We first met out in the country near Stratford, Ontario one very cold winter’s day when he was taking his staff on a ‘road tour’ to see where their products come from. He buys his pork from Church Hill Farms and, in his honour, the owners Max and Vicki Lass had a nose to tail feast. It was extraordinary.
Then we met again recently at an event in Toronto where he was connecting with his friends, Derek Dammann of Maison Publique and Alex Cruz of Societé-Orignal, the foraging company in Montreal that sells products like myrica gale, perfumed Arctic roses, tiny green alder cones and honey from the hives they’ve hung along the St. Lawrence River to the highest end restaurants of Montreal, New York…and to Buca.. Rob Gentile is an avid a supporter of sustainable foraging, particularly if it makes one of his creations pop with flavour.
Chef Gentile’s menus change every day. One morning he may be picking up his first harvest of a particularly elusive Italian herb he’s had grown locally. On another day he’ll have sourced wild hare from Quebec to combine with bone marrow and porcini to fill hand made tortelli pasta (you can bet that flour comes from the Prairies) that he’ll moisten with Ottawa Valley sweet butter, the crunch of a few toasted hazelnuts before balancing it with chianti vincotto. Buca antipasti (shown at right) is house cured salumi, assorted local and imported cheese and seasonal preserves. Bigoli is made from hand-cranked duck egg pasta with duck ragu, venetian spices, the richness of mascarpone and the taste of summer basil. There are beef short ribs braised in tomato and pork sausage (below left) before being served over soft, glistening Red Fife wheat and corn polenta, finished with the salty bite of good grana cheese.
His personalized suppliers list is a who’s who of Canadian farmers/foragers/fishers.
Buca is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
Buca est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs . Contactez Buca directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
Buca Osteria & Enoteca
604 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1M6