There’s nothing more cult-classic, and carnivorously comforting than sinking your teeth into the juicy bliss of an epic hamburger. I’m not talking about fast food here, but rather the experience of enjoying a master crafted burger from a wide range of fantastic pubs and unique restaurants, right here in South Eastern Ontario. [Read more…]
Living in Kingston means we are ever so lucky to have access to a wide variety of locally produced goods! Fresh produce, meats and cheese, jams, honey, and much more is available at both Kingston’s Public Market and the Memorial Centre Farmers’ Market, and at many of the restaurants and grocers in the downtown area. Despite knowing that so many of the delicious restaurants in and around Kingston serve locally grown goods, many individuals find it challenging to incorporate local foods into their own cooking. Since starting working for Kingston by Fork, a company that offers delicious culinary walking tours of downtown Kingston, I have been introduced to an amazing company that is bringing locally produced goods to the people!
Wendy’s Mobile Market, easily recognizable thanks to their green truck, is a food delivery company that sources chemical-free food from approximately 70 producers within a 100-mile radius. Of the 50 restaurants that use the Mobile Market’s services, there are several that you may be familiar with: AquaTerra Restaubistro and Red House, two restaurants that are featured on the Kingston by Fork tours, keep their menus seasonal and local with the help of the Mobile Market. Many people believe that eating locally sourced foods means that you compromise the variety of flavors that can be enjoyed – however, these restaurants demonstrate that this is simply not the case!
It was “my own chemical sensitivities [that] got me interested,” said Wendy Banks, the founder and operator of the Mobile Market. Being extremely affected by seasonal allergies myself – I am usually red eyed and sneezing regularly April through October – I took this as a proactive and natural way to combat health challenges. Wendy also noticed that there was a gap in the local food system, a gap between producer and consumer, that needed filling! As a food delivery service, the Mobile Market relieves major logistical pressures from the producers and the consumers. The professional kitchens do not need to own the equipment to transport condition-sensitive ingredients. Environmentally speaking, there are not 50 trucks from 50 different restaurants making trips to and from the city, there is only Wendy’s. What many people don’t realize is that Wendy’s Mobile Market supplies not only to professional kitchens and grocers, but they also run a home delivery system. Currently, they “deliver to 50 restaurants and 150 homes!”
This struck me as proof of Wendy’s commitment to the community. They are making fresh, chemical-free, and local products available to private individuals. By visiting their website, private customers can check off the goods they want to be delivered, in the portions they require, directly to their home. Some of my favourite options include kale, bison, the beautiful selection of local cheeses, Multatuli Coffee, and, for (wo)man’s best friend, dog treats! The Mobile Market chooses producers that are on their route, whose packaging is correct, and who are, importantly, honest and consistent. However, their community involvement doesn’t stop there. Events take place at their Country Market, said Wendy, the last Sunday of every month from April through October! On July 29th they are celebrating Sweet Corn Season (there is not much better than juicy corn smothered in butter and sprinkled with salt) along with chefs cooking up seasonal goods, live music, and local farmers, bakers, and artisans! You can find the listing of their events on their website.
Working in the food scene with Kingston by Fork, it has quickly become clear to me how integral Wendy’s is in supporting the food system. When asked what she enjoys most about doing this Wendy responded with, “The pleasure of providing healthy food, [and] supporting local family farms that also build communities.” This is what makes Wendy’s Mobile Market stand out: making a community out of a system.
Wendy’s Mobile Market
613-928-2477 or 613-561-2177
Kingston by Fork
Luke Hayes-Alexander is the executive chef of Luke’s Gastronomy in Kingston, Ontario, a position he’s held since 2006. The young chef is noted for his skill as a charcutier and for his historically informed command of the techniques of molecular gastronomy. His parents Carrie Hayes and Rob Alexander opened the restaurant Luke’s in 1993 when he was only 18 months old. Luke learned all the restaurant tricks from describing foods and techniques to customers, answering the phone and taking orders. At the young age of 11, Luke decided he wanted to become a Chef and his parents taught him everything they knew, including making everything from scratch and supporting local purveyors. In 2006 at 15 years of age, Luke replaced his father as the Executive Chef of the restaurant and Luke’s Gastronomy was born. In a few short years, Luke has become a master Charcutier, using local pastured animals and does all his own butchery. Luke himself does not eat anything unless he sourced the ingredients locally and prepared them himself and he emulated his vision into the menu he produced for Luke’s Gastronomy.
How did he learn the art at such a young age? Luke read hundreds of cookbooks researching, experimenting, and cooking until he perfected numerous recipes. He taught himself the techniques required to cook and made his way through the history of food. While the other kids were out playing at the park or at home playing video games, Luke was hard at work cooking teaching himself how to butcher animals, baking breads, and churning butter.
All the dishes in Luke’s menu are developed methodically with locally sourced ingredients like cheese, meats, produce, and flours, ingredients that Luke endlessly experiments with. But this young chef doesn’t believe that you can just throw ingredients together and hope they work, flavours must always flatter each other and so he analyses all the ingredients for taste and therefore, some of his dishes take months before they are added to the menu. Luke changes his menu frequently throughout the year to reflect his philosophy of eating locally and seasonally. He is proud that 95% of his ingredients are from local farmers and everything on the menu is crafted by hand.
His dishes are attracting food aficionados from all over the world, who are making their way to the small town of Kingston to eat at this little restaurant and indulge in Luke’s philosophy of changing the way people look at food, one plate at a time.
Photo via Finn O’Hara