We have been making biscotti for a very very long time, we have it down to a science. What this means to you is that we are really good at it. We ship it across the province, we wholesale it and we think its pretty darn good! As I was individually wrapping them for one of our clients for their office, I realized they make great thank you gifts! Who wouldn’t want a quick note of thanks for a referral or a job well done or for doing business with you?! We would be happy to attach your card or a sticker to the many flavours of biscotti we make in house and send it off to the lucky recipient. A quick thank you doesn’t have to cost a lot and we are happy to do the majority of the leg work for you! Did I mention we ship our biscotti…all the time!
AY is proud to be working with Blue Haven Farms in Rockwood, a connection through the recent Taste Real event we attended. While we can turn food into works of art, it all starts with the farmer. Blue Haven Farms are grassfarmers who raise their animals and birds on pasture enjoying a number of benefits including being able to live in a peaceful environment and eat nutritious, all-natural food. They have a rare breed of Tamworth pigs that are raised on Pasture-grass. This method of farming is an excellent match for AY and we hope you will love the in house Charcuterie we will have ready for many of the platters we sell over the next few months.
To some Charcuterie may look like a platter of cold cuts with some olives and pickles, however, Charcuterie involves traditional methods, intensive knowledge of fermentation and flavor combinations. Charcuterie was used as a way of preserving meat before refrigeration. In-house Charcuterie involves a commitment in time, driving chefs to start making their own own prosciutto, salami, bresaola, sopressata and sausage. It highlights our local terrior, supports our local farmers and encourages chef’s to source exactly what they want, while building close bonds with our farmers.
While the majority of the Charcuterie boards may be pork , Chefs are a creative bunch and we now see rabbit terrines, duck and even bison on many Charcuterie boards. They get to play with a variety of smoking methods, spices and salt and fat.
Charcuterie boards are a popular choice for corporate catering and we almost always have them set up at weddings and parties. They are the “go to” stationary appetizer.
We would love it if the next time you see Charcuterie on display, see if there is a delicacy that you haven’t sampled yet and give it a try!
We are sending over 1200 Breakfast Boxes across Canada- Quebec to Vancouver, and I just had to share the idea! They are healthy, made in house by AY Chefs and can be easily branded. Send us your corporate stickers or business cards and we will do the rest! What a great way to start off a morning meeting and they are a unique way to kick off a conference, send to staff as a thank you or provide during a break. We can fully customize the items and send out samples!! Its been a ton of fun for us and the options are endless! We have Brioche and Meyer lemon preserves, granola bars, crispy gaufrettes- seriously addicting, fruit and nuts, mini biscotti, crunchy walnuts with cinnamon and oats..the list goes on! LOVE IT!
The Ancaster Wedding Show at Night is just over two weeks away. It is an excellent way for brides and wedding enthusiasts to meet exhibitors from bridal wear to bakeries to venues, florists and catering.
Date: Friday March 21
Where: Ancaster Fairgrounds
We had 14 lovely women out for a Girls Night in the AY kitchen recently. This fun filled evening included a molecular mojito with a cucumber sphere while they enjoyed numerous courses that we use when we cater events. The hands on cooking instruction included homemade pasta with beet juice and how to cook with fresh lobster. The lobster was named ” Mr Pinchy” and sadly he was the only one that did not have a fun time! Women from Toronto, Kitchener and Guelph made it out and we couldn’t be happier to have them!
Chef Kaya Ogruce had the opportunity to be a panelist at the recent Taste Real networking event. He answered questions around our Dinner Series events , our involvement with the Stratford Chef’s school and his failed arugula ice cream attempt! We had the opportunity to meet local farmers like Blue Haven Farms from Rockwood as well as producers and businesses from other areas like Guelph, Kitchener and Cambridge and Elora. It was a great day getting to know everyone and listening to their successes and challenges around local food. We source as much as we can locally and loved the opportunity to meet additional suppliers. Thanks for inviting us out!
AY headed to Stratford on Tuesday where Chef Kaya Ogruce & the AY kitchen team had the honour of being the guest Chef for the evening at Prune Restaurant. The menu that he created was:
Sake and Cucumber
Pig and Caviar
Meat and Oysters
Foie Gras Ferraro Rocher
Popcorn and Sea Urchin
Sea Bass on Coal and Dashi
Duck a la Turka
Beef and Tripe Hash Browns
Kaymak, Bread and Honey
Gouda and Beet and Chocolate and Tarragon
Our centerpieces complimented the menu with a mix of herbs and flowers, with moss and driftwood.
Getting to Know AY’s Head Chef Kaya Ogruce
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in Turkey and came to Canada to study chemical engineering at University of Toronto. During my time working as a chemical engineer I realized I had a real passion for cooking and so enrolled in the Stratford Chefs School. The reason I choose to become a chef is because a strong desire to be artistic, and I was too old to be a violin player and not talented enough to be a painter.
