When Covid happens: Niagara Food Tour “To Go”

Organic Facebook CoverThe past 4 weeks have felt like we have packed a decade of change into just 28 days.  The first week was a bit surreal, week two was about creating a new routine, week three was smoothing out the edges and week four was “uh oh” this is going to last longer than we thought so what does Plan B look like.

Being entrepreneurs is fun, exhilarating and full of twists and turns.  We started Niagara Culinary Tours 7 years ago and it was the best things we ever did!  The business allowed us to create an incredible life as we merged personal and professional in the culinary community in Niagara.  We are so grateful for the people who have entered our lives and the people we share a love of food and Niagara with.

So here we are in the middle of what feels like a zombie apocalypse and we are all doing our best to hang on to our businesses, to feed our families, to keep the lights on and to not lose hope. We have been listening to what is happening in our community and it is so incredibly difficult to hear.  For us the current state of affairs means there will be no more food tours in the near future and dining in a restaurant is still some time away, so what can we do?

Fast forward, after a few tears and a couple of glasses of wine, Niagara VQA of course the Niagara Food Tour “To Go” was born.  If they can’t go on a food tour, why not bring the food tour to them?  This is the food tour industry adapting and rising from the ashes because that’s what we all need to do right now in our own ways.

We started to reach out and ask our food tour partners and a few friends about being part of our new project. The response has been amazing.  That is the beautiful thing about community, when things get tough, people come together and support each other.  Within a few days we had everything we needed to curate our first box.

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Chef Cory Linkson of AG Inspired Cuisine was one of the first to come on board. We have tried to work together in the past but the stars never lined up. Chef Cory has so much passion for what he does, he has a deep commitment to good food and farming which is bringing a whole new vibe to Niagara Falls.

The honey for our first box is coming from our former food tour guide turned apiculturist, Chris Radimer of Tiddley Bee Honey Company.  He left us to go back to school and learn about bees.  We miss him but we are so thrilled to be working with him again.

A year ago we were excited to add brand new kids on the block, Anett and Todd Kane of Budapest Bakeshop.  We spent time in Budapest a couple summers ago and we had our first chimney cake and we could not wait to have one when they opened last summer. Can you imagine launching your business and just getting things rolling and right before your first full season the world falls apart?!

Chef Ryan Crawford of Backhouse and Ruffinos is a long standing part of the Niagara food scene and we knew we had to have him join us because we have been trying to find the right project to work together and here it is.  Ryan like the others in this group remind us that you can’t give up on what you love and that you will find your tribe when you work hard, have a vision and you put yourself out there.

Chef William Brunyansky and Shannon Lindsay of Karma Kameleon Gastropub  were eager to offer something. This duo have an eclectic spot off the beaten path in Thorold where they serve classic food with a twist. Just remember, “no one puts Baby in the corner.”

Rounded out by something we just can’t live without, Cheese.  We have been working with Cheese Secrets for awhile but things have become really fun with the new owners Anna and her son Xavier.  Xavier has immersed himself in all things cheese and brings new energy and ideas to cheese.  How could cheese possibly get any better?!

In the past our tours have been a great option for tourists who come visit Niagara and occasionally we have a local tag along with their out of town guests.  This is the first time we have had the opportunity to promote Niagara to Niagara.  We are able to help people who actually live here discover something new in their own backyard.  That is incredibly appealing for us both. We started this business because we love the culinary hospitality industry in Niagara and we wanted to help those around us as we all rise up from this.

We never saw this coming but here we are and I hope that as people get the delivery to their doorstep of our first Niagara Food Tour “To Go” they will love it .  In the coming weeks we will be collaborating with a number of chefs, culinary retailers and small business owners.  The boxes will change weekly with some things possibly becoming a staple and others being guest stars.

In the months to come we will finally be able to dine out but until then there is take out, and this will help everyone to keep moving ahead. So when you are able please visit your neighbourhood restaurants and other local small businesses because if we have learned anything these past 4 weeks it is that we all need to be connected.

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Written by: Kimberley Gunning of  Niagara Culinary Tours and Plan A Culinary Vacation

For home delivery of a Niagara Food Tour “to Go” 

For food and travel info contact kimberley@planavacation.ca

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