Edible Canada: a journey across the country’s northern territories

by Great British Chefs

Above the trendy metropolitan cities in the south of Canada lies a wild frontier of snow-capped mountains, rural communities and incredible fresh produce. See what four of the country’s best chefs discovered as they travelled across the most remote areas of Canada.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

When it comes to food and drink, it seems Canada has it all. Incredible beef and craft beer in Alberta, a thriving cocktail scene in Vancouver, ground-breaking fusion restaurants in Toronto and some of the best seafood in the world. Most of the buzz focuses on the cities in the south and centre of the country, but it’s in the stunning countryside of the north that some of Canada’s most precious culinary jewels can be found.

That’s why four of Canada’s most esteemed chefs embarked on a tour of the remote northern and easterly parts of the country, to discover the roots of Canadian cuisine. As a relatively young country Canada’s culinary identity can be hard to describe, but when it comes to native ingredients, it’s provinces such as Nunavut, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Newfoundland that offer the richest bounty.

The chefs were Jeremy Charles, the head chef and co-owner of Raymond’s Restaurant in St John’s; Wayne Morris, chef and co-owner of Boralia in Toronto; Ned Bell, the founder of sustainable seafood campaign Chefs for Oceans and Stéphane Modat, the chef des restaurants at Fairmont Le Châeau Frontenac in Québec. As they travelled across the beautiful Canadian north, they found ingredients that every chef in the world would love to get their hands on. Gargantuan snow crabs, briny periwinkles, beautiful mountain sorrel and the delicately flavoured oyster plant were just some of the produce they foraged, fished for and gathered over the course of their journey,

‘It’s so breathtaking, so vast – I feel in a certain way complete,’ says Jeremy. ‘We’ve come up all the way from Vancouver to Whitehorse (Yukon), through Yellowknife (Northwest Territories) and the Arctic and every place we’ve stopped so far has its own niche; every province is so different. To use ingredients from each region is the only way to really get a sense of place, to taste the food here from the land.’

Wayne used mountain sorrel from Nunavut to create a broth filled with raw herbs to encapsulate the region’s flavours, while Jeremy fell in love with the wild goose eggs, which he fried over fire in duck fat. Arctic char was Stéphane’s favourite find, stuffing the fish with foraged herbs before barbecuing.

The final stop was St John’s, Newfoundland, where Jeremy’s restaurant is based. The four chefs cooked a one-off meal featuring everything they’d learnt, foraged and discovered during their journey. ‘What is Canadian cuisine?’ says Wayne. ‘What is Canadian food? I feel incredibly lucky as a Canadian chef to have these ingredients but there have been people here for thousands of years before us, living off the land. What I have realised after being on this journey is that [Canadian cuisine] depends on where you are – what province, what territory, what region, what climate. It’s just this amazingly diverse country with these extraordinary flavours and tastes and people from all over the place.’