Global Cuisine Gets Localized in Canada

Global Cuisine Gets Localized in Canada

Food & Drink

Global Cuisine Gets Localized in Canada


By Cari Martens

We’ve read plenty in recent years about the locavore trend —professional and amateur chefs seeking out locally-sourced foods for their freshness and to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Seems like an excellent idea, hard to argue against the merits of that.

Eduardo Lee makes authentic Venezuelan arepas, using Canadian corn. (Photo: Kevin van Paasen/The Globe)

However, one prominent chef did throw a bit of cold water on that thinking recently. British chef Peter Gordon, writing for his country’s Independent newspaper, disparaged the popularity of local foods and complained that the focus on where foods come from has led to ‘culinary xenophobia.’

Up north in Canada, there’s a new movement afoot that’s anything but xenophobic. According to a story by Sarah Elton, writing for the Globe and Mail, Canadian restaurant chefs are embracing food traditions from other countries. but using local ingredients to create a new made-in-Canada global-local cuisine. Elton suggests the term ‘glocal’ and it’s a pretty good fit. I suspect this is an idea even Chef Gordon could get behind.

Some examples…

  • Vancouver chef Vikram Vij takes recipes from India and uses locally grown vegetables and meats raised nearby to create dishes such as a fish curry that’s traditionally made with pompfret. Vij substitutes local mussels and sturgeon instead.
  • A Thai restaurant in Vancouver, called Maenam, menus dishes like Hot and Sour Sloping Hill Pork Chop, named after a local farm where the free-range heritage pork is raised.
  • In Toronto, Pizzeria Libretto makes pizza that’s certified by the Italian government to be in the true Neapolitan style. They’ve started substituting locally-sourced beets for the tomatoes in the colder months to make their Caprese salad.
  • Eduardo Lee, owner of the Arepa Café in Toronto, creates traditional Venezuelan cuisine using local corn to make authentic arepas—English-muffin-sized corn cakes stuffed with fillings such as cheese or beans. ‘The corn here is more watery and sweeter,’ he says. ‘In Venezuela, we add sugar. But here we don’t have to,’ he told Elton.

‘It feels pretty amazing,’ Lee says. ‘The statement we are making here, working to provide food from a different culture with products from here – it’s like, wow.’

The glocal trend seems like the logical next step, Locavore 2.0, if you will. We’ll keep a lookout to see if it spreads rapidly in the Lower 48.

Click here to read the original article from the Globe and Mail.

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