Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Andrew Wolwowicz of The Springs Restaurant in London ON. We discussed his passion for making patrons happy through his cooking while he prepared each course. I was all smiles throughout dinner as my meal was rich and savory. Chef Andrew really made me feel at home.
Before I share my experience at The Springs, here are a few questions I asked the Chef Andrew Wolwowicz.
What inspires you when you create a recipe?
My inspiration, I feel lies in discovering new/seasonal ingredients that challenge my palate or, discovering an exciting flavour profile that perfectly complements an idea I was inspired by.
What are your favourite ingredients to cook withor top 5?
My favourite ingredients somewhat may change throughout the seasons, however, 5 ingredients I like to ensure are present in new either meaty or vegetarian dishes are currently;
- Fennel pollen
- Duck all cuts
- Good garlic
- bu bu butter
Who would be your dream dinner guest?
I would have to say I have 2. One would be Daniel Boulud. His cooking style engulfs a philosophy where maintaining the integrity of all the ingredients used in a dish are highlighted. It is a guideline I continually strive to ensure I incorporate in all the food I prepare; I believe I would make him proud!
The Second would have to be Michael Smith. Back in the day, I was addicted to his cooking show The Inn Chef. I felt inspired by the simple elegance he brought to his food. It is no wonder he continually attracts a steady stream of new cooks. Cooks whom I’m certain, whatever level they may be at with regards to their cooking skills, keep at it, while having the fun with exploring new flavours
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
Initially, my goal in life was to become a music teacher! Well, that changed once I took my first restaurant job during university. I look back and feel like I was captivated by the whole environment the business demanded. I had a good background with ‘real food’ so to speak in my younger years as my grandparents had a dairy farm; and being of European decent, I had the privilege of being exposed to farm life food. Food that was simple, from the land, flavourful and dedicated to the season. Eating what the bounty from what the garden offered was what we knew. I actually never ate a tomato on a sandwich until university as I had only ever eaten one right off the vine (with a little sprinkle of salt from the salt shaker you carried in your pocket while scoping out the goods the garden had ready!) So I feel that when I was exposed to the business side of food, it tripped my innate desire to offer guests a familiar experience.
What do you see as the new trend in food for 2016?
I am thinking there will be a few fun, yet traditional ingredients/techniques highlighted this year; such a stinging nettles, ashes (charring vegetables to create a flavourful powder to crust food), dehydrating foods, ‘less is more’, pulses & ancestral flavours. These are just a few I will be playing with this year for sure.
To begin, I was served the duck wings as an appetizer, the short ribs for my main, and cheesecake for dessert. The duck wings were huge…. I asked him “Can I pick these up with my hands?” he responded with “eat Suzanne, I just want you to eat!” He really wanted me to enjoy every aspect of my meal and let my taste buds run wild as enjoyed my meal. I even said to myself “Suzanne, you have a full meal coming to you, DO NOT eat all these wings.” I ate them ALL and enjoyed every bite! Next, Andrew brought out the most beautiful plate of short ribs, on top of parsnip puree. I ended my meal with the lightest cheesecake I’ve ever had. It was Fantastic!
The Springs is upscale dining with a comfortable atmosphere. In my opinion, it’s perfect dining experience.
Andrew, your authentic, creative, and your passion for pleasing your guests through your food is admirable. Thank you for allowing me in to your kitchen!
A few weeks back, I was invited to dine at Bosk, an Asian-Canadian, modern cuisine bistro nestled in the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto. I had driven by Bosk many times while in my favourite city and had been captivated by its outdoor structure and style. Then, with the rave reviews I had heard, I knew this was a place I had to try. When I did, I found Bosk to be more than just a beautiful place to dine; its staff were hospitable, the patio was warm and relaxing, and the feel was of comfort and elegance.
Upon arrival at the hotel, I was welcomed by the sound of a piano being played. As I walked through the foyer to the restaurant, I was greeted by the host who seated me for lunch. There was plenty of seating with intimate spots for two as well as areas that could receive an entire family.
Having never eaten at Bosk, I asked for recommendations and was helped with a selection that turned out to be perfect for my taste and appetite. I started with the Nova Scotia Scallops that was served with fresh avocado, hon-shimeji cucumber, and a ginger dressing. The scallops were perfectly seared and the ginger dressing was a piquant accompaniment. It was a great start to what was to come!
Following the scallops, I enjoyed the Cavatelli Pasta with crab, served with a confit of lemon, herb butter, and bread crumbs, for my main course. The pasta with crab was delectable and the bread crumbs were a fabulous touch.
I finished my meal with not one, but two desserts. The first dessert was the Illanka Dark Chocolate which was a confection of chocolate mousse, banana cream pretzel, crushed peanuts and black & tan ice cream. The second was the Tres Leches Cake—a vanilla spiced milk cake on white chocolate wafers with strawberry blood orange ice cream. My favourite was the Illanka Dark Chocolate as I love chocolate anything!
The presentations of the desserts, like the appetizer and main, were works of art to admire even if they were irresistible to eat! I only wished I would have had someone to share them with! Not yet ready to be on my way, I walked past the stunning glass wall of wine to the patio and spent some time relaxing by the fire after my wonderful meal.
Bosk is the perfect place to catch up with a friend over lunch, to hold a business meeting, or share dinner with a loved one. Try it this summer. I hope you will make it one of your favourite places, too!