Tag Archives: Urban Gallery

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!

IMG_0163 Leek Wrapped Tilapia

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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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Celebrity chef Lyndon Wiebe’s artist reception @ Urban Gallery, Toronto

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4:55pm yesterday…all the photos were framed and hung, food prepped and wine was chilling, and celebrity chef and photographer LYNDON WIEBE had changed out of his chef’s whites into a more relaxed shirt and sweater ready to greet friends and fans to the opening of his 1-man show “Lost in Travels: Solitary Confinement” at Urban Gallery, 400 Queen St East in Toronto.  And then…..

DSC_0284…in they came.

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The gallery was full of happy, appreciative art fans and friends, all commenting on the colourful striking images. And Lyndon’s artistic talents were reflected in the catered dishes served, too.

DSC_0272 DSC_0267 DSC_0278(above images #2 thru 9 courtesy of Jean-Marc Fontaine, UrbanSource Catering & Urban Gallery)

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IMG_5636 IMG_5662 IMG_5643 IMG_5681Lyndon finally relaxed once all his friends arrived and we all heard the ooo’s and aaaah’s as people viewed the photographs. And his big beautiful smile (below) says it all….Woohooo!

IMG_5666(above 6 images courtesy of Kaspara Albertsen, Urban Gallery)

ABOUT THE SHOW:  In 2009 the Winnipeg-born Wiebe and 2 chef friends filmed the travel-based web series Without Borders, commissioned as the series Chefs Run Wild on APTN and Travel+Escape Network in Canada and in 40 countries worldwide on National Geographic (pictured below, centre). On this two-year trip he discovered his love of photography. The photos in this exhibition were taken over several years of traveling around Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand.

Here are some of the photographs on show (photographed by me)….all large format and affordable for any collector.

20150115_165625 20150115_165637 20150115_165645 20150115_165706My personal favourites are… (below)

20150115_165453 20150115_165403 20150115_165421(0)I had fun attempting to take selfies with writer pal, Donna Lypchuk (below)  – thanks for the pics, Kaspara.

IMG_5690 IMG_5692…and in the end, Donna got a pretty good one (below) although we really should take these before enjoying several glass of wine, eh?

1620572_10152662242981156_5637709768831286484_nStrongly doubt any of our selfies would ever make it into a gallery show, but everyone else concentrated on Lyndon’s work and spent the evening enjoying the hospitality of Urban Gallery.

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20150115_184132 20150115_184159Urban Gallery’s Wayne  and Kaspara enjoyed all the photo opps, too.  (below)

20150115_181848Congratulations to Lyndon and Urban Gallery for a successful launch. Lyndon’s show runs through to the end of February so if you would like to check his work out in person, visit the gallery’s website for directions and hours:  http://www.urbangallery.ca

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CHEF WHO RAN WILD PRESENTS INT’L PHOTOGRAPHIC ART SHOW & NOT-SO-TAME CATERING

I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming exhibition of LYNDON WIEBE‘s photographic art Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement at URBAN GALLERY, 400 Queen St East, Toronto, which opens Thurs. January 15th with a special reception for media and art fans.  See: http://www.urbangallery.ca for details

Lyndo- HEAD SHOT6Along with two other chef friends, Lyndon (pictured above) starred in the CHEFS RUN WILD TV series which has been broadcast on APTN and Travel+Escape TV networks in Canada as well as 40 countries worldwide on the National Geographic Channel. On their featured two-year trip, he discovered his love of photography. The photos in this exhibition were taken over several years of travel in Asia, Africa, Canada and New Zealand. The show will run from Jan. 15th to February 28th.

