Sunday, May 23, 2010

Maple Syrup & Wild Leek Festival

Ever wish you could visit a notable Chef's private farm? What about enjoying inspired dishes prepared in the out of doors by some amazing Ontario culinary teams? Well, my friend Carla (an apprentice under Chef Jamie Kennedy) did just that, and she was generous enough to report back to me with photos and a description of her visit to Chef Michael Stadtlanders's Eigensinn Farms.

Chef Jamie Kennedy and Chef Michael Stadtlander

The event was a Maple Syrup & Wild Leek Festival held on Sunday, May 2nd at Eigensinn Farm in Singhampton, Ontario. Chefs, cooks and apprentices were invited from George Brown College, Gilead Cafe & Bistro and The Drake Hotel among others. (See the end of this post for a full list of participants).

Each culinary team was charged with creating a tasty dish highlighting the spring bounty of wild leeks and maple syrup. The event was eco-friendly with guests bringing their own drinking vessels; some even brought their own cutlery and plates! The event was not only BYOB, but also BYOG (Bring your own glass), much like Feast of Fields, the event that JK and Stadlander started years ago. Stations were set up by the various groups of cooks and guests were invited to take a sample. Seating options varied from wooden benches, tree trunks or patches of grass under picnic blankets.

In Carla's words,

"The festival was absolutely amazing! I had never been to such an event or even such a setting. It was beautiful! Michelle described my reaction as "culture shock", which I found appropriate. It was also definitely very fun and interesting from a cook's perspective. To see and taste the amazing things that all of these cooks came up with to celebrate maple syrup and wild leeks. There was an undeniable sense of community among us cooks and guests alike. I really hope that this is the first of many events like that that I'll attend throughout my culinary career."

Please enjoy the rest of the photo story of this event(all photos courtesy of Carla Maya):

Breakfast courtesy of the Drake Hotel cooks

Baby wild leeks

Daikon and fish

Escabeche of Perch with a wild leek mignonette on a wild rice crepe (Gilead Bistro)


Freshly roasted coffee beans

Some of the JK Crew (including the lovely Carla, second from left)

The famous JK jars

Spanish Mackerel

Maple ice cream with ice wine jelly

Pork Belly


Picking wild leeks

Pork belly sandwich with wild leek mayo

Recycling Bins...

Whitefish chowder

Wild leek display

Wild leek pierogies

All I have to say is: YUM! Doesn't that all look so delicious? I love outdoor food events and am looking forward to the next Feast of Fields here in Ottawa!

List of Participants:

Michael Stadtländer of Eigensinn Farm and Haisai
John Higgins - George Brown College
Paul Böehmer - Böhmer
Kevin McKenna - Globe Bistro and Earth
Jamie Kennedy - Gilead Cafe
Bryan Steele - Old Prune and Stratford Chefs School
Hiro Yoshida - Hiro Sushi
Anthony Rose - Drake Hotel
Daisuke Izutsu - Kaiseki Sakura
Dustin Gallagher - Grace
Jeremy Korten - Oliver Bonacine Café Grill at Blue Mountain
Trish Donnelly - Oyster Boy
Michael Dixon - Commissary Cuisine
Anne Yarymowich - Frank
Tulip Boy - Fly By Night
Coffee by Merchants of Green Coffee
Tea by Whole World Trade Ltd.


  1. This looks like just the greatest day. Ramps and maple syrup treats! It just seems so Canadian.

  2. Good looking post! And I'm not just saying that. :P Haha! BTW, just wanted to congratulate you on your blog. You're doing such a swell job at maintaining it. It takes so much dedication and discipline to keep one but you're doing a fantastic job. Well done!

  3. Yes, it does seem very Canadian!!

  4. Hey Heather, looks like an awesome time. I'll just give you a heads up there was a Globe article on wild leaks taking 10 years or more to grow and that it's illegal to pick them in Quebec because of their fragile ecology-- for years we had been picking and pickling them but since they've shown up at the Toronto food terminal we've backed off. Worth looking into.

  5. Thanks Micah, I will definitely look into that further!