A new book about Langdon Hall is a visual time capsule of the hotel, told through its food.
Released April 5, Langdon Hall: A Cookbook, offers 80 recipes using local ingredients found on the property of Langdon Hall and in Waterloo Region, from carrots to marigolds.
Jason Bangerter, the executive chef at Langdon Hall behind the book, said it will give those who have been to the hotel nostalgia, and make others wonder why they haven't yet visited.
"Most importantly, it's not just about drawing people to this, but it's sharing a story that's so important about supporting the community and our biodiversity," he said.
Back in 2018, Bangerter said he was approached by Penguin Random House about producing a cookbook.
“After they were persistent, I realized if I wanted to do it, I would have to do it here on the property, I wouldn’t be able to go do it in a studio or on my own time, it would have to be something done here at Langdon Hall," Bangerter said.
Once the owners of Langdon Hall approved of the project, Bangerter said they hired a co-author, Chris Johns, and photographer, Colin Faulkner.
The three of them met every three months at Langdon Hall to work on the book.
“Every three months, we show up here, we’ll shoot for three days and that way we have, the property, and the seasons, and Chris would be able to taste the tasting menu and get a real feel for the place and where the food comes from,” said Bangerter.
Bangerter adds he got the idea to write the cookbook this way from a chef and friend in California, named David Kinch, who suggested to Bangerter that he focus on recipes he was making at the time.
“And I thought, ‘What a great idea,’ because we already have the recipes, we’ll already have the ingredients here, I already have the dishes planned out," Bangerter said, "so what it (the cookbook) ended up being was a time capsule of what we were doing in 2019 to 2020."
Guided by nature on the property, Bangerter and another writer and photographer spent 16 months capturing all four seasons on the property.
“Personally, I love every season because every season has got something new, it’s got a new experience, it has a new meaning,” he said.
"Everything is inspired by the property, and local farms in the area, and that’s why the experience is so unique here and the book is so unique. When we started seeing this book come together, I realized it’s going to be a special book, because there’s no place like this place.”
When Bangerter came to Langdon Hall eight years ago, he said he was blown away by the ingredients found on the 75-acre property.
With two greenhouses and a garden, vegetables used in Langdon Hall dishes are picked from the ground hours before.
“The ingredients and the availability of those ingredients on this side of the escarpment are unlike some of the things that I’ve ever seen in Toronto. It’s a special area, and it’s a really special area to be creating food," Bangerter said.
Made for the home cook, the recipes highlight the use of local ingredients in hopes of connecting people to the land.
At Langdon, Bangerter adds the flavours of items like vegetables grown on the property become the star of the meal.
“All of the things that we serve were, moments earlier, on a branch, or on a vine, or in the ground, or trickling in the stream and we harvested it, and hours later, it’s on a plate," Bangerter said.
"Having those things at our fingertips here, and being able to serve something that was living moments prior in the ground or on a plant, really changes the taste and the dining experience.
“There’s an underlying message in there about supporting sustainability, and supporting local farms and knowing where your food comes from, and I think it’s subtle and an elegant message."
Since the cookbook has been released, it has ranked number one best-seller on Amazon for Canadian cookbooks and the book has been tagged in social media posts in England, Australia, Hong Kong and China.
Overall, Bangerter said he and his team wanted to share the story of Langdon Hall through this book.
“For me, the goal was never to make a textbook for cooking, the goal for me, and for the whole group, was to design something that told the story of this place, as a coffee table book first. This is the type of book I want you to look through and just be captivated the entire time," he said.
“You flip through this book and it tells a story of the place, and of our people and of the community and of the farms, and our sourcing and our ethos, and really, I'm proud of it and believe we captured that.”
Langdon Hall: A Cookbook is available online and at Langdon Hall for purchase.