A message from David Cohlmeyer from Cookstown Greens in Thorton, Ontario, his feelings about this prestigious award mirror ours:
Culinary Arts join literature, visual and media, architecture, journalism, and the performing arts
The Governor General recently presented the first annual Awards in Celebration of the Nation’s Table. A few weeks ago I learned that I was one of the first chosen honorees. We were asked to keep it quiet so I had no idea who else had been selected. Upon seeing who else arrived early at Rideau Hall in their tuxedos, I quickly realized that I was in good company. Then members of the Advisory Committee, who had nominated us, arrived. This was quite enough of a surprise and a tribute. But then, not unlike a surprise birthday party, hundreds of guest “foodies” greeted us in the grand ballroom. WOW, what a thrill!
After the ceremony, the entire residence (with its magnificent Canadian art collection) and the elegant gardens of Rideau Hall were opened to everyone. Food, drink and music flowed in every room. Louis Charest’s brigade, with assistance from Stratford high-school students, imaginatively presented the best foods from all over our wonderful country. Louis honoured Cookstown Greens with a full table of elegant presentations of every vegetable we now have available (albeit rather limited at this time of year).
James Chatto’s Blog describes the proceedings more poetically than anyone else. James, a member of the Advisory Committee, confirmed to me that he had been fired after 23 years of exemplary writing for Toronto Life. The reason given was that there was no longer a place for long-form journalism. If this is actually the case, we in the hospitality business really need to work at making our stories more interesting. If Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford is wrong about this, shame on her.
For nominating me, I want to give a special Thank You to Chris Aerni from New Brunswick’s Rossmount Inn. We worked closely together when he was Chef in the early days at Yorkville’s Movenpick Restaurant. Other members of the advisory committee I also want to thank Anita Stewart for her constant encouragement ever since she came to help on the farm during our first summer in 1988. Robert Clark, now chef at Vancouver’s C restaurant and author of C food, but a big volunteer help with deliveries during our first years. And once again, thank you to fellow honorees Sinclair and Frederique Phillip from Sooke Harbour House for such generous assistance in getting me started.
At Sooke Harbour House our seasonal and local cuisine and the produce that it comes from, are the two most important things we particularly paid attention to. The food we eat is an essential part of our mental, emotional and physical health and as a result of our happiness. We were honoured to be in the company of such great people.
Co-owner Sooke Harbour House