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Grazing on an variety of tender green grasses on Bryan Gilvesy's YU Ranch

We, at Le Sélect, strongly believe that what we put in our body three times a day has an impact on how we feel. Since the art of cooking starts with a fresh and live product, we went looking at the source, roaming the province in search of food with flavour and nutrients, food that makes us or keeps us healthy, real food, issued from sustainable farming as well as sustainable aquaculture and fisheries, food grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, food bred without hormones, growth promotants, or antibiotics.

We explored the countryside and met small farmers, breeders, wine-growers, fishermen and other professionals whose enthusiasm was uncontainable, and whose knowledge was enlightening. People who strive to bring the freshest, the tastiest, the healthiest, the most natural ingredients to our food larders. Sometimes they were Mennonites, Amish, natives, organic growers, or farmers who had abandoned intensive agriculture and monoculture to return to traditional ways. And they were usually not far from us.

Chef Ponzo in his natural habitat

For a whole year Chef Albert Ponzo experimented with their products, making sure the supply would be uninterrupted and the quality unfailing. In so doing we developed new partnerships. Le Sélect is now an LFP “Committed Partner" to certified local sustainable food and farming, Canada’s local sustainable food Certification.

Most –but not yet all– of our ingredients are organic, or products from local and traditional farming.

We also partnered with the Vancouver Aquarium’s “Ocean Wise” programme and most of our fish and seafood is certified as a "fresh water or ocean friendly choice". Red meat comes mostly from grassfed animals and eggs from pastured hens.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay on a book tour drops in on Chef Albert Ponzo

This resolute direction is in evidence in some of Chef Ponzo's current dishes such as the kale salad with fresh Ontario sheep cheese from Monforte, the wild boar Mortadelle with a pickled quail egg, the Échine d'agneau en Navarin (Ontario lamb neck with Spring vegetables), grilled mackerel with fava beans and fennel, steam-roasted fresh water salmon on a quinoa salad, and his now famous Crètes de coq (cock's comb) which he served at the Gordon Ramsay dinner held at Le Sélect.

There is also organic beef from Alberta, Bershire pork from Ontario in his Choucroute Alsacienne, grassfed bison tartare, Mussels steamed in Maudite (Québec's super strong ale), and pickerel with chanterelles and red wine, to name but a few.

Fergus Henderson, the celebrated "Chef's Chef" from London’s St John Restaurant dropped by Le Sélect on his way to Terroir, Toronto’s annual symposium

The menu remains a work in progress as we continue introducing new ingredients. This makes it both challenging and interesting. Come share the challenge and the excitement with us.

This is what bring people to Le Sélect such as Fergus Henderson, the celebrated British Chef widely credited for the rebirth of contemporary British gastronomy, and a pioneer of the “Nose to Tail” philosophy.

Michael Steinberger, author and wine critic, enjoying a glass of organic Rosé de Provence

Or writers such as Michael Steinberger, wine critic and author of Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine and the Decline of France who believes that one can find better and more authentic French food at Le Sélect and at other restaurants in New York and Japan than in France. “French cuisine is largely living in exile,” he said in conversation with the Globe and Mail’s Boyd Erman.

Why? Thanks to “a diaspora of chefs such as Daniel Boulud who carry the tradition forward, and also to legions of dedicated Francophiles who flock to places such as Toronto's Le Sélect Bistro, a city institution where La Marseillaise plays on the answering-machine greeting”.

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