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Trends out of TO


Cheefo
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Toronto is a terrible place to see trends evolving because we tend to be somewhat behind the times. "Poutine" trend, sure it is new to Toronto, but as long as Montreal/Quebec are a part of Canada then poutine is a heritage component of Canadiana foodstuffs. Sure the folks in Toronto are clamouring up to try these newly re-found classics but my God if poutine is the best trend this city can wraps its forks around then we really are a geriatric, culinary wasteland that fails to live up to the undeserved moniker of "World-class city" Like the city itself, food and living wise, yes we tend to be neat, orderly and a fairly well kept city but this does not make for world class status. How can we be emerging any trends that haven't been flogged like the proverbial meat eater at the annual PETA BBq, if our ownership tend towards the safe tried and true formulas. "I know what the people want and it is anyone of these formulaic restaurants, the trendoids will love it, the critics will gush and if the people don't flock I will eat that 80's Cal-Ital, 90's Bad fusion you just created to accomodate the flocking masses that cannot wait to come up to the trough and suckle at the teet of unoriginal, been there eaten that slock that the cities owners seem to want.

You want to see trends in this city then tell the owners to take the shackles off, can we see a trend created by an unknown. Probably not, the owner would be unwilling to take a risk with an unproven chef, like there hasn't been enough 60% guys with lots of press, that supposedly create the next big thing. Trends that city needs are probably quite simple but not immediately recognizable, more growers like Barretta Farms (Organic Meats) and David Cohlmeyer, fish deliveries more than once a week (I know there are the odd exceptions) and then the guest that can appreciate these excellent ingredients simply prepared to illustrate their true character and nuance. As long as owners look to the short term, feeding those fickle, trendy, "what's the name of your designer, are those real" kind of people, sure they are great for the initial rush and to make our "senior" food writers feel rather self-conscious, but where is the substance. "Sell the steak not the sizzle", important words but ones that are rarely used in the design of a successful restaurant. Toronto goes for trends, that is unquestioned but we rarely follow the trends when they are current. A recent article seemed rather disparaging in its regard for the new tapas style dining. Unfortunately, and to demonstrate the short-sightedness, this is probably the single largest shift in the food service industry, forget the Atkins crap (and all those other diets, we are in the enjoyment business, create food for people to be transported by and enjoy), simply because people at first do not understand it , in the article they talked about a tasting menu that was "tapas-style" saying the small portions are a misunderstood demonstration of this style of dining. I can't remember the individual doughnuts name but I believe he/she was referring to Claudio's tasting menu at Senses and besides the Spanish by way of Latin-American roots by way of parental circumstance more than national identity, his tasting menu's are truly that, tasting menu's that are meant to be small to demonstrate his vision of cuisine. Tapas should be more like those Bin restaurants out in Vancouver, how can we even comprehend a good trend in this city when we can't even differentiate styles of dining that have been in vogue in truly worl-class cities for decades.

(Sorry for my Bill Hick's meets a drunk angry Julia Child tirade, it felt really good. I could go on about how the shift towards Japanese style dining helped vreate the foundation for this shift in dining culture in North America, but I need to mix another drink and the maid has gone to bed. Before I sleep I will pray that we also adopt the siesta along with the Tapas)

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The chef who should be given all the credit for bringing poutine from the snack bar to the Fine Dining Scene is Martin Picard, chef and owner of Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon. When Picard opened in 2001, he had poutine with foie gras on his first menu. Also David McMillan of restaurant Globe was making poutine with duck gravy years ago.

To think Jamie Kennedy started that trend is downright laughable. :hmmm:

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Maybe serving poutine with foie gras can be a revival, starting a trend, but I have seen poutine in Chip trucks, fish and chip shops, Costco, and at evry food court with a N.Y. Fries for the last ten to twenty years. I think we need to come up with better trends than this.

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The multi-million dollar black hole is not really a trend in dining, except to say that these venues produce food. Can you really call a bad investment a trend. Sounds like a trend that only Toronto could embrace wholeheartedly. That is our next great food service trend that we want to be known for, to expand and multiply like a bad infection, the multi-million dollar over designed, the food is an after thought, the dining experience is an after thought, but isn't that a lovely over-designed over leveraged, can't possibly work sort of investment. Toronto the land of bad investment opportunities because we are chasing some obscure perceived trend that is thought to be the demon seed of the next great culinary Godzilla to rampage through the industry crushing all in its path. Just like are former mayor, spend all your time promoting yourself to be something in appaearnace only and completely lacking in depth and substance. Toronto likes design more so than actual food, Montreal and Vancouver have a food culture and Toronto has a design and "trend" culture that is built on these concepts with non of the foundation to create such a structure. There are exceptions of course, McEwan would never forget about the dining experience in designing something and OB works hard to achieve this ideal, but it is funny how TO has so many "Restraunteurs" that fail to try and create there empires built on the fundamentals that have made these local and many other restaurant groups so successful. Trends are created by people that are aware of the substance of what they have to offer and after researching the feasibility of the offering implement it and stay true to the nature of it.

