As the sun settles into the crisp September evening air, my husband and I rushed through the back-to-school, back-to-work, back-to-reality crowds of rush hour commuters with purpose. We were especially excited for a very special evening in the heart of the city. Tonight, we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of No Small Feast – a fully bespoke catering and event planning company driven by co-owners Matt Dunbar and Michael Abbott. Having originally met at a well-known Toronto restaurant, the pair forged their vision from humble beginnings, climbed through the ranks, and have since created the full-service event company that they are today, servicing some of the most prestigious events in Toronto. Joshua Zuckerman of Citizen Relations captures all of the anniversary festivities!
We arrive at The Richmond, a contemporary event space flooded with natural light from the floor to ceiling windows reflecting softly on the honey-coloured hardwood floors. The colourful walls of Graffiti Alley peeking through for a splash of character that is uniquely urban and modern.
Entering the event, we were first greeted with a full bar and approached with a delicate tray of Foie Gras Mousse Crostini topped with pink peppercorn, crushed pistachio, bourbon cherry gel to finish. The richness of the foie gras partnered with the complexity of the flavours reassured me we were in for a treat.
Next up are the fancy sliders which make you wish they were actually full-size burgers. These little handmade sliders were as juicy as they were delicious! The aroma and flavour from the tender beef brisket perfectly intertwined with crunchy house-made pickles, iceberg lettuce, and creamy garlic aioli sauce.
The highlight of the evening included this perfectly battered Shrimp Tempura. Not very often do you find an item that tastes as delicious as it looks. From the moment the shrimp enters your mouth, the zest and flavour from the chipotle-lime sauce create a joyous feeling that entices you to track the waiter down for another.
Accompanied by the free flow of gourmet cocktails from the bar, I could have easily left satisfied after the hors d’oeuvres but as the name suggests, No Small Feast was just getting started! One side of the room was a pasta station complete with all the bells and whistles. I was greeted by a friendly smile as the truffles fell like snowflakes onto the fluffy pillows of gnocchetti hugged in spicy Italian sausage ragout. Several patrons started taking photos to capture this interactive moment presented by the chef. He finished off the dish with a dash of Parmesan and a gently placed basil cress.
The other side of the room housed the unavoidable temptation of the fried chicken station. With the most cheerful and proud staff highlighting the locally sourced ingredients, you know this will be a good one. Each bowl is neatly packed with juicy pieces of lightly breaded fried chicken served atop squash puree, baby corn and green cabbage slaw. This was definitely one of our favourites of the evening as we couldn’t help but go went back to this station numerous times!
With each round of liberation, the room is amplified with tantalizing conversation, greetings of old friends and new, and whispers of “you’ve got to try this”. If the night wasn’t already full of excitement and entertainment, the team left one of their most playful and theatrical dishes towards the end of the night. Tucked away in the back of the room laid the dessert bar with a focus on Nitro Corn Ice Cream. A light olive oil cake, topped with layers of spicy caramel, corn shoots and Nitro Popcorn. In all my years of attending events, it’s still very exciting to watch the ice cream being made with liquid nitrogen right in front of you. There was not an ounce of regret over this indulgence!
The evening closed out with heartfelt speech from Matt and Mike, touching on their struggles and triumph over the years of how No Small Feast came to be. The room was bursting with love, appreciation and admiration from the crowd for a job well done. With child-like enthusiasm, I cannot wait to see what else this duo will bring to future events to come.