Local Farms Philosophy
Eigensinn Farm Cuisine
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 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. Together with Jamie Kennedy, Michael founded Feast of Fields in Ontario which has since grown to become an annual nationwide event. 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. In 2002 Eigensinn Farm was rated one of the top ten restaurants in the world by UK based Restaurant Magazine.
Michael Stadtlander’s 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, Earth Day Canada’s 2007 Environmental Achievement. In 2010, Michael was honoured for his contributions with one major appointment; with Chef Jamie Kennedy, he was awarded for his leadership at the inaugural Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table.
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. Haisai was nominated and awarded top new restaurant in Canada by Enroute Magazine and top new restaurant by Toronto Life Magazine in 2010.
In 2008 Michael founded the Canadian Chefs’ Congress. Michael’s vision is to connect chefs to our land in solidarity with farmers, fishers, gardeners, foragers and all artisanal food producers. This biennial gathering of chefs from across Canada reinforces the passion and integrity of Canadian food culture. When he first conceived of the Canadian Chefs’ Congress, he imagined a biennial event that would bring together chefs, winemakers, growers, farmers, fishers, foragers and artisanal food producers from across Canada to celebrate our unique food culture in a setting that would encourage both discussion and debate as well as the building of new relationships. There have been two congresses so far. The first, in September 2008, was at Eigensinn Farm, his farm in Singhampton, Ontario, where the theme was genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There were about 500 people in attendance including participating chefs, sponsors and volunteers. The second congress took place in the beautiful Cowichan Valley in Duncan, British Columbia, again with roughly 500 people in attendance. This congress focused on the sustainability of our oceans and participants were educated on emerging issues and about what could be done to help heal our oceans. This coming September 16-18, 2012, the third congress will take place in Nova Scotia at the Grand Pré National Historic Site near Wolfville. This congress will focus on the importance and struggle of the family farm in Canada and the rich culinary history and influence of Acadian culture in Canada and the world.
Most recently, in October 2011 the Canadian Chefs’ Congress presented Foodstock, the largest culinary protest in the history of Canada, to protest a proposed Mega Quarry in Melancthon Township. This event, held in a farmer’s field an hour and a half north of Toronto drew 28,000 people to protest the quarry while sampling dishes prepared by 100 chefs and listening to music by musicians such as Blue Rodeo, Sarah Harmer, Ron Sexsmith and Hayden. In media terms Foodstock and the Canadian Chefs’ Congress attracted 18 million online media hits. Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association awarded Michael with two awards for Foodstock: First for Best Agri-Tourism Experience and Best Culinary Tourism Experience! In addition the Canadian Association of Food Service Professionals awarded Michael with Restaurateur of the year at an award ceremony in January. They said that this award is long overdue and is in recognition of Michael’s role in developing and maintaining exceptional standards, his passion for the industry and for his community involvement in events such as Foodstock.
Michael’s newest project, The Singhampton Project, is the culmination of a collaboration between himself and French artist Jean Paul Ganem which will be presented by Earthday Canada. Jean Paul Ganem is a Landscape Artist based in France with works in progress in Brazil, Poland, France and Canada. Jean Paul Ganem has designed and will plant five gardens and Michael Stadtländer has designed and will plant two gardens, set between the forests, meadows and hills of Eigensinn Farm. Chef Stadtländer will install a kitchen at each of these gardens and will create a dish to match the concept of each garden. Beginning on August 10 until August 26 Michael and Jean Paul will open the installation to their audience who will move from garden to garden experiencing and tasting the bounty of this art in seven courses. On the final day of the project Stadtländer and Ganem will be joined by performance artists and musicians for a special finale.
About Our Menu
We grow all our own produce and raise our own livestock.
We forage for for wild things that the season provides.
Our dinners are 8 courses from amuse geules to petite four, and they change every day.
Dinners start at 7pm and last about 3 hours.
You have to bring your own wine, and when dinner is confirmed we will be happy to give you recommendations based on our menu. Or on the day of you can visit our menu page for suggestions.
About Eigensinn Farm
Eigensinn farm was a concept from my youth. I grew up on a farm in North Germany, and my wife Nobuyo grew up on a small island Okinawa, Japan. I love cooking, but as much as I love cooking I love gardening and my livestock. It inspires me to do the installations for the forest dining. The quality of the food you cook with should be under your total control.
About Our New Book
Our new book will be published in mid-summer and is called “Camp Home”. Its a commemoration to 20 years of Eigensinn Farm. It documents the whole making and building of our camp. It includes an outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining, photo gallery, and sculptures inspired by the Neil Young song – “Used to walk Like a Giant”.
What others say about us
Honestly the best food ever. From the presentation to the taste we were wowed. We would absolutely go again.