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Hot Date: Foodie Favourite

Chef David Friesen is among the Flavours of Muskoka participants (photo by Neill Sturgess)

JUNE 29, 2011 Enjoy an evening of delicacies prepared by top chefs at Flavours of Muskoka. This popular fundraising event has sold out for the past decade—no surprise, as it offers fine fare from more than 40 of the region’s standout restaurants and Ontario wineries. Sample indulgent dishes from such expected participants as chef David Friesen of Bracebridge’s Riverwalk. The evening is fulfilling in more ways than one: proceeds help support Kaleidoscope Arts in Education Programs. The Rosseau, a JW Marriot Resort and Spa, 6 p.m., $75; call 705-765-1048 or click here to purchase tickets.

Top Chefs: David Friesen, Riverwalk

There are many reasons to visit Muskoka: the small town ambience; the pristine lakes; its world-renowned golf courses. These days, the region offers another excellent incentive thanks to the tremendous growth of its dining scene. We asked some of Muskoka’s most prominent kitchen captains about their restaurants, their cuisine and the area’s emergence as a foodie-friendly destination. Watch this space for a new chef every week of the summer!

Riverwalk, Bracebridge

Why do you think Muskoka has gained such popularity as a dining destination?
More great chefs are making the move outside of the city and opening more great restaurants. Over the last few years the Savour Muskoka program has helped brand the region as a place to enjoy local food products.

Your thoughts on the local food movement?
I love it. Using seasonal product has always been forefront throughout my 20+ year career. It’s great to be able to go straight to farms and speak directly with farmers. They’re responding with open arms and asking chefs what we want them to produce. This is a win-win situation.

Can you tell us about one of your signature dishes?
Crackling skinned organic chicken with handmade corn noodles—local chicken, farm-fresh eggs for the noodles and seasonal Brooklands Farm corn. Mmm!

What inspires you to cook?
Tastes, textures, smells. bringing those elements together in harmony and creating memories through the senses.

Savour Muskoka Dining Guide

Celebrate unique Northern Ontario cuisine with the Savour Muskoka dining program and the region’s many outstanding restaurants.

Enjoy a salad at the Delta Grandview Resort (photo courtesy of the Delta Grandview Resort.)

Enjoy fresh, local tastes at the Delta Grandview Resort.

It was not so long ago that “eating out” in Muskoka meant a wiener roast following a placid canoe trip, or grilling up the fish you caught earlier in the day. In recent years, however, cottage-country dining has gone increasingly upscale, and acclaimed restaurants seek to please the palates of sophisticated residents and vacationers alike.

Muskoka is now home to superlative chefs capable of crafting the most intricate of entrees. Thankfully, these culinary stars, and the establishments at which they toil, still have a sense of what makes this expanse of geography so special—its natural bounty. From berries and mushrooms to myriad vegetables and maple syrup, the region is blessed with an abundance of indigenous and farmed foodstuffs. These often-organic ingredients are highlighted as part of the Savour Muskoka dining program.