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Archive for the ‘Charities’ Category

Baah! Be There!

11 Mar

BAAH

Last year, Tony Aspler’s brilliant charity, Grapes for Humanity, staged a mighty Tartare-off where professional and amateur chefs presented their most compelling tartares to a panel of judges, all to raise money to help build a school in Guatemala. The event was so successful that they’re doing it again, but this time the theme is Ontario lamb.

Baah! is the name of the game and it’s taking place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 21st at the Fairmont Royal York, in the beautiful Imperial Room. I have no doubt it will be the lambiest fundraiser of the year and that spectacular wines will be poured alongside the highly creative lamb dishes presented by the competing chefs, David Neinstein of Barque, Ryo Ozawa of EDO, Graham Pelley of Eleven, Jeremy Dyer of L’Avenue Bistro, Alan Liu of Linda Modern Thai, Chef Michael Pataran, David Junek of Salt and Collin Thornton of the Fairmont Royal York itself.

All the details can be read on this handsome poster. What could be more deliciously appropriate than spring lamb so close to the vernal equinox? And all for such an excellent cause. Call Annette at 416 445 9920 to purchase your ticket.

 

Kitchen Sisters – Last Supper for Sistering!

15 Feb

Kitchen Sisters Blog - 2

International Women’s Day is just three weeks away (it’s on Friday, March 8, to be precise) and the place to be that evening is Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village. The occasion is Kitchen Sisters, a fundraising feast prepared by some of Toronto’s finest chefs including Donna Dooher (chef-owner of Mildred’s, of course), Lynn Crawford, Anne Yarymowich, Christine Bib, Suzanne Baby and Andrea Damon-Gibson. It’s the finale of a fundraising initiative aimed at building a new kitchen for Sistering.

And what is Sistering? It’s an agency and advocacy group that has been supporting low-income and marginalized women in the Toronto community since 1981 by providing a safe haven during the daytime hours in a welcoming, multilingual and multiracial environment. Hot meals are part of the service – indeed, in the last few years the demand for meals has increased substantially, until the Sistering kitchen now finds itself providing more than 250 meals a day, 365 days a year. In order to meet this growing need, the kitchen required a massive overhaul. Fridges, stoves, cooking and baking equipment were all needed to give the hard-working chefs at Sistering a leg up on their production. The resounding success of the past two International Women’s Day dinners has meant that much of the funding is in place and Donna Dooher hopes this ‘Last Supper for Sistering’ will help them reach that final goal.

All proceeds from the event at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen will go towards Sistering’s kitchen renovation project. Tickets are $500 for a spectacularly delicious four-course feast, served at the Temple Kitchen communal table, complete with wine pairings. Partial tax receipts (for $350) will be issued. For information or tickets, please call 416-926-9762 ext. 243.

Sistering’s twitter account is @sisteringTO and Kitchen Sisters’ hashtag is #kitchensisters13

 
 

Edmonton Gold Medal Plates 2012

19 Oct

Chef Nathin Bye's dish "Breakfast for Dinner" won the gold

Edmonton has a special place in the hearts of the Gold Medal Plates team. The city has been one of our loyalest supporters since the beginning, it is the first to sell out every year and the party is always exceptional. Last night, 700 guests added to the ongoing legend at the Shaw Centre, waltzing to beautiful music from Sarah Harmer, Barney Bentall and Ed Robertson and giving a standing ovation to dozens of Olympic athletes led by the evening’s energized master of ceremonies, Adam van Koeverden. The purpose of these evenings, lest we forget, is only incidentally about pleasure and entertainment – it’s to raise money for Canada’s Olympic athletes through the Own the Podium program that paid such dividends during the 2010 Vancouver games. Gold Medal Plates has raised over $6 million so far – and counting. Last night’s contribution will have a direct and beneficial effect on the way our elite athletes perform in Russia in two years time.

