while monitoring your body’s reactions. It helps you and your MD identify allergies and food sensitivities that might be producing undesirable reactions. Elimination can be done in tiers by eliminating a group of foods at a time, ie. dairy, gluten, soy and eggs. The Verdict: Heal your gut and understand which foods are helping you thrive and which are hurting you. Which diet will work for you? Consider your food preferences, your schedule, and your personal “Why”. Cooking and preparing your own food is the most reliable way to ensure your new healthy lifestyle is sustainable for the long-term. Commitment is key, so choose something you think you can stick with over time. Good luck and happy dieting.



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acsent lounge Taking your private party to the next level! The astral vibe and chill atmosphere is the ideal hub for cocktails, custom menu and mingling.


29 Dunlop Street East (Above the British Arms) Barrie | 705.728.1111 | acsentlounge.com PIE DIGEST 51


Ian McIntosh photos


It should be an experience…the music, the food, the vibe.

Located in downtown Barrie’s west side, close to the waterfront, this independently owned café is open for breakfast and lunch daily, with a focus on real food and conscious eating, in a setting that is worldly and funky. Everything is made from scratch, from the baked goods, sandwich bread, soup, quiche and baked French toast, with a strong emphasis on vegan/vegetarian dishes, and locally sourced ingredients. Coffee is made traditionally, shots manually extracted from beans that are locally roasted, fair trade and organic by Planet Bean. LAZYTULIPCAFE.COM PIE DIGEST 53

crafted with love EASTERN TEMPTATIONS....

Braxton Parks photos

NOTHING EXCITES AN EPICUREAN’S SENSATIONS LIKE THE VIBRANT TASTES OF AUTHENTIC EAST INDIAN CUISINE. Sylvia Parks specializes in that venerable cuisine…and is willing to share a few secrets. Going beyond catering and meal preparation, Indian born Sylvia, a director with Pampered Chef Canada, and Founder of Indian Plates, has carved out an innovative niche in the local food industry by offering clients the chance to learn vintage East Indian delicacies through interactive cooking classes. Ideal for in-home celebrations or office galas, her recipes are rooted in her Mother’s custom-made garam masala, an enticing medley of 12 herbs, part of every fresh curry dish she prepares and teaches. Sylvia’s creative business and imaginative menu are proving to be a temptation that food lovers would do well to indulge. indianplates.ca - 705.770.2221

A dining experience that satisfies a need for superior food and a phenomenal cocktail program URBANDISH.CA 56 PIE DIGEST

Kevin Harris Ryan Praskey PIE DIGEST photos Ryan Rowell mixologist

executive chef


Cocktail culture CLASSIC COCKTAILS


Kevin Harris |


Ryan Rowell

1 oz – Leyenda Milagro Reposado ½ oz – Leyenda Oaxacan Mezcal ½ oz - Triple Sec 1¼ oz - lime juice 1oz - pineapple juice ¾ oz - jalapeno agave syrup Instructions: In a mixing glass add all contents together. Shake and strain into a medium sized wine carafe. Rim an oversized old fashioned glass with a mixture of smoked sea salt and kosher salt. Fill with ice and a dried pineapple chip. Using a handheld food smoker and hickory wood chips, fill the carafe with smoke and cover with a napkin. Swirl and pour slowly into the glass. 58 PIE DIGEST

ILLUMINATI 1¾ oz – Gordon’s London Dry Gin 1 oz – Sage- Lime cordial ¼ oz – Green Chartreuse 2dashes – Dillon’s Lime bitters top with Lavender Foam spritz with lime peel then garnish with lime chip & lavender wand Sage - Lime cordial 24 oz sugar (volume) 1 tsp tartaric acid 1 tsp citric acid 12 oz water 10 grams roughly cut sage leaves 12 oz lime juice peels of 10 limes Instructions: Mix first 3 ingredients together and then add water and bring to a boil. Add sage, lime juice and lime peels. Stir and simmer for 1-2 mins. Set aside and let cool for 30 mins. Strain sage leaves but leave lime zest. Place in fridge for 24 hrs, then strain.