If you had unexpected guests arriving at your home for dinner in 1 hour, what would you whip up?
Well, if people showed up unannounced at my place to eat dinner, they would probably be disappointed because I’d likely be at work. I work most nights. If they insist my girlfriend can offer them cheese and bread; we always have lots of cheese at home.
What are your guilty pleasures in terms of food?
There is one that stands above all of them… Hot dogs… To be honest I don’t even feel guilty about it. I am proud of my hot dog stir fry with cabbage and sesame.
Big Mac comes second but I stopped eating it when I came back to Toronto after working in France. They had free Wi-Fi at Mc Donald’s in Paris so I would grab a Big Mac while checking my emails.
What was your worst kitchen nightmare?
In my first kitchen job at Scaramouche in Toronto, I got locked in the walk-in fridge. At least I thought I did. I was the first one in so know no one was there to “rescue” me. Apparently there is knob there that you have to push to open the door. It’s common knowledge but I was so green that I did not even know how to operate a fridge door. I spent half an hour in the fridge, convinced that I was going to die of hypothermia. Embarrassing…Maybe I shouldn’t have told you this story!
People would be surprised to know that you…
Have never had Kraft dinner in my life or been to Swiss Chalet.
Who is your chef inspiration or mentor?
My chef at France, Alexandre Gauthier has influenced me a lot. Spending one year with him in his magical restaurant taught me a lot. Not just about food but how to build a concept around food, operate a restaurant and networking. He also taught me how to play beer pong (I recently beat him when he was visiting Stratford as a guest chef).
I have to mention Chef Keith Frogget at Scaramouche as well. He gave me a chance to cook in his restaurant and I was as green as they get, but he and the Scaramouche team made a cook out of me after 8 months.
What is a typical day like for you at AY?
That’s a difficult thing to answer because we don’t have any typical days. In the world of catering every day is a new day. There are no repetitions, every event is different and that is what makes it so much fun. If there is one common theme though, I always start with coffee and we shake hands with the team to start the day
What is your must-have kitchen tool or gadget?
Spoon! No spoon no tasting.
Latest ingredient obsession?
I am Turkish so I always like oriental spices. I grew up with a savoury winter drink called Salep. It was my favourite thing to drink; it would keep you warm for hours. It’s made from a wild orchid root which is endangered so it’s illegal to export. I am trying to bring it to Canada; I actually have a batch that is illegally smuggled out of Turkey by my mom to Greece, then to Bulgaria. Hopefully it will arrive to Canada this week so we can drink it at Appetizingly Yours Dinner at Stratford. Please don’t tell Turkish officials!
How would you describe working in your kitchen?
I believe in the team effort, that’s how good kitchens work. So it’s not my kitchen, it’s our kitchen. My job is no more important than our dishwasher’s. Nobody in the kitchen works for me, they work with me and I try to give a lot of responsibility to the team members because it makes their job more fulfilling and interesting
I ask for a lot of creativity from the team members, I like it when they pitch in ideas. True creativity and good work comes from a team effort. It is hard work, working in the kitchens so we want to make it worth our while. I am lucky enough to work with fantastic Stratford Chefs School graduates.
Fun Random Fact about you?
I have two birthdays! It’s a long story.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I like running, usually when I run I think a lot. Things I see when I run somehow stay with me for a long time.
I also love art. I try to visit many galleries and exhibitions to get inspired. Recently I was at an AGO exhibition and I saw a very interesting sculpture that looked like a cracked egg. I know something good will come out of that image. It is still in the works.
What do you consider your specialty?
My specialty is to have no specialty. I don’t like boundaries, I only want to be limited by produce and seasons, the rest should be open, and it is more fun that way.
Also at AY here in Guelph we cater to a wide range of clientele with a variety of culinary needs so I don’t have the luxury to say I only do a certain kind of food. We take pride in being able to cook different styles of food with different ethnical backgrounds. That’s why we have a great library of cookbooks at AY built by Lana, so we can study different cuisines.
We have a new toy and we plan to have some amazing flavours of candy floss coming your way. We are throwing around the ideas of cinnamon heart candy floss, ginger watermelon or even passion fruit flavoured just in time for Valentines Day. Perfect for corporate catering or fun dessert tables at any AY Wedding. Why not join Borealis Grille and Appetizingly Yours at the River Run with the Good Lovelies, David Myles and The Guelph Symphony Orchestra for Valentines Day? We are taking care of the dessert table at the event and are working on some valentines flavours for you to try, the options are endless!
SOOOOO EXCITED OVER HERE!