Canada C3 is a project paying tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary, and the highlight is a 150-day sailing journey from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. As the ship stops in its various ports, travellers will discover local heroes, innovative projects and close-knit communities from Atlantic to Arctic to Pacific.

Several Food Day Canada chefs were asked to join the expedition to prepare signature meals for the voyage. Chef Michael Olson, professor at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute at Niagara College, was asked to join Canada C3 on its first leg, from Toronto to Montreal. Here are some of his observations, in his own words:

Michael Olson

“My first event was to cater the launch party docked at Queen’s Quay in Toronto for 90 guests, then we set sail at 9 p.m. As I did not know the ship, equipment, or anyone on board, I prepped at my home base of Niagara College. This was a good idea as I could get things done ahead, properly chill, vac pack, and transport safely.”

“I also asked a good friend, Mario Pingue to help. He has a prosciutto business in Niagara, curing meats in an old-fashioned manner learned from his father. He brought along a giant Berkel slicer that was moved around with the ship’s crane! Too funny.”

“Leaving the port, it was surreal to be in a large vessel dwarfed by the Toronto skyline, all was still and quiet. We had a huge sendoff and the police and marine boats were out, lights flashing and hoses spraying.”

“My second dinner took place anchored offshore from downtown Kingston. My brother Mark used to live here and I did some events with local restaurateur Clark Day – he traces his roots back to the Loyalists. I wanted to do food reflective somewhat of Kingston’s connection to Sir John A, Fort Henry et al.”

“I was humbled by how thrilled [the guests] were with dinner. The food is a small part of a good party. Looking on to my new friends eating, laughing, wide-eyed discussing and patting each other’s backs was a million dollar view.”

Michael Olson

And here’s the menu for the first meal Olson prepared on board – the Canada C3 launch feast in Toronto:

Menu

Hothouse Salad: lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil grown in our college greenhouse

Mountain Oak Gouda, New Hamburg

Pingue capicollo and prosciutto

Potato salad with Kozliks mustard

Fresh asparagus in ice wine vinaigrette

BBQ chicken in gamay/wild leek glaze

Slow-roast pork neck in sumac, brown beer, and maple syrup

Eton mess: First pick of the season Niagara strawberries in cream and meringue

Niagara College Sparkling Wine, Beer and Ice wine

Author

Beth Pollock is a communications and content marketing expert. Working with Restaurants Canada, she has edited and published two newsletters (RC Insider and BITE); developed the RC Show website; managed social media feeds (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram); and written press releases, blog stories, operational manuals, and an op-ed for the Globe & Mail. Beth is also a freelance writer who has written for a number of publications about food, travel, and children’s books, and has written over 600 posts on her personal blog, Of Muses and Meringues about recipes and her personal travels. She has published three books for children.