Chef's Corner

Telling the culinary story of RBG

Chef's corner is a regular series of posts which will include recipes, chef tips and other tidbits of information brought to you by our Executive Chef Peter Mancini and the culinary team.

Please feel free to write us and comment or ask for additional information at

bowl of orange soup with croutons in centre

Recipe: Harvest Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

It is finally soup season! With fresh veggies ready in abundance from the gardens and your local market, it is the perfect time of year to make some harvest soup for your family, or for meal prep!

Portions: 2-3 litres of soup

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

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  • 2 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 1 Stalk Celery
  • 1 Medium Carrot
  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Medium Butternut Squash
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ Litres Veg Stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Peel and dice to medium size the onion, celery, carrot, sweet potato and squash. Set all aside in separate containers.
  2. Melt butter in medium fry pan and add onion, carrot and celery. Leave on medium heat until mixture lightly browns.
  3. Add sweet potato, squash and brown sugar to the mixture and sweat for approximately 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Add vegetable stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Puree with hand blender or in table top blender and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve in bowls with large garlic croutons for topping.

plate with scones and preserves with glass of lemondate with flowers as a garnish

Recipe: Honey Lavender Scones & Lemonade

Throw a Garden Party and impress your foodie friends with these recipes for Honey Lavender Scones & Lemonade with lemon verbena and nasturtium blossoms.

Portions: 8-10 scones, 8-10 glasses of lemonade

Prep Time: Scones 30 mins, Lemonade 10 mins

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  • 3 Cups Flour
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup local honey
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (chilled & cut into 1” cubes)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup dry lavender blossoms
  • 4 tbls powdered sugar


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar & baking powder and mix thoroughly. Combine mixture with cubed butter in food processor and pulse until ingredients are the consistency of corn meal.
  2. Add lavender to mixture and pulse to mix
  3. Combine milk, honey, egg, mix and add to the flour mixture until flour is distributed and dough forms. (Do not over mix)
  4. Place some dry flour on the mixing surface to keep dough from sticking
  5. Place dough on surface and roll out into 5cm thickness, approx. 20cm diameter.
  6. Cut dough into 8 – 10 triangles depending on desired size / quantity.
  7. Place on parchment paper on baking sheet and into a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar
  9. Serve with blueberry preserves and double cream


  • 12 Lemons
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 12 Cups Water
  • 12 Nasturtium flowers
  • 12 Lemon Verbena leaves


  1. Roll lemons between your hand and counter top or other flat hard surface to loosen up the lemons for juicing.
  2. Squeeze lemons and strain seeds out to make 2 cups of juice.
  3. Add sugar, water and lemon juice and stir until sugar dissolves.
  4. Chill and adjust flavour with additional water if needed.
  5. Place ice in glasses, tear one lemon verbena leaf in each glass and pour lemonade over. Add a nasturtium flower for garnish.

wine glass of dark red sangria

Mixology: Summertime Sweet Sangria

As the weather gets warmer and the patios open, the team at the Rock Garden Café wanted to share a summertime favourite drink! This recipe tastes great with or without alcohol on a hot summer day!

Portions: 25 x 8oz (fruit included)

Prep Time: 15-30 mins

Recommended Settle Time: 4 hours (to redistribute all the flavours)

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  • 1 x 750ml bottle Red Wine, Semi Sweet
  • 2 Granny Smith Apple (cored)
  • 2 Large Navel Orange
  • 2 Lemons (Pitted)
  • 2 Limes
  • 400ml Simple Syrup
  • 24 Red Seedless Grapes, Halved
  • ½ pint Blueberries
  • ½ pint Raspberries
  • 250ml Pomegranate Juice
  • 500ml Orange Juice
  • 500ml Cranberry Juice
  • 200ml Orange Liquor
  • 200ml Brandy


  1. Wash all fruit thoroughly and let drip dry
  2. Slice Apples, Oranges, Lemons & Limes into thin slices and cut in quarters
  3. Cut grapes in half
  4. Simple Syrup - place 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of boiling water, dissolve and cool
  5. Place all fruit into the mixing bowl and add wine, orange liquor, brandy, juices & simple syrup
  6. Chill and let set for a minimum of 4 hours, up to 48 hours
  7. Garnish Glasses with Strawberry and serve chilled

For Non-Alcohol Version - Leave out Wine, orange liquor and brandy and add 1 litre of sparkling water to mix just prior to serving. Garnish glass with strawberry and serve chilled.

creme brule in small individual cup topped with berries

Recipe: Crème Brulee

This classic dessert is a favourite of lunch-goers at the Greenhouse Café. Try the recipe below or come sample it for yourself, open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Portions: 12 x 4oz

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 35 mins

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  • 12 egg yolks
  • 4 cups 35% cream
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 24 blueberries
  • 24 raspberries
  • 1/2 pound white sugar


  1. In medium pot heat 35% over med low heat. Do not boil.
  2. Combine egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  3. Stir in heated cream to egg yolk mixture slowly to temper eggs without scrambling.
  4. Pass liquid / custard through fine strainer and fill ramekins with strained custard.
  5. Place filled ramekins in hotel pan, pour water into hotel pan to cover ramekin half way.
  6. Cover pan with foil and place in pre-heated oven at 330F. Bake for 30 mins, check consisitency and adjust cook time.
  7. Remove fully cooked brulees from water bath, place on baking sheet and cool in fridge to hold for service.
  8. Liberly sprnkle brulees with white granulated sugar to coat the entire top
  9. Carelfully cook sugar with chef torch until it starts to turn golden and harden, being careful not to cook your hand
  10. Place two blueberries and two raspberries on top of Brulle and dust with sifted sugar

pancakes with blueberries on top

Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Its brunch season here at RBG, so our culinary team thought we would share one of our favoruite breakfast dishes with you.

Portions: 36 x 2oz Pancakes

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 2-3 mins

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  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 8 whole eggs (lg)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Zest from 3 lemons
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Powdered sugar and maple syrup as desired


  1. Combine & mix lemon zest from the 3 lemons with sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs and add milk, lemon juice and ricotta cheese in a separate mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Add liquid mixture to dry and continue mixing until all dry ingredients are disolved. This will result in a lumpy batter.
  4. Melt 1 small piece of butter in the pan on low to medium heat and place 1/3 cup (90ml) of batter into the pan x 3 and fry.
  5. Flip pancake when bubbles start to form on the uncooked side and cook until center of pancake is completely cooked.
  6. Continue to make pancakes and serve with butter, Canadian Maple Syrup & powdered sugar.

selection of brunch dishes

Dine in the Gardens


With two restaurants and a teahouse on site, Royal Botanical Gardens is your destination for dishes inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients. Make your lunch reservation for the Greenhouse Café or Rock Garden Café, or drop by the Turner Pavilion teahouse.

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strawberries cut and arranged


Royal Botanical Gardens caters a number of seasonal, and holiday-specific brunches. Reservations required.

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folk musicians playing under a tent for a crowd

Upcoming Events

RBG hosts events year-round, from blooms celebrations, to performing arts, to holiday celebrations.

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outdoor corporate event at Rock Garden Visitor centre

Host Your Event

With function space and catering available for up to 500 people, RBG is your natural choice for conferences, special events and weddings.

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