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I dare you not to think of the words “rubber chicken” when referencing event venue food.
But, leave it to the team at the iconic International Centre in Toronto, Ontario, to take on the arduous task of selling delectable and appealing food to the masses. With a top flight team and a young star chef, the 1,000,000 square foot facility has been turning heads over the past four years, recreating their food service into sexy, tasty and sustainable culinary experiences.
Yes, sustainable food at a convention facility. Sustainable from the design of the space to the last mouth-watering bite of food.
Over the past few years, the International Centre has been producing trade show and special events by the hundreds, feeding thousands of patrons local food, an initiative they have taken very seriously. Its latest venture of renovating an existing, dated restaurant space formerly known as the Market Café involved working on a tight timeline and even tighter budget. Recycling and repurposing took on new meaning.
The menu was the easiest component of the project. Chef Joseph Levesque preaches sourcing fresh, locally produced ingredients, for cuisine that is hand-crafted and made-to-order for each customer. In the Craft Eatery, he uses local produce and meats, along with special craft ingredients the likes of Mill Street Tankhouse Ale for fish and chips, St. Albert’s cheese curds in the signature poutine dish, and local Ace Bakery artisan breads.
The actual space had a dated look, with old furniture and over 140 seats to consider. It took creativity to overcome the minute budget put in place for the project. Tables nearly 20 years old were resurfaced to match the restaurant palettes, and they were paired with the existing modern chairs from the old space.
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