Located in the heart of the award-winning W. Galen Weston Centre for Food at Durham College’s Whitby campus is Bistro ’67. With its upscale décor, wide windows that let in plenty of natural light, and picturesque views of healthy, hearty vegetable beds, you may forget that you are in a building dedicated to post-secondary education. When we think of college restaurants, many of us picture noisy, bustling, cafeteria-style hubs where on-the-go students grab whatever quick bite they can in between classes. In contrast to this prevailing image of campus life, Bistro ’67 is an oasis of elegance that you, as a member of the public, can feel good about supporting while you are enjoying a delicious meal.
As a full-service establishment, the bistro welcomes the public for a memorable dining experience that is as tasteful as it is flavourful. You can expect to delight in dishes which are inspired by fresh ingredients—many of which are sourced from local suppliers or are grown on-site by the Centre for Food in an impressive display of urban agriculture in action. In fact, it was for these breathtaking views of Durham College’s agricultural planting fields and gardens that, in 2019, the bistro was named amongst Canada’s 100 Most Scenic Restaurants by OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations.
With each bite of your meal, you are helping to support our next generation of culinary and hospitality professionals studying at Durham College. That is because (if you haven’t guessed by now), Bistro ’67 is also a teaching restaurant. As part of the state-of-the-art Centre for Food, which is home to Durham College’s programs in culinary, food and farming, horticulture, hospitality and special events management, Bistro ’67 puts into practice the concepts of field-to-fork and sustainable business which the centre is known for developing. The restaurant works with students, both domestic and international, to help educate them as part of their curriculum. After all, what better learning experience is there than an on-the-job one?
That is why, when you visit Bistro ’67, you will be attended to with nothing less than the highest standards of customer service excellence. Your servers are being trained in real-time, and are learning from your real dietary requirements, feedback, and interactions. “When classes are in session, you will be able to see our culinary and hospitality students working throughout the restaurant,” explains service manager Kaitlyn Dover. “You may have a professional server attending you, accompanied by their students as he or she coaches and guides them through their learning of that specific area of the restaurant.”
Where does the name Bistro ’67 come from, you may wonder? It’s an interesting story: after 1,152 submissions were reviewed as part of a contest in 2013, the winning suggestion came from Gail McKenzie, who wanted a name that would reflect the history of Durham College. Don Lovisa, college president, says, “The name Bistro ’67 encapsulates the proud and rich history of Durham College by paying tribute to the year we opened our doors, with a fresh, modern perspective… True to the inspiration of Jamie Kennedy’s local food movement, I am confident that Bistro ’67 will be an excellent addition to the field-to-fork culinary landscape for years to come.”
Seven years later, Bistro ’67 has proven Mr. Lovisa correct. Today it is a proud 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant with the Green Restaurant Association, an organization that focuses on the environmentally-conscious operations of dining establishments. It does so by creating standards around areas including (but not limited to) energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable food, and reusable and environmentally preferable disposables. The restaurant also holds a Feast ON designation through the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance in recognition of its use of local food and beverage. “We source as many products as we can from local farmers, breweries, wineries and the like,” Kaitlyn says. “And we make sure we are buying Ontario chicken and eggs, and as much Ontario [product] as we can.”
Taking the idea of the “Three Rs” to another level, how is this for recycling? As we spoke to Kaitlyn Dover, she was multitasking inside a repurposed shipping container on campus which is used to grow lettuce for the restaurant! Inside this old freight shipping container is a functioning hydroponic farm which allows horticulture students to grow leafy greens year-round for use at the Centre for Food and Bistro ’67. This practice uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming methods. “We have something like 300 columns,” she says. “Each container can hold a lot, depending on what type we decide to plant. Earlier, when I was harvesting romaine, I got 156 heads off of the columns. That’s not too shabby.”
The restaurant has been open since 2013, and the public response has been wonderful. Most guests are positive about the fact that their patronage provides a learning experience for students. “I think people really like it,” Kaitlyn says. “We do our best to ensure that we are producing amazing products and food, and that our service is top-notch.”
Bistro ’67 is currently closed due to COVID-19 for preventative measures, but is typically open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit www.bistro67.ca. Bistro ’67 is located in the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, Durham College, Whitby Campus, 1604 Champlain Ave., Whitby, ON.
Story by Katherine Ryalen
Learn some delicious recipes in the article below from Bistro ‘67, Durham College, W. Galen Weston Centre for Food.