Local Eateries: A Labour of Love
by Jennifer Biron, Owner of The Redhead & The Chef
It has been an exciting time for “foodies” in Thunder Bay over the last few years! We have seen so many new restaurants, little eateries, catering companies and of course the introduction of Food Trucks to the Thunder Bay food scene. Personally, the Redhead & the Chef is thrilled to be at the Thunder Bay Country Market working alongside many amazing food vendors. It is our mission to utilize as many local providers when creating our menu for the Wednesday and Saturday market. Some of our local vendors from the Thunder Bay Country Market have moved into commercial spaces and expanded their operations to meet the growing demand for their special treats. It is wonderful to see so much growth and opportunity be created by so much local talent. Each offering guests a unique menu, atmosphere and experience.
They have all designed menus that showcase their individual talents and passion for food. For some menus are inspired by the newest hottest food trends, others around local influences such as culture and locally sourced and sustainable products. Others have designed menus that speak to more of niche market such as gluten free, vegetarian or vegan. Some have been inspired by a new twist on the ever popular “greasy spoon”.
Wherever the inspiration for one’s menu comes from, it is one the best parts of being the Chef or Owner of your own business. Menus are an expression of who we are and what we want our guests to experience. Ingredients are carefully selected and deliberately paired to create what we believe will be the most amazing things you will ever eat. Now most of us in the industry understand that we will never please every guest, primarily because we all have different palates, but we sure have fun trying!
Working in the food industry, at times, feels like it offers little reward. It is long hours on your feet, cooking over hot stoves, fans running all the time, washing and chopping vegetables for what seems like hours and so on. Oh, and of course just when you think you’re caught up on dishes, there always seems to be more, so your back in the dish pit getting them done. To be honest, when the Chef and I first started our business it amazed me how much work and how many hours went in to the final product. We would go and set up at an event and within what seemed like moments, it was all gone! However, it is within those moments that the reward, “the rush” exists, and one understands why Chefs do what they do.
Watching people enjoy the food, be impressed by the presentation and flavors or the offerings, makes all the long hours so rewarding. It is without a doubt “a labour of love!” Anyone in the industry will tell you, that rush is what inspires us to get up the next day and do it all again.