Certainly, the ten competing chefs also played their role in the festivities, presenting a wide array of dishes that were highly imaginative, complex and visually stunning. The judges agree that the overall quality of the offerings rose yet again this year, and while the choice for gold medal was almost unanimous, only two percentage points separated it from the silver. Joining me on the judging panel last night were Edmonton’s Senior Judge, food and wine writer and wine educator Mary Bailey, chef instructor and international gastronomic judge Clayton Folkers (who had just flown home from Germany where he was judging the culinary Olympics), catering guru and culinary educator, Gail Hall, The Edmonton Journal’s food writer Liane Faulder, chef Chris Wood and last year’s Edmonton Gold Medal Plates champion, chef Jan Trittenbach.

Chef Paul Shufelt's Brome Lake duck won the bronze medal

The bronze medal was awarded to chef Paul Shufelt of Century Hospitality Group who presented Brome Lake duck in two ways. As he introduced the dish, Chef Shufelt explained that he grew up just ten minutes from Brome Lake (near Knowlton, Quebec) and always enjoyed working with the birds. He began by wrapping a drum-shaped piece of the marvellously tender breast in prosciutto, cooking it until the full flavour emerged but the meat was still moist and juicy. A wand of the duck’s sweetly glazed skin lay across the surface and beneath it we found a drift of roasted butternut squash purée subtly spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg. The plate’s other main component was a weighty arancini of forked duck confit, wild mushrooms and shortgrain rice, fried to a splendid crust in duck fat. Some pickled sour cherries added a sweet-sour fruitiness and a sprinkling of bull’s blood microseedlings finished the dish. The wine match was one of the evening’s best – a brambly, tangy, richly extracted 2010 Old Vines Foch from Quails’ Gate in the Okanagan.

Silver went to Chef Shane Chartrand's "Noir et Blanc"

The silver medal went to Shane Chartrand of Murrietta’s Westcoast Grill – like Paul Shufelt, another regular competitor at Gold Medal Plates. He offered a most dramatic, almost art deco presentation of sablefish “Noir et Blanc.” The sablefish was the principal component (its flesh slipping apart into petals that melted in the mouth) crusted black with onion ash that added an intriguingly deep and deliciously bitter flavour. Alongside the fish was a cod tongue, slippery and rather firmly textured, that was lent a buttery flavour by a teaspoonful of foie gras-Cognac potato crème, the better to complement the sablefish. A little crab bisque served as a second sauce while lightly pickled baby pearl onions added a moment of acidity. Crunch was provided by a tall, tissue-thin fin of crisply fried mashed potato. Smoked sea salt was discreetly used to season the fish and a squeeze-bottle atomizer of fruity verjus was presented separately, to be used acording to the taste of each judge. Chef Chartrand made a successful wine match with Lake Breeze Vineyards 2011 Pinot Blanc, not just because of his noir-et-blanctheme but because its shining fruit and forthright acidity enhanced most of the components on the plate.

Our gold medal was awarded to a young chef who has won it before – Nathin Bye of Wildflower Grill – who proffered a dish he called “Breakfast for Dinner.” Many of the judges raised an eyebrow as we read the description of the creation handed to us by Chef Bye in advance of the competition. So many components! So much going on! And when we saw the dish we were still not convinced it could all come together. But it did. An intricate knot of textural and flavour harmonies provided unexpected unity. Where to begin…? With an ornamental spoon that held a creamy bircher meusli of rolled oats, apple and quinoa, garnished with a tiny marshmallow, a miniature grapefruit jelly, a sun-cured blackberry and a half-inch-high tuile shaped like the 2012 Olympic symbol. A quail egg fried sunny-side-up, its yolk still runny, sat on a plinth of potato, golden beet and cheese pavé which served as the substantial point of reference for many of the dish’s more ethereal elements. There was a mushroom pop tart made with dried, powdered mushrooms in the flour that several judges (including me) found utterly irresistible. A triangle of buttery brioche and a puddle of spiced carrot purée were there to underline similar notes that Chef Bye had found in his chosen wine. The centrepiece of the whole affair was a maple syrup and bacon-infused panna cotta that contained a surprise – a meaty heart of Texas-barbecue-style pork paté that contributed a powerful meaty hit, as did a delicate vertical ribbon of crispy bacon. Chef Bye explained that many of the choices he had made while bringing this elaborate dish together were inspired by the flavours and aromas of the wine he chose, the delicious, complex, intense 2010 Chardonnay from Tantalus in the Okanagan.

