This week I had the privilege of doing a photo essay of Canoe Restaurant's kitchen. I was kindly grated access to all the behind-the-scenes activity of one of the most highly regarded restaurants in all of Canada. Not only did I get to witness the flurry of fast-paced activity in preparation for yet another busy evening, I also got to sample the fantastic food I watched being prepared. I was honoured to be a fly on the wall of an incredibly busy and tightly run ship that is this kitchen. I had to quickly figure out the myriad of code words being exclaimed loudly by the staff to one another in order to maneuver themselves around the space with ease (and avoid accidents). Despite the very hectic atmosphere, it was very friendly and fun work environment. The friendly staff gladly answered any questions I had. I was able to document certain dishes from preparation to plate. I enjoyed hearing from Chef Horne the back stories of specific local ingredients – many of which are harvested specifically for Canoe's chefs.
The food was, needless to say, superb. The Chilled Asparagus Soup left me speechless. It was such a beautiful, fresh and delicate soup. Perfection. In addition, Canoe's sommelier Will Predhomme, paired delicious white wines with my dishes and graciously answered my queries about wine and wineries. It was a wonderful and fascinating experience – especially for someone who is relatively new to the Toronto dining landscape. It was an inspiration to not only see first hand Chef de Cuisine John Horne's passion for food and unique culinary perspective, but also skillful artistry and dedication in everyone who works there. The 54th floor views of downtown Toronto from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the restaurant are breathtaking and ensures the entire space is flooded with the day's changing light.
Many, many thanks to: Executive Chef Anthony Walsh, Chef de Cuisine (and my host) John Horne, Sommelier William Predhomme and the wonderful staff at Canoe for the wonderful – and very informative – experience.
Chef Horne's on-the-fly creations
Japanese Asparagus (foraged from the wild especially for the chef)
White Bean, Carrot and Ginger spread
Forming Lobster Salad
Yarmouth Lobster Terrine being prepped for plating by Chef John Horne
Yarmouth Lobster Terrine, Octopus, Pickled Cabbage, Squid Ink Mayo and Saffron Vinaigrette
Left to right: Wellington Beef Sliders, Hand harvested Spicy Asian Greens and a view of the kitchen from the chef's rail and my delicious glass of wine
Beautiful, buttery and crispy: phyllo pastry baked into spirals (for asparagus soup below)
Probably the best soup I've ever had in my life: Chilled Asparagus Soup, Phyllo Spirals with Elderflower Yoghurt Mousse, Chive Oil
My view from the chef's rail
Corn Nut & Hazelnut Milk Chocolate Cake, Caramelized Banana, Chocolate Sugar Crisp with Espresso Ice Cream