Burlington’s culinary tour de force kicked off in style Tuesday night. 375 hungry foodies poured into the beautiful Performing Arts Centre to celebrate the launch of Taste of Burlington 2017.

Changing Times, Changing Tastes

Chef Matt Nishimura from Alloro assembles one of their delicious pork Bao Buns
Chef Matt Nishimura from Alloro assembles one of their delicious pork Bao Buns

Things are looking a little different this time around. “We’re going into our ninth year and we just did a huge re brand,” says Lead Organizer Linda Cvetanovic. The new direction is aimed at getting the next generation of foodies involved. Cvetanovic says that with changing times come changing tastes.

“They’re not just looking for steak and potatoes anymore,” she says of the contemporary diner. “They’re looking for something new, and they want to know where their food comes from.”

Burlington’s restaurateurs continue to embrace the farm to table movement. They are regularly trying new things and pushing the boundaries of each plate. Each chef and owner put in weeks of work when setting the menu of Taste of Burlington.

Purple Heather Sous Chef Steve Lucas says that, “Probably three weeks of trying 15 to 20 different things to put on the menu that will really showcase who we are and the direction that we’re heading,” go into each year.

It’s Come a Long Way

The Taste of Burlington follows a three course prix fix menu at each restaurant. Some offer

Jambalaya Arancini from Downtown Bistro
Jambalaya Arancini from Downtown Bistro

lunch, dinner or both. Items on each menu are, “something that we’ve never done before, something that will pop out to everybody.” Mike Lorinczi, Chef and Owner of Downtown Bistro has been a part of Taste of Burlington since the beginning.

Taste of Burlington launched in 2008 as a way to transform Burlington into a culinary destination. It has grown each year. The program began with only 12 restaurants and this year showcase 35.

“I look back at the first launches we did,” says Cvetanovic. “There were just plates brought into the Tourism Centre, and now we have a sellout crowd of 375 guests.”

The program in its 8 years has brought over 100,000 dinners to its restaurants along with fostering partnerships within the community.  For example, Purple Heather has teamed up with Nickelbrook and will introduce an exciting new brew pub concept in March.

Prep Chef Alex from Ivy loves getting out and talking to foodies
Prep Chef Alex from Ivy loves getting out and talking to foodies

Cvetanovic believes that Burlington can now stack up with neighbouring culinary hot spots Hamilton and Toronto, but you be the judge.

Taste of Burlington runs February 20th to March 12th.  35 amazing restaurants will showcase the very best, some with freshest local ingredients.  For more information and a full list of participating restaurants, click here.