Both Tanya and Ray, owners, operators and chefs of the Blue Toque Diner were active in the restaurant business in Calgary for years before they made their way to Fernie to buy The Toque. Tanya for the most part worked the front of the house but just prior to her discovering Fernie worked for a catering company called Redtree where she learned a lot about food and how to prepare it well.
Ray on the other hand entered the restaurant business “late in life” as he puts it, after a degree in mechanical engineering, a career in computer programming and another in oil and gas, made him realize he wanted to work for himself cooking in his own restaurant. He enrolled into SAIT’s Culinary Arts Program and upon graduating spent a few years gathering experience working in restaurants like Fleur de Sel, Ruan Thai (where he and Tanya met) and Rouge in Calgary.
In 2006 Tanya was ready for a change of scenery and did a road trip to Fernie. She instantly fell in love with the town and when she discovered the Blue Toque, she knew it was the place she and Ray had been dreaming of. The couple set their sights on purchasing the diner, which was for sale at the time. Everything fell into place and the purchase went through in the fall of 2006, opening their doors that December.
Since then the Toque has been an institution in this community. Known for their homemade, healthy, fresh and filling breakfasts and lunches, as well as daily specials and new menus bi-annually, they also offer non-profit pricing for a few non-profit events each year. In the past they have supported the Writers’ Conference, have sponsored take away Christmas dinners to patrons of the Salvation Army, hosted a fundraiser for a Nepalese Orphanage, provided the food for the International Women’s Day event and sponsored the Snow Sisters Relay for Life fundraiser.
Tanya sums it up. “We really try to help whenever we can and we can’t always donate money, but have items we can loan, as well as our time and space.”
Blue Toque Summer Salad (a retired favourite)
Bed of spinach or greens
Roasted red peppers
Mango Currant Vinaigrette
In a food processor or blender
1/2 cup pureed mango
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup berry juice (a mixed berry blend is best)
2 tablespoon currant syrup
1 1/2 cups canola oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Pour into a jar and then add 3 Bay leaves. The vinaigrette may be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Lunchbox ~ Now has an espresso machine, serving authentic Americano, latte, cappuccino, mochas and chai. They also have new wraps such as the “Dirt Jumper” and the “Hard Hat” for hungry guys that include double the meat. Check out their Fresh Juice menu and the patio now that the weather is getting nice.
The Blue Toque ~ Will be launching their new spring/summer menu in May. Patio season is here and their famous gin and ginger-mint lemonade is back.
Grass Roots Bistro -Vegetarian Cuisine ~ The rumors are true. This summer there will be a new restaurant in town, Grass Roots Bistro offering a fresh healthy vegetarian menu located on 2nd Avenue in the same location as Big Bang Bagels. Opening date is June 30, join them and experience something fresh.
Loaf Bakery & Pizzeria ~ Work is underway at Loaf’s new home (641 2nd Ave) and they hope to open by the end of June. Buy Loaf of the week at 25% off, Sandwich of the week 15% off, Soup and Sandwich special $10. Returning in May - all you can eat toast for breakfasts.
The Clubhouse Restaurant ~ Opening Saturday May 5, offering Mothers Day Brunch 10 – 2pm May 13. Specials kick off May 14 – Burger & Fernie Beer Mondays, Pizza and Margaritas Tuesdays, Wing and Dry Ribs Wednesdays, Shrimp Fest Thursdays with Caesars and Prime Rib, and Featured Wine Fridays.
The Bridge Bistro ~ Reopening May 11 with a new summer menu. Now offering the Informed Dining Program - their menu will include nutritional analysis to help guests make better decisions when ordering from.