Over 80 unique restaurants from 27 communities in Alberta will feature more than 200 farms and producers during the third annual "Alberta on the Plate" dine-around festival this year.
Four of those restaurants are in Airdrie: Flavours of Montreal, Ferraro Truly Italian, Abe's Modern Diner and Jam's all regularly feature meals sourced from local producers.
This year's event will run from Aug. 6 - 15 and takes place in conjunction with Alberta Local Food Week Aug. 8th to 15, and wraps up the same weekend that Open Farm Days are being held.
Brad Stefaniuk is the owner and chef at Jam's in Airdrie and said the organizers of Alberta on the Plate approached him about participating this year and as a restauranteur who always does his best to shop local, he was happy to be part of the event.
"I probably go to four or five different shops to buy food, and then I have other people deliver. I've got EC Williams, they're just from Crossfield with the beef. We're also involved in a couple of markets, Homestead, Airdrie Farmers Market, I meet producers through there and we exchange products, exchange ideas and so far everything's going well. I hope to be fully local eventually."
If you head to Jam's for the Alberta on the Plate event, you'll be able to enjoy a meal that's been prepared with almost all local ingredients, said Stefaniuk.
"They've asked us to put together a two-course meal, with a drink and what we've come up with is a Brisket Benny. So all the briskets come from EC Williams. I haven't decided if I'm going to put on cornbread or English muffins. All of our English muffins come from the Calgary Italian Centre. All of our dairy is Canadian, all of our eggs, so it's a pretty local dish."
All of that deliciousness will be smothered in a maple hollandaise sauce. The second course, Stefaniuk explained, will be a truly Canadian meal of a pancake taco.
"When I think of Canadian breakfasts, the first thing that comes to my mind is pancakes," said Stefaniuk. "Pancakes are super-Canadian. I studied a lot of late 1800's Canadian cuisine and there are pancakes in every book. So that's more of a general, local, Canadian thing."
It's been a tough go for Stefaniuk since opening his restaurant in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic on Jan. 1, 2020, but he said customers are finding him now that restrictions have lifted and he's feeling positive again. He's also been overwhelmed by the support of the Airdrie community.
"We've had so much great support! The City of Airdrie is absolutely incredible to the restaurants. The Shop Local stuff has helped us a ton. I think people are just so fed up with not being able to get out, they're getting out every chance they get right now and we've really appreciated it. It's turning things around."
Alberta on the Plate is celebrating its third year in 2021. The province-wide dine-around event features participating restaurants offering fixed-price menus, highlighting local producers, growers, distillers, and brewers.
You'll find more information on Alberta on the Plate and the restaurants that are a part of it HERE.
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