Who: Neil Creech, executive chef
What: fūd - main street bistro & cafe
Where: Stayner, Ontario
Size: 84 seats
Concept: Light bistro fare
Volume: Less than $1 million annual sales
Opened: October 2008
Famous for: Incredible cheesecake
Menu description: Simcoe County's Best New York Style Cheesecake
Menu price: CAD $8 a slice
Food cost: CAD $1.40 a slice
Yield: 10 slices out of a 10-inch cheesecake
Why I Love My Philly
An independent operator shares his Philly story.
fūd hits the sweet spot by appealing to a broad spectrum of diners without losing focus on its commitment to farm-fresh foods. Sitting in the heart of cottage country, it serves both tourists and neighborhood foodies, as well as value-conscious diners. The café promotes local foods, menuing beef and lamb from nearby farms, and butchering them in-house. The rotating dessert menu may include Georgian Bay Gala Apple Strudel or Banana Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce, but fūd is perhaps best known for its New York style cheesecake, a permanent fixture on the menu.
"The flavor is pretty straightforward—a classic profile with a bit of vanilla and a subtle tang to it," says Neil Creech, fud's executive chef. "And the crust is made with graham crackers and cinnamon. What sets our cheesecake apart is the texture. It's incredibly moist and creamy and quite rich." Indeed, successful New York style cheesecakes are known for their luscious texture, and purists look for ones unadorned by fruit toppings or caramel drizzles. "Because we use Philadelphia Cream Cheese, we know that the texture will come out right every time – beautiful, silky and delicious." he says
Chef Creech sources Philadelphia Cream Cheese. "I like that it's already soft, so we don't have to beat it up too much to get the consistency we want," he says. "It's light and airy, and holds the creaminess we're looking for even after it has been baked in the cheesecake." He also points out its good price point, consistent flavour profile and consistent texture. "We've always used Philly, and always will. Our cheesecake is the best, so we're not going to mess with it."
To avoid cracking, Chef Creech recommends:
- running a knife along the perimeter of the spring-form pan to relieve pressure
- cooling the cheesecake in the bain-marie in which it's baked
Other Philly Moments
- For catered events, Chef Creech has downsized his New York style cheesecake into 2-bite cheesecakes by using 1-inch round moulds.
- He uses Philadelphia Cream Cheese in his Crab and Spinach Dip appetizer. "It's light and very creamy, and topped with a touch of feta cheese and a panko breadcrumb crust."
Although Chef Creech keeps his fantastic recipe closely guarded, you can find wonderful cheesecake recipes right here, developed by our Kraft culinary team.
Füd closed in 2012 and Chef Neil Creech is exploring other opportunities. Stay tuned…!