I've wondered recently: especially when it comes to living in a northern city like Toronto that experiences the full range of distinct seasons, this has to be a challenge for the Chefs in the city. I presume this because much of what we appreciate about fine dining is the high level of attention to the quality and freshness of the ingredients. And that Chefs will often decide on a menu based around what is fresh and available. I remember in late summer
having a tomato-based appetizer at Buca that blew my mind, mostly because of how fresh the varieties of tomatoes on the plate tasted.
But what happens after summer and fall? How do the restaurants access the vegetables and fruits which will no longer be found growing during the cold season? Having asked one chef the answer was basically, a lot more root vegetables will start appearing on the menu over winter.
Now, I'm sure an excellent chef can keep the menu tasty throughout the year, but it does strike me as making sense that the "best" time to eat out, where you will experience the broadest possible range of all the fresh produce, is going to be in the warmer months. (Just looking at produce seasons for Ontario, it strikes me that August would be most bounty-rich).
Is this something anyone here takes into account when deciding when to eat out? How do the chefs handle this situation when it gets too cold for local produce? Are there places where they can buy a range of fresh produce flown in from other climes?