I recently asked Lyndon a few questions about his photography, travel and culinary passions:

What prompted you to undertake your “chefs run wild” reality series & why did you choose to take 2 others with you?
Well, originally we wanted to create our own web-based food and travel series which became Without Borders. We had all been travelling for years and thought this might be our last big epic adventure so we decided to do something different. We were tired of simply travelling and drinking and doing the usual adventures, not that there is anything wrong with it as we did it for years but we wanted to take advantage of our knowledge of food and expand it and come home with a different experience. At the end of the day it would not hurt our resumes or our repertoire of food knowledge. After making over fifty YouTube videos and winning several awards in the U.S. for Best Food & Travel series on the web, we were starting to get noticed and our production value went up. Marcus Samuelsson (who is a well known celebrity chef) used to show our videos all the time on his own website and promote them for us because he loved them. Eventually our footage was bought from us and commissioned into a 15-episode series called Chefs Run Wild here in Canada on the Travel + Escape Network. (Lyndon is pictured below, right)

1380782_10151909619221014_1362482927_nWhat life-changing events did you experience while travelling around the world?
I spent seven years of my life abroad so it’s hard to pinpoint certain experiences. I think in general, all of those experiences helped me become a better person. Traveling taught me patience and understanding. If you have neither you will have a hard time in some countries. It taught me that slow is better and you don’t always need to rush. You appreciate things more when you can actually relax and take it all in. (Masai tribesman, Africa, pictured below)

Invitation Image Masai Tribesman TanzaniaYou’re originally from Winnipeg – what brought you to Toronto?
After travelling and undertaking the Without Borders adventure I decided to move back to Winnipeg. I knew after a few years I had to go to a bigger city, so was set to move to Vancouver to live with my brother on the coast when my producer suggested I move here to Toronto as the TV networks were all here as well as the production studio. So it made sense as we were doing a whole bunch of media interviews and spots to promote the show in Toronto. After moving here to give it a try, I fell in love with the city and have been here for three years now.

When/how did you come to work at UrbanSource Creative Catering?
I started at Urban Source in March of 2011. I had moved to Toronto six months prior to promote the TV show and had been slowly looking for work but no longer wished to work in restaurants – they no longer appealed to me with the long hours and dismal pay. I had done some catering in Calgary before and I liked it so I thought I would send out some resumes to different catering houses. Urban responded and when I went in for an interview, it turns out they were hiring a head chef and I felt up to the task.

How do you describe your cooking style?
Very loose and playful, I would say. I’m not rigid when it comes to following recipes unless it’s baking which  needs a little more attention. I like comfort foods, braised dishes and love smoking my own meats and making my own pickles. I prefer simple, well presented flavours that are evenly matched and not too bold unless they need to be.

ArtofFood14Do you have plans for expanding your culinary skills or do you plan on opening your own restaurant one day?
I try new recipes all the time when I’m at home and at work when the time allows and the ingredients are available in the kitchen. As for my personal ventures, I do love teaching people how to cook and do personal lessons from time to time in the comfort of their own home over a glass of wine. I used to volunteer at The Stop Community food centre teaching kids how to cook in an after-school program and I loved it. As for the immediate future, I will continue to offer lessons and small dinner parties whenever I get the chance.

Your travel photos are stunning and will be shown at Urban Gallery Jan.15 to Feb 28th – how did you select which photos are shown and why?
Going through all of my photos over the years, the ones that really made an impression on me were the ones that gave a sense of loneliness and isolation even in a busy environment, so I decided to choose the ones that put me in that sense of calmness and reflectiveness when I look at them.

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Apart from the large prints hung on the gallery walls, can people purchase other prints?
Absolutely – people can order a smaller print size, if they so choose. This is my first exhibition and if it goes well there will be more to follow.

Any exciting new travels planned for the near future?
My girlfriend and I are off to Cuba for a friend’s wedding in April and other than that, maybe a trip to the Bahamas or somewhere warm with my family this year. I no longer desire the six-month trips abroad. A month is more than enough for me now.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT:  Lost In Travels: Solitary Confinement looks at feelings of isolation in the world around us. Even in a group, we are still alone in our thoughts. Nature can make us feel isolated when it opens itself up to us – the more surreal and beautiful the moment, the more removed from our surroundings we become, lostin thoughts of awe and wonder.    Lyndon Wiebe 2014

Urban Gallery hours:
Monday-Saturday noon  to 5pm
Thursdays noon to 8pm
Closed Sundays & Holidays
400 Queen St East in the historic Corktown district of  downtown Toronto   http://www.urbangallery.ca

UrbanSource Creative Catering: http://www.urbancatering.com/

 

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS ARTIST RECEPTION FOR ERIK CHONG

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On Saturday Dec. 6th,  Toronto artist ERIK CHONG launches his one-man show, SHIFTING BORDERS: SEEN AND UNSEEN, at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East) with a special reception, greeting friends, family, art fans and local art media. His abstract paintings have hidden images, somewhat resembling architectural blueprints which experiment with geometric and chromatic patterns. The artist’s intention is to force the viewer to question perspective as well as the creative process itself.