Lavender syrup

2 cups sugar ¾ tsp Xanthan powder 3 grams lavender buds 2.5 cups boiling water Instructions: Mix first 3 ingredients together thoroughly, then add boiling water and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Steep for 45 minutes, strain + refrigerate.

Lavender Foam

12 oz lavender syrup 3.5 oz egg whites 1 oz lime juice Instructions: Add all contents together and stir thoroughly. Pour into ISI canister. Charge with 1 NO2 tube and shake. Wait 5 mins and charge with 2nd NO2. Refrigerate for 4 hours.



A Premium Spirit by

Dave Gordon |


John Shearer and Gab Bonghi

Bob Dylan – iconic singer, legendary songwriter, and Nobel laureate –

became a whiskey maker in the Spring of 2018. Called Heaven’s Door, the batch comes in three varieties: a “doublebarreled” American whiskey, a seven-year-old bourbon, and a rye finished in French Vosges oak barrels.

The idea was launched in 2015 when Marc Bushala – former co-

owner of Angel’s Envy bourbon – noticed that Dylan had applied for the trademark of the term “bootleg whiskey”. Intrigued, Bushala contacted Dylan, and together, they poured over the idea of creating small-batch whiskeys. They raised $35US million from investors, and today the 76-year-old Blowin’ in the Wind singer isn’t merely lending his name; he’s a partner in Heaven’s Door Spirits.




“We wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their

own way, tell a story,” said Dylan, who is in fact very much a long-time and dedicated devotee of whiskey, having sampled countless brands over the course of many decades. Having raised his glass on the topic, he recorded Moonshiner in 1963, and Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight) in 1970 – which describes the distilling process.

Bushala learned of the singer’s discerning palette during meetings at

the minstrel’s Los Angeles metalworking studio, Black Buffalo Ironworks, whence the label design of crows, iron gates and wagon wheels is inspired.

In fact, much of the artist’s tactile creations comprise of found objects

collected from farms and scrap yards across America. “Everything from farm equipment, children's toys, kitchen utensils and antique fire arms to chains, cogs, axes and wheels,” the singer explained. “I was born and raised in iron ore country, where you could breathe it and smell it every day. And I’ve always worked with it in one form or another.”

As for the gate imagery in particular: “Gates appeal to me because of

the negative space they allow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways there is no difference.” The times they are a-changin’ in their favour: sales of American whiskey bumped up more than fifty percent since 2013, today a $3.4US billion industry according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

The regular batch of the 90-proof bourbon contains oak-derivative

notes, with hints of caramel and vanilla, and a smell reminiscent of sandalwood and leather. The double barrel whiskey, at 100-proof, covers the palette with an array of notes as allspice, berries, wood smoke and ground pepper. The straight rye, at 92-proof, corrals flavours as dill, cocoa, and tobacco. These bottles range in price from $50 to $80US. As for the name Dylan initially played with – it won’t evaporate like the angel’s share; rather, the Bootleg Series will be an annually limited edition 25-year-old bottle, adorned with his original paintings.



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Leslie A. Goodreid

Glamping – or glamorous camping–brings

Before long, the festival scene was teeming

up images of wading through the muck in your

with brightly coloured camping gear, as music

Louboutins to get another tin of beluga caviar.

fans embraced the celebrity lifestyle. The trend

Although some sites cater to every decadent

mainstreamed as vacationers, concerned about

whim, most are geared towards comfort in the

their carbon footprints and the risks of overseas

wilderness. Glamping is about getting in touch

travel, revisited camping—with a dash of

with nature, without nature getting in touch with



The origin of glamping dates back to the

shrinking in the early part of the 21st century. It

Turkish Ottoman Empire, with sultans reclining

got a needed boost from glamping as it made its

in sumptuous yurts. It later resurfaced with lavish

way across the Atlantic. Resort-themed glamping

African safaris in the 1900's. The modern reboot

sites began to pop up with safari-style canvas

was kickstarted by actress Sienna Miller and

tents, tree-forts, floating cabins, Mongolian-style

model Kate Moss, romping in the mud at rock

yurts, and teepees.

concerts in couture wellies and Panama hats.

camp on Ontario's Lake Obabika, in one of the

oldest red and white pine forests in the world.

