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Local restaurants collaborate for free online cookbook

Little Bites: Tastes from Isolation was created in an effort to help local restaurants share their food and Taste Detours tell their stories
Sketches by local artist Jenna Kesslerfor LaFontana's homemade wood oven pizza in 'Little Bites: Taste from Isolation' virtual cookbook. Supplied photo

While many are polishing their cooking skills during the lockdown, Taste Detours is releasing recipes from restaurants across Guelph, Elora and Wellington County for free. 

Taste Detours founder Lynn Broughton’s initiative Little Bites: Taste from Isolation is releasing two recipes online per week to create a  virtual recipe book. 

“A lot of restaurants and food people are really stressed. They’re either feeling like they’re losing their business or they’re scrambling as fast as they can on skeletal staff,” said Broughton who launched the initiative to show appreciation and support for members of the local food scene who have been significantly affected by the pandemic. 

The food places that were contacted provided Broughton with a recipe of their choice along with some information about themselves. Broughton says the final cookbook will carry over 30 recipes from a variety of food places such as restaurants, bars and farms to provide a fresh and unique take on the area’s food. 

“It’s a really amazing broad range of recipes and food from different cultures,” said Broughton about recipes from places such as Crafty Ramen, LaFontana, The Olive Experience, Atmosphere Cafe + etc, Miijidaa Cafe + Bistro, DianaDownTown, Gin Mill Guelph, Elora Bread Trading Co. and Na Ha Thai's Kitchen and local chefs Emily Richards and Scott Yates.

With the many food places contacted, Broughton says no dish was repeated. She said food places around the area were extremely receptive to the idea and wanted to be a part of the cookbook. 

The first two recipes include Ontario-style ramen noodles from Crafty Ramen and Fettuccine in Kale Pesto from LaFontana.

“I don’t think any of the recipes were impossible to achieve,” said Broughton. 

“It’s really inviting and it’s doable,” said Broughton about the simple instructions provided with welcoming sketches by local artist Jenna Kessler that illustrate methods of preparing the food. 

With a five-year-old business that toured 1,700 people in the food industry, Broughton was set to launch tours in Wellington County to tell the story of food and their agriculture roots. But when the restaurants were mandated to close down, so was her business. 

“I am 100 per cent down in business,” said Broughton who had to cancel food tours for the entire summer. 

She said through the virtual cookbook, she is able to continue to tell the story of people and places through food and drinks.

It’s within this manageable bizarre COVID-19 way of operating right now,” said Broughton.

“Our restaurants and food people are top of mind and its to support them and promote them and remind people about them.”

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Anam Khan

About the Author: Anam Khan

Anam Khan is a journalist who covers numerous beats in Guelph and Wellington County that include politics, crime, features, environment and social justice
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