To say the last week or so has been interesting for me on social media would be an understatement.I have seen many people share their opinions on my involvement with Restaurants Canada and their perspective on the current state of our industry in this province. Many have shown support, others have agreed to disagree, while some have taken to calling me every name under the sun in opposition of my opinion.I’m not going to dive into the political realm with this week’s column. All I am going to say about it is this: Like me or don’t like me, I don’t care. It’s your choice, and I can’t spend my days trying to make you like me.I can, however, do my best to do what I think I need to do to look after ALL of my staff and keep our business operating. While you may not agree with my decisions I am doing what I think is best for the sake of my business because I’m in my business, each and every day, doing what I have to in an effort to not only survive, but try to be successful.If that offends you, I am truly sorry. If that goes against your moral or political views, I am sorry. If that leads you to choose to avoid dining with us, I am sorry to hear that, but I have to do what I have to do to survive. If you choose to come in and disagree with my perspective, I won’t treat you any different than if you agree. And that’s all I am going to say about that.Let’s talk about food instead, something I’ve been told I should stick to, both politely, and not so politely.It’s time for us to change the menu at the restaurant. Correction, it’s long past time for me to get my butt in gear and rewrite the menu.Much like writing a column, I find myself swinging back and forth from having a plethora of ideas, to struggling to put pen to paper and create something new.Part of my struggle is that I often don’t have the time to play that I thought I would. Yes, even I figured there would be a little more time to create, experiment with food, do research, solicit feedback, and get back to the fun part of cooking.The reality is that life, and the day to day challenges of work get in the way of me finding the time to do as much of it as I would like. This time around I have found it fairly easy to come up with some fresh new entrees, while also bringing back some of our winter favourites.It’s been the appetizers I have been struggling with, something that normally comes quite easily to me. There have been many ideas that have come to mind, but not enough unique and memorable dishes for my satisfaction. It’s about trying to create a well thought out and balanced menu, while also trying to stay within the focus of the restaurant we are. Over the past few days we have had quite the list during our dialogue, many of which will end up being little more than ideas, while others have been toyed with, with a select few making the final cut.Many of the dishes that didn’t make it were fun and delicious, but they weren’t quite good enough for what we had in mind, or didn’t quite fit, at least not this time around. Here’s a great example of a simple and fresh dip I like serving. While it’s delicious, and fun to serve I just didn’t think there was a place for it on our small menu. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it! Give it a try for yourself, or with friends, the next time you are entertaining.Tomato Bruschetta & Cannellini Bean HummusPrep time: 20 minutesCooking time: 10 minutesSpecial Tools: food processor, sharp knifeMakes: enough for a family of 4For the bruschetta:2 ea. vine-ripened tomatoes½ ea. red onion2 ea. cloves garlic2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oilTT S&PWash the tomato, then, using a sharp knife, remove the core Dice the tomatoes into small dice As an option, lightly salt the tomatoes, and then place them over a fine mesh strainer, this will help to drain off any excess water Chop the red onion fine Peel the garlic clove and then mince finely In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, red onion, garlic, and basil, stir to combine Add the olive oil and vinegar, and seasoning, stir to combine, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking Set aside and chill until ready to serve For the hummus:1 jar cannellini beans2 ea. lemons, juice and zest1 tbsp. garlic, minced2 tbsp. fresh rosemary½ cup extra virgin olive oilTT S&PSet up the food processor Drain the beans into a fine mesh strainer, and rinse the beans thoroughly to remove the excess starch Place the beans in the food processor Using a grater or a microplane, zest the lemon into the beans Then squeeze the lemon juice into the beans, straining it to keep the seeds and pulp out Coarsely chop the rosemary Place the rosemary in the beans, and then begin to puree the mixture, adding the oil as you go Puree until smooth, taste, and adjust the seasoning to your liking Set aside and chill until ready to serve For the chips:2 ea. whole pitas2 tbsp. olive oilTT S&PPreheat the oven to 425F Lightly brush the pitas with olive oil Cut into manageable sized points and place on a baking sheet Bake in the oven until crispy and lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes Let cool slightly When ready, layer the hummus, bruschetta and then drizzle with a little olive oil and serve Who’s hungry?