20141206_150037(0)The ancient practice of Chinese calligraphy continues to inspire me to push the boundaries into new forms. I use a repetitive brushstroke technique that sometimes carries my paintings to the verge of abstraction. Unlike many of my contemporaries, my appropriation of calligraphy does not simply romanticize the past – rather my creative process explores past, present and future by addressing subject matter both old and new. The purpose of my work is to offer a unique take on the evolution of cultural histories, narratives and identities -and to question these ideas both in a private, personal way and on a public scale.     -Erik Chong, November 2014

20141206_141636 20141206_142225 20141206_142312 20141206_142334 20141206_142352Artist and poet, Brenda Clews, dropped in to wish Erik well (pictured below)

20141206_142250Gallery curator Allen Shugar and gallery coordinator Kaspara Albertsen worked hard on presenting Erik’s work and were very happy with the spectacular results (below)

20141206_142453Gallery manager Calvin Hambrook (below left) readies the camera for taking pics of Erik and his special guests

20141206_142538…and here are Erik’s family and close friends who were first thru the door to celebrate his show.

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20141206_142514 20141206_14235220141206_142324If you would like to enjoy Erik’s work in person, please drop by the gallery (http://www.urbangallery.ca) or view his work on his own website http://www.erikchongfineart.com.  The show runs thru January 10th, 2015.

Gallery hours:
Monday-Saturday 11 AM to 5 PM
Thursdays 11 AM to 8 PM
Closed Sundays & Holidays
Viewings outside gallery hours by appointment
*For Private Receptions & Venue Inquiries please call 647.460-1278*

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“URBAN FOODIE” NIGHT AT URBAN GALLERY, TORONTO

Presented by the fabulous folks at URBANSOURCE CATERING, Toronto’s URBAN GALLERY hosted a special “Urban Foodie” event last night presenting some of the most delicious delicacies created by their Executive Chef, LYNDON WIEBE.

2 30thAnjniversary2015I arrived a little early so I could sneak a peek in the kitchen where Chef Lyndon and his crew were busy putting the finishing touches to the canapes (below)

20141120_171631 20141120_171713 20141120_171811…then watched as they were laid out for the soon-to-arrive guests (below)

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20141120_172549 20141120_172617 20141120_173000 20141120_172705The always-fabulous gallery goddess Kaspara vamped for cameras as she tweaked and “fluffed” the food!

20141120_172651And then the guests arrived!

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Visiting food blogger, Linda Matarasso (@aStarvingFoodie) below, posted numerous Instagram & Twit pics, enjoying all the scrumptious treats as well as the stunning photographic art of Karen Silver, whose current show ends Nov. 29th

20141120_175132 20141120_180023 20141120_175814and our talented artist Karen Silver dropped in to enjoy the great food and socializing, below left

20141120_184532Artist, poet and performance artist Brenda Clews (below left) dropped by, too. Brenda hosts monthly poetry salons in the gallery and has previously exhibited her colourful, large format paintings at Urban Gallery.

20141120_184906Then Brenda (with gallery curator, Allen Shugar, below) turned the camera on me!

20141120_185005 GlendaBelow, Wayne Abell, our host-with-the-most, enjoyed welcoming the guests….

20141120_173902….and Catering & Events Mgr, Calvin Hambrook (below right) shared a glass of wine and stories with guests

20141120_185739(0)CHEESY BALLS!  Yaaaaay, they’re back…my favourite “cheesy balls” which are actually delicious risotto balls with warm cheese stuffing made a special appearance, just for me – below

20141120_185502…but the spicy shrimps were also pretty awesome. Simple, delicately spiced with lime, these were gobbled up quickly by very happy guests.

20141120_175648My favourite Canadian wines by Pelee Island Winery were served…

20141120_173328 20141120_173345and the food kept coming….even Whisky & Spice booze-infused mustards made an appearance beside the charcouterie platters.

