Back in 2003, when Hurricane Juan left Nova Scotians stranded for a few days, Lil MacPherson grew concerned about food. She noticed that there were few local options in their relative isolation, and that much of their food was both shipped from far away and treated with additives. This discovery inspired her to start supporting nearby farmers and purveyors in the hopes of strengthening Nova Scotia's foodscape. But she didn't want to stop there?she wanted the rest of her home province to embrace sustainability, too.
The Wooden Monkey, a restaurant devoted to the local culinary culture, was the next step in her journey. Under the guidance of partners Christine Bower and Matthew Gass, The Wooden Monkey in Halifax and Dartmouth shine a spotlight on the work of farmers and fishermen. The menu rejects artificially enhanced ingredients and cutlery grown in a lab in favor of homegrown meals. In fact, every meat in the kitchen has been sourced from Nova Scotia: lamb from Nothumberlamb is used for the lamb burger, and the rustic chicken dinner is made from Pasture Hills poultry.
The Monkey isn't just for meat-eaters, however. The staff also prepares an abundance of vegan and vegetarian options, including plates of gingered tofu served over organic quinoa-rice noodles. In fact, the menu is conscious of several dietary restrictions, including Celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and nut allergies.