In its 20th year, Feast of Fields is better than ever—and we have the pictures to prove it
No, Jamie Kennedy, we couldn’t possibly eat another. Those heirloom tomato, arugula and crispy pancetta BLTs were fantastic, but we’re completely stuffed. We already had two fire-toasted brioches with peach puree from the Auberge du Pommier tent. Yeah, the lavender-infused chantilly kind and the kind with foie gras. We’re trying to save room for the peanut butter, banana and candied bacon ice cream hand-churned by the guys from Langdon Hall over there. You’re right, all the micro-brewery beer probably isn’t helping the whole situation.
We’re at Feast of Fields, the annual fundraiser for sustainable agriculture where every big-name, pro-local chef in the GTA shows up and churns out food made with organic, all-Ontario ingredients.
Held on gorgeous, sunny day on the lawn of the Kortright Centre in Woodbridge, this 20th anniversary edition of the Feast was a foodie’s dream. All the chefs had dug firepits beside their tent stalls, and we took in the smells and sights: the Millcroft Inn chefs spooning tomato-braised elk onto a polenta dish cooked in a cauldron; Michael Smith with a tray of spiced lamb sliders with apple-apricot-cranberry chutney and feta; gourmands from Oakville-based Cucci’s spit-roasting a whole pig; Michael Stadtlander sporting a lumpy wizard hat.
“We were unsatisfied with the status quo, and the status quo was fruits and vegetables from California,” says Jamie Kennedy, who co-founded the event in 1989. “I started thinking about my aunt’s blueberry pie, which was made from wild blueberries, and it was so much better than anything I was doing in my professional life. That was the ‘a-ha’ moment.”
“In our first year, people came for the top-name chefs. Now, they’re here to support the organics movement,” says Daniel Gilbert, another co-founder. “This year more than ever people came out with kids. That’s how you know the movement is growing.”
Michael Smith, the very large star of Food Network’s Chef At Large, tried to put the movement in perspective for us: “The challenge for those of us in the media is to cut through the clutter to remember how simple it is: just cook your own food. I’m not afraid to tell it the way it is. When mom comes up to me and says, ‘I love your show, I subscribe to Gourmet magazine, I have a six-burner stove, but my kids only eat Kraft Dinner.’ Well that’s a load of crap. That’s called bad parenting.”
We can’t wait for next year, so for now we’ll have to stay happy with our mouth-watering memories—many captured in the photos below.