JK with the small plate offerings is the emerging trend. How long before the ownership of Toronto restaurants realize that it is the substance and not the design that spells out the opportunity for success. The design complements and makes possible the direction but it is not the product that is for sale. TO will come around to this in another few years after the rest of the world has embraced it whole- heartedly. Until then we can flog a dead horse like poutine (Brad Long had it on 360's menu 8 years ago, isn't that special) and tell ourselves how cutting edge we are and be impressed with it.

(Editor's Note: I am not bitter, but simply bored. Create quality dining experiences and from that we may be able to see trends emerge, but as long as you chase trends the fickle tastes of the public will constantly shift and as usual we will be left behind.)

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The closest thing to a 'trend' is the 'trust me tasting menu'. OK it's hardly the latest thing in reality, but I've noticed a significant increase in this offering - which certainly wasn't around a year ago (to any extent - I know, Truffles, Eigensinn and Jov and others have always had these).

There are rumours that Susur will be moving to a 'choice of tasting menu only' when his new next-door restaurant opens (which will serve individual dishes).

Avalon has the 'Friday only' tasting menu. And so it goes.

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Hurray, once again we are ten to twenty years behind major dining cities. Some places are still trying to get over the Cal-Ital hangover of the 80's. Congradulations you learned your craft at that time, and you made some money owning a place at this time, but by God, evolve or die. It is true in any industry and probably more so in the foodservice industry. If TO could find an iventive chef that could keep his costs in line then maybe a owner will allow Toronto to develop a trend of its own, or get on the band wagon of an emerging trend before it is ten years old and no longer appropriate.

As an aside, do you think "molecular gastronomy" would fly in Toronto. It would obviously be prohibitively expensive, but if it were possible do you think TO could deal with / support this trend that has already emerged but is nowhere to be found here in TO, foams and such gimmicks no longer count because like stacked food too many TO chefs/owners/customers did not really understand it beyond its aesthetic appeal. Does TO have the financial support to be involved in these movements to such an extent where we may actually be able to have some one being a part of / innovator to this movement. Is there any one in TO with the vision, backing and culinary skill to make it happen, can the egulleters nominate the person to carry the mantra and lead the way. Without the cook there is no food.

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Have to put all that drug money somewhere; nobody even bats an eye at a million dollar loss, fun for a year or two, free drinks, food, and drinks for all my friends.

stovetop

where do you think all the money in the seventies went??

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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A chef is as good as his or hers raw product; no matter how good a chef is, if he/she uses garbage, garbage in, garbage out...; the trend in Toronto is chefs leaving the shackles behind, leaving all the constraints of any particular cuisine and finding the best product and letting the product speak for itself...;gone is Freud’s interpretation of penis envy, hockey pucks full of potato, topped to the heavens; coming back is good proteins with real stocks and sauces with seasonal local vegetables, the farmer is going to be a local hero and the chef will be the partner and developer to an amazing taste, Canada is home to cultures all over the world, you can not help as a chef to be influenced by all this great food, a next generation of fusion but without all the confusion going on, the best product mixed with the best of many cuisine, although one must have the basics down, which is the key element to this next trend, there is a lot of chefs now in Toronto who have been plugging it out for years, they will lead the next wave, they are ambitious and content to work with the farmer and move to the next level of the game of food.

open your minds and stomach to the next generation of Canadian chefs and imports, the new generation of eaters is graduating from high Scholl, they will bring their worldly stomachs and experiences to the table, I can hardly wait, because they will help lead us to some amazing eating and are way more open minded to this next trend, not so bitter and jaded to what has gone down, fresh minds and stomachs to experience what is in front of them, plus there is a lot of them, the echo is being heard in every market of the food business, if you do not look after their needs you will not be in business for very long, they make up now a big chunk of the market, this in itself is the new trend; you better get used to it, because they are not going any where, they are just getting older, they can drink and eat there way around the world of Canadian Cuisine, their parents have come from Jamaica, Africa, Middle East, India, south America, Europe, Asia, United States and many another points of the world, they went to school with kids of many skin colors and have experienced things that many of the last generation did not.

I can hardly wait.

In Vancouver they already have a huge influence on the market...; from what I have seen so far I really like.

stove

Cook To Live; Live To Cook
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Trend or not trend though, the new Poutine's are yummy. I had one at Bouchon that was awesome, but somehow I don't think it would compare to one with foie gras.

Bouchon DOES have a poutine with foie gras - I had it there.

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