Ottawa Citizen


Communal appetizers for your Thanksgivi­ng table


“Good ingredient­s matter.” Chefs and authors Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann built their small chain of southern Ontario restaurant­s — Earth to Table — according to this maxim.

When the slow food advocates wrote their first cookbook nearly a decade ago, Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm (Random House Canada, 2009), locavorism was just becoming a phenomenon in Canada.

“We hit the nail on the head with the beginning of a trend, which we’d been doing for a while,” says Crump. “We just saw the interest in seasonal and local eating grow, and obviously now it’s pretty mainstream.”

A commitment to good food treated simply is at the heart of their second book, Earth to Table Every Day (Penguin Canada, available for pre-order; on sale Oct. 16).

The collection of 140 recipes — from breads and shared appetizers to pizzas and pastries — has its roots in community.

Regular customers of their two Bread Bar locations tested the recipes, and many of the dishes are menu mainstays.

For Crump — who has worked at prestigiou­s restaurant­s including Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. — a farm-to-table approach is “all about the celebratio­n of the seasons.”

Whether it’s waiting for heirloom apple varieties or rich winter squashes to arrive each fall, he applies that sense of anticipati­on to almost everything he cooks.

He and Schormann are believers that “a shared meal is the best meal.”

In celebratin­g Thanksgivi­ng, they revel in the communal, family-style nature of the feast.

“As I’ve gotten mature as a chef, my cooking has become very simple, especially at home. I used to get too fancy. But I just have fun roasting squashes and a turkey,” says Crump.

“Standing around and drinking wine, I love that. Cooking for half a day (and) hanging out.”

“We love the power that food has to bring people together,” adds Schormann.

“Everybody has their community and they have the power to use their food and their suppers and lunches to communicat­e.”

Recipes excerpted from Earth to Table Every Day: Cooking with Good Ingredient­s Through the Seasons by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann.

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