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Celebrate Food Day Canada 2020 with these Canadian Chefs

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Every year on the first Saturday in August, we come together to celebrate Food Day Canada. Food Day Canada started in 2003 as a show of support for Canada’s beef farmers during the BSE crisis. It was dubbed The World’s Longest Barbeque. Over the years chefs have joined the party as great ambassadors for Canadian food and it continues to grow.

Food Day Canada is a chance for all Canadians to enjoy our food and give thanks to our farmers and fishers, our chefs and researchers, our home cooks and more. The only requirement for joining and enjoying Food Day Canada is to use and promote Canadian cuisine and ingredients.

On August 1st, 2020 Canadians will share their food and their stories with each other in person and online using #FoodDayCanada. The spirit of Canadian cuisine pride will shine as iconic structures and natural wonders like Niagara Falls are being lit red and white in honour of our Canadian cuisine from coast to coast. You can find a list of all the illuminated landmarks here.

This year’s theme is based on ‘Gratitude’. Let’s show our thanks. The best content includes pictures or videos of people and Canadian ingredients, where they are grown, caught or prepared, right through to the finished product on your plates.

To celebrate Food Day Canada, we profiled three Canadian chefs taking part in Food Day Canada 2020. 

Chefs Adrian & Lara McCormack, From Scratch Foods – Fairmont Hot Springs, British Columbia

Married couple Adrian and Lara met in London 24 years ago working together at Soho Soho. Both Lara and Adrian credit their families with instilling in them a passion for good food and cooking at an early age. At 16 Lara got her first job in a kitchen at Earl’s in Edmonton, Alberta. After graduating with a BBA majoring in marketing and management from St. Francis Xavier University, Lara managed with Earl’s for a brief stint before deciding to travel to the UK on a two-year work visa. While in London, Lara was hired as Hospitality Manager for London’s largest restaurant group; Groupe Chez Gerard. 

Adrian attended Cambridge University and in his third year, was offered an apprenticeship with celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson. He spent a few years working his way through London’s top restaurants including Quaglino’s, 190 Queensgate, The Belvedere and Delugo’s before making his way to Australia where he continued to work in high-end restaurants in Melbourne, eventually returning to London to work at Soho Soho as Executive Sous Chef the same time Lara was hired.

The couple settled in British Columbia where Lara honed her own cooking and farming skills. They opened their own establishment – From Scratch Foods in April 2012 with some help from initial partners. Eight years later, this business is now fully theirs. 

Chef Lara and Adrian describe From Scratch as a market bistro that is a haven for food lovers offering delicious, fresh and seasonal products to dine in, take out or shop away. The space consists of a production kitchen, 30-seat bistro and retail area as well as an outdoor patio for seating to enjoy the Purcell mountain views. The touch and feel of the space are designed with modern rustic elements.

The team believes in low food miles supporting a local food network by creating positive relationships with local farmers and growers. “Many of our ingredients are seasonal being sourced throughout British Columbia and Alberta,” explains Chef Lara. “Our Chefs use the finest ingredients combined with simple techniques to bring out the natural flavours of seasonal foods. As many of the ingredients are locally grown, harvested and raised, the concept of Farm to Fork is regularly featured on our menu.” 

Upon receiving a Gold Plate Award on behalf of Food Day Canada in 2018 and 2019, their market bistro has found a place on the national stage. Future plans are focused on the release of a cookbook and creation of a production kitchen that will allow their food line to get into grocery stores throughout Alberta & BC, the Pacific Northwest US, with eyes on the UK & Ireland.


Chefs Adrian & Lara McCormack

We caught up with Lara and Adrian to pick their brains about Canadian cuisine, what makes local special, and why we all need to celebrate Food Day Canada.

What is one of your favourite Canadian ingredients to use and why?

Wild mountain mushrooms! While the forest fires in our region over the years were heart-breaking, we are now surrounded by an abundance of beautiful, delicious wild mushrooms that can be added to any meal.

Do you have a favourite locally-made beverage?

We make our own fruit-based sodas at From Scratch with locally grown ingredients that can be with or without alcohol.  We have been enjoying haskap berry, hyslop and lemon verbena soda that goes really well with a shot of Bohemian Spirits Limited Gin. Our favourite summer rose comes from Red Bird Estate Winery in Creston, along with other sipping wines from Therapy, Laughing Stock and Upper Bench located in the Penticton/Naramata area of BC.

What is the dish you’ve created that you’re proudest of?

Lara: Wood-oven roasted Creston-raised whole duck with our own garden-grown potatoes, fresh mixed garden greens with edible flowers, finished with backyard picked saskatoon berry sauce.

Adrian: Elk Loin roasted in the wood-fired oven with a lush Cabernet Sauvignon wine sauce and mountain juniper berry sauce, fingerling potatoes, seared kale and braised red cabbage.

What is “Canadian food” to you?

Our country is so ethnically diverse that as chefs, we can never lose sight of that.  The key is to use ingredients that are close to home in recipes that have been used for generations from across the world. Canadian food means including all things wild grown in your garden, in a pasture, from the ocean, lakes & streams or from a greenhouse. 

