Rare Escape, an initiative from Tyler and Kassy Scott, aims to provide a lift to your mind, body, and soul through mouth-watering cuisine and the great outdoors.
It’s not always easy to listen to our inner voice. In fact, it’s one of the hardest things to do, but at a certain point we sometimes feel as if it’s the only way to go – the only way to live our truth.
Kassy and Tyler Scott ran the ever popular restaurant in Peterborough, Rare (closing at the end of May), and though they loved many aspects of it (and that love was definitely shared by the community), they realized that they were escaping the stress of being restaurant owners by heading to the outdoors, and at a certain point they realized they needed to shift their attention to the outdoors itself.
“There came a point in time where we were leaving for camping trips to escape for just the day/night and then packing up at 6am to make it back in time to be at the restaurant to prepare the menu for a new week,” Kassy told us.
“That’s when we discovered that the fun adventure journal we started on Instagram called ‘Rare Escape‘ was actually what we were meant to do all along.”
Rare Escape, in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, is Born
When Kassy and Tyler went all in our restaurant ownership, they learned a tremendous amount in a short period of time. They grew Rare and Chef Tyler created a name for his cooking, all while they raised two little ones.
Their decision to shut down the restaurant was not one they took lightly. Kassy even mentioned that, in a way, they’re both grieving the loss of that chapter, but they’re doing so to allow for some closure on this project as they make room for their brand new project. It just came to a point where life became unsustainable, and so Rare Escape is an attempt to get some of that sustainability back, to reprioritize, and to offer others the chance to do the same.
We want to teach our kids to do what makes them happy in life. We both know that we are lucky to have the chance to rewrite our story and hopefully we can inspire our community while we do it.
I will hold all the memories we have made at the restaurant close to my heart. It shaped us into the people that we are today and I am so grateful for all the lessons we learned to get here.
What’s on Offer at Rare Escape?
At their core, all experiences offered by Rare Escape are centred around getting active, learning about nature, as well as eating delicious food prepared by Chef Tyler. They’re focused on intimate, small groups, so that you can feel like a meaningful participant in the experience.
It’s very much an “interactive dining experience.”
Lunch in the Woods
Their signature experience is “Lunch in the Woods.” That’s the experience that we were a part of, and it featured a guided hike and lunch made over the fire. Each experience has a unique menu that’s carefully chosen based on the location as well as the growing season (though don’t worry, they note any allergies or dietary restrictions at booking).
We were lucky enough to attend the Pilot experience of Lunch in the Woods, and we had ramen made with a rich broth, red fife alkaline noodles, blue oyster mushrooms, Canada prime striploin and pickled wild leek. Tyler then topped it off with wild leek microgreens which added a nice touch to the flavouring and presentation.
To watch it be cooked and put together, to have the smells waft across the forest, then sit and enjoy it in the little hut they’ve made in the woods – well, it was an incredibly unique experience, and one that we hadn’t had in Ontario before!
Rare Escape also aims to launch their Canoe Portage Experience. Basically, it would involve a half day of paddling to a special, previously chosen location as well as a meal.
Kassy let us know that the goal is eventually to expand to a Canoe Excursion Series which would feature overnight camping, and would allow for Chef Tyler to be working his magic for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Tyler has some solo trips planned to scope out new areas for participants around Peterborough & the Kawarthas.
Farm Tour Experiences
Beyond the other two experiences, they’re also looking to offer Farm Tour Experiences. These experiences will, fittingly, occur at harvest times. They’ll look to plan a dinner around what’s harvested and share knowledge about what is growing in the region.
When we asked what it was that they felt was so conducive in nature to these reflective and powerful experiences, they summed things up perfectly.
“It’s the personal one-on-one hospitality we have always wanted to offer, but have never been able to facilitate inside the restaurant. When you take away the decorated walls and the fancy dining room tables to bring participants to a special location where nature is the backdrop it sets a whole new tone.
Bringing the vibe back to basics elevates the emotional response. The fresh air lifts the heaviness off everyone’s shoulders. You can see it on their faces. I think that’s one of the most rewarding things to witness through this.”
What’s on the Horizon?
One thing that both Kassy and Tyler were quick to note is that Tyler isn’t a professional when it comes to bushcraft, but he is currently a student of the outdoors, and is taking courses right now on both foraging and hunting. It’s clear that it means something to Tyler to be able to share, educate and inform based on his own experience and learnings, so he’s putting in the work to be able to do that in even greater capacities moving forwards.
However, it’s also worth noting that this isn’t a one-sided arrangement. Kassy mentioned that they love the opportunity to “cook some incredible local food and teach others about these amazing food systems,” but that “it’s also been humbling to learn something new each time from our guests. To hear their stories and perspectives. To feel their passion for the outdoors and to see them enjoying themselves throughout the time we have together.”
If you yourself are keen to be a part of this experience, they’re building out an event schedule which you should be able to find here in short order. If you want to follow along with their growth and adventure, you can also subscribe at the bottom of their blog for updates (or with the Follow button in the bottom right). Finally, if you want to just send off an email to get in touch, you can reach them at [email protected], and they’ll get back to you.
One thing that’s clear – this is a joint dream from Kassy and Tyler, and one that they’re immensely passionate about. They’ve let us know that if this unfolds how they’re hoping it will, Rare Escape will be what they’ll be doing full-time moving forwards. They want to remind people that the forest is full of unforgettable lessons and remarkable flavours, if only we take the time to look and listen.
We want to humbly thank Peterborough & the Kawarthas for hosting us as media. All opinions are completely our own.
Christopher Mitchell is the Cofounder of Ultimate Ontario. He’s visited over 80 countries, and has lived on 4 continents, but now has his eyes set squarely on exploring this incredible province, and helping others do the same.