Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, Ontario
Few restaurateurs have had such an impact on the Canadian hospitality industry as Bill Bennett and Mary Beaton. Bill is an architect with a passion for old Ontario structures and between them they completed the first renovation of The Millcroft Inn in the small mill town of Alton on the Credit River. The renovation was so fine that he won a National Award of Honour for Heritage Preservation. While they were operating the inn as a Relais et Chateaux (one of the Canadian charter members of that prestigious organization) they were on a country drive and found a mansion in the middle of a Waterloo County forest. It was in massive disrepair but still clung to the grandeur of the past.
Built in 1902 by Langdon Wilks, the son of an English man who inherited American wealth, the grand home was intended as a summertime contrast to life in New York, London, and a château in the Loire valley. Thanks to the hard work and courage of the Bennett/Beaton team, Langdon Hall has finally achieved what we can easily call its “glory days”. Dr.Leslie Laking, the former director of the Royal Botanical Gardens came out of retirement to design the magnificent, now mature, gardens.
Langdon Hall is pure country elegance unequalled anywhere in Eastern Canada. It’s been celebrated for three years in a row with the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Award. In 2013 it was dubbed the #1 hotel in Canada and #63 on the planet. The CAA/AAA 5 Diamond Award celebrates the on going excellence in their dining room. Executive Chef Jason Bangerter, the culinary experience at the hotel will flourish. I wonder whether CAA/AAA ever considers 6 diamonds?
Chef Bangerter is just-that-good! His credentials are impeccable…apprenticing under Chef John Higgins at The King Edward Hotel before heading to Europe to work under the renowned Chef Anton Moismann in London, Switzerland and Germany. He then headed home to join Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants for the 10 years at the flagship, Auberge du Pommier, then Luma and O&B Canteen at the TIFF Lightbox.
But great credentials do not a star chef make. The legendary culinarians, those whose names are emblazoned in history also cooked with their hearts. And that is one of Chef Bangerter’s strongest suits. With this appointment to Langdon Hall, surrounded by magnificent gardens and having an enthusiastic culinary brigade tag-teamed with a stellar wine list and in proximity to most of the finest ingredients in the Province, Chef Bangerter, with great good humour, is raising the the standard of Canadian dining to a whole new level. “I feel like a kid in a candy store” he quips after harvesting a bowlful of morels within minutes of the kitchen door. He and head gardener, Mario Muniz, have become fast friends, laying out the planting plans and identifying all the edible plants and flowers possible on the inn’s expansive grounds. Pheasant back tree fungus, watercress, garlic mustard…the list is long and delicious. Most recently he was invited on a whirlwind trip to Paris to design LH’s own private label chocolate. Named Terroir Noir and Terroir au Lait, he tasted single origin chocolate for two days to find the right blend that reflects the earthy, smoky flavours he sees as being reminiscent of the terroir of Langdon Hall itself. Like Bangerter, these chocolates are truly one of a kind and they’ll be showing up in not only desserts but in main courses.
It seems, to me, that while the inn has been home to many great chefs, Jason Bangerter is the one for which it has waited all these years.
Here is what he said about his Award-winning Food Day Canada 2014 menu: “Every dish is filled with Langdon Hall property ingredients but my favourite dish is the Terroir dish. It is 96% foraged from the property! Over 40 ingredients garnished with cold-pressed Canola Sorbet.”
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs . Contactez Langdon Hall directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa
1 Langdon Drive
Cambridge, ON N3H 4R8
T: 519 740 2100