You too can shop like a chef, thanks to Toronto’s The Fairmont Royal York Hotel’s Shop With Chef package. This culinary two-night shopping package is available every weekend through to 2011 at the luxurious 1,365 room hotel.
Shop with a Chef!
An elegant landmark, The Fairmont Royal York’s award winning kitchen boasts of the largest hotel culinary operation in Canada. Executive Chef, David Garcelon and Chef Timothy Palmer of the hotel’s signature four-star, EPIC Restaurant, are at the helm of these tours.
The hotel has garnered close connections with smaller producers of local product, many conveniently housed just down the street at the historic St. Lawrence Market.
A foodie journey
Guests arrive Friday night, and begin their Saturday morning shopping in St. Lawrence Market. It all starts with a pick-me-up cup of delicious Illy coffee at Pasta Mia. The tour includes meeting producers like organic farmer, John Rowe of Rowe Farm Meats; Rick Blackwood at Mike’s Seafood to select a fresh fish; Allan Graziano’s to taste some rare organic produce, while also surveying Golden Orchard Fine Foods’ freshly picked Niagara fruit. The market chef’s tour concludes with a tasty Peameal Bacon sandwich, prepared by Maurice and Robert of Carousel Bakery.
“We take groups from 2 to 8 people from the hotel to the St. Lawrence Market to experience the local regions’ most amazing culinary features from beautiful Canadian pork to the natural vegetables that come from Niagara. We then custom make a menu for the guests of Shop with Chef based on the ingredients they like during the market tour which they will later enjoy in the evening at EPIC,” informs Winnipeg, Manitoba born, Chef Palmer, who has been preparing meals at Fairmont Hotels for the last 12 years. Prior to Toronto, the chef was at The Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda.
History in the making
After the culinary portion of the tour, it is time for a history lesson with Toronto’s expert historian, Bruce Bell of Bruce Bell Tours. His one hour tour in and around the 200 year old market is filled with the most interesting tidbits and surprises. Bell’s tours both around Toronto and the market have attracted visiting celebrities and dignitaries from around the world.
Bell, whose background includes history, comedy and writing, says that the history of Toronto can be in fact written, right at the St. Lawrence Market.
“I give the Royal York guests a tour of the history side of the market and the surrounding areas. We all grew up with the idea that Canadian history is boring — it is not! And, when they finish the tour with me, they realise that this is the most exciting history they have heard,” exclaims Bell, a Sudbury, Ontario native, now living just around the corner from his beloved market.
The Fairmont Royal York Hotel is located at 100 Front St. West, at the base of the downtown core. The weekend rate for Shop With Chef is $749 CAD for two nights, plus taxes — is based on double occupancy. Find out more online at: www.fairmont.com/royalyork, or call 1-800-441-1414.
Photo credit: Kathryn Kates