In a country where fiddleheads, mooseberries and chokecherries grow in the forests and spot prawns live alongside gargantuan snow crabs and world-famous Nova Scotia lobster, being a chef certainly has its merits. While suppliers still provide the vast majority of ingredients, over the past few years restaurants have started to look at what they can source themselves, with chefs venturing out into the local area and finding new flavours to experiment with. In particular, restaurants outside the main cities of Canada have utilised the beautiful landscapes that surround them – winning a string of accolades in the process.
Nick Nutting is head chef at Wolf in the Fog, a restaurant in Tofino, British Columbia (a town with under 2,000 residents), and loves nothing more than going out and finding ingredients for his menu himself. With winding shorelines, lush forests and abundant oceans, British Columbia is one of the best regions of Canada to work in for any foraging chef.
‘I first became interested in foraging when I moved to Tofino for the first time in 2004,’ says Nick. ‘One of the sous chefs took me out to pick chanterelle mushrooms and I've loved foraging since. I’d worked with lots of wild mushrooms before, but never had that close connection with them – they were always bought in. Today, my style at Wolf in the Fog is from the heart and I make the kind of food I like to eat. I'd worked in 'fine dining' restaurants up until this point and at Wolf in the Fog I use the techniques I've learnt from those experiences and applied them in an approachable, fun way in line with the atmosphere here. I think that is what people are looking for these days.’