Raymond’s Restaurant has set a new bar for Canadian dining. Located in a wonderful old bank building in downtown St. John’s, Chef Jeremy Charles celebrates both the modern and traditional ingredients of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Almost as soon as it opened, Raymond’s was named The Best New Restaurant 2011 by EnRoute Magazine. Before that, in 2010, when he won Gold at Gold Medal Plates, head judge James Chatto wrote: As I added up the marks for his dish – presentation, texture, taste, originality, wine-match, wow factor – I realized I had never awarded such a high score to any chef’s work in any regional, national or international competition I had ever judged. Try as I might, I could find no fault with his dish.” It’s a high bar to set for any chef and, with a twinkle in his eye, Charles jumps over it with ease.
A Charles meal is filled with pride of place. It is sophisticated and elegant, yet it honours the flavours of old Newfoundland. No imported shrimp here…rather the sweet shellfish of the cold waters off the Province. There’s cod and halibut, oysters and fabulous berries, all scattered throughout the ultimately seasonal menu. One of his signature first courses uses a cross cut section of tree trunk on which to serve caplin with salsa verde, a slice of seared whelk and a fresh B.C. oyster (the long winter had made it impossible to obtain local ones) with wild leek mignonette. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the great Australian chef Cheung Liew’s Seven Tastes of the Sea.
I first met Chef Jeremy Charles when he was cooking over an open fire at the Canadian Chefs’ Congress in 2008. He is a true culinary adventurer and has spent the last 10 years on a cross-continental gastronomic odyssey. From the rugged wilderness of the Canadian Shield at the Molson Fly Fishing Camp in Godbout, Quebec, where he was Head Chef to the Molson and Bronfman families, to the slick urban oasis of Los Angeles and Chicago where he staged and served as a private chef, the unique diversity of Jeremy’s experience continues to guide him on his journey toward the redefinition of rustic East Coast cuisine of which he is a brilliant interpreter.
While at the helm of the once-lauded and now-closed Atlantica, another restaurant voted in 2007 the #1 Best New Restaurant in Canada by EnRoute Magazine with him in the kitchen, Jeremy’s penchant for using only the freshest, most vibrant and authentic ingredients from local purveyors won him accolades at home and abroad for creating cuisine that both nourishes and inspires the body, heart and mind.
But there’s another ‘Jeremy’ in the house…the sommelier, front of house host, fellow-Newfoundlander Jeremy Bonia. Bonia has mastered both international and Canadian wines and travels extensively across the nation sourcing them.In 2012 the restaurant gained the Wine Spectator’s Best Award of Excellence, an honour that is very challenging to achieve anywhere outside of Canada’s largest urban centres. For all of Jeremy Charles’ Food Day Canada menus,Bonia has a spectacular all-Canadian wine menu from Charles Baker Riesling and Ravine Vineyards Cabernet Franc to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from both Norman Hardie and Closson Chase.
It was a great privilege to present both Jeremys with the University of Guelph/Food Day Canada Innovation Award for their FDC 2013 menu.
Raymond’s Restaurant is one of about 250 restaurants that celebrate Food Day across Canada. Contact them at the number below to reserve a table.
Raymond’s Restaurant est l’un des 250 restaurants à travers tout le Canada qui participent au Journée des terroirs. Contactez Raymond’s Restaurant directement, au numéro ci-dessous, afin de faire votre réservation.
95 Water Street
St John’s, NF A1C 1A5
T: 709 579 5800