CHEF DANIEL BRESCA
It wasn’t an initial love for cooking that led Daniel Bresca to his role as a chef, but it’s clear he ended up where he was meant to be. What began as a job washing dishes transitioned into helping out in the kitchen before becoming a cook, and eventually training to become a chef. Now, with decades of experience under his belt, Bresca has worked in a wide variety of venues, from banquet halls and golf courses to some of the finest kitchens in the GTA and beyond. His journey culminated in 2014 when he started his own catering company, Farm & Wild. Of his journey, Bresca says, “I truly love this. It started as a job, but it was really my path. I love cooking and I love the adrenaline rush and the pressure; I thrive on it.”
His catering kitchen is based in Oshawa and services the Durham and York Regions for anything from small, intimate events to weddings with hundreds of guests. “At Farm & Wild, we always use fresh ingredients and everything we do is made from scratch,” says Bresca. “That’s our philosophy. If you use good ingredients and good technique, you’re going to have wonderful food. That’s our motto.”
Having gotten to know many people in the area over the years, Bresca appreciates Durham’s strong sense of community and aims to support local talent where he can, saying, “You’re only as good as your staff, and I’m proud to say I have amazing people that work for me. I build relationships with them, I take care of them, and I invest in them. And I treat them like they are my family, because they are my family. […] We have a lot of people coming and going in this industry unfortunately, but I’m proud to say I’ve been able to keep a lot of good people working for me.”
Bresca and his team at Farm & Wild are looking forward to a busy summer of long overdue weddings and events. In fact, event days are his favourite part of it all. As a creative individual, Bresca loves that each event is a new challenge, with a different venue and the chance to start from scratch on new dishes that have been customized to his clients’ wishes.
When asked of his plans for the future, Bresca laughs and says, “I’ve been really wanting to start a homestead. People laugh at me, but it’s really a dream of mine. Having a cow, some sheep, some chickens, my own homestead just for myself. There’s nothing better than local and doing it yourself.” He jokes that his son is too young to be a farmer just yet, so for the time being he’s happy to focus on Farm & Wild because as he says, “It’s a wonderful thing when you love what you do for a living.”
ONE DISH, THREE WAYS: MATBUCHA
This dish is incredibly versatile, depending on the preparation.
- The stew on its own can be used as a dip.
It’s Moroccan and called matbucha.
- If you cook eggs in it, it is a Tunisian dish called shakshuka.
- If you poach fish in the stew, it becomes a
Moroccan-style fish dish.
Chef Daniel Bresca likes to make this in the summer when he can get fresh ingredients from local farmers’ markets.
1/2 cupextra virgin olive oil
8garlic cloves, minced
to tastechilli powder (or chilli flakes)
1/2 cupcoriander, chopped
6 cupsripe tomatoes
1bell pepper, cut into large pieces
- SAUTÉ onions and garlic in oil until translucent.
- ADD dry spices and toast in the pan for 30 sec
- ADD coriander and vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook on low heat for 45 min to an hour.
- As stew thickens, ADD vegetable stock slowly so it doesn’t burn.
- Once all vegetables are soft, COOK until the liquid is evaporated.
- Use a hand masher and MASH any vegetable chunks.
- LET COOL before dishing out cold stew. Serve with pita wedges.
WHERE TO FIND FRESH
- LINTON’S FARM MARKET
571 Raglan Rd. E., Oshawa
Daily, 8 AM TO 8 PM
- PINGLE'S FARM MARKET
1805 Taunton Rd. E., Hampton
Daily, 9 AM TO 6 PM
- WILLOWTREE FARM
975 Regional Rd. 21, Port Perry
Daily, 9 AM TO 6 PM
TO TRANSITION TO
Cover the bottom of an oven-safe pan with warm stew. Crack eggs in stew and cook in 375 F oven for 10-15 min.
TO TRANSITION TO
Poach salmon or any other fatty fish in the tomato stew. Plate together.
TRY ONE OF THESE PAIRINGS
This smooth and delicious Zinfandel is loaded with notes of ripe plum, wild strawberry, dark cherry and toasty oak.
California, $21.95, 14% ABV
Trius Cabernet Sauvignon VQA
This medium-bodied red is acidic with flavours of black cherry, blackberries and spice.
Ontario, $16.95, 13% ABV
Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer
A spicy and intense wine with energetic flavours and aromas, this wine showcases hints of rose, lychee, yellow pear, honeydew melon and nutmeg.
France, $18.95, 13% ABV
Beau’s Country Vibes Amber Lagered All
This refreshing lager and amber ale mash-up gets its sweetness from roasted caramel malts, and is balanced by a clean, crisp hop bitterness.
Ontario, $3.45, 4.7% ABV