Category Archives: Wine

URBANSOURCE CELEBRATES 30YRS OF CATERING TO TORONTO’S DISCERNING FOODIES

Bravo and a big standing O to Toronto’s URBANSOURCE CATERING who, this month, celebrate 30 successful years in one of the most volatile and difficult to crack service industries – event catering.  Starting off with a modest yet stylish storefront on Yonge St at Davisville, founders CALVIN HAMBROOK (below right) and WAYNE ABELL (below left), have built up a loyal following of corporate, private and fundraising clients who sing their praises and re-book year after year, and a professional staff who delivers 5-star service at every event.

1091 The 2 Crazy Owners Opening DayAfter moving to the larger 396 Queen St East with its big commercial kitchen in January of 1990, the business expanded with more staff being brought on board then, when the space next door at #400 became available in late 2012, Calvin and Wayne took that over, opening a stunning art gallery (www.UrbanGallery.ca) with exhibitions curated by Toronto artist, Allen Shugar. The gallery hosts monthly artist events plus can be used as a private party/dining venue.

Calvin Wayne & AllenCalvin, Wayne & Allen (above L to R)

I had a chance to chat briefly with Calvin the other week, who gave me a brief overview of the evolution of UrbanSource Catering – here’s our conversation which is, perhaps, a great lesson on how to build a thriving business while maintaining high standards of service and always delivering a quality product.

Calvin, any personal thoughts on the significance of reaching this milestone with your business? Over the past 30 years, what we’ve learned is the importance of not only giving our clients the best food, and service, but creating a thriving environment for all our staff. We see and appreciate the talents and work ethic our staff bring to our company, both on and off-site. Permitting our staff to grow professionally and bring their own energy and talents to the table helped us become a responsive company that can cater to a broad spectrum of events. It lets us bring enthusiasm and passion to every dish we serve, every party we staff and every event we plan. That’s something our customers can attest to – and this is how you stay successful for 30 years.

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WWP-7200Weddings are such big business now – how have you seen catering for weddings evolve over the past 30 years…and are you seeing any changes ahead for this season’s wedding banquets?  Weddings have evolved in many ways over the past 30 years, yet in many other ways they are the same. Many couples are much more interested in being ‘hands-on’ these days, and look for a more personalized event. But it is still a big undertaking for them, whether it’s a small reception or a big event. Often it’s the first time they’ve had to plan anything as elaborate as a Wedding Reception – and our team of consultants keep everyone sane and happy – and actually enjoy their Wedding!  Our Wedding consultant, Kaspara Albertsen, has guided many couples through the whole planning stage, and helped them overcome hurdles to get the wedding they’ve dreamed of!

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Knowing that Urban can supply full on-site service staff, how important is having professional cater waiters/service staff at an event? Having professional staff at an event saves you headaches and stress –our Staff Manager Jean-Marc Fontaine hears from our clients often, how they ‘couldn’t have done it without our staff’ or ‘Thank you for sending me xxx, they understood my party and my guests’. That’s the difference between throwing a party and being a GUEST at your own party!

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IMG_0320 You have an exciting and innovative Exec. Chef, Lyndon Wiebe – what does he bring to UrbanSource? Lyndon (below) has cooked and traveled the world, and he has a great ‘taste memory’ of things he’s tried. He can make the classic dishes – as well as our 30 Years of Urban Classics  – but he is always introducing new and delicious dishes for us to offer to our clients.

Lyndo- HEAD SHOT6Each year, Urban supports a number of worthy charitable events – which ones and why?  We recognize the need to give back to our community, and Toronto is one of the most charitable cities anywhere. We support so many worthwhile charities: Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Fife House, Surrey Place, Casey House, Inside Out,  Nellie’s Shelter, Toronto United Church’s Heart & Vision and many area Hospitals and charity fundraisers.

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IMG_0975 US-25 Any suggestions/recommendations for people planning weddings, corporate events or personal dining parties to create the best experience for their guests?  We suggest they make a list of all the items they can think of that they will need to provide for the event, assign an estimate of $$$ and a timeline. This will help them plan their budget, and how many guests they want to invite. If they see that this will be more than they can manage, either time-wise or budget-wise, they will save themselves a lot of headache, heartache and energy. This also makes them a much better-educated client, and will help them choose a caterer that meets their particular needs.

IMG_0063And what food trends do you see coming our way over the next year or so?  Street food, homestyle menus and ethnic dishes, especially South Asian and South & Central American. And more vegan, gluten-free and green-sourced foods, pickled vegetables, and house-butchered meats, artisanal foods….people are really embracing locally-sourced foods.

Seared salmon stackwasabi tuna canap+¬

If you’d like to experience what 30 years of successful catering and event planning can do for your next special event, dinner, gala or fundraiser, contact UrbanSource Catering for a quote: http://www.urbancatering.com/

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CONGRATULATIONS TO CALVIN, WAYNE and THE FABULOUS STAFF @ URBANSOURCE CATERING…wishing you another 30 years of delicious success!

