Canadian cuisine 'has a multicultural identity'

July 04 2013

Chefs in Canada are incorporating more and more cultural influences into their recipes in recent times, a trend that is helping to redefine expectations of Canadian cuisine.

A report from the Toronto Sun has highlighted the increasingly multicultural identity of the country's food industry, with talented cooks across the nation becoming more willing to take inspiration from the different dishes prepared by local communities in all regions.

Award-winning food activist and writer Anita Stewart told the publication that kitchens are taking the high-quality ingredients offered by Canada's farmers, butchers and food suppliers and using them to create a more diverse range of flavours.

The author of books such as Anita Stewart's Canada, Great Canadian Cuisine and A Taste of Comfort said: "Canadian cuisine has gone from an oxymoron to a real food movement focused on local ingredients."

It means that traditionally Canadian dishes such as Caesar cocktails, butter tarts, burgers and pancakes with maple syrup are now vying for popularity with imported recipes such as butter chicken and jerk goat.

The willingness to embrace new taste experiences is making places such as Fogo Island, St John's and Montreal into popular hot spots for foodies, while chefs such as Susur Lee, Mark McKewan, Martin Picard, Christine Cushing, Brad Long and Robert Rainford are gaining formidable reputations.

Robert Bragagnolo of Toronto's Marben restaurant told the Sun that it is important to him that his own menus reflect the international diversity that has come to characterize the nation - an idea that is being embraced by Canadian eateries of all shapes and sizes.

"It’s the point at which the big and bold, classic flavours of Old World bodegas, trattorias, osterias and tabernas intersects the fresh and innovative ideas of modernist-vanguard kitchens where I really get excited about being a chef, " he explained.

He added the best food can combine "soul-warming comfort and nostalgia with surprise, intrigue and wonder".