Harvest Wednesdays are every foodie’s dream event, and now happening monthly at The Gladstone Hotel. The boutique hotel came up with the idea in order to encourage Torontonians to eat local and consider investing in a CSA box to support our local farmers while promoting healthier eating habits. They aim to bring forth a larger conversation about eating local in order to reduce our carbon footprint, while also helping to bridge the gap between our city life and the often forgotten rural community that feeds us.
The farm-to-table culinary series employs a model of taking the seasonal produce available from their local CSA (Community Sourced Agriculture) farm and bringing in a top Toronto chef to create a multi-course meal to be remembered.
I was able to attend on Wednesday for the first time, and was blown away by how wonderful it was. This was a gathering of foodies who care about eating local and supporting the community that puts food on our table.
The Gladstone has a new *female* executive chef and this Wednesday was all about welcoming Chef Joshna Maharaj to the hotel by giving her the opportunity to show off the kind of food she loves to serve. She did just that with a beautiful family style dinner of Indian cuisine that I would happily eat every day if I could.
The evening began with a cocktail hour where two appetizers were served. The menu listed ceviche but I only witnessed the beet tartare being passed around – it was absolutely delicious but I would have loved to try the second option as well. The term cocktail hour is a little misleading at this event, in that no cocktails were being served. Guests are allowed one glass of white wine upon entering the room. An option to purchase a second without having to go downstairs to the regular restaurant would make for a more seamless event in the future. That said, the chardonnay from Stanners Vineyard was the perfect way to start the evening.
Once the hour was up, we were moved downstairs to their beautifully decorated ballroom, and the Gladstone’s Chief Alchemist Christina Zeidler took the stage to tell us more about their CSA, the winery, and of course, their new chef (Joshna Maharaj).
The meal began with a spring veggie plate of carrots, potatoes, edamame and sprout salad that was not only gorgeously plated but absolutely delicious.
A glass of red wine was eventually brought out with our mains, which included a lamb saag, sweet potato curry, saffron rice, raita, naan, and a carrot and radish salad. I brought a friend who happens to be a picky eater and we were both worried she would leave hungry; instead, she left with a new appreciation for Indian food. The lamb saag was an absolute highlight, with the chef pointing out that the fresh greens from the farm allowed it to go above and beyond what this dish usually calls for.
But the biggest highlight of the evening was dessert. I’d never had a pavlova – a meringue style dish – and this rhubarb version was an ideal way to end a meal.
The evening is well worth the ticket price (around $80 per person), and has become a staple among food snobs in the city for a reason. Attending means not only supporting local farmers and culture but also learning about the farming process that we tend to take for granted. I recommend joining in the fun and looking forward to leaving with a new appreciation for the food available in Ontario – and probably some new friends too!
Are you planning on going to Wednesday Harvest? How are you trying to eat local? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.