by Mandy Weaver, Culinary Chef
And so, with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Spring and summer seem to have blended into one and descended upon us in a rush and I, for one, am happy to welcome it in.
Greetings from the Mount Julian kitchen. I feel that it is high time I introduce myself. My name is Mandy and I will be cooking for you today. Taking the freshest ingredients I can either forage myself, gather from the garden (with Bob’s blessing, of course!), or source from local providers. Preparing and assembling said ingredients into a coherent dish for your sensory pleasure.
In my first couple weeks at Viamede, there were some adjustments made into my new surroundings: new relationships built, new foraging locations sought out, and new menu ideas blooming into existence. The North Kawartha area has proven to be a fascinating location, flush with much familiar vegetation as well as a few ‘new to me’ items ripe for the avid forager to discover. I always keep in mind the sustainability of the item foraged. Thus far in my short time at Viamede Resort, we have collected, frozen, pickled, preserved, dehydrated and utilised spruce tips, ramps (also known as wild leeks), lilac flowers, chive (so much chive), daylilies, as well as many other wild flowers. Now, berry season has started!
Bob the Gardener and I go for regular tours of the gardens to see what is usable now, and what I can start planning to use in the coming weeks. He’s grown oodles of lettuce varieties and herbs galore. The carrots, beets, and radishes are just at the baby stage, which pair perfectly with fish or make an enticing amuse bouche, and, don’t tell him, but I’ve even started getting into his peas.
I still have much to discover in the field of local farmers (mind the pun), however, Buckhorn Berry Farm has had a phenomenal strawberry season. Fingers crossed I make it out one more time before the berries are all gone.
Having been born and raised in Norfolk County on the shores of Lake Erie, farming, foraging, preserving and freezing has always been a big part of my life. To now be in a position that, though far from home, brings me back to my roots, I feel quite blessed. I am grateful to my parents for providing me with a solid foundation in sustainably harvesting from the land, as well as the Viamede Team for inviting me in and providing me this opportunity to expand my knowledge, while also pursuing my career and living my dream all at the same time.
Signing off for now,
Enjoy a 5, 7, or 9 course tasting menu at Mount Julian restaurant – call or email to reserve your table!