Auberge avec Canoe- it’s not often that our collective worse nightmare (pandemic) can net such illustrious dreamy results, as is the case in point with the marriage of these two iconic restaurants. The recent alliance of these restaurants has brought Canoe‘s legendary love for Canadian ingredients and refinement with Auberge du Pommier‘s unparalleled French food, all parceled up and ready for contact-less pick up. The concept allows for carefully crafted tasting menus from the minds of both kitchens to be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. :weeps: it’s so beautiful.

While takeout has been a mainstay for most during this lockdown, eating meals of an upper echelon has been damn near impossible, unless of course you’re a Chef in your own right. Bridging the gap and bringing in a gourmet offering to the Toronto masses isn’t an easy feat. Chef John Horne, a District Executive Chef for Oliver & Bonacini was tasked with the project. “Bringing them together that way meant we could get a lot of great minds back together, and get going driving towards one goal. We need people back to work. We have such great people that the more they’re back and the more everyone is thinking the same way the stronger we’re all going to be.

Clearly, there were obstacles in getting this operation up and running, and Canoe, soaring in the sky on the 54th floor of the TD Tower meant that Auberge was a natural fit for pickups. Crafting the menu with Chef Tim Schulte from Auberge and Chef Ron McKinlay from Canoe brought some of Toronto’s greatest culinary minds in for a project that would challenge not only the format but presentation- how do you replicate the restaurant experience at home?

Chef John notes that it wasn’t easy but the outcome was exactly what the team had inspired to do, “keeping it at the same level but being realistic about it. Making the guest still feel like they were eating at Auberge or Canoe and keeping it simple as possible. It’s not a home prep kit. If you’re dining from either restaurant you want to enjoy it, you don’t want to cook your own elk. Game meats can be intimidating. We also found 100% biodegradable containers- 90% of our packages are either biodegradable or recyclable and they’re oven safe! You can literally put the containers in the oven enjoy your first two courses and then they’ll be ready when you are.”

Chef Laura Petracca from Leña Restaurant with Libby Roach at the patio of Auberge du Pommier in the good old days

But bringing the restaurant feel home, of being cared for and all the thoughtfulness that goes with front-of-house duties needed to be a component as well. Hand written letters from front of house doing expediting duties plays a role in the personal connection, that added touch that says this isn’t just food, it’s also self care.

A pivotal ingredient is of course, the actual ingredients, and with their network of trusted farmers that supply O&B restaurants waiting in the wings, checking in and holding things off, Chef John and his team’s imaginations and creative spirit were put to good use, two components that are vital for any good dish.

The response for Auberge avec Canoe has been immediate, with sellouts happening regularly. Tastings are on offer Friday and Saturday nights, with orders due in by Thursday. And, in more good news, patio season is back, and AdP is taking reservations for their greenery soaked terrace starting June 27.