So Chef Bye becomes our third champion of the campaign. Kelowna awaits him in February!

Now here is David Lawrason’s wine and beverage report:

It Was a Tantalus Night

In a field of very solid wines Tantalus 2010 Chardonnay from B.C.’s Okanagan Valley was the unanimous choice of the wine judges to receive the Best of Show Wine Award in Edmonton. And not only that, it carried home a Gold Medal Plates gold medal with Chef Nathin Bye of the Wildflower Grill. All agreed that it had fantastic depth, structure and complexity; attributes I first noted when I tasted it with Tantalus manager Jane Stewart at the Kelowna winery in August.

The second runner-up for Best of Show was surprisingly firm and intense Sperling 2011 Pinot Blanc, kindly donated for our enjoyment during the Celebration (as we listened to amazing Sarah Harmer in her first performance for Gold Medal Plates). Sperling is a neighbour of Tantalus on thebench lands of east Kelowna, and winemaker Ann Sperling is the only Canadian winemaker working in Niagara (Southbrook) and British Columbia. The runner up was Kettle Valley 2008 Pinot Noir, another wine of considerable structure and stature, well matched to the “Heart and Sole” combo of braised beef heart and terine of sole from chef David Omar of Zinc Restaurant.

I was joined in judging of the Best of Show Award by two prominent figures in Edmonton’s free-wheeling, privatized wine scene. Gurvinder Bhatia is a wine writer for The Edmonton Journal, owner of Vinomania, a leading fine wine shop, and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards. William Bincoletto of Vines Wine Merchants is a wine educator and consultant, and also the kind donor of several fine lots in Edmonton’s very impressive fine wine silent auction.

On the chef pairing side of the ledger, silver-medal-winning chef Shane Chartrand of Murrieta’s West Coast grill wisely selected the pristine, subtle Lake Breeze 2011 Pinot Blanc for his delicate seafood medley. Bronze medal winning Chef Paul Shufelt of Century Hospitality Group served Quails’ Gate 2010 Old Vine Foch – an intense, wild, brambly red – with terrific Brome Lake duck.

One of the most adventurous food-and-beverage pairings in Edmonton was a cocktail combining Victoria Gin with the unique Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock soda, matched to a venison trio of carpaccio, tourtiere and pickled tongue.  Other paired beverages from B.C. included Road 13 2011 Honest John Rose, Red Rooster 2011 Chardonnay and Peller Estates 2009 Private Reserve Syrah. From Ontario, there were two lighter whites:  SpeckBrothers 2010 Sibling Rivalry White and Coyote’s Run 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay.

Thanks to all the wineries that helped make Edmonton a great success.

 

 

Jour du Macaron

19 Mar

Macarons at Patisserie La Bamboche - so pretty, so scrumptious

I had an email from Marc Thuet the other day reminding that tomorrow – Tuesday March 20th – is Macaron Day! In Paris, New York and in Toronto, this is the day when fabulous French patissiers and their brilliant rivals try to out-macaron one another, when customers can score free macarons and when people who buy macarons will be actively supporting a very worthwhile cause – the Red Door Family Shelter (www.reddoorshelter.ca).

 

But don’t just take my word for it. Here is the press release with all the details:

Five years ago, when Michel Firanski introduced French macarons to his lineup of fine patisserie, the owner of La Bamboche located in mid-town Toronto remembers very few people knew what they were – often confusing the French macaron with the sweet, coconut based macaroon. Fast forward to today and the organizer of Toronto’s first city-wide Macaron Day will tell you that there is an absolute frenzy taking place among aficionados in anticipation of Macaron Day TO taking place on Tuesday March 20th, 2012. “Enthusiasts have been contacting me since we announced Macaron Day – some are even taking the day off work or renting cars, in order to visit all 18 locations.” said Firanski.