2015 Decal Tourism Toronto

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FABULOUS “URBAN FOODIE” EVENT @ URBAN GALLERY LAST NIGHT

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URBAN GALLERY & URBAN SOURCE CATERING hosted their monthly Urban Foodie event last night, inviting local food artisans Whisky & Spice, Haute-Goat and No. 7 Hot Sauce to sample their delicious wares, paired with Rockway wines courtesy of TreAmici (see weblinks at end of story).

20141016_174604 20141016_174930Carlos & Sandra from No.7 Hot Sauce (above) showcased their hot’n’spicy sauces based on their family’s traditional recipes in varying levels of “heat”.Urban Source Catering’s Jean-Marc enjoyed sampling each flavour…it was love at first taste!

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Debbie Nightingale (above right) brought her complete range of Haute-Goat products including goats’ milk chocolate truffles, caramel sauce and the new maple or chocolate goats’ milk fudge (OMG, it is a “party in your mouth”, trust me!). Haute-Goat also has a luxurious line of body creams, soaps and lip balm that not only feels great, it smells good enough to eat!

20141016_174925 20141016_181628 IMG_2889Dan Gordon from Whisky & Spice was on hand to spread the word about his premium, handcrafted mustards that feature whisky/honey, Porter beer and Riesling/apple flavours and there were lots of happy taste-testers who took home jars for themselves and gifts. Yummmm.

The refreshing wines offered throughout the event were courtesy of Tre Amici and account manager Andrew Paradis (below) was on hand to personally pour our drinkies. Obviously one of the more popular people last night, Andrew found himself surrounded by some of the lovely ladies in attendance! A tough job but someone has to pour the wine, eh, Andrew?

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Artist J. David Murphy whose work is on display at the gallery until the end of this month was also in attendance and the guests enjoyed chatting with him about his stunning northern Ontario landscapes. Here’s David (below, left) chatting with gallery owner Calvin Hambrook (below, right) and other guests.

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20141016_191101Urban Source Catering‘s kitchen magician, Chef Lyndon, served up some pretty amazing hors d’oeuvres throughout the event….and as the evening wound-down he finally emerged from the kitchen to say hello to all the guests (below)

20141016_182810 20141016_200545This month’s Urban Foodie event was a big success with guests and vendors enjoying the art, the food, the wine and the camaraderie while a monsoon-like rainstorm pelted down outside. Big thank-you to Calvin, Wayne, Jean-Marc, gallery curator Allen, coordinator Kaspara and the cheery service staff for their warm hospitality. Bravo, Urban!

20141016_181637Urban Gallery: http://www.urbangallery.ca  Urban Source Catering:  www.urbancatering.com  Haute-Goat:  www.hautegoat.com  No.7 Hot Sauce:  www.no7hotsauce.com  Whisky&Spice:  http://www.whiskyandspica.ca  Tre Amici Wines: http://www.treamiciwines.com

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TASTE THE FINE VERONA WINES OF CANTINA L’ARCO from Toronto’s TERRA LUCHETTA

I was recently invited for a special tasting event of the extraordinary wines created by LUCA FEDRIGO  of  CANTINA L’ARCO  in Verona, Italy, brought into Canada by Ernie, Frank and Tony Luchetta of TERRA LUCHETTA.

Ernie is actually dad to my fabulous photographer, Gabriella, who covers all the big special events I attend, and when she told me about her dad’s “other business” (he runs a fantastic marble company – http://www.marbletrend.com) of importing special wines from Italy, I knew I had to investigate.

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The tasting was actually held out at the Marble Trend showrooms, a magnificent warehouse and office that displays some of the most stunning marble countertops, wall coverings and floorings I’ve ever seen. They cater not only to the trades and interior designers/decorators, but also to home owners and renovators wanting to upgrade to the finest materials available in Canada. I’ll post photos of the showroom at the end of this wine story.

Anyway, I was thrilled to meet winemaker Luca (below in light jacket) who was there overseeing the tastings of several red wines including a Valpolicella Classico Superiore,  Pario, Rosso del Veronese, a Rubio and Recioto and the incredible Amarone (also my favourite).

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Gabriella, as usual, was hard at work covering all the activities, including focusing on the details!

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We were also treated to a scrumptious feast, thanks to Chef Moreno (bottom left) and Gab’s mum Teresa (below left with Gabriella)….

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In between stuffing my face and sampling the wine, Ernie gave me a tour of the showroom – wow! Here are some of the spectacular chandeliers and marble products featured in Marble Trends’ showroom….

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and how about this stunning copper fireplace? 20140526_175252

And some very inventive marble vent plates

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And I thought these were actual hardwood planks but…..no, these are actually porcelain pieces….can you believe the photo quality of the wood grain? 20140526_174740 20140526_174752 20140526_174928

A very cool piece was this wall mounted radiator with lights and heating element behind the marble art piece. Sexy AND functional.

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This one piece caught my eye – carved black marble with gold (yes, actual GOLD) inlay. Anyone got Donald Trump’s phone number?

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Here are a few more photos from the showroom floor – around every corner, I found more treasures and cool displays….

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If you would like more information on the Terra Luchetta wines, check out this interview with Luca on Wine Wire: http://winewire.ca/winewiretv/video_blogs/episode-154-the-arc-between-traditional-and-modern.html#.U46gPXJdWSo

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BIG thank you to TERRA LUCHETTA, in particular Ernie and his daughter Gabriella.

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