It is tomato season! This is a thrilling time at AY, so we decided to kick of the season with a 17 course tomato based dinner in the Appetizingly Yours kitchen. We host these dinners every two weeks, which we like to call the AY Dinner Series; Chef Kaya and the kitchen team create an exciting dining experience that features local foods with provocative pairings that are both playful and interactive. To celebrate this time of year when the local tomatoes are at their best, we decided a tomato theme would only be appropriate; all the decor, and each dish, was based off of tomatoes in some way. We had a lot of fun with this theme restriction, and we found that the ‘limitation’ of the theme sparked innovation throughout AY. Here are a few photos from the dinner, featuring the food, decor, and staff that made it all possible. Feel free to email us if you are interested in hosting a private party in the AY kitchen.
Fermented foods are making a big comeback in modern food culture, and for good reason. Before the invention of refrigeration, fermentation was a method of preserving food to last through difficult times where fresh food was scarce. Today, fermented foods are sought after for their unique flavour and health benefits (fermented foods are probiotic, promoting healthy bacteria grown in the intestinal tract).
‘Lacto-Fermentation’ gets it’s name from the bacteria which does the fermenting: Lactobacillus. This bacteria is found on the surface of all plants, and does an exceptionally good job at transforming carbohydrates in fruit into lactic acid, which is a natural preservative. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are all examples of the same process. Here at AY, we are currently fermenting some plumbs that were given to us by a local Italian man, who, from time to time, brings us fruits from his home garden. We are fermenting these particular plumbs (pictured) as a test to see what we can do with the final product, and how we can improve future batches.
We really love events that take place outdoors. When great company, great weather, and great food collide, it makes for a very special evening. At this party, we set up this vintage dessert station, lit up by candle light under the cool summer sky.
Sometimes, even the most classic dishes need to be revisited. Sure, a traditional New York Style Cheesecake is a fine dessert option, but why not take the idea of a ‘Cheesecake’ and make it a little more… literal? Our chefs at AY use cheese wheels to build a cake made solely of cheese; at this particular 75th birthday party, the cake was made up of Papillon Noir Roquefort, Chabichou Chèvre, Telagio, and Prestige de Bourgogne, stacked on top of one another, with fresh berries, fruits, herbs and edible flowers surrounding them. We placed the cheesecake on a retired wine barrel, with a beautiful weeping amaranth flower arrangement towering overhead. As the famous gastronome Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin once said, “A dinner which ends without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye”.
For three solid weeks in July, the wild black raspberry plants in Ontario produce a high volume of berries ripe for the picking. Guelph is no exception, and there are many urban areas that produce a high amount of these delicious fruits. Our designated gardener Cole spotted a patch of black raspberries (also known as black caps) in a south end trail system and went back the next day to harvest some for the kitchen.
If you want to find some yourself, look for lightly wooded areas with heavy bush growth. The premature berries are red and look much like your typical raspberry, but they turn a deep purple/black once they ripen. A dead giveaway, if you are still unsure, is the leaf shape and colour; serrations on the leaf’s edge,
paired with a nearly white coloured under-leaf, will confirm them as black raspberries. The stems have menacing thorns, so watch out for scratches! You can compare your findings with our black raspberry plant photo on the right.
As with any foraging venture, be sure to harvest responsibly; take only the ripe berries, try not to damage any surrounding plants, and leave some for other foragers.
These berries are delicious as jams or jellies, or as we like them most, fresh off the plant.
Our kitchen staff have been busy developing their green thumbs this season! We tore out the sod and perennials from our 45’x15′ backyard space and turned it into a produce garden that will bring us fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits, berries, herbs and edible flowers for our catering dishes.
Our food philosophy at AY is one that is strongly rooted in environmental sustainability; local and seasonal food from our backyard epitomizes this philosophy. Come by our facilities and check it out, and follow it’s growth here on the AY blog in the future.
Who doesn’t love a freshly shucked oyster? Oysters taste best when freshly shucked and kept cold. Last week at a beautiful wedding in Kitchener, our chefs made a bed of crushed ice and cuttlefish ink for these oysters to sit on, really making the white shells pop out against the deep black background.
As you can tell Spring is right around the corner….OK maybe it’s a really big corner, but we will get there. We have incredible produce available from our local farmers and can offer a variety of fresh, healthy and original dishes just for you.
From Asparagus and Fiddleheads to Chinese Artichokes and Kohlrabi our Guelph and area farmers produce amazing products. We customize all of our menus so why not try something you haven’t had before, let us amaze you! You may find a new favourite while supporting the farmers we just can’t live without.
I will add a new category under the ONLINE SHOP called SPRING, please take a few minutes to see some of the creative salad options you can have. You will find 100% local food items and a variety of menu options created by AY’s Chef Kaya.
What an adventure we have had over the last month! Caitlin and team were off across Canada to organize a road show for one of our corporate clients held at Cineplex Theatres. From venues in Ontario, Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa, Winnipeg , Calgary and Vancouver hosting an event at Cineplex Theatres are great venue options and we have seen them all! Staff sit in comfortable theatre chairs with presentations run on the main screen and all eyes on the speakers, for undivided attention. AY staff were on hand to ensure the event ran smoothly, all rentals and decor arrived on time and helped guests navigate through the event. On their down time, dog sledding in Montreal and shopping in Quebec and adventurous meals made up their spare time. When it comes to Event Planning it truly is a passion for us and we love delivering more than what our clients expect!
Creating a theme around any gathering makes planning the event that much easier. Decor, food style, service staff can all enhance the ” theme”. High tea is just one of those themes that people love. Its girly and delicate. Think Parisian Macarons, garnished tea sandwiches and your grandmothers stunning tea service set.