Local ingredients shine on K-W menus

Many restaurants in the Kitchener-Waterloo area draw from local sources of produce with exquisite results.

Restauranteurs in Kitchener-Waterloo are benefitting from incorporating local ingredients in their dishes. Their relationship with farmers and suppliers also supports the economy. Here are three dishes from K-W eateries that use local ingredients to great effect.

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

Sweet Potato & Leek Soup, Seven Shores Urban Market & Café

The great produce available in the area is an asset for Seven Shores’ seasonal menu items.

The sweet potato is roasted to create a warming dish for the winter months. The addition of the curry power also creates a juxtaposition between sweet and spicy that is highly enjoyable.

Customers at Seven Shores often pair the soup with a sandwich or bread to enjoy a complete meal.

“People have been loving it,” said Sean Zisler, the café’s co-owner.

Waterloo-based Martin’s Family Fruit Farm supplies the sweet potatoes, leeks and many of the other ingredients behind the soup.

“I’m out there a couple times a week,” said Zister, speaking on his strong relationship with suppliers.   

Seven Shores takes on local produce offerings as an opportunity to create an innovative menu.

“Seasonally you have to be creative and inspired by what’s available,” said Zister. “Right now the sweet potato is amazing,” he added.

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

Smoked Conestoga Ham, Bauer Kitchen

“Our pork shank is super local,” said executive chef Brian McCourt. The dish combines ham sourced from Conestoga Meat Packers in Woolwich and seasonal root vegetables from Karen Farms in Brantford.

Available on the Bauer Kitchen’s dinner menu, the root vegetables add the hearty flavour you’d want in the colder months. The scalloped potatoes are layered with bacon, giving this gourmet dish a delicious kick.

The Smoked Conestoga Ham is part of the Bauer Kitchen’s efforts to support the local economy.

“We want to give back to the community,” said McCourt.

McCourt has an eye for detail when it comes to presenting his dishes. The board the ham is served on is from a supplier in the region who recycles wood, adding to the character of the dish.

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

Barrie’s Farm Nachos, Borealis Grille & Bar

“They’re not your regular tortilla- or corn-based chips,” said managing partner Neil Robinson, describing one of the most popular appetizers on his menu.

The nachos are from Cambridge-based Barrie’s Asparagus Farm.

They’re a great dish for anybody with gluten intolerance, and the unique vegetable-based chips still pack a satisfying crunch.

Incorporating high-quality local ingredients and vegetable-based chips makes this dish a healthy take on nachos that people snack on at other bars and restaurants.

Located in Kitchener, Borealis works to create relationships with local farmers. Tim Barrie, the owner of the farm behind the chips, dines at Borealis — as do other farmers that supply the restaurant’s ingredients.

“If we’ve built relationships with those farmers we know that they’re going to send us their best product,” said Robinson.

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