I spent a wonderful afternoon recently on a road trip to the northern edges of Simcoe County, destination; Ciboulette et Cie in Midland.
I am an avid fan of Andre Sanche, Executive Chef and Owner of said establishment. I was introduced to his fine fare when a friend started a new job in Midland and raved to me about the scones, the lunches and the bountiful take out options. My palate was teased and tempted by the offerings she would deliver for me to try.
I had the opportunity to savour first hand, Chef Andre’s culinary expertise at the Midland Public Library’s “Books2Eat” event, then again, at the Wine and Chef Series dinner at Georgian College.
With the weather turning towards spring, the time was right for a road trip. Meandering along Highway 93, my thoughts primed to explore lunch options, I arrived with an appetite.
Ciboulette et Cie is in the heart of downtown Midland. I was duly impressed with the strong sense of community values shown by Chef Andre and the other local proprietors as I explored King Street.
Local is the key word as Andre Sanche strongly supports locally sourced foods and sustainably grown products. This is evident not only in the superb fare coming forth from the open kitchen, but in the well-stocked shelves; overflowing with products both made in house and sourced from local suppliers. Looking for pickled garlic scapes, they have them, a wondrous wooden bowl, it is there. Charcuterie and cheeses, dips and spreads, delicious desserts, gluten free goodies, catering options and cooking classes. Belly ice-cream, Nate’s Bagels and Sheldon Creek Dairy products are all available. Ciboulette et Cie has it all. Well stocked freezers provide take home choices. Spacious rustic design gives a nod to general stores of days past, with the wood floors and benches. The chalk board signage assists customers to find what they are seeking, urges them to explore what is in store.
My dining companion and I both ordered the daily soups; one a gingered carrot, the other a beefy vegetable, both were rich and flavorful. I wish I had better understood the checklist process for creating a phenomenal sandwich, but my simple grilled cheese was still a solid choice. While sipping a great café au lait, I enjoyed a lush lemon square, while my friend found the vegan vanilla coconut macaroon to be a great choice. Chef Andre sent me home with fresh fiddleheads to cook and a quinoa salad, both were greatly enjoyed at dinner.
Chef Andre did wax poetic while sharing his food philosophy with me; that being; “food is a part of everyone’s day, whether one is happy or sad, we have our daily experiences but we all need to eat, so why not put the emphasis on good food”. For him “it is a joy to prepare, share and teach others what it means to eat good food, eating should be an experience”.
Chef Andre’s support for his community is evidenced in many ways; he has been teaching a dual credit class at Georgian College, as he believes strongly that teaching youth the skills to cook, helps to prepare them for life. Additionally he is a key champion for “Start Local: a truly local film project”, created by Nate Lacroix and Ashley Matt. This is a documentary exploring the tremendous value of local shopping and the impact that supporting local has on this one community. Chef Andre supports local fundraising efforts, by donating $25 gift cards; he views this as an opportunity for him to share his great fare with others, while introducing them in the store, to the local experience. “Dinner for 8” is an extremely popular charity auction event held annually to benefit Community Living Huronia. Clients of Community Living Huronia also have opportunities for on the job training at Ciboulette et Cie.
The stunning photographs adorning the walls are the work of Kelly Moss Photography in Midland; the flowers are from the florist down the street, while the local print shop created the “Start Local” t-shirts. Clearly Andre Sanche is inherently altruistic, and Midland is a community working together for the good of all, this to me, is highly commendable.
As a child, Chef Andre learnt to cook at his grandmother’s side, then obtained his professional training at Algonquin College. He shared with me a cherished memory; his grandmother’s intent was to send him to Paris when he became a professional chef. While that didn’t occur, she did present him with Madame Benoit’s famous cook book, a treasured heirloom.
Chef Andre said his home garden expands seasonally, the pumpkins grown there became the pumpkin chutney on our plates, and he specializes in growing heritage vegetables.
Chef Andre lives, cooks and eats with local flavour, in season he will create an ever changing array of edible treats. His food is a passion, one that he eagerly shares with his customers, students and staff.
Ciboulette et Cie has tripled in size since opening; progress is now laughingly measured by the placement of his basement office, having generously yielded his space upstairs for more food related square footage. Coming soon are some amazing expansions for Ciboulette et Cie; another chef has joined the team, and an expanded menu will include more breakfast items and by fall, he hopes to open for dinner once a week.
That will warrant another road trip, and I know it will be well worth it!
248 King Street
This review was originally posted on Simcoe Dining in June 2013.
Review Update: Since my review was published, Ciboulette et Cie is now hosting dinner event evenings complete with craft beer, wine and delicious dining options. Music and fun included!
Copyright 2015 YYZtech Group Media Ltd. Used with permission.