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QUOTED: Reds chef Michael Hunter on why Toronto chefs should be able to cook off the land

Squirrel Sushi from Montreal chef Martin Picard's Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon. (Image: Martin Picard's Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon)

Squirrel Sushi from Au Pied de Cochon chef Martin Picard, one of the 10 Quebec chefs given permission to serve wild game. (Image: Martin Picard’s Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon)

“It would be amazing for me to go hunt and share that with the public. That’s where food comes from. It shouldn’t be fed GMO corn. It’s the way nature intended.”

Reds chef Michael Hunter, who is, coincidentally, really into hunting. He recently told Eater Toronto that he’s starting a Twitter petition to get Toronto chefs behind a movement to relax laws that currently make it illegal to serve wild game in Ontario. (If you’ve ever eaten elk or pheasant at a Toronto restaurant, it was definitely raised on a farm. Same with “wild” boar.)

A few weeks ago, Quebec green-lighted a pilot program that will let 10 of the province’s restaurants serve wild beasts, like muskrat and squirrel. (The squirrel dish pictured above comes courtesy of Au Pied de Cochon chef Martin Picard, one of the 10 Quebec chefs given permission to go wild.) Hunter, who’ll be self-publishing his cookbook The Hunting Chef in the fall, is optimistic that something similar could work in Ontario. “It gave me hope,” he told Eater.

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Reaction Roundup: what keeps Canadian restaurants out of the world’s top 50?

The idyllic Langdon Hall made the top 100 list back in 2010 (Image: Gabriel Li from the Torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Last week, we told you about Restaurant magazine’s annual list of the world’s best restaurants, which, once again, featured no representation from Canada, either in the top 50 list or in the consolation prize territory of numbers 51 to 100. Amid the usual status anxiety and self-flagellation that broke out on Twitter (along with a few yawns), we found some fairly insightful commentary on What It All Means.

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