The reason for the journey — a sneak peek at the F&B program being put together for the upcoming iteration of the Terroir Hospitality Symposium, and a chance to tour the venerable grounds of the highly regarded and award-winning country manor in Cambridge, Ont.
“The concept of terroir just makes sense,” said Gushue, standing next to a colourful spread of locally sourced Purdy’s fish, including caviar, pickerel, white fish and trout pulled out of the Great Lakes. Guests sampled the fresh fare alongside Ontario sparkling wine in Langdon Hall’s red room, before lunch was served in a private dining room. “Terroir is all about flavour, and seasonality is very important. We should be using what’s grown in the areas around us,” Gushue added. “As a chef, I need to put it forward on my menus and bridge the gap for customers. I owe it to them.”
Those attending Terroir IV can expect local flavour to be front and centre when the food is served. With that in mind, Gushue’s teaser plates incorporated the waters, woods and local farms that surround Langdon Hall. For an app, he served a lightly spiced and flavourful chestnut cappuccino soup with sinfully tender duo of lobster and foie gras. The second course was an unexpected offering at this Grande Chef-designated inn — sandwiches. Gushue’s incredibly light Kansas City-style back bacon was cooked sous vide and served with cole slaw, St. James mustard and homemade brioche. For dessert, a tourtiere made with local Fuji apples was accompanied by a delicious dollop of house-made brown sugar ice cream.
Prince Edward County winemaker Norman Hardie brought with him a selection of his namesake wines for the guests to enjoy, which were served alongside a variety of Tawse wines from Niagara’s terroir-laden Beamsville Bench, generously provided by Daniel Lafleur. Together with each course, the wines showcased some of the best Ontario has to offer. And, in a rare treat, the talented chef sat down with the guests and wine experts for lunch and explained his thought process behind each dish, as well as his inspiration for the food at Terroir.
“The industry is so saturated with reception-style events,” said Gushue. “Breakfast at Terroir will see seven different chefs come together to put out their own dishes, but it will all be cohesive. And lunch will also be a collaborative effort among the chefs, as well.”
More About Terroir IV
Terroir is a non-profit, one-day symposium designed to celebrate the diverse culture of professionals in the hospitality industry by building a strong and accessible collective.
“We will be exploring the themes of mentorship and leadership, local-food procurement and ensuring it works with your bottom line,” said committee chair Arlene Stein. “And we have a restaurant panel of top international critics along with another panel of Toronto’s own experts, geared to inform us what we can look for in long-term restaurant stability.”
Speakers at this year’s event — which has the theme of Inspiration and Innovation — include James Beard Award winner and two Michelin-starred chef David Kinch, from Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos, Calif., as keynote. Kinch co-owns Love Apple Farm, located near his restaurant, where all of the fruits and vegetables served at Manresa are grown, creating a closed-loop system that is a true model of sustainability. Also on the agenda, winemaker Norman Hardie, New York City restaurateur Paul Grieco and top sommelier Jamie Drummond are leading an exciting discussion about oak-aged wines, and Jen Agg of Toronto’s Black Hoof and City Bites’ editor Dick Snyder will demonstrate their unique take on compelling cocktails. There is also a breakout session planned on the issue of tipping, featuring two sides debating the merit of the time-honoured convention of restaurant-server remuneration.