Fine food establishments The Elm Cafe and Cibo Bistro in Edmonton’s Oliver neighbourhood have been joined by another like-minded establishment, Bistro Saisons. And by like-minded, I mean headed by chef-owners who care about supporting local producers by sourcing the finest, freshest ingredients for their dishes. Them’s my kind of folks.
I stopped in on a snowy, blustery day and had the restaurant almost to myself. It gave me time to talk to Scott Ards, the owner and chef. He happily answered my barrage of questions: where do their proteins come from? Why did they open this restaurant? What’s this I hear about using organic ingredients? His answers were music to my hungry ears: Proteins were from Alberta (with one or two being from British Columbia); ninety percent of the produce was organic, and after honeymooning in France, Scott (who used to chef at The Marc) and his wife, Sandra, knew they had to share that joie de vivre – that feeling that comes by experiencing good food – with Edmontonians.
So, when the Ards returned to Edmonton, they brought back a little of France with them: the concept of cooking and sharing food made from locally sourced food. Food raised from the local terroir, food that is fresh, seasonal, and grown and raised by people who respect life, nature and all it has to offer.
Great concept in theory, and admirable in a province where growing seasons can be unmercifully short, but Edmonton, bless its hearty soul, has a growing list of restaurant owners who believe this is, exactly, the way to feed the people. Want to know more about Alberta’s food production and how you can help to support your local producers? Check out these links: slowfoodedmonton.ca and slowfoodcalgary.ca. Our province is richer than you think when it comes to food production, and if you search “eatlocal” or “livelocal” on Twitter, you’ll see that the local concept is not a trend; its a way of life. But, back to Bistro Saisons: the chef was talking the talk, but I wondered what the food would say.
Go to the bottom of the post for my CBC radio review to listen, or stay here for the spoiler alert: I was mightily impressed – so much so, that while I was eating lunch, I made reservations for dinner a few nights later.
If this is what Ards has coming out of the gates, I can hardly wait to watch him evolve.
My CBC Edmonton radio review can be heard here.