What’s new at the market?

Razan Samara
January 11, 2018
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes

At The Flyin G’nosh, Chef Mandip serves up Indian-inspired and street-styled eats that will overcome you with acute nostalgia for summer days at festivals despite the winter weather.

Market visitors can enjoy Supercrawl favourites such as paneer and tandoori chicken tacos to more wholesome and traditional meals like chana masala served with rice and salad.

For two years before becoming a vendor at the market, The Flyin G’nosh food truck has impressed hungry festival-goers all over Ontario, and Hamilton was no exception. For Chef Mandip, who is a Milton resident, Hamilton’s enthusiasm for his creations drove him and his food truck to the market.

“In Hamilton, people are instantly drawn to you, they remember you. People have come up to me at different events or the next year and say ‘do you remember me?’ and I’ll say ‘I remember you because you did that the last time we were here’, and they’re like ‘that’s right, I love your food!’” explained Chef Mandip.

Chef Mandip’s decision to create a permanent location for The Flyin G’nosh at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market had been in the works for a year, but he was waiting for just the right moment. The market is supportive of small-businesses and now that it’s busier, T he Flyin G’nosh has joined the comradery of vendors.

Nestled between Pokeh and the Eat Industries’ ramen bar, The Flyin G’nosh brings together the unique flavours of Indian and global foods to an already impressive array of diverse foods at the market.

Chef Mandip’s dishes are inspired by his experiences as a Canadian-born child of Indian parents. He grew up eating Indian food at home, and every chance he had to eat at restaurants was an opportunity to explore the diversity of foods around him.

As a young teenager who was eager for spending money, he started working at restaurants, but after going to college for engineering, he realized his heart was still with the food industry. He then decided to pursue culinary school at George Brown College.

Since then, Chef Mandip has used all the things he learned as a chef and has applied them to the flavours that he grew up with to create The Flyin G’nosh.

“I wanted to make sure that it was still trendy with an urban-feel. I didn’t want it to feel like you were at your grandmother’s house or at an Indian restaurant down the street, I wanted it to be fun and fresh. It’s a different take on the things that you’re already used to eating,” said Chef Mandip.

Chef Mandip is also big on flavour. He always tried to maintain the quality of his ingredients and believes that Indian food doesn’t have to be overly spicy, but it definitely has to have lots of flavour and texture as a “wow” factor.

He also focuses on deploying concepts from different cultural cuisines to make handheld and easy to eat street-style foods, such as tacos and kebabs, while still reiterating the flavours associated with Indian food.

“I’ve been trying to make food accessible in a way that will make people enjoy it without having to sit down like a traditional meal,” explained Chef Mandip.

However, considering the market environment and the ease of limitations that previously restricted the food truck, The Flyin G’nosh menu also includes meals such as mixed vegetables or chicken tikka masala with rice and salad to satisfy market-goers on dinner breaks.

Despite adding more traditionally-styled dishes, Chef Mandip’s goal is still to serve unique food in a fast, casual and convenient way. This means avoiding twenty-minute waits typically experienced at traditional restaurants, but still having the option to sit down in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Best on Bread

Slow roasted porchetta, thin-sliced beef, classic salsa verde and crispy onions are just some of the ingredients hailed the best on artisan buns by Best on Bread founder and chef, Grant Whittaker.

The handcrafted and gourmet sandwiches made an appearance while Whittaker was working on the MeatVentures food truck this past summer. Driven by passion, dedication and a reality check from his wife, Tina Whittaker, the artisan sandwich shop found a home in the market.

Whittaker has twenty years of experience in the restaurant industry underneath his chef’s hat. He was barely out of elementary school when he started learning recipes from Vito, a chef at an Italian restaurant he worked at in his youth.

Whittaker found himself in the fine dining scene as a head chef at wineries in Grimsby and Niagara before leaving the industry to take on construction jobs to support his growing family.

“Best on Bread is kind of like my wife’s brainchild.… She saw how miserable I was. She could tell that’s not where my heart was. She said ‘you have to go out on your own’,” said Whittaker.

“I just got back into the Hamilton food scene and realized how much it was growing, and how much there was a niche for people like me and that was it. It was my time.”

As the name implies, Whittaker carefully selects the best and highest quality ingredients when creating his menu for the market vendor and his catering business. He finds inspiration from the Food Network, an occasional episode of Julia Child and the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine for his recipes.

More importantly, he stays up to date with the next big thing from the sources of his ingredients: the farmers and butchers.

“They know what’s coming up, what’s going to be fresh and what’s the best thing I can put on my menu. So I kind of let them guide me.… You listen to the people that know the ingredients and you go from there,” explained Whittaker.

Best on Bread is by no means limited by sandwiches. Whittaker also creates crostini, an Italian appetizer made up of sliced and toasted bread, which he tops with lobster rolls, smoked duck prosciutto and sometimes foie gras for a luxurious twist for his catering clients.

As for the vendor, customers can choose from four signature sandwiches or choose their own ingredients as well as seasonal sides, such as polenta and risotto. Sometimes, Whittaker will make his sandwiches a little special for the people who come by.

“I’m kind of like a bartender too, you can talk to me about how your day’s been… sometimes I’ll customize a sandwich for a customer… I want to get to know the customers that come to me,” said Whittaker.

The Hamilton Farmer’s Market creates a unique and welcoming atmosphere for Best on Bread. Whittaker is not only interacting with market visitors, but other vendors who make up a supportive community.

Whittaker started Dinner at the Market, where he picks up local produce from vendors at the market and lets the ingredients inspire a new dish. He then invites everyone over for a bite.

“It’s so tight-knit, it’s really family-like.… It’s such a community down there and I wish I could show people who don’t come down that experience, every day, because it will make them come back all the time,” explained Whittaker.

In due time, Best on Bread hopes to expand and maybe add some duck to the menu. For now, visitors can enjoy some Figgy Blue beef and Rosa porchetta.

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  • Razan Samara

    Razan's passion for student journalism began when she picked up her first copy of the Sil. Since then, she's been the Arts & Culture Reporter, Arts & Culture Editor and Online Manager. When she's not in the Sil's dungeon office, you'll likely find her working in the community or grabbing a bite at the Hamilton Farmer's Market.

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