For the longest time, I just felt in Newfoundland everything that came from away was always better than what we had here. It kind of took time for us to realize that things around us were amazing, unique, authentic.
We’ve put a big push over the last several years to start working with farmers to start growing different vital vegetables and supporting them.
We’ve got a pig project on the go, and working with a few guys that do heritage pork breeds, Brookshire and Tamarthy, and showcasing wild game, things that are unique to the rest of Canada and North America.
It’s not every restaurant in North America where you are able to have wild game. I really think that’s a big part of who we are and a big part of our menu.
People come here for that experience.
When you come to Raymond’s, the plates are made here, our flowers are from a bog up the southern shore, and everything on the plate is from here. You should be feeling and tasting and smelling all those things, and that’s what we strive to do.
We’re a small island, and all of the sudden the best new restaurant in Canada is in St. Johns, Newfoundland, and people are like “what in the Jesus is going on?”
That obviously raised a lot of eyebrows and drew a lot of attention. I am super proud of my whole team and staff.
I started to realize how unique and special the ingredients are that we do have here. Why am I ordering pineapple, when I have beautiful partridge berries from my back yard?
I started making those connections and developing all the relationships with all the growers and fishermen, to just showcase all of the wonderful things we have.
The older people of Newfoundland are always taken aback that you can have a seven course tasting, and there is rabbit, moose and partridge, and all of these things are probably in their deep freezer in a milk carton that we’re serving at a fine dining restaurant. And they’re being told it’s one of the best restaurants in Canada. They can’t get their heads around it.
It opens their eyes, and makes them realize how unique and special the things are that we have around us.
We’re so lucky to walk out my door and pick beautiful chanterelles and picking lichens, and blueberry, and catching beautiful sea trout. I can do all of that in the morning before work. There’s something to be said for that.