Top Chef Canada winner Carl Heinrich is one of the chefs who’ll be found on stage and roaming around this weekend’s Savour Stratford food and wine (and beer, and whatever else) extravaganza. (Here’s why Jamie says you should go, and not just because he’s leading a boozy tasting seminar.) I got in touch with him through the culinary festival, and ended up chasing a second story: his very soon to be opened new restaurant in the financial district, Richmond Station. I found him and his business partner, and Head Butcher, Ryan Donovan, in work clothes, supervising the build and interviewing prospective employees. I dragged the duo, who famously collaborated at Marben, away form the action for a few minutes to ask them about what was going on.
It turns out Donovan will join Heinrich on stage at Stratford to “demo” their burger: a large piece of cow will be pared down by Donovan, cooked up by Heinrich and served to the crowd, on a bun made from scratch, spread with chutney prepared before the audience’s eyes. What better way to focus group Richmond Station’s menu? Donovan isn’t the only joining Heinrich on stage, he’ll team up with fellow Top Chef alumnus Connie DeSouza for a Sunday morning breakfast challenge. He’ll also be doing some judging here and there at various events. And, of course, Heinrich and Donovan are looking forward to just hanging out at the festival, since they went to the Stratford Chefs School together and see this weekend as a bit of a homecoming.
Meanwhile, Richmond Station is slated to be opened in early October at the very easy to remember address of 1 Richmond Street West. It’s a cool, quirky space, with a big circular window at the front of a long double-height ceiling room. There was a long bar under construction, and an annex at the back for (I guess ) more tables. Donovan and Heinrich will, naturally, continue the farm to table, ingredient-driven kind of modern-meets-French-technique cuisine that earned them kudos at Marben. Right now, all I can say for sure is there will be a burger, reviews from the festival pending. Richmond Station will begin by offering dinner, with an eye to providing lunch service as things get going. Keep posted at richmondstation.ca.
Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the not-for-profit corporation which publishes it. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley