A few years ago, the Chef Jeff Crump and Chef Bettina Schormann from the Ancaster Mill published a cookbook entitled Earth to Table which was part cook book, part autobiography and part slow food, organic, locavore manifesto. Chef Crump has worked with greats such as Heston Blumenthal and Alice Walker and has adapted their respect for ingredients and eating seasonally.
This is represented clearly in Earth to Table, where they have organized the recipes based on the seasons and what foods are readily available during these seasons. The cookbook was beautiful, well layed out and, even more importantly – the recipes were good and worked well for the home cook.
Just a little prior to this Bettina could be seen at a local farmer’s market, selling pastries that she was baking using these ideals, including pies that were made with what local fruit was fresh, available and good. More often than not, she sold out before the day was even half over. She also began selling artisanal breads, some of which used the heritage Red Fife varietal of wheat , which they were growing on their own plot of farm land.
As I said earlier, these people respect their ingredients!
It became clear that a more permanent outlet for these remarkable baked goods was needed and a location on Hamilton’s burgeoning Locke St. was secured. Earth to Table (also known as Bread Bar) opened and quickly became a hot spot for diners.
How much do I like Earth to Table? After my gastric bypass surgery last year, it was the first restaurant I went out for a dinner. In fact, that dinner was their New Year’s Eve and I spent the New Year enjoying a fine meal with DH at the Bread Bar. (I still have memories of the mac and cheese they served that evening and hope it’s brought back this winter!)
Earlier this summer, the chef de cuisine at the Bread Bar introduced “Fried Chicken Fridays”, where they served their riff on a traditional southern fried chicken dinner with a half chicken (perfectly cooked and drizzled in honey), buttermilk biscuit, coleslaw and hot sauce.
The first few times we went, the hot sauce was good, but uneven. However recent times, it has been PERFECT. Just the right amount of heat and you can taste the peppers it is made from.
Last Friday, after DH had a spa day in Ajax, The Parentals drove him back to Hamilton because Parental Unit 2 (aka Dad) wanted an Earth to Table cheeseburger (which, by the way is perfection on a buttered toasted brioche roll). I reminded DH that it was indeed Fried Chicken Friday and gleefully spent the day wondering what I was going to have (the cheeseburger, no bun, with side salad).
Both Parental Unit 1 (Mom) and DH had the fried chicken, PU1 does not like hot sauce and gladly gave hers to me, which I deliriously dipped my burger in as I munched happily. I was also excited as I had checked in on foursquare and became the Mayor of the Bread Bar, ousting my friend @thefuzzymethod.
Now one important thing to note here: Chefs Crump and Schormann are both on twitter. Chef Crump is quite active, using his twitter feed to engage other food lovers and chefs in discussions about slow food, seasonal eating as well as a method of furthering the cause of eating well. The chef de cusine at Bread Bar is also on twitter as well.
I tweeted Chef Crump that if he ever jars the hot sauce for sale, I would be the first customer. Because like another famous hot sauce, I’d put that shit on everything.
Yesterday afternoon a tweet came through my feed with the following image:
I left work in the pouring rain, anticipating a particularly tasty dinner last night. Went out to Locke St. and ran into @thefuzzymethod who was getting take out pizza from Earth to Table. The jar was waiting for me and I happily claimed it, rushed home and had a lovely sauced chicken burger with local Gouda.
Thank you very much Chef Crump! You and Earth to Table (and the sauce) are truly AWESOMESAUCE!
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