Everyone knows that the best parties always end in the kitchen. With our series, Kitchen Party, we’re sitting down with Feast On Chefs (and makers!) to get to know them, and the local foods that inspire them, a little better.
Tell us a little about where you came from and how you became a cider maker.
I grew up in a family that loves good food and drinks, and was always sharing a meal with friends and family. This lead to a real passion for food and drinks as I got older. I studied agriculture in university and became more and more enthralled with apples. Making ciders with the amazing fruit available in our province was just a natural evolution of all my interest in agriculture and beverages. We grow amazing apples, and we can make some beautiful ciders with them.
Are you using any Ontario grown apples and other flavours in your in-house cider? Where’s it coming from?
We use only Ontario grown apples at the ciderhouse. I love to experiment with Ontario produce. We’ve used all kinds of things, from unique apple varieties, to sea buckthorn berries, to pineapple mint. If it grows in Ontario and I think it could be a delicious compliment to cider, I’ll try it out. I work with farmers all over the province. Our closest source, other than the occasional herb from my backyard, is Black Creek Community Farm. I get apples, herbs, and honey from them. We have used beautiful raspberries from Brambleberry Farms in Frankford. I love the fruit from Hipple Farms in Beamsville and have used their sour cherries, raspberries and nectarines.
Favourite Ontario cider maker, right now?
Oh goodness. That is a tricky one. I think there are a lot of wonderful cider makers out there. The list is too long, and I couldn’t possibly choose just one.
Why is Feast On important to you and your restaurant?
I think Ontario produces beautiful food, and we want to support and celebrate that. We love creating menus and ciders that follow the seasons and using Ontario produce can force you to be more creative to use what grows well here. Anything local is always so fresh, it tastes amazing, and it’s better for the environment to eat as local as possible.
What does your ‘Perfect Weekend’ in Toronto look like?
It’s fun to explore all the amazing restaurants in Toronto. So I would go for dinner and drinks out on Friday, somewhere I’ve never been before. Saturday, going for a long walk in one of the parks, I love exploring the Don Valley in particular. Then picking up some good food and spending most of Sunday cooking it.