The camping industry in Canada was

Out of this was born Outpost Co, a remote

Guests fly out of the Toronto Island

It overlooks Lake Erie and Turkey

airport to the unplugged camp by seaplane,

Point Marsh, and promises a wilderness

where they're treated to an opulent

immersion with all the creature comforts,

heritage experience that includes sleeping

including king-sized beds, hardwood floors,

in traditional hand-crafted tents, with

indoor plumbing, and electricity. The

comfortable beds and the finest trappings.

glamping site also boasts an observatory,

Nights are spent around a communal

winery, and includes Zodiac boat tours,

teepee with a fire pit and a library, while

mountain bike trails, zip lining, and kayak

the days belong to exploring the pristine

fishing tours.


winery, have an awesome gourmet dinner,

“This is the way the coureur des bois,

“You can wander across the road to our

and the voyageurs would have paddled these

and get a couple of bottles to bring back...and

waters, with the Ojibwe and the Iroquois,”

take a glass to the big, communal campfire,”

says Outpost owner, Constantin von Flotow,

says manager Payden Shrugg, boasting of the

proudly pointing out how he sourced the

site's renowned hospitality.

site's specifications from museums. “We're

using the same materials. We're just doing it

and will charter a private amphibian aircraft

in the 21st century with a few added benefits

from either YYZ direct or Billy Bishop island

and comforts...mainly the wine and the great

airport Toronto to their marina.


glamping experiences in Ontario and abroad

Where Outpost caters to the inner

explorer, Long Point Eco-Adventures is geared toward both thrill and chill seekers.

Outpost Co. is your glamping concierge

You can find out about the rich variety of

at glampinghub.com


A Primer on the Art of Drinking Scotch by

Bruce Meyer |


Gabe Toth

Single malt whiskey is the nectar of angels.

A flight, a row of three drams, is how one

Whenever a fine, amber, single malt from

samples a selection of fine scotches, comparing

the Islay peninsula or the heather-carpeted

not only the taste, but the nose, the colour,

Grampians is left to its own devices, a dram

and the layers of flavours that unfold in the

of it always goes missing. The missing ounce

mouth. Ranging in color from dark, mysterious

is known as “the angel’s share.” Angels know

tea-toned brews to almost clear-as-water

what’s good for them.

statements of invisible perfection, whisky is

the beverage of those who dream of finding

Most lovers of the divine brew will tell

you it is a sin to leave a bottle of the good stuff

their inner king or queen, or simply those who

unattended for any length of time. Those

understand that art can sit on the tip of the

drinkers of fine scotch will tell you the only

tongue as well as on the walls of a museum.

way to love it and give it the fine home it

More sensual than fine rums, more layered

deserves is to pour two or three fingers full

than Tuscan brunellos, fine scotches are, in

into a cut glass tumbler, a fine vessel reserved

themselves, an evening’s entertainment of the

only for single-malts, add a drop of water to the

highest order. It is the liquor of royalty.

brew, watch as the spirits swirl and dance in

the liquid, and before letting a drop of it pass

when it comes to fine whiskies. Though she

the lips, inhale the perfume of it deeply. Then,

had an extensive background in marketing,

and only then, can it be sipped. Those who

Price longed to own a pub. In her mind, the

swill single malt are not forgiven by the angels.

pub she envisioned would not be any mere

ale house. It would be a place where the art

According to the great scotch aficionados,

Stephanie Price is Ontario’s kingmaker

such as Scotland’s celebrated national poet

of the fine drink could be celebrated, where

Robert Burns, (he who also savored the

the distiller’s craft would be enshrined. Her

delicacy of haggis and the love of a red, red

dream came true when she opened The Dam

rose) the brew known as “John Barleycorn”

Gastropub and Whiskey Bar in Thornbury,

is meant to be celebrated as the nectar of the

Ontario, over a decade ago. It is an Ontario

gods. Scotch is the poetry of beverages that

landmark for those who love a good flight.

has been recited in every corner of the world.