Coinciding with Macaron Day taking place in Paris, NYC and other cities, Macaron Day in Toronto celebrates the delicate macaron confection in support of a local charity. On Tuesday, March 20th, 2012, eighteen participating patisseries across Toronto will come together to offer one free macaron to customers who mention they are celebrating Macaron Day TO (with quantities limited by location). And, 25 percent of all additional macarons purchased on this day will be donated to the Red Door Family Shelter

The pride of France, the elegant macaron is made of two round meringue based cookie shells, held together by a soft filling, such as buttercream or ganache. Very fine almond powder, egg whites and sugar are combined with mastery, to create an initial crisp and airy experience, leading into the macaron’s filling – featuring whatever humble or exotic flavour can be imagined by the inspired pastry chef.

French chef Marc Thuet started making macarons in France 30 years ago and now offers them at his Petite Thuet locations in Toronto. “Over the years, I’ve tasted many macarons across France and the quality of the macarons prepared in Toronto is as good – if not better than any I have experienced.” said Thuet. “It’s great to see this kind of collaboration taking place among our talented Toronto based pastry chefs, not only for the love of macarons, but for a great cause.”

For further information, please contact: Michel Firanski 416-464-1587 or visit www.macarondayto.com .

Participants in Toronto’s first city-wide Macaron Day TO, 2012 include:

La Bamboche 4 Manor Road East 416-481-6735 and 1712 Avenue Road 416-224-5595 www.labamboche.ca

Petite Thuet 1162 Yonge Street 416-924-2777 and 1 King Street West 416-867-7977 www.petitethuet.com

Patisserie La Cigogne 1626 Bayview Ave 416-487-1234 and 1419 Danforth Ave 416-466-2345 www.patisserielacigogne.com

Butter Avenue 3467 Yonge Street 647-341-8686 www.butteravenue.com

J’adore Cakes Co. 3308 Danforth Avenue 416-691-4554 www.jadorecakesco.com

Rahier Patisserie 1586 Bayview Avenue 416-482-0917 www.rahierpatisserie.com

Patachou 1120 Yonge Street 416-927-1105 and 835 St. Clair Ave West 416-782-0122

Moroco Chocolat 99 Yorkville Avenue 416-961-2202 www.morocochocolat.com

Bobbette & Belle 1121 Queen Street East 416-466-8800 www.bobbetteandbelle.com

Ma Maison 4243 Dundas Street West 416-236-2234 www.ur2busy2cook.com

Ruelo Patisserie 4-6 Erskine Avenue 416-486-1800 www.ruelo.com

Cake Opera Co. 1136 Eglinton Avenue West 647-347-2626 www.cakeoperaco.com

Daniel et Daniel 248 Carlton Street 416-968-9275 www.danieletdaniel.ca

The Sweet Escape 55 Mill St. Building 47, Suite 102 416-214-2253 www.thesweetescapedistillery.com

Julio Bonilla 623 Mount Pleasant Road 647-716-3749 www.chefjuliobonilla.com

Frangipane Patisserie 215 Madison Ave 416-926-0303 www.frangipane.ca

Patisserie 27 401 Jane Street 416-762-2103 www.patisserie27.com

The Wedding Cake Shop 859 College Street 416-916-2253 www.theweddingcakeshoppe.com

 

Toronto Taste

13 Jun

Chef Kevin Prendergast (right) and the team from Tundra at Taste

Many thanks to everyone who sent such kind words about my winning a silver National Magazine Award on Friday evening. It was my 19th NMA nomination for work written for Toronto Life (this time for the Top Ten New Restaurants from April, 2010) and though I haven’t been connected to the magazine for over a year, it was gratifying to have the long-ago story recognized. Kathryn Hayward edited it (she too has left Toronto Life and now works for The Globe and Mail) and was sitting beside me at the gala so we were able to congratulate each other.

Onwards and upwards to Sunday’s Toronto Taste, held inside and outside the Royal Ontario Museum, with 60 chefs and 30 producers of wine or beer gleefully closing the northern end of Queen’s Park to Sunday traffic. This was the 21st iteration of Second Harvest’s glamorous fundraiser and the weather was benign, much better than the sweltering heat or torrential rain of years gone by. Crowds were dense and line-ups long inside the museum which made reaching or even identifying the chefs’ stations tricky but I did find C5’s spot (this is their home turf, after all). Chef Teddy Corrado had created a scrumptious taco of forked pickerel marinated in aji paste which he topped with dabs of guacamole, pico de gallo and tomatillo relish. “Tex-Mex is my guilty secret,” said Corrado with a grin.

