Meet the Tastemakers of Toronto’s Local Sustainable Food Movement

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Meet four top chefs who are advocates for local ingredients and who make the sustainability movement that much more delicious.

Toronto’s local food enthusiasts form a vibrant community and it’s growing rapidly. The city is in the unique position of being surrounded by rich farmland and food-producing areas and that’s reflected in our farmers’ markets and restaurants that take advantage of the bounty.

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 (730 Queen Street East), 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.

Chef John Horne of Canoe

Chef John Horne brings a passion for quality Canadian ingredients to Canoe (66 Wellington Street West), the flagship outpost of Canadian fine dining restaurant company Oliver & Bonacini. Horne’s menu makes use of rare, seasonal ingredients from Société-Original, 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.

Corporate Executive Chef Ted Corrado of Drake One Fifty

Drake One Fifty (150 York Street) is the first stand-alone 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.

Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille of the AGO Bistro

It’s all about style at AGO Bistro (317 Dundas Street West), the Art Gallery of Ontario’s chic bistro, and the menu holds true to its setting. Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille brings 20 years of culinary experience at some of the city’s premier dining establishments, including The Drake Hotel, the Consulate General of France and alongside Jamie Kennedy – one of the pioneers of the local food movement in Toronto – with whom she worked as Pastry Chef for five years.

Having grown up in Waterloo County, Ontario, surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables, Bellefeuille visited weekly farmers’ markets and honed her culinary skills under the tutelage of her French-Canadian grandmother. As such, she truly understands the importance of harvesting and preserving the best of the season and she appreciates the value of local and slow food.

Eating local not only supports nearby farmers and chefs, in Toronto it also means you can enjoy a stellar dining experience.