the cozinha toronto

Chef offering to help Toronto into the brave new world of balcony-to-table dining

Balcony-to-table dining may become the next big thing in Toronto, now that a chef is offering a helping hand to get you into growing and cooking your own food.

Chef Carla Beça of Come e Calate Catering, who also ran Gaspar Cafe, has started up The Cozinha, a food and garden platform named after the Portuguese word for kitchen. She's selling her seeding kits, which come with everything you need to set up a garden, including the soil, via Instagram DMs.

With experience at McEwan's Fine Foods, Drake Hotel and Distillery Events, Beça has lots of nostalgic memories of spending childhood summers in her grandparents' farming village where everyone had their own animals and veggie gardens. She also farmed the rooftop gardens while working for Distillery.

"Naturally growing my own herbs and fruits and veggies is a therapeutic and great way to feel connected to my roots and do what I enjoy," Beça tells blogTO. 

"Plus the benefits of all that garden time and the harvest are so worth it."

The kits are entirely customizable: you pick five packs of seeds you'd like to grow, and then Beça will also surprise you with a bonus sixth seed. The service will be putting out a guide, calendar and videos on the IG channel to start the process in spring.

"No one is alone and we will hold your hand all the way to transplanting then harvesting," says Beça.

In addition to the seeds and the instructional content, the $40 kits come with five pounds of a soil blend, a spray bottle, mini germination tools, a seed dropper, three large plant containers, three compostable trays, one large plastic tray, a pair of gardening gloves, plant labels and an aluminum caddy to either plant or store tools in.

You can expect to grow crops like bush bean, hot cayenne pepper, heirloom carrot, cherry tomato and basil. If you've ever wanted to get into gardening but have a small space and no idea where to start, this could be perfect for you.

After all, what's more local than produce harvested from your own condo balcony? The first in her series of videos taking people through the process of planting, growing, harvesting and ultimately cooking their food will be released April 12.

"Starting this project was a way to keep my hands busy, connect with the earth and get as many people involved in learning how to grow your own veggies from scratch," says Beça.

"I have done it many times over the years and it's in my roots and it feels good to see people caring more about where our food comes from and how it gets here. Whether you have a garden or balcony or even a window ledge."

Lead photo by

The Cozinha

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