Eating & Drinking

Stofa-on-the-Sofa — how Chef Jason Sawision adapted his menu for at-home eating

Yes, Stofa is now open for business! The Wellington West restaurant, which opened in 2017 and is known for its creative high-end cuisine, launched its at-home-dining menu last week. It’s a family-style approach featuring homemade bread and fresh sides, exciting mains, and sweet endings — all with that surprising-but-reliable Stofa flair. As reviewer Hattie Klotz wrote, “The menu is eclectic and includes some unfamiliar ingredients. On the night of my visit, chicken is nowhere to be found. In other words, there’s no safety net for unadventurous eaters. But you won’t need one; just surrender yourself to the masterful hands of chef-owner Jason Sawision.”

The meals are priced at $125 (plus HST) and are designed to feed a family of four (“comfortably” — which we’re thinking means some exciting lunches the following day!). Stofa is offering the family  are available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for curbside pickup, or delivery for a $5 charge. Order here.

We caught up with Sawision to find out how he adapted to the forced closure of his restaurant, the inspiration behind his family meals, and the future of the restaurant industry.

The Stofa spread from April 17-19 included braised shortrib, beet and orange salad, baked rigatoni, and sourdough focaccia. Photo by Kelsey Pettipas

What factors did you consider when deciding to launch a take-home/delivery menu?
We considered many factors surrounding take-home/delivery. The safety of our staff and customers was at the forefront. Finding ways to make it work so that everyone would be as safe as possible was paramount to opening in this fashion. Then we had to consider things like style of food, and what we thought people were looking for at this time. That’s why we have focused on the family style dinners. Lastly, we had to put a lot of thought into how to make the process from ordering, to production, to packaging, to delivery to the customers as streamlined as possible.

What inspired the menu options?
Family Meals really and the fact that people are eating together more than ever now. Giving people a night off to relax from cooking and enjoy something that is comforting and filling, as well as interesting (and hopefully some leftovers for the next day).

Here’s a closer look at those salads. Photos by Kelsey Pettipas

How was the first weekend? Any lessons learned or did it all go as planned?
The first weekend went great. Lots of positive feedback.  We didn’t know how it would go, but the community really supported us. We are so thankful for that. There’s always things we learn and since our menu changes weekly there will always be some things to tweak.

How do you think the current closures will affect the local restaurant industry in the long term?
In my opinion, I think it will be devastating  to the restaurant industry across Canada.  It will take a very long time, even after we are all given the ok to move forward, for people to start returning to sit-down restaurants.  The costs of operating these establishments are so high, and with less or zero revenue being generated it will be extremely hard for some businesses to bounce back.  That is why, right now, we are trying to adapt to the needs of the current environment and hopefully be able to push through.