Festival of Small Halls’ The Chefs Table
All photos by Brenda Thompson
The Ontario Festival of Small Halls is bringing the focus to a locally sourced, farm-to-table, manner of eating. Their newest event, The Chef’s Table, kicked off this past Friday August 9th at Saunders farm.
Surrounded by the enchantingly green grounds of the farm, the newly-renovated venue danced playfully with the menu. Tastefully decorated with soft light and wooden accents, the room celebrated the natural and the rural. The long linen covered tables were filled with excitement, not a single chair empty, friends and strangers exchanged their shared anticipation.
Chef Ross Fraser of Ottawa’s own Fraser Café honed the spotlight on fresh fruits and vegetables. Fraser showcased the centerpoint of each dish using minimal ingredients and complementary pallets. Those who attended were welcomed by a strawberry and zucchini salad, sourced from Rochon Gardens, with whipped ricotta, arugula and savory granola. The salad’s vibrancy was intelligent and pertinent to the season, setting the tone for the remainder of the evening.
Fraser’s execution of the O’Brien Beef Flank was admirable, reminding the crowd of his local influence and reputation. The flank sat delicately in a horseradish crème fraiche, taunting the eyes of those who waited for their servings. Each plate was artful, a colourful spread of Israeli couscous romesco vegetable salad, crispy pressed potato hash, garden tomatoes with frisée and bacon vinaigrette and charred broccoli with capers and chillies sat between the rows of people.
As though all that came before was not enough, dessert consisted of a corn cake with macerated fresh peaches and raspberries with diplomat cream. The fruit’s tart juices paired with the nostalgically substantial cake made for the perfect exit.
The Dualing Pianos, who proved not to be a duo, but rather a trio, made their way up to stage after their meals. Pianists Tyler Kealey and Dave Kalil, accompanied by their guitarist Todd Huckabone, amped up the scene with a wide-range of covers as well as an original song by Tyler Kealey. The tables moved with the beat, a collective voice singing along in harmony to tracks from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Elton John, Billy Joel and more.
The Ontario Festival of Small Halls’ The Chef’s Table will be continuing throughout September. The upcoming dates are as follows.
- Saturday September 14, 6PM – Featuring Chef Chris Deraiche or Wellington Gastropub, musical performance by The Pairs – Pinhey’s Point, Dunrobin – $95 (3 course meal + complimentary glass of wine + show)
- Sunday September 15, 1PM – Featuring Chef Chris Deraiche of Wellington Gastropub, musical performance by Slocan Ramblers – Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm – $75 (3 course meal + complimentary glass of wine + show)
- Saturday September 21, 6PM – Featuring Pat Garland of Absinthe, musical performance by Peter Katz – Brown’s Inlet Park – $95 (3 course meal + complimentary glass of wine + show)
- Sunday September 22, 1PM – Featuring Pat Garland of Absinthe, musical performance by Ryan McNally & the MessaRounders – Cumberland Heritage Village Museum – $75 (3 course meal + complimentary glass of wine + show)