Tundra's dish - strawberry-rhubarb soup with lobster salad

Wandering outside, the human pressure eased. There was room to chat with chefs and other old friends in the milling throng. Every Toronto Taste has its own internal trends, and this one was no exception. There were two mighty porchettas each with suitably crunchy crackling (Sotto Sotto’s was irresistible) and plenty of pork in other guises. But this was, above all, the year of the burger, with innumerable variations of the tender patty on offer. The trouble is that that means innumerable buns and who wants to fill up on soft white bread when there are so many other delectable treats to be sampled. One burger, however, stood out from the pack – a gorgeously juicy (and topless) brisket burger, cooked rare and topped with sophisticated, crunchy house-made kimchee, made by David Lee of Nota Bene.

When there is so much to eat, a one-bite wonder often makes huge impact. That was the thinking behind a scrumptious, multi-textured mouthful from George’s Lorenzo Loseto. He sliced venison salami very thinly and skewered it against a fried lemon thyme spaetzle with some roasted heirloom beet and carrot. In typical Loseto style, it was a cunning, complex swirl of cleverly complimentary flavours. Scaramouche’s Keith Froggett was not in attendance but his team proffered a Chinese spoonful of impeccable veal tonato – a classic version that reminded me what an elegant little masterpiece of a dish v. tonato is, especially when topped by a cucumber slaw.

David Lee's topless brisket burger with kimchee

Finding ways to present finger food that don’t involve bread is a useful lesson for any young chef. John Higgins and the team from George Brown College’s The Chef’s House went the hollowed egg shell route, filling each one with a luxe foie gras custard, a little quinoa for structure and a cool lobster salad – a divine combination of flavours that may have been the most original dish of the evening. Another contender came in a dixie cup from Tundra – a chilled strawberry-and-rhubarb soup topped with lobster salad, celery seedlings and candied violet. Straddling the fence that separates sweet from savoury, it was a super idea.

Other notable experiences included a brilliantly old-school canoli and a juicy lamb sausage served with tzatziki at the Maléna-L’Unita station. Paul Boehmer of Böhmer mixed up a dandy venison tartare and set it beside a salad of baby herbs on a cunningly undulating tuile.

Foie gras custard and lobster salad in an eggshell from The Chef's House, George Brown College

Peach Chardonnay vinaigrette liaised valiantly between the two elements. Anne Yarymowich of Frank put together a duck confit tostada topped with Monforte ricotta cheese – as delicious as it sounds – one bite and it was gone. Chef Michael Smith, representing SODEXO Canada, offered his version of a shore dinner – confited fingerling potato topped with seared Manitoba pickerel, a strip of wild boar bacon and a tarragon mustard foam. A dainty anchor fashioned from potato held things together. I loved Chiado’s monkfish wrapped in a collar of duck prosciutto and topped with tiny cubes of port jelly. Ditto Didier Leroy’s classic steak tartare (the city’s best) served either with a sweet potato crisp or on a knob of baby cucumber.

Mark McEwan's Lake Erie sardines - I mean smelt

Was it possible to find favourites among all the general gustatory splendour? Rocco Agostino of Enoteca Sociale turned salt cod and potato into soft warm fritters and served one on a bed of tender tripe in tomato ragout. Topped with lemon caper aioli and a leaf or two of fresh chervil it was a total triumph, a dish you’d order over and over again if you came across it in a restaurant. Mark McEwan presented the perfect little crispy, deep-fried Lake Erie smelt he serves at Fabbrica with fennel salad. Someone spread the rumour that these were actually Lake Erie sardines which had the Museum’s icthyologists pushing their way through the crowd to glimpse such a zoological miracle. They were only your regular smelt but for a number of trusted palates they proved to be show-stealers. And Marc Thuet of Petite Thuet proved what a master he is with a variation on an open-faced pork belly sandwich. The pork had been cooked sous-vide until it was as tender as a mother’s kiss, the meat set on a slice of fried wild-rice bannock and topped with Asian slaw, peach coulis and tonhatsu mayo. Awesome.