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

The abundance of what we have while living in relative peace is something we are most grateful for.   The sheer diversity of our land mingled with the cultures that live on it is nothing short of remarkable.

Why is it important to participate in Food Day Canada?

It’s time to celebrate and be grateful for all we have in this amazing country of ours. 

It’s a day to also be thankful for the talent we have in our country ranging from the skills of our chefs to the farmers and fishers across the nation.  It’s an awareness that is taking place from coast to coast and being a part of it is fabulous!

Chef Yannick Lasalle, Les Fougères – Chelsea, QC

Born in the Outaouais region, Yannick has travelled the world to gain experience working with well-known chefs such as Dan Barber at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and David Kinch at Manresa. Yannick won the National Gold Medal in the 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, BC and achieved a coveted spot in Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants list in 2020. Yannick joined forces with Chef Charles Part at Les Fougères in 2011, where he became Chef de Cuisine in 2015.

Yannick La Salle describes Les Fougères, as an award-winning, seasonal and local-farm driven small and large plates restaurant featuring charcuterie and hearth-oven pizzas. He highlights expansive gardens, woodland path, screened-in verandah, gourmet food store and an art gallery. 

We were able to get in a quick Q&A with Chef Yannick to learn more about his approach to creating Canadian food.

Chef Yannick Lasalle

What is one of your favourite Canadian ingredients to use and why?

Every season throws out many wonderful ingredients. This week chanterelles are arriving, we are foraging gooseberries and winter greens are about to appear on the menu.

Do you have a favourite locally-made beverage?

I enjoy researching Canadian wines. I also like infusing different herbs from Les Fougères garden into cocktails.

What is “Canadian food” to you?

Food is a very sensitive expression of time and place, to me Canadian food is beautifully expressed in our different roots. Food is about family. We are lucky to have four different seasons and very different food available during these seasons. 

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

The breathtaking diversity of geography, biodiversity, agriculture and culture in general and how the four seasons play out through all of these. 

Why is it important to participate in Food Day Canada?

It puts us in touch with the culinary community from coast to coast to coast. It helps shine a light on the artisans, the farmers and the fisherman. It pushes us to further research on Canadian terroir. We really appreciate that the University of Guelph includes the culinary community as part of their perspective when thinking about Canadian agriculture.

Chef John Morris, 360 Restaurant – CN Tower

Chef John Morris was born in Bathgate, Scotland and raised in Ontario, Canada. During his professional career of over 20 years, John has been a part of four CAA Four Diamond award-winning culinary teams, including Canadian Pacific hotels Lodge at Kananaskis in Alberta and Perspectives Restaurant and the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa. Some of his achievements to date include: an individual Gold Medal at Toronto’s Escoffier Society Culinary Salon (2009), NAC’s silver medal win at the Gold Medal Plates competition (Ottawa region, 2009); and bronze medal Gold Medal Plates competition (Ottawa, 2014).

After a culinary stage in Bermuda with renowned Chef Steven Gugelmeier, John joined the team at Caesars Hotel and Casino in Windsor, Ontario with Chef Raymond Taylor. He was Executive Sous Chef for Marriott Hotels International in Ottawa prior to joining famed Chef Michael Blackie at the National Arts Centre of Canada (NAC) in 2009 as Executive Sous Chef, subsequently appointed to Executive Chef in 2012. John joined the CN Tower culinary team at 360 Restaurant as Executive Chef in February 2016. 

John says, “the 360 Restaurant at the CN Tower celebrates fresh. We celebrate local; we celebrate sustainability. We celebrate any occasion with the best of Canadian cuisine, from coast to coast to coast.”

We chatted with Chef John to learn more about his passion for Canadian cuisine.

Chef John Morris

What is one of your favourite Canadian ingredients to use and why?

I love to cook and eat Canadian wild salmon. It is so flavourful and nutritious; it brings me great pleasure to serve it to our guests and to my own family. We are truly blessed in Canada to have an abundance of beautiful fish and seafood to enjoy!

Do you have a favourite locally-made beverage?

In the summer I really enjoy many of the local dry ciders available in Ontario, and all year long, I enjoy red wines from Niagara, PEC and North Shore Lake Erie regions.

What is the dish you’ve created that you’re proudest of?

It is hard to choose one to be honest. As a food lover, there are so many I feel strongly about! A favourite on our current menu is a very tasty vegan dish of curry-roasted cauliflower with black lentils, tomatoes & sautéed kale.

What is “Canadian food” to you?

Canadian food is taking the amazing produce and ingredients we have in Canada and preparing them in a way that speaks to and respects our mosaic of cultures/flavours that make up Canada’s DNA.

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

I believe so strongly in the farmers, fishers, and producers of foods in Canada that I would rank the quality of ingredients coming from the bounty of Canada’s terroir at the highest level of quality on the planet. 

Why is it important to participate in Food Day Canada?

It is so important that we celebrate Canadian food and Food Day Canada is an excellent way to come together as a country and do just that, as well as raise awareness of all those who work so hard to bring such amazing foods onto Canada’s tables! 

To learn more about Food Day Canada, grab Canadian recipes, and learn about other chefs taking part, head over here.

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