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our story

Thrive aims to celebrate the true meaning of “farm to table” by cultivating, preparing and cooking individual ingredients in their prime and showcasing them in our beautiful “dining room” located in the heart of our garden, where the walls are forever changing. What better way to experience the bounty of Norfolk County “Ontario’s garden” than dining in the middle of it?

On our family farm of 30 years, centrally located on the sandy soils of Norfolk County, we thrive on what our land has to offer. We grow, raise and forage as much as we can here on our farm. But we simply can’t do it all; this is where the amazing folks of Norfolk come into play. Norfolk County farmers and fishers offer amazing products that we are proud to support and present alongside our own. 

Collaborating within our bountiful community allows for endless culinary creations for our guests.​

Innovation is a top priority at Thrive, not only from a culinary perspective but also with our farming practices. We are constantly looking at new methods of tending our gardens and incorporating new ways of producing better and more sustainable products. We set out to re-use where possible such is the case with the majority of our cooking equipment in our retrofitted, custom trailer. Even our dishes are an eclectic mix of reclaimed sets. We’ve been blessed by all our farm has to offer and want to ensure it prospers for years to come.​

It is our hope, through our exceptional dining experience, to pass along to our guests our passion for peak, local produce and sustainability and leave them fascinated and inspired.

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Meet the Chef

Matt Demarest

I started, as every chef does, dishwashing which lead to a co/op opportunity working with Scott Mcrae of David’s Restaurant in Port Dover. Mcrae noticed a passion in me and advised I leave my little county, as he had done, to continue my journey of becoming a chef.

I grew committed to working in Toronto alongside my mentor Jason Cox of Opus where I dove into fine dining and grew my knowledge of flavour pairings, components and atmosphere. I became fascinated with being able to meet the farmer to showcase their quality product, in all its glory, at the precise time with the perfect dish.

I was fortunate to experience the true meaning of farm-to-table when the opportunity came about to work beside Michael Stadtlander at Eigensinn Farm in Collingwood. It was here, I became passionate about the wild culinary delights of Canada.​

I travelled back to Toronto, working with Michael Hunter of Antler, where I was further inspired by foraging our own ingredients and getting involved in the production of maple syrup. At this time I began musing about my next steps and moved back home to the family farm in Norfolk County.

Thrive became a reality in 2018, with a cup of coffee in hand, looking out to the gardens and deciding the time was now! We are now headed into our sixth successful season, each one unlike the last. Each year brings new opportunities, collaborations, and innovations that allow me to expand on what I am so passionate about – (simply) cooking real food at its pinnacle of excellence.

I look forward to seeing you in the garden!

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