I know, I haven’t been posting regularly; check FB and Instagram (roneadeblog) for more regular updates, and this forum when I have something more in-depth to share
FEB 01 15 – 10 AM — At the ripe age of just-turned 61 (after professionally reporting the food scene 15+ years) I find myself less interested these days in the daily ruminations of people fretting whether it’s best to offer tasting menus or tapas or small plates — who really cares? — and more on evolving tastes with interesting twists and, of course, up-and-comers who haven’t yet been spoiled by 15 minutes of fame.
(Let me share this footnote with restaurateurs who wonder how to survive in a hostile economy beset by high taxation, highest electric bills ever, and consumers who would rather shuffle in Jimmy Choo shoes than feast on fancy food cooked by a celebrity. It is simply this: These days you will find it exceedingly tough to sustain a business on meal tickets that average $100 or more per person. Yes, you may rearrange your
deck chairs menu and relabel the offerings all you like — but unless you have truly unique food in a unique atmosphere that delivers wow! factor every single night with every single bite, then you are screwed.
(The fact is the $100+ restaurant tab has by and large sailed. Bon voyage. I can think of only a very small handful of exceptions in Ottawa that command that kind of coin and successfully pull it off. The rest had better figure out how to deliver mains for under $20 a pop, or they will die not trying.)
And so I was heartened just last Wednesday to drop by one of my inspiring haunts where 50 or so Grade 10 and 11 students at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School in Barrhaven annually prepare and serve a charity Food For Thought fundraising dinner under the mentorship of two very talented faculty chefs, Kent Van Dyk and, a more recent addition in Tony Christoforantos, plus a handful of professionals from restaurants in the community. Theme for the fifth year meal serving 100 or so guests at $55 each — now, that’s incredible value — was Your Favourite Movie.
Each visiting volunteer chef devised one of six courses on a movie night theme that added as much whimsy as taste to the final spectacular presentations. And I do mean, spectacular.
What follows here is by and large a photo essay of the memorable evening.