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Locally sourced food is key to Powassan's Farm to Table Feast

Dinner at 6:30 p.m. by Chisholm's Wasi Chefs, Laura and Rene Dubois, formerly White Owl Bistro owners and chefs
Powassan’s events coordinator Kathie Hogan, right, with Rene and Laura Dubois in the greenhouse of their Powassan farm. The Dubois are the chefs for this year’s Farm to Table Feast taking place in Powassan on Aug. 20.

A unique eating experience is back this month in Powassan after being sidelined by COVID-19 the last two summers.

It’s the Farm to Table Feast, an event where locally grown food is cooked and served to the public by chefs.

Powassan’s events coordinator Kathie Hogan created the event in 2018 as a means to “highlight something Powassan does best which is grow.”

Hogan says the event was well received during the inaugural year and also in 2019 but then went on hold until the pandemic passed.

“People are excited that it's coming back,” Hogan said, adding that this year's event is a little different from past feasts.

“Before, the cooking was shared by different farmers.  We had as many as five chefs in the past with some doing vegetables, others barbecuing the meat and still others preparing the desserts. This year to keep things simple for the first time being back we hired Laura and Rene Dubois and they are the only chefs.”

The Dubois are the former owners of the White Owl Bistro in North Bay before they sold the business earlier this year.

See: Popular local restaurant sold

Rene Dubois says he and his wife will prepare a three-course meal.

The various food items that will be served are sourced from area farms.

“We’re starting with a salad with some of the greens coming from Springhill Farms in Trout Creek, other vegetables coming from Earth and Soul in Corbeil and we hope to use some of our cucumbers and tomatoes,” Dubois said.

“The entree is barbecued chicken that we raise on our farm.”

Dubois says there are more vegetables that make up the feast, plus Laura Dubois’ homemade bread and honey butter as well as dessert.

The feast takes place in the parking lot of 250 Clark and there will be a tent covering.

Hogan says organizers are planning to have the Dubois serve at least 60 people but 100 is the more likely number.

Laura Dubois says she and her husband don't feel any trepidation serving this many people all at once after being out of the restaurant business for a while.

“We are actually used to it,” she said.

“At the White Owl when we had the outdoor patio it seated 60 people and there were 40 seats inside.  So the number isn’t overwhelming and in fact, it's easier because everyone is served the same thing.”

Laura Dubois adds the event also gives her and Rene a chance to interact with the public attending the feast “which wasn't possible at the White Owl because we were too busy.”

This isn't the first time that the Dubois are taking part in the Farm to Table Feast.

They participated in the 2018 inaugural event but not as chefs, rather as customers.

“It was so nice,” recalled Laura.

“We got to sit down and enjoy having farmers cook for us.  That was awesome.”

Dubois said it was humbling to be asked to serve as the sole chefs for the upcoming feast which is scheduled for Aug. 20 with tickets at $65 a person.

There is a cash bar and there's a signature beverage in the works but its name will be a secret until the event.

Retired OPP officer Jeff Dagg will provide live music.

For tickets, call Hogan at 705-492-4895 who will provide the e-transfer address needed to complete the ticket purchase.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.