High cost of food forces Ottawa chefs to improvise
'You try to do your best,' chef says
Some Ottawa foodmakers say they're already making menu changes as the cost of meat and vegetables continues to rise, and that they may have to raise their own prices if the trend continues.
Three chefs and restaurant owners were guests on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Thursday to discuss the high cost of food and its effect on their businesses.
Daniela Manrique, chef and co-owner of SOCA Kitchen & Pub, is no longer making any profit from one of her restaurants signature dishes: charred cauliflower steak.
"When we first started [making the dish] ... the price was a dollar a head, and it was a beautiful, big head of cauliflower," Manrique told host Robyn Bresnahan.
"Now, unfortunately, it is one of our signature dishes so it's very hard to take it off the menu. People come looking for that plate, so you don't want to disappoint your guests. You try to do your best."
If the price of cauliflower rises more, they'll be losing money on each plate.
'We have to offer very affordable food'
Geneviève Corriveau, executive chef at Saint Paul University's Café Urban, said it's an especially problematic issue for her business because students need affordable food options.
"We're already very conscious of the price of food since we operate in a university setting. Our customer base [is made up of] students, so we have to offer very affordable food," she said.
The café uses local meat and vegetables and makes everything else from scratch, which helps keep their costs low.
Ron Spirito, owner of Gibson's on Queen, said that last year he spent an extra 4 ½ to five per cent on food, and that the Restaurants Canada association says about 60 per cent of restaurants will be raising prices in the next six months.