Comfort Evolution

Familiar favourites will always be popular with customers, but twists and tricks keep them fresh—and even fun.

New Poutine

All those french fries covered with cheese curds and gravy? The dish may have originated in Quebec, but eateries across Canada are putting their own spin on the increasingly popular item. You’ll see variations—like gravy made from veal stock, and chile-hot cheese. Toppings? Mushrooms, bacon, rabbit and lobster are in the mix. What’s more, even the fries get new versions, as in herbed seasoning.

Together at Last

Maple. Bacon. Canadians love them both. So why not maple-bacon doughnuts? And crisp bacon bits in the pancakes, ladled with syrup. Branching out even more, roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, maple syrup and a splash of balsamic vinegar is very trendy. So is maple-glazed bacon updated with chili powder and rosemary. (And why not use that bacon to wrap scallops for a fabulous appetizer, entrée or signature brunch offering?)

Afters Now

Using classic sweets in a gourmet way is still very of-the-moment with chefs. Examples include making truffles with a certain beloved coffee-flavoured candy bar, or crushing it to top chocolate ice cream, sour-cream cakes and cheesecakes. The iconic restaurant chain BeaverTails/Queues de Castor isn’t the only one to continue the search for things that go great on the flat-slap pastry: try chocolate with a bit of heat, like cayenne, or the extra sourness of fresh-squeezed lemon juice or lemon curd. (You’ll even find a healthier, low-sugar, oven-baked recipe at


One of the hits in the world of cookbooks—Amy Rosen’s Toronto Cooks: 100 Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants. Billed as “recipes from the motherland imbued with local ingredients,” traditional meats get the star treatment, like bison short ribs. Then there’s octopus (with XO sauce), and crab fritters, and scallops, and duck egg, and Muscovy duck breast.