Meet the Tastemakers of Toronto’s Local Sustainable Food Movement

Toronto’s local food enthusiasts form a vibrant community, and it’s growing rapidly. Many of our farmers’ markets, community gardens and surrounding farms are hubs of activity – and restaurants are taking advantage of it.

Meet five local chefs who are advocates for local, organic ingredients. These men and women make the sustainability movement that much more delicious!

  1. Chef Lynn Crawford of Ruby Watchco: This world-famous chef is known for her appearances on The Food Network’s Restaurant Makeover and the two-time Gemini nominated Pitchin’ In. She’s the founder of Ruby Watchco, a family-style restaurant in Toronto’s Riverdale neighborhood that serves up market-inspired comfort food. The menu embodies Chef Lynn’s philosophy that food should be “locally grown, harvested and raised, and cooked to perfection with heart.”

    Each night, a four course prix-fixe menu – a salad, main, cheese, and dessert – showcase the seasonal ingredients the team has sourced from local farmers. Fans should also check out Ruby Eats, the restaurant’s sister store down the block that serves as a grocery store and chef’s pantry.

    Location:  730 Queen St. E.
    Hours: 6 pm- 10 pm (Tues – Sat)
    Price range:  $49.00 / prix-fixe menu

  2. Chef John Horne of Canoe: Chef John Horne brings a passion for quality Canadian ingredients to Canoe, the flagship outpost of Canadian fine dining restaurant company Oliver & Bonacini. Horne’s menu makes use of rare, seasonal ingredients from Société-Orignal, a group of foraging specialists in Quebec who provide chef clients raw materials harvested by family farms.

    Canoe’s artistic menu focuses on different provinces across Canada throughout the year. Experience exquisite cuisine and a diverse selection of seasonal cocktails from the restaurant’s stunning location atop the TD Bank tower, 54 floors above the city. Get ready to relax – the bar at Canoe has been called one of the most serene spots in Toronto.

    Location: 66 Wellington St. W
    Hours:  12 pm – 2:30 pm, 5 pm – 10:30 pm (Mon – Fri)
    Price range: $32 – $48

  3. Chef Trista Sheen of Crush Wine Bar: If you thought the food menu at a wine bar was an afterthought, Crush will be a pleasant surprise. Executive Chef Trista Sheen brings years of studying alongside Michelin starred chefs to this trendy King West bistro. Seasonal dishes like bacon-wrapped Ontario rabbit and a sustainable seafood platter comprise the French-style menu, which proves fine-dining redux can be prepared compassionately.

    If you’re craving a casual, top-quality meal before the theatre this summer, or simply a glass of wine (Crush offers over 60 by-the-glass options), head to Crush’s leafy courtyard patio.

    Location: 455 King St. W
    Hours: 11:30 am – 10 pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30 am – 12 am (Fri), 5:30 pm – 12 am (Sat), 5:30 pm – 10 pm (Sun)
    Price range:  $23 – $39

  4. Corporate Executive Chef Ted Corrado of Drake One Fifty: Drake One Fifty is the first standalone restaurant by the Drake Hotel, one of Toronto’s top cultural, entertainment and hospitality landmarks. Drake One Fifty offers the same trailblazing culinary experience, brought to patrons by Corporate Executive Chef Ted Corrado, who is an active supporter of local sustainable food initiatives.

    Corrado is one of the founding members of Crosstown Kitchens, a group of chefs who work to promote awareness of issues that affect local food. Corrado’s Drake One Fifty menu consists of upscale comfort food (think truffle and lobster sourdough pizza and 30-day aged short rib burgers) made with fresh ingredients from Ontario suppliers.

    Location:150 York St.
    Hours: 11:30 am – 11 pm (Mon – Wed), 11:30 am – 2 am (Thurs – Fri), 5 pm – 2 am (Sat)
    Price range: $19 – $99

  5. Executive Chef Jeff Dueck of FRANK Restaurant: It’s all about style at FRANK Restaurant, the Art Gallery of Ontario’s chic bistro, and the menu holds true to its setting. Executive Chef Jeff Dueck brings 30 years’ fine dining experience to his role, including a teaching position in Culinary Arts at George Brown College.

    Duek’s belief that produce is best when locally sourced makes for a flexible menu that reflects the seasons, and is complimented by an exclusively Ontarian wine list. Farm-fresh dishes are always simply prepared to showcase natural flavours, and are as inviting as the Frank Ghentry designed space.

    Location: 317 Dundas St. W
    Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm – 10 pm (Tues – Fri) 11 am – 3 pm, 5:30 – 10 pm (Sat), (11 am – 3 pm Sun)
    Price range: $18 – $24

Eating local not only supports nearby farmers and chefs, in Toronto it also means you can enjoy a stellar dining experience. Let our local tastemakers show you how decadent the locavore movement can be!