20141120_181657 20141120_182347But my new all-time favourite has to be this special treat Chef Lyndon prepared…maple candied bacon strips. OMG, they were sooooo good and they disappeared sooooo quickly. At least I managed to grab a few!

20141120_173703 20141120_173731Big thank you to everyone who attended, and thank-you to UrbanSource Catering for showcasing such an amazing selection of holiday hors d’oeuvres, canapes and charcouterie platters, all available from their special festive menus. Find these plus holiday cocktail menus online here: http://www.urbancatering.com/

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URBANSOURCE CATERING SPONSORS CATERING FOR FIFE HOUSE FUNDRAISER

Congratulations to UrbanSource Catering (www.urbancatering.com)  on another fantastic catering gig last night – the exciting Fife House benefit “Spotlight” produced by Michael Rubinoff, featuring TV and Broadway star Megan Hilty with Seth Rudetsky, held at the Glenn Gould Studio in CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto. Urban has sponsored the food for this annual event for over a decade.

now_ad_2UrbanSource Catering always delivers great food and last night’s hors d’oeuvres were no exception…

20141110_181309 20141110_182056 20141110_184614 20141110_180358 20141110_180037I was especially thrilled to see the re-appearance of my favourite “cheesy balls” (they’re really very tasty risotto balls filled with deelish gooey cheese)

20141110_181150 20141110_184441 20141110_184426The bar was packed, too, with fabulous wines from our friends at Tre Amici

20141110_183617and the food service was handled by Urban’s always friendly staff

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20141110_182100Fife House (www.fifehouse.org) held a silent auction during the pre-show reception and there were lots of great items vying for bids, and the lovely volunteers selling drink tickets helped keep everyone well-lubricated!!

20141110_180250 20141110_184116Wayne W. Abell, Urban’s Catering Sales & Business Manager, posed with Fife House Exec. Director Keith Hambly (below)

20141110_182316Lots of guests packed the Glenn Gould Studio foyer devouring all the fabulous treats….including Urban’s Catering & Events Mgr. Calvin Hambrook and http://www.Newz4You.net publisher/writer, KJ Mullins pictured below with Wayne.

20141110_190802 20141110_191314Ooooo, look…more cheesy balls – I must have nibbled at least a dozen (or two) myself!! Yummmm

20141110_185418And I met the delightful Dusty Balfour who came in all the way from Niagara Falls to attend the event – damn, I want that tiara!

20141110_190404 20141110_190507Big thank you to everyone at CBC, the Glenn Gould Studio, Fife House (esp. David Currah, Dir. of Development & Communications), all the sponsors and the mgmn’t & service team at UrbanSource Catering. Bravo and a big standing O to all!

 

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PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST KAREN SILVER LAUNCHES SHOW @ URBAN GALLERY

13999_32_44_J_7Last night, URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) hosted the artist’s reception for photographer/artist KAREN SILVER, whose work engaged and inspired a large crowd of friends, family and art fans.

20141106_185025Karen (above, centre) was thrilled to show her guests around the gallery, pointing out her techniques and subjects, and within the first hour, there were already red dots (indicating sold) beside two of her large format photos, including my personal favourite (below)

20141105_130709Her guests enjoyed a wonderful catered spread with wine and cheese, courtesy of URBAN SOURCE CATERING, and as you can see below, lots of networking and friendly art banter.

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20141106_182932(0) 20141106_175126 20141106_180947Artist Erik Chong (below) also came out to support Karen – Erik will be showcasing his work next month at Urban Gallery.

20141106_183831I had a blast with gallery manager CALVIN HAMBROOK (below)

20141106_183143…and schmoozed with lots of friends and art aficionados like Sue & Teresa (below)

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20141106_175157 20141106_182957 20141105_130719 20141106_181329Congratulations to Karen who was thrilled and a little overwhelmed by the support for her work (below)

20141106_180956Her exhibition entitled “Otherworld” continues throughout November until the 29th at Urban Gallery so if you would like to check out her work, gallery hours are:

Monday-Saturday 11am  to 5pm
Thursdays 11am to 8pm
Closed Sundays & Holidays

400 Queen St East in historic Corktown, Toronto  www.urbangallery.ca

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