What is Canadian cuisine? That’s what Edible Canada founder Eric Pateman set out to discover in his groundbreaking restaurant, in the heart of Vancouver’s Granville Island. With more than 12 million visitors annually, Granville Island is one of the top public markets anywhere in the world, and it’s here, across the street from the fresh, bustling public market vendors that Edible Canada showcases the best of Canadian food, drink and culinary retail sourced from coast to coast.
It didn’t start there, however. The dream began years before as a one-man culinary concierge company based out of Pateman’s living room. A Vancouver native, he had more than 15 years experience as a chef and hotel consultant, and his travels took him throughout North America, to the United Kingdom and to Africa where he has sought out unique culinary experiences. When this entrepreneur got the itch to start his own business, he did so from very humble beginnings as Edible Vancouver in 2005, offering culinary walking tours and concierge service to visitors. From there he widened his scope beyond city limits with a culinary artisan retail store and expansion to Edible British Columbia, housed within Granville Island public market.
In 2010, only five short years after the company was founded and building on the success of the retail store and expanded culinary tour options (including a weekend gourmet kayaking adventure through the Gulf Islands), EBC took another giant leap and became Edible Canada, opening a full service bistro called Edible Canada at the Market, and cementing Pateman and his company into the leading ambassador for Canadian cuisine.
So back to the initial question what is Canadian cuisine? It’s a melting pot of all the colrful patchwork of Canadians, from our First Nations roots to our waves of immigrants from around the globe. Canadian cuisine embraces these rich culinary traditions, and marries them with the abundant local ingredients from produce to seafood to meats to grains, coast to coast. Canada is a massive country—that’s a lot of ingredients! Edible Canada searches out and celebrates them, from BC Spot Prawns to Nova Scotia halibut and from Red Fife heritage wheat to Alberta bison.
The menu changes frequently to reflect seasonality, but typical dishes include Heritage Angus Steak Frites with field greens and duck fat frites, Bannock Break with bone marrow butter, and Hazelmere Farms Kale Salad, tossed with tahini apple cider, radish ,carrot, pickled onion and puffed wild rice. Weekend brunch is always a coveted seat, especially in summer with the wrap around patio. Don’t miss Hazelmere Hash with roasted root veg, potatoes, kale, boar bacon, and farm fresh poached eggs—washed down with a signature Maple Bacon Caesar (make mine a double).
The company also relies heavily on artisan producers making craft chocolate, jams, oils and more—both to stock their heavily populated retail store, but also to use in their ingredients. Diners in the bistro receive 10 percent off their order in the adjoining retail store when they flash their receipt—happy impetus to try some of the bistro dishes at home.
The beverage program follows suit, with an entirely Canadian wine, beer and cocktail list, with many syrups and tonics made in house. The wine list highlights small, boutique producers from BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia, with numerous rarely seen selections, by the glass options as well as a wine on tap, for easy tasting flight possibilities. Service is unpretentious and keen, with a young but studied staff who are as passionate about sustainability and locality as Pateman himself.
Chef de cuisine Alvin Pillay is the newest member of the kitchen brigade, joining the bistro just this spring. After getting his professional start in Vancouver with lauded seafood centric C Restaurant, he worked in Italy in New York, including stints at NYC’s Aquavit, Gordon Ramsay and Le Bernadin. His is just one of the voices and palates shaping New Canadian Cuisine, a collective collaboration of talents, travels and traditions, rooted in Canadian soil.
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