The Gathering Place, Saltspring Island
I first had a chance to eat at The Gathering this past Summer. The concept was intriguing, a “board game restaurant“. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the food, local beers & wines, plus stunning artwork on the walls.
I returned this fall to sample a couple of dishes that chef Jonny Duquette recommended. I started with the “buffalo mozzarella fritter with pickled zucchini” and paired it with one of my favorite local white’s Hatfield’s Fuse. The zucchini was grown and pickled by Jonny and the appetizer was amazing! The fritter melted in my mouth, I enjoyed the tang of pickles and it paired perfectly with the wine.
For my main, I enjoyed the “Flat iron steak with blue cheese potato gratin”. The steak was cooked to perfection and the gratin had great texture, not overdone. Exquisitely prepared food, full of local ingredients, complete with friendly service. A total success!
The following day I had the opportunity to visit Jonny at his rural home on Salt Spring. We talked about his background, growing up in Vancouver, his experience in the restaurant industry – including meeting his wife – while he was a chef at Wild Rice. After leaving East Vancouver, he worked on Cortez and Mayne islands before finally settling on Salt Spring. The life he has carved out for himself is very inspiring, with enough room on his land for a large garden, chickens and fruit trees. He is working hard to strengthen relationships with local suppliers and launching a brand new project Zombie Taco Food Truck. I can’t wait to get back to the island to try them!