The philosophy behind The Plant isn’t just about growing plants. It’s about embracing a homegrown philosophy. The Plant was designed as a place where food can be homegrown, where life can be tasty. It was designed to be a place to enjoy good food and better conversation. We’re taking the best practices from around the world and working locally to plant that seed here in Queen West.
Last night, an exclusive dinner was hosted by Chef Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted, a 2017 James Beard best new restaurant nominee.
This was the first of many in our dinner series, where we have matched Chef Baxtrom with some of our favourite local Chefs, in hopes to inspire further and encourage the farm-to-table movement here. For this event, we transformed our recently plantified office into an intimate restaurant and lounge and invited some of Toronto’s most prominent culture writers, influencers, and food critics to enjoy good conversation and even better food.
Cocktails were served, and the mood was light as guests made their way to The Plant. We invited prominent writers and influencers from publications like Elle Canada, The Kit, The Daily Hive, Monocle, and Azure Magazine to absorb the event. Chef Baxtrom prepared some appetizers of Gobi Pakora Cauliflower, Crawfish boiled crackers, and Oysters for our guest to snack on while everyone arrived.
Before Chef Baxtrom presented the dinner, Jonathan Westeinde, founder of Windmill Developments welcomed everyone to the dinner and spoke about his excitement for the project.
“Urban agriculture has been something of a personal interest of mine for well over a decade, driving Windmill Developments to become leaders in sustainability and healthier living,” shared Jonathan,“the motivation of The Plant is the similar to the impetus to this dinner tonight – we’re trying to create downtown living where you can truly go ‘terrace-to-table.’”
“The Plant was designed with a connection to food, and with this connection, the ability for homeowners to be a part of their own personal urban food production,” added Adam Ochshorn, President of Curated Properties.
“I think the time has come for more thought out buildings in one of Toronto’s best neighbourhoods.”
After the introductions by Jonathan and Adam, it was Chef Baxtrom’s turn to speak. “I’m going to shoot a little bit from the hip here,” he began. “I feel like I am no one to lecture on sustainability – I am just out here trying to operate my first business and am trying to do the right thing.”
Greg then spent some time talking about his background in fine dining, which was high-lit by his time working as Chef de Cuisine at Blue Hill at Stone Barns for Chef Dan Barber.
“Dan didn’t come from a fine dining background,” explained Greg. “He has a much more cerebral way of cooking – he thought more romantically about the food.”
“While I worked at Per Se, we would show off Royal Kaluga Caviar, while Dan would be ripping turnips out of the ground and proclaiming that they’d ‘never be able to get [expletive] turnips like these!’” Greg shared to laughter.
“When you worked with someone that was so passionate about doing the right thing, someone who would passionately talk about the sugar content of spinach – it was something that was hard to ignore when I started my own restaurant.”
Olmsted was born with a deep commitment to farm-to-table living but by no means was defined by it. “It’s been trying to combine what we care about on a personal level with our ambitions and integrity of where we came from,” shared Greg.
“Behind every dish, behind every plate, behind every plant in the garden – there’s a story.”
Chef Baxtrom’s reputation for creating elegant dishes with a profound respect for agriculture was on full display tonight; preparing a nine-course meal starting with garden kale crab Rangoon dumplings and ending with Guinea Hen Roasted & Confit served with turnips, black trumpets, and cranberries. “We basically brought our entire menu straight from Brooklyn,” Baxtrom shared to laughs, “go big or go home, right?”
The dinner finished with caramel apple donuts and an old school chocolate mousse. We can see why he has already gained critical acclaim and rave reviews.
To close the night, Greg thanked all involved, and with that, the first of our Exclusive Dinner series closed to praise and applause.
The Plant will continue to host Exclusive events throughout the spring, with our local chefs, Justin Cournoyer and Philippe De Montbrun of Actinolite, Guy and Kim Rawlings of Montgomery’s, and Teo Paul of Union. If you are interested in attending a future event, visit and register at The Plant Queen West and stay tuned to our social as we work to plant the seeds of homegrown living in Toronto’s Queen West.