Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What's on the Menu?

By Ashley Noseworthy, Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Conference Centre

In recent years we’ve seen a very interesting food trend surface through the adoption of an eat local philosophy.  There are so many benefits to eating locally – fresher food, support for the local economy and the opportunity to make a connection with the farmer who is growing what you’re eating – that it’s not difficult to understand why people are becoming more invested in learning about where the food they eat is coming from.      

It’s exciting when groups such as A.D. Latornell hold an event at the hotel because their local food philosophy mirrors our own desire to include foods from Ontario (whenever possible) into our menus.  

I was curious to find out more about the local foods we incorporate into the menus we serve so I decided to interview our Head Chef, Paul Dills.

Ashley:  Why do we purchase local food?

Chef:  I try to buy local whenever possible.  Purchasing locally makes sense because not only is it important to support our local food growers but the food comes at its freshest.  It also reduces our impact on the environment (fewer resources are being used in the shipping process) which is important as the hotel tries to be environmentally responsible whenever possible. 

Ashley: What foods do we source locally?

Chef:  I purchase local foods as they are in season and then create menus that reflect the flavours of the time of year.   Often the food within our fridges comes from a variety of farms within Ontario [he walks me through the fridge for a tour].  We have carrots and beets from Bradford, potatoes from Grand Bend, cucumbers and tomatoes from the Niagara Region, butter and greens from the Alliston area, turkeys from Thamesville and the list goes on.  If I have the opportunity to purchase from a farm local to Ontario it’s always my first choice.

Ashley:  What made you decide to start a garden at the resort?

Chef:  I’m passionate about interesting types of vegetables and starting my own garden allows me to have access to varieties that I may not be able to purchase regularly.  There’s nothing better than being able to step outside and pick herbs and vegetables fresh from the garden.      

A delicious (and thriving) selection of herbs from our garden

This healthy tomato plant will soon yeild a crop of
Yellow Pear Mini Heirloom Tomatoes
Ashley: How do you decide on the menus for the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium?

Chef:  Within the fall and winter months the local foods that are available tend to be root vegetables (as they can be stored) and meats.  For the A.D. Latornell menu I will infuse a selection of hearty fall and winter vegetables (parsnips, potatoes, squash, carrots, etc) to showcase the colourful and interesting combinations of the fall and winter harvest.

To highlight some of the delicious flavours that are in season right now, Chef Paul Dills has created an Asparagus Frittata recipe that includes ingredients that can be sourced locally within your own area.  Enjoy! 

Recipe: Asparagus, Leek & Goat Cheese Frittata
(Serves 4)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 12-ounce bunch thin asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup goats cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat broiler. Melt butter in heavy broiler proof 10-inch-diameter non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté 4 minutes. Add asparagus, sprinkle lightly with salt, and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Whisk eggs, 3/4 cup goats cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add egg mixture to skillet; fold gently to combine. Cook until almost set. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup goats cheese and Parmesan cheese on top. Broil until frittata is puffed and cheese begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Ashley Noseworthy is the Marketing & Event Coordinator at the Nottawasaga Inn Resort & Conference Centre located in Alliston, ON.  The 2012 A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium will be held at the Nottawasaga Resort on November 14-16, 2012.

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