Feasting on seasonal inspirations: Leveraging the change

The change of the season brings many things in Canada. For me, like most, it starts with a bit of sorrow…

A quick 25+, to 10+, to 0 degree temperature regression brings the variable sickness and flu season..

The notoriously shorter daylight hours makes for a conscience transition to “night” driving and early evenings.

The final harvest of your garden, it will either be you or the frost that with get those last baby carrots.


So, how do you break out of the typical seasonal “flatness” caused by the colder, shorter, and colourful changes?


In Canadian Hospitality, this is the time to change menus and bear down for the coming “HOLIDAY CRAZY” time ahead.

As a great man once said, preparation is key and NOW is the time to prepare.

Here are some ideas to LEVERAGE the seasonal changes rather than fear them.

  • Preserve, prepare, pickle, shrub, and infuse change.. Each year, I take 3 – 5 of the seasonal fruits and do a number of things to help my bar and kitchen “preserve” the summer well into the winter months; (I have linked easy recipe guides, but grand-mere taught me these:)
    1. Brandy Cherries are a great way to preserve BC through the Winter, great for use on the bar and in the kitchen.
    2. Peach Shrubs, simply a beautiful way to make peaches or any summer fruit last into the winter months for desserts.
    3. Fruit Infusions (steeping) fruit, vegetables and herbs into alcohol, like vodka, gin, rum and even a great whisky, make delicious cocktail and dinner pairings for anytime of the year. To preserve field strawberries into a gorgeous rum, makes for a delicious fresh Daiquiri, anytime of the year, and it is just so damn easy.
    4. Pickle cucumbers, peppers, beats, and even some herbs..easiest salads to roll out when you need them.
  • Celebrate the change.. Very little is given to the “Celebrating” the changes these days, but historically most civilizations LOVED to celebrate the changing seasons or the harvest to re-infuse the thanks and appreciation into the land. Also a great way to have “many hands make light work”;).

    • The Slow Food movement is an example of a modern celebration. They really know how to “Celebrate the Change”, with outdoor, gala style events to celebrate farmers and the preservation of quality food production. Check out the event here is Calgary a few weeks ago, here.
    • Preserving/Harvesting Party/Function.. These have been a staple among teams over the years, starts with a trip to the market or farm, for cases of ripe fruit and then knives, cutting boards and brandy for all. Have everyone work together to “preserve” the summer.
  • Train the Change.. With the forced seasonal changes and the “harvest” of your menu, it is a great time to TRAIN your team with the new ideas for the new season.
    • INSPIRE with new, fresh ideas… Consider bringing a farmer or butcher to the table.
    • SIMPLIFY the message… complexity kills, train with 1 technical, and 1 trivial point to allow to ideas to grow. (ie; Silver Star Beef, Locally reared, done)
    • Hold everyone ACCOUNTABLE to the changes…10 minute tests anyone?
  • Compete for Change.. We are human beings and we love to compete. Try to use this to your creative and seasonal advantage with a staff/team competition for the new items place on the menu or the dinner table. Encouraging the competition will only encourage the creativity to be pushed farther.

In an economy starving for finances, searching for creative solutions and fighting to keep people inspired, it is time we started leveraging the seasonal shift. It might be as easy as embracing the seasonal shift.

Don’t fight it, USE it.

Get to doing!



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