About

our story

Farm to Table Dining

Thrive aims to celebrate the true meaning of “farm to table” by cultivating, preparing and cooking individual ingredients in their prime and showcasing them in our beautiful “dining room” located in the heart of our garden, where the walls are forever changing. What better way to experience the bounty of Norfolk County “Ontario’s garden” than dining in the middle of it?

On our family farm of 30 years, centrally located on the sandy soils of Norfolk County, we thrive on what our land has to offer. We grow, raise and forage as much as we can here on our farm but we simply can’t do it all. This is where the amazing folks of Norfolk come into play. Norfolk County farmers, fishers, etc. offer amazing products that I am proud to support and present alongside my own.

Collaborating within our bountiful community allows for endless culinary creations for our guests.

Innovation is a top priority at Thrive, not only from a culinary perspective but also with our farming practices. We are constantly looking at new methods of tending our gardens and incorporating new ways of producing better and more sustainable products. We endeavour to re-use where possible such is the case with the majority of our cooking equipment in our retrofitted, custom trailer. Even our dishes are an eclectic mix of reclaimed sets. We’ve been blessed by all our farm has to offer and want to ensure it endures for years to come.

It is our hope, through our exceptional dining experience, to pass along to our guests our passion for peak, local produce and sustainability and leave them fascinated and inspired.

Thrive has always been a dream of mine, being able to produce dishes based on what’s growing and at peak quality, nothing beats that.

YOUR CHEF

Matt Demarest

I started, as every chef does, dishwashing which lead to a co/op opportunity working with Scott Mcrae of David’s Restaurant in Port Dover. Mcrae advised I leave my little county, as he had done, to continue my journey of becoming a chef.

I grew committed to working in Toronto alongside my mentor Jason Cox of Opus. I became fascinated with being able to meet the farmer to showcase their product itself, in all its glory, at the precise time with the perfect dish.

I was fortunate to experience the true meaning of “farm to table” when the opportunity came about to work beside Michael Stadtlander at Eigensinn Farm in Collingwood. It was here, I became passionate in regards to learning about the wild culinary delights of Canada.

Back in Toronto, working with Michael Hunter of Antler I was further inspired foraging our own ingredients and getting involved in the production of maple syrup. At this time I began musing about my next steps and moved back home to the family farm in Norfolk County ‘Ontario’s Garden’.

Thrive became a reality in 2018, with a cup of coffee in hand, looking out to the gardens and deciding the time was now! Five successful dinners capped off our first season and lead to twenty-one delightful dining experiences in 2019, each one unlike the last. Each year brings new opportunities, collaborations, and innovations that allow me to expand on what I am so passionate about – (simply) cooking real food at its pinnacle of excellence.