Photography by Del Mahabadi
Foraging is a something that many know about, but few know how to do it. Chef Michael Hunter shares his best tips on foraging and how to get started.
It seems fitting with a name like Michael Hunter that this Toronto-based chef grew up on a horse farm in Caledon. His passion for foraging was ignited after a chef he was working with came in with a handful of morels he found one day. "It's just kind of like a food treasure hunt. Once you get hooked, it's kind of like an obsession, " says Hunter.
Hunter, who has worked in kitchens since the age of 13, is currently chef and co-owner of the Toronto-based Antler Kitchen & Bar, which opened in Oct 2015. Hunter describes his cuisine as Canadian with a focus on wild food. "We aim to define Canadian cuisine, so we want to use regional ingredients and embrace Ontario as much as possible", he says. Wild game cannot be sold in Ontario restaurants, so Hunter points out that the offerings at Antler are all sourced from farms. To intrigue restaurant goers, who he believes are more adventurous than ever, Antler's inventive menu includes deer rack served on top of a stew made of the neck meat, rabbit pappardelle and eclectic snack items like Jamaican venison patties, wild boar gyoza and duck heart yakitori.
When he's not at the restaurant, you'll find this avid forager and hunter "playing in the woods" in Caledon, making maple syrup, hunting and foraging for morel mushrooms (his personal favourite), wild leeks and fiddleheads, as well as experimenting with new ingredients, like squirrel.
What's next for Hunter? He's heading off to a hunting camp deep in the Mississippi wilderness and he'll be headlining What's Cooking Bracebridge by embarking on a foraging hike and expedition and preparing a special dinner hosted by Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro's. It's clear that this hunter likes to be in his element.
4 things to consider before you start foraging:
1) Know what you're looking for
Always consult a reputable guide such as the Audubon Society's guide to mushrooms and plants. Stay away from any mushrooms or plants that have deadly poisonous look-a-likes.
2) Start small
Forage only things that can easily be identified – and that do not have poisonous look-a-likes - like fiddleheads and mint.
3) Think about ethical foraging
Some plants don't grow back the following year if you harvest the entire batch. Avoid over-harvesting by reading about the plants that you're foraging.
4) Be respectful
No one wants to come across strangers harvesting on their property without permission, so always ask before start to forage.
Spice Ash Crusted Venison Chop Del Mahabadi
Instead of reaching for the phone, try these takeout recipes you can make at home.
Always check packaged food labels for gluten, including ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free), sriracha, fish sauce and broth (homemade stock is best – and safest).
Everyone needs a fried rice recipe in his or her repertoire, because it's great for using up leftovers.
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Sub in different vegetables depending on what you have in your crisper to make unique brown rice sushi.
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There's no need to dial up dinner when you can make this takeout classic – better, cheaper and faster – at home.
Even kids who hate fish with devour these fish fingers, and our Sweet Potato Oven Fries provide enormous amounts of vitamins A and C.
You've secured your costume for Halloween, but what about your beloved pet? Should you co-ordinate or should you let them shine on their own? If you're stuck on ideas or are just here for some cute photos, we've got you covered with these totally adorable Halloween pet costume ideas.
Gotta catch 'em all!
To purr-tect and serve.
Catnip is my kryptonite.
...with extra sprinkles on top!
...had a very twitchy nose.
#TacoTuesdays are my favourite day of the week!
Not your average smartdog.
I can't make honey, but I sure am sweet.
Under the sea, darling it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me.
I'll have reduced sodium soy sauce with my sushi, thank you very much.
Ready for Halloween, Christmas and my close-up!
You've got a friend in me.
Famous for it's professional-quality kitchenware, Williams-Sonoma is launching their first home store in Canada on October 18th. The selection ranges from furniture to lighting and linens, and, yes, they ship nation-wide! Here are the five items we're most excited about.
1. Farrallon armchair, $573