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.
Serve these burgers to people who don't like lentils and they'll soon be converted!
Sub in different vegetables depending on what you have in your crisper to make unique brown rice sushi.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
This recipe can easily be left to simmer away in a slow cooker for eight hours before adding the chicken.
Roasting all but one of the garlic cloves pumps up flavour to the max without having the overpowering taste of raw cloves.
No need for messy, greasy deep-frying with these crunchy baked wings. They make a fun meal for two – just add some sliced baby cukes, carrots and cherry tomatoes for a crunchy, fresh side.
Put down that takeout menu! This healthy spin on beef and broccoli will leave you feeling full and guilt-free.
This Vietnamese favourite is easy to make and is just as suitable for a main course as it is for an appetizer.
The essence of this Vietnamese pho lies in the long-cooking, rich beef broth which forms the base of the soup - the slow cooker is the ultimate tool for the task.
Our foolproof dough delivers the most amazing pizza crust you'll ever taste. The long rising time results in a lovely texture and extra-rich flavour.
This twist on a takeout favourite is made with sautéed chicken instead of greasy fried beef.
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.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, always looks camera ready—whether she's hitting the red carpet or travelling the world.
Track Kate Middleton's style file—from her star-studded (and trend-starting) wedding to her latest looks in 2016.
Kate Middleton looking very feminine in her long white red floral printed McQueen dress, paired with red pumps at an Olympics event.
Kate wore a white Catherine Walker coat to say goodbye to Canada.
Kate wore this knit See By Chloe dress at a children's party for military families in Victoria during the Royal Tour of Canada.
This scarlet Carolina Herrera coat was a knockout on Kate as she visited the MacBridge Museum in Whitehorse as part of the Royal Tour.
Kate embraces Canada with a Sentaler coat (a Canadian company) as she continued through the Yukon as part of the Canada Royal Tour.
Kate wore a green Dolce & Gabbana dress to visit the Kelowna University during their Royal Tour of Canada on September 27, 2016.
HRH wore this beautiful red dress by Preen by Thornton Bregazzi while attending a reception at Government House, on the Royal tour of Canada.
To brave the rain Kate revealed weather-appropriate knee-high boots paired with a collared shirt and blue sweater.
The Duchess wore Alexander McQueen for her second outfit of the Royal Tour of Canada.
Kate wore a blue Jenny Packham dress to kick off The Royal Tour of Canada.
Kate wore a blue, printed Altuzarra dress in September 2016, accessorizing with L. K. Bennett heels and clutch.
On a visit to mental health charity Young Minds UK, Kate wore a scarlett dress by L. K. Bennett.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a favourite, L. K. Bennett, from head to toe. We've even seen this dress on Kate before!
Kate wore this stunning dress by Alexander McQueen to take in Andy Murray's win at Wimbledon in 2016.
At the 2016 Wimbledon tournament, Kate chose a bright yellow dress—a piece she wore to an event in Australia in 2014.
Kate joined in on the shoulder-baring trend, wearing this gorgeous white dress at the Natural History Museum in London.
At the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, Kate wore a poppy on her elegant collared lace dress.
At the Royal Ascot horse racing event in England, Kate chose a crisp, white, lace Dolce and Gabbana number.
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday, the duchess wore a beautiful blue coat dress by Catherine Walker.
Kate stunned in this royal blue dress at a SportsAid event in June, 2016.
We love the outdoorsy feeling of Kate's appearance in British Vogue's 100 year anniversary issue.
Here she is in a simple striped top in British Vogue's Centennial issue.
The Duke and Duchess sat on 'Diana's bench' infront of the Taj Mahal, where Princess Diana posed for photos during a 1992 tour. Kate wore a simple frock from Naeem Khan's 2015 Resort collection.
Kate is wearing a traditional Bhutanese look to attend a welcome procession in Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, and to later try archery, the country's national sport. Her "skirt" is actually a half-kira that has been elegantly paired with a Paul and Joe wool cape.
Kate attended the Bihu Festival celebrations in an Anna Sui silk chiffon maxi dress from the designer's fall 2015 collection.
Kate is sporting olive biker trousers from Zara and a ruffled button-down by RM Williams at Kaziranga National Park.
Kate narrowly missed a Marilyn-moment with this white Emilia Wickstead dress.
Kate wore a gorgeous two-piece ensemble by Temperley London in black and white for the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration in India.
Kate wore a prinited red maxi dress by Anita Dongre for the royal tour in India.
Kate wore this stunning green Temperley London dress as she continued the royal tour in India.
Kate kicked off the royal India tour with this red, printed number by Alexander McQueen.
Kate wore Indian designer Anita Dongre and tried her hand at cricket while wearing this gorgeous printed midi dress.
Kate kept it simple while she fed elephants at Kaziranga National Park in this Boho-chic Topshop dress. The dress is accented with black embroidery and tassel-tipped ties.
Kate wore one of her go-to designers, Jenny Packham, for her first formal, evening event in India.
This stunning royal blue dress with sheer detailing was a lovely look on the Duchess.
Kate wore an Alexander McQueen coat dress for the christening of Charlotte. The fit and flare style stayed true to Kate's preferred silhouette and the Jane Taylor hat completed the look.
Kate looked glamorous in Jenny Packham as she attended the London premiere of James Bond's Spectre.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore this lovely floral printed Erdem dress in late 2015.
The dress that launched a thousand lace-sleeved copy cats. Catherine married Prince William in a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown fit for a princess.
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