Michael Stadtländer, Eigensinn Farm / Haisai Restaurant & Bakery
Born in Germany, Michael Stadtländer began his professional culinary training while still a teenager. After immigrating to Canada in 1980, he and colleague Jamie Kennedy made their mark on the Toronto restaurant scene at Scaramouche. As Chef at the world-renowned Sooke Harbour House, and at his pioneering Stadtländer’s and Nekah in Toronto, he continued his unique and innovative approach, working to elevate Canadian food culture. In 1993, Stadtländer and his family moved to a 100-acre farm near Collingwood, at the top of Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, where they could live on the land. For several nights a week throughout the year, the Stadtländers welcome guests to their home to enjoy his food. Eigensinn Farm has become an internationally celebrated destination for gourmets.
Michael Stadtlander’s recent projects include Eigensinn Farm: The Heaven on Earth Project which was a summer-long project that included a crew of apprentices from three continents who together built monumental sculptures to accompany a series of ten course meals served on the farm through the month of August 2005; and The Islands Project which featured seven dinners on four B.C. islands where he was joined by chefs, artists, farmers, oyster cultivators, environmentalists and loggers during the summer of 2006. Both projects culminated with the publishing of a book and the Islands Project with a DVD that had its premiere at Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival in November 2007.
Stadtländer is actively committed to promoting sustainable food and has been recognized for his achievements in support of organic food and localism by the Canadian Organic Growers with the 2007 Organic Food Hero Award, and by Earth Day Canada’s 2007 Environmental Achievement Award. In 2009, Michael and his wife Nobuyo, opened Haisai Restaurant and Bakery in Singhampton, Ontario. Haisai is an extension of Eigensinn Farm’s philosophies and practices using locally raised and foraged ingredients.
The rest of the National Steering Committee is comprised of Nobuyo Stadtländer (Eigensinn Farm / Haisai); Mike Dixon (Commissary Cuisine); Adam Colquhoun (Oyster Boy); and Julie Gibb and Christian Morrison (Pantry Press Inc.). The National Steering Committee of the Canadian Chefs’ Congress maintains the fundraising, administrative and promotional activities on a volunteer and donated basis. The National Steering Committee provides direction and arms length support to its Provincial counterparts. Together for the inaugural Ontario Congress in 2008 this small group with varied professional backgrounds was able to pull together an event of over 500 people in only 4 months. This experience formed the template for future congresses which will evolve and only become stronger with time.