Music, culture and heritage are a huge reason people come to our province, but they also come for the hospitality, kindness and character of this rugged province. They also come for the emerging attractions of adventure and geo-tourism; all these help make use unique and desirable.
One linking factor in our endeavour to present our province to the world – FOOD. Whether they come for it or it is a tertiary reason for the visit, everyone must eat. We have a unique mix of cultures that dates back hundreds of years; most are influenced by English, Irish and French culinary heritage.
Although we have had a major connection to the sea, we have been less adventurous in our pursuit to promote the food that has been harvested from our sea and our land. We do hang our hats on some recipes such as Fish and Brewis , Fish Cakes as well as Jigs Dinner ( a mixture of boiled vegetables and salt meat) – all these although tasty do not show our full potential.
We are currently asking the world to visit our province and to experience what we portray in our ads, which are majestic and inviting. We need to ensure we can deliver. Restaurants, B&B’s, local food vendors and local not for profit organizations have a responsibility to ensure the highest quality food is available to those visiting our province. As good as our “fish and chips” is, man and woman cannot live on deep fried cooking alone. The good news is that there is a helping hand in the development of new ways to present our food traditions and local product.
In late September, I had the opportunity to take a course from the Bonavista Institute for Cultural Tourism. The specific course “Culinary Tourism and The Arts” made us ask ourselves, “Are we making the most out of our local food and the traditions that come with it?”
It was very hands on course that helped those involved think of new ideas and ways to showcase our food. It was also to see first-hand how the people of the Bonavista area have, in my opinion risen to become a powerhouse in developing our tourism product. One of the key points in this course is to use what you have, in food and culture, harness it and make it yours.
Case in point for this would be the beautiful little community of Elliston, they have identified their community’s assets and have built a tourism product that is unique. The connection of root cellars and the food in which they protected is now profiled, as they are the Root Cellar Capitol of the World. rootcellars.com. They have also created a world class culinary and culture event called Roots, Rants and Roars which has been a resounding success. rootsrantsandroars.ca
Facility and Instructors
The quality of the instructors was second to none as they all had impressive resumes and were very capable of keeping the attention of an eclectic group of individuals. The chefs were top notch in their execution of showing us new methods to combine local and cultural flavors that by no means was a compromise. It was enlightening and made me proud to think of the possibilities. I look forward to the opportunity to use my newly gained insight in our food and learn from Chef’s Todd Perrin and Chris Sheppard.
The College of North Atlantic has an amazing facility, the kitchen is world class, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to utilize such a facility. Other facilities that were used in the course, and were just as impressive were the Ryan Premises, Harbour Quarters (You have to stay there.), Bonavista Lighthouse, The Mathew Legacy Centre, Fishers Loft (fantastic fresh produce) and the wonderful Orange Lodge Café in Elliston.
Thank you to Heather MacDonald our Facilitator, as well as Mary Byrne who took care of all the details for us on behalf of the Institute. I think the next chapter of Newfoundland and Labrador Culinary Tourism will be an exciting one.
For more information on this or other courses from the Bonavista Institute for Cultural Tourism , please visit bonavistainstitute.ca