Dropping anchor with Michael Smith

It was interesting to see media friends and colleagues working the event. Their lovely pictures and descriptions will be everywhere by now, I dare say. Some were busy tweeting as they moved around the stations, others were assigned tweeters from the organizers, who skillfully transmitted the journalist’s impressions into the ether for the benefit of the curious planet. The auction prizes were specatcular – especially a barrel of Tawse David’s Block Chardonnay (300 bottles of wine), a 10-day food and wine trip to Portugal or a cruise to the Galapagos Islands. However, Prize #11 may have been the most meaningful, and the one that reminded everyone of why they were there, eating and drinking and talking so merrily. It had been titled “Feed a Family of Five for a Year” and promised Sun Life Financial would match funds raised from personal donations made at Taste, dollar for dollar, to a maximum total of $10,000. Twenty thousand bucks is what it costs Second Harvest to feed eight families of five for a year. So many people in this soi-disant world-class, first-world city don’t have enough to eat. Our various levels of government have not managed to solve the problem. More power to Second Harvest for stepping in and to the generosity of everyone who bought their tickets to Taste.

 

FoodShare – be there or be square

20 May

This is the season for festivities and fund-raisers when important and worthy charities call upon the community to do its bit for the general good. Of course, they also call upon chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and breweries to provide the necessary bait that will lure the general public into showing up and opening their wallets. It never ceases to amaze me how often and how selflessly the hospitality industry donates time and treasure and expertise to these worthy causes. In a business where profit margins are at best limited, the effort expended is even more commendable.

Now then… Here is another event behind which we should all throw our support. It’s called Recipe for Change and the purpose is to promote Food Literacy in schools. I’m all in favour of food – and literacy – and schools. And I particularly admire FoodShare and the work it does in our schools. In the past, I have looked into the sometimes deplorable state of nutrition within our education systems. There are many dedicated people working really hard to improve matters, but the problem is enormous. Anyone with children – or with an ounce of common sense – knows that hungry or malnourished children have to struggle to learn. Here is an opportunity to do something about it. What follows is the press release about the Tasting Adventure Dinner set for May 26. This one is really important.

31 Top Toronto Chefs, 8 Wineries and a Brewery Make for One Delicious Recipe for Change on May 26

Tasting Adventure Dinner Supports Food Literacy in Schools

 

On Thursday, May 26, 2011, an unprecedented 31 top Toronto Chefs will come together with 8 local wineries and a local brewery to serve up one fantastic meal with delicious consequences: Food Literacy in schools.

Recipe for Change is a Tasting Adventure unlike any other: a full meal with beverage accompaniments plus unheard-of opportunities to mingle with 31 Chefs seldom found in the same room, let alone contributing to the same meal.

Toronto Chef Luminaries contributing to this special night include Didier Leroy of Didier, Fabio Bondi of Local Kitchen, Martin Kouprie of Pangaea, Anthony Rose of The Drake Hotel, Winlai Wong of Spice Route, Donna Dooher of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Steffan Howard of Palais Royale, Adam Colquhoun of Oyster Boy, Albert Ponzo of Le Sélect Bistro, Michael Van Den Winkel of Quince, Rocco Agostino of Enoteca Sociale and Pizzeria Libretto, Luis Valenzuela of Torito, Chris McDonald of Cava and Xococava, David Garcelon & Tim Palmer of the Fairmont Royal York, Marc Breton of the Gladstone Hotel, Anne Yarymowich of Frank at the AGO, Mark Cutrara of Cowbell, Zane Caplansky of Caplansky’s Delicatessen, and more.

Recipe for Change is a celebration of food with a purpose, supporting FoodShare’s Field to Table Schools program, which returns Food Literacy to students from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.

FoodShare is the only organization in Toronto taking a complete, multi-faceted and creative approach to food in schools, approaching issues of childhood nutrition from all angles. The organization pioneered the model for student nutrition programs in the City of Toronto, which works hand-in-hand with its Field to Table Schools program, the educational complement that returns food education to schools delivering hands-on fun food activities and curriculum connections from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 to cultivate