Have the chops to Feast on the Farm in 2022?

·2 min read

Feast on the Farm returns August 7th after a two-year Covid hiatus, so it’s time to sharpen those knives, chefs, and start thinking of local ingredients, because this event needs your culinary skills.

The annual event is held at Leisure Farms and produced by the West Nipissing Chamber of Commerce. After two years the Chamber is happy to have it back, as “it really helps with the rest of the year’s operations,” explained Zack Lafleur, the Chamber’s executive director. The event is the Chamber’s biggest fundraiser, and the money raised helps the Chamber continue offering programs for the business community and goes toward producing the event.

Besides raising funds for the Chamber, Feast on the Farm is a great way to promote the farm and restaurant sector within West Nipissing and surrounding areas. The event has grown considerably, from 50 guests when they launched in 2013 to 550 guests planned for this summer’s feast.

The feather in the cap might just be the award the Chamber received in 2019. The Ontario Tourism Association declared Feast on the Farm the Culinary Event of the Year, and Lafleur remains humbled by the honour.

“It’s a very big award for us, and it was really nice to be recognized” he said, adding “that really put us on the map” for the event. The award proudly sits on Lafleur’s desk in the Chamber, but he is considering bringing it out to this year’s fest to let everyone involved have a view, since due to Covid, the Chamber hasn’t had the chance to properly unveil the accolade.

See: Feast on the Farm wins Ontario culinary tourism award

Lafleur mentioned the Chamber is planning to bring the event back “bigger than ever this year,” and the first step is attracting chefs to the burner, because without them, the feast might be more of a snack. Eight chefs are required, and anyone interested can contact the Chamber to fill out an application form. If chosen, the Chamber will provide $1,500 per chef to help offset the cost of cooking a small plate for 550 guests.

Chefs can apply from anywhere, although most come from West Nipissing, North Bay, and Sudbury. However, there is always a strong emphasis on West Nipissing cooks, because the idea is to maintain a strong local presence.

The local flavour is accentuated in the menus, as well. Each meal prepared for the feast uses ingredients sourced from within 100 kilometres of Sturgeon Falls. From farm to fork, the event highlights local producers as much as the local cooks.

For those interested in applying for one of the eight spots, applications can be found on the West Nipissing Chamber’s website.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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