Fine fare notwithstanding, the spotlight

From Japan and India to the heights of Machu

belongs to the whiskies. For those longing to

Picchu, the mother’s milk of the Scots has been

get acquainted with the tastes and subtleties

born and born again in distilleries that pursue

of fine single malts, Price presents a “flight” of

the magic of the ancient dram.

three drams served in beautiful bulb-shaped

Some sources claim the word whiskey has

glasses that encourage the nose as well as the

mystical roots, that it is a Celtic word, uis

tongue. A drop of water, a very small drop,

(meaning water) and ge (meaning life): the

releases the spirit and the fire in a good single

water of life. A true connoisseur of scotch

malt. Hold one up to the evening light as the

never speaks of a glass or a shot, but as

drop dances in the malt, and you will think you

something measured in fine portions known as

are watching the clouds rolling over heather

a dram.

carpeted hills.

Price understands that scotch, as well as

Highland malts from Caithness are spicy

the whiskies gathered in her collection from

and nutty in their flavor with a gentle metallic

all over the world, are magical and possess

note of heather (and heather, a low evergreen

intrigue and allure beyond words.

that blooms purple over the windswept hills

of Northern Scotland is unlike anything I have

“A friend asked what I would call my new

pub, and I said, ‘I don’t know what I’ll call the

held and put my nose to in Canada – it wants to

damn pub.’ It was one of those instances of

be cedar, but it is far more subtle).

brilliance. The house is around the corner from

a dam on the Beaver River. That’s how The

in the west have a peaty flavor to them. I

Dam Pub was named.”

remember sipping on a bottle of Oban a friend

gave me, and when I closed my eyes I could

The Dam Pub currently serves one of the

The Island scotches from Mull and Skye

largest lists of whiskies in Canada, with over

almost see a thatched cottage with the sea in

nine hundred and thirty five varieties from

the background and a brick of turf curling into

around the world on its encyclopaedic menu.

pale purple smoke on the hearth.

Price, never one to rest on her malt, is in

constant pursuit of new varieties.

peaty, but not as heavy. Islays want to tease you

like a riddle in a Robbie Burns poem.

The world wanted in on the Scottish

An Islay from north of Glasgow is hardy,

miracle. Whisky distilling is a long, labourious

A Campbelltown, from the lower peninsula in

craft, but it is an industry that offers the

the west, has a definite salt and brine cast to its

highest return on investment of any liquor.

taste, as if it has caught the sea air.

“How much does the distillery industry in

whiskies gross each year, worldwide?” I ask

regions of the Cheviots and Melrose and

my host.

Jedburgh, are soft and smooth.

“It is hard to say, but because it is such a

universally admired drink, I’d have to put it at

it has been drenched with its lucky drop, close

the billions.”

your eyes, and sit back and think of Scotland.

The most popular dram on the menu at The

The world makes whiskies, but only

The Lowland malts, from the border

The key is to put a dram to your nose after

Scotland makes true scotches. There is

Dam Pub?

something in the waters of a clear, cold,

Price says it depends who is drinking and who

highland stream or in the nuances of Scottish

is buying.

geography that cannot be duplicated in taste

As in the old tradition of “whoever pays the

or quality anywhere else in the world. Canada

piper calls the tune,” the choice of whisky

makes Rye. Kentucky produces Bourbon.

depends on who is paying.

An everyman’s single-malt such as Glenfiddich,

Scotland gives us Scotch, and only the best

scotches qualify as single malts, the liquid of

a ubiquitous and popular brand, runs about

fermented oats that is not blended with other

$8.00 for a nip (3/4 ounce) and $15.00 for a

alcohols. True scotch is purity wedded with

dram (1 ½ ounces). From there, however, the


sky’s (or should I say the Isle of Skye’s) the

limit with the most expensive whiskey coming

There are six whiskey regions in Scotland,

and to a true scotch drinker, it is possible to

in at a rare $860.00 per dram.

tell the region of the dram’s origin even if the

drinker is blindfolded.

you back $168.00 for a dram.

Is it worth it? Better keep an eye on the angel's

The Speysides from Forfar and Inverness at

the top of the Grampian region are sweet and smooth.

A good thirty year old Glenfarclas will set





Stu Lynam |


Scott Cooper

The most successful pubs become such an integral part of their city, they almost blend into the background. Rather like a City Hall or a historical memorial, they project a sense of familiarity and community that routinely attracts patrons on any given day, as is the case with Donaleigh’s Irish Pub. Yet were you to peek beyond the wood panelled bars and radiant signage, you would find that their establishment resembles more of a finely orchestrated stage play, with vibrant food and drinks taking the spotlight and guests filling in the audience.


Don Kellett

Steve Ricalis

Directing this nightly production are an

Rapid growth isn’t always beneficial for

experienced team brought together by Don

an organization. Yet it’s worked here, because

Kellett and Steve Ricalis, the entrepreneurs who

they have been consistent in assembling the

founded Donaleigh’s in 2011.

best possible team, which Don says is key to

establishing an atmosphere that will keep patrons

The duo have been the backbone of the

successful Celtic hub since the doors opened, and

coming back.

are the architects of a growing organization that

now includes nearly 100 employees in multiple

right clientele…we look for maturity at a young


age, and experience. We need people who can

walk into a kitchen on a Saturday night with 15

It’s all the more impressive when you consider

“Hire the right people and you’ll get the

that their initial goal was slightly less bold.

cooks and servers running around and not get


“All we were looking to do was open a small

neighbourhood pub”, says Don, recalling the plan

he and Steve contemplated when they met and

of the food service industry. Staff wages,

became fast friends almost a decade ago.

technological advancements, and rising food and

labour costs are putting a strain on establishments

“We wanted to bring something downtown

Donaleigh’s isn't immune to the challenges

that wasn’t there; an Irish public house with an

everywhere. Steve sums it up matter of factly,

emphasis on fresh food and great live music”

“You have to fight to make a profit in this business.

Steve adds, formerly part of a culinary team that

People don’t see how much goes into just getting

catered to giant musical acts like the Rolling

a meal to your table, how small those margins can

Stones and U2 and has since retired from touring


to pursue the restaurant business.

navigates the stresses of operating a business in

It wasn’t an easy path; as anyone who has seen

We’re curious as to how a partnership

a Food TV program knows, most restaurants and

such a competitive landscape. Don is quick to

pubs fail to make it beyond their first few years.

answer. “We both have different strengths, and

we can influence the people in our organization in

“It was a gamble, for sure. But we had a

passion for it.” said Don, who was already

different ways. I’m more comfortable managing

a restaurant owner when they launched

the front of the house, whereas Steve is great

Donaleigh’s, and thus keenly aware of the slim

in the kitchen and with the live music. We

odds. But he also knew the simple secret to

compliment each other”

defying them.

acts who have come to play here (including The

“Hard work…that’s all. For the first two years,

And while the litany of impressive musical

we worked 12-18 hours a day, usually seven days

Strumbellas and Ron Sexsmith) the expertly

a week before we could afford to hire a full time

crafted menu of vintage Irish meals, and a skilled,


hardworking team empowered by their employers

are key pieces, Don credits at least some of their

With timing and a bit of a luck on their

side, the duo followed their vision of a “small

success to a simple credo, which he offers as

neighbourhood pub” that quickly became one of


the city’s most popular establishments, leading to

an unexpected chance for expansion to a building

make the same mistake twice”

next door.

couple of directors who know how to put on one

“We had an opportunity to get bigger, and we

felt that there were enough people being left on

“You’re going to make mistakes, just don’t A simple enough script to follow, from a

hell of a show.

the street, wanting to get in, that it was a chance we should take” PIE DIGEST 77



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