Chef Michael Stadtlander set to perform his next act

Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:07am EDT
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - Sixteen years after leaving Toronto to open one of Canada's most celebrated dining spots on his farm north of the city, chef Michael Stadtlander is launching a new restaurant in a tiny nearby town.

The renowned German-born chef, farmer, artist and local food activist says rather than a "bistro" version of his iconic Eigensinn Farm, diners at Haisai, which he expects to open in late May, can look forward to the same quality and complexity of ingredients -- the majority of which he grows and raises himself.

Stadtlander, his Japanese wife Nobuyo, and seven live-in apprentices will oversee both Haisai and Eigensinn Farm, which only seats 12 guests in the dining room of the 19th-century brick house and has been named by Restaurant Magazine as one of the world's top 10 places to eat.

Stadtlander, 52, spoke to Reuters from his farm in Singhampton, Ontario, about living from the land, creative expression and his latest obsession.

Q: Can you describe the new restaurant?

A: "Eigensinn is not really a restaurant, it's a farm in the open, it's our house. Haisai will be like a real restaurant in a way. The way I look at it, it's more like a performance always. For me, the way I built the place, it's like a sculpture and you're actually sitting right inside the sculpture."

Q: What about the menu?

A: "It's going to change daily ... We grow and graze ourselves, we connect with the farmers and gardeners. Everything is organic and local. It's not a 100-mile diet, it's 50-mile. I can tell you where my chicken comes from, where my butter comes from, everything. It's really about transparency."   Continued...

<p>Canadian chef Michael Stadtlander appears in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Handout/Adrian Law</p>