Good Food Fighter Profile – Olliffe

Good Food Fighter Profile – Olliffe

5 Questions with Sam Gundy

Three Brothers Sam & Ben Gundy with James Aitken own and operate Rosedale’s favorite butcher shop. Located on 1097A Yonge Street, Olliffe is a family business that works in partnership with family run farms and co-operatives. As I waited for a quiet moment to interview Sam, I sat on one of the stools at the front of the store and watched customers order what they referred to as “the usual.” The brothers greeted many of the customers by name, and it was nice to be in an atmosphere reminiscent of my mother’s trusty butcher shop, back home in rural Northern Ontario. There was finally a moment where I was alone in the shop and could interview Sam Gundy about his appreciation for Good Food.

GFR: What does Good Food mean to you?

SG: I associate Good Food with good company.  I also associate Good Food with good times but the most important aspect to what Good Food means to me is that it is grown by people who care about their product. Whether that it’s a farmer or their co-op, I believe that Good Food starts with them.

GFR: Where do you get your meat?

SG: Ninety percent of our beef comes from Prince Edward Island. There is a successful farmer-owned co-op on the island which is where we source most of our beef. The other eight percent of our beef comes from eight farms in Middlesex and Huron Counties. The beef is farmed at just one abattoir that actually owns those farms which raises their beef naturally. The last tiny bit is USDA Prime, we don’t sell a lot. When we bought the store a few years ago, we sold a lot of USDA Beef but we have moved away from that. There are still a few people who come in and ask for it every once in a while so we stock it for them in the back.

We source our chicken from three different spots. Number one is what we call our ‘regular chicken’, which is anything but.  It comes from the Waterloo-Elmira area. It’s a co-op chicken processor which is owned by twenty-two different Mennonite farmers. So, there are no antibiotics or growth hormones used and it’s all vegetable-fed, which is important. There should never be any animal by-products in the feed. The next one is our certified organic chickens from Fenwood Farms; they come from the Ancaster area of Ontario.  The third type of chicken we have is a heritage breed called Chanteclaire Rouge. They are naturally raised by a handful of farmers and the dark meat is delicious.

For pork, we have three different suppliers. We mostly sell Berkshire pork that comes from Huron County. It’s a two- brother operation. One brother owns the family farm, the other brother owns the abattoir and is totally vertically integrated. Our second pork type is Tamshire, which is a heritage breed mixture of Tamworth and Berkshire that we receive from Perth County. The last breed is Hampshire Whey Fed and is our higher end pork. It is luscious and creamy, quite mild flavoured, but nice and tender.

GFR: Is there a particular chef or restaurant in Toronto that you are aware of, who is using your products and creating a dish that you are very proud of?

SG: In our family of companies there is George Restaurant, which is constantly rated as one of the best restaurant in Toronto.  Lorenzo Loseto is a great chef and we are proud to be working with him.

GFR: Do you eat local at home?

SG: Totally-I have two little kids at home. The more I educate myself about food and the production of it, the more I keep going in the direction of eating locally and regionally produced foods that are grown in a beneficially healthy way. I think that’s very important for my family and our philosophy at the shop has translated onto our dinner plate at home.

GFR: Are there any trends that you predict for the Good Food future?

SG: I recently gave an interview to the National Post where I listed my Top 10 Carnivorous Trends to watch in 2011. My top prediction was a shift from local to regional. Look for regional meats, poultry and game to emerge, as consumers and retailers look further than 100 miles for quality first, locality second.

During my brief visit, I found that Olliffe more than lived up to its reputation as the best butcher shop in Toronto.  So, when planning your next dinner at home, office or venue, trust Chef Gundy and his dedicated and knowledgeable staff to assist you with organizing a successful and delicious event; with their creative touch and attention to detail, you won’t be disappointed.

Interview originally published at Good Food Revolution
By Kylie Meyermann
February 25, 2011