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VIA Rail Canada Launches New Menu on Legendary Trans-Continental Route

Sunday May 20, 2012

Montreal, Quebec - VIA Rail Canada will begin serving a new menu onboard their trans-continental route, the Canadian, a journey that connects Toronto and Vancouver.

In order to select the new menu, VIA launched the Menu Creation Challenge which gathered eight VIA chefs for a two-day competition - the result: 78 new dishes for VIA travelers. The new menu will be available onboard starting in June and VIA has unveiled the selected dishes and recipes online at

Under the leadership of Chef Martin Gemme, who is in charge of planning services on the long-haul trains, the Menu Creation Challenge was meant to reinvent the current menu in a fun, creative environment. Since VIA chefs work in a restricted space, the new menu had to be not only delicious, but also, practical.

"I am extremely pleased with the results from this challenge. Our VIA chefs are an extraordinarily talented group who truly understand the high-standard of VIA’s dining service," said Chef Martin. "They are the best people to create these dishes since they also know how to operate in our small onboard kitchens, which demands ingenuity and creativity."

On the Canadian, travelers on the Sleeper Plus class can experience VIA’s culinary offerings on the new Dining Cars. Passengers in Economy Class can also enjoy the menu for an additional fee. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are made to order and prepared onboard with the freshest ingredients by VIA chefs. To complement the trans-continental journey, the Canadian menu reflects regional cuisine - a popular feature that will not change with the new menu.

As the sun rises over the horizon, passengers can enjoy a sweet start to their day with mixed fruit filled crepes or stuffed French toast - a cheesecake sandwiched between two slices of French toast topped with red berry compote. A variety of delectable dishes are available for lunch as well - from a grilled chicken salad with creamy apple dressing and fruit salsa to a roast beef ravioli sautéed with crispy bacon.

While darkness sets over the landscape, the Dining Car is aglow in candlelight. Dinner is served; honey and soy glazed duck breast with gastrique blackberry and vanilla sauce or scallops and goat cheese sacchetti with truffles.

While darkness sets over the landscape, the Dining Car is aglow in candlelight. Dinner is served; honey and soy glazed duck breast with gastrique blackberry and vanilla sauce or scallops and goat cheese sacchetti with truffles served à la nage in a lobster bisque. From morning to evening, complimenting the breathtaking scenery, the VIA Rail culinary experience is truly extraordinary.

"We strive to offer exceptional experiences onboard our VIA Rail trains, which is reflected in the high quality of our dining services. We continue to elevate our own standards, and are excited to unveil this new menu created by our chefs for our new Dining Cars on the Canadian," said Pierre Santoni, Director of Sales and Marketing.

As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada’s ( mandate is to provide safe, efficient, more environmentally sustainable and cost-effective passenger transportation, in the country’s two official languages. Every week, VIA operates 503 intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 7,800-mile route network. Winner of the 2011 RAC Safety Award, VIA transports over four million passengers annually.

The demand for VIA services is growing as travelers increasingly turn to train travel as a safe, hassle-free and environmentally responsible alternative to congested roads and airports. Since 2007, the Government has invested nearly 1 billion dollars in VIA in order to meet growing demand and transform Canada’s rail passenger service for the future.

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For more information on the Menu Creation Challenge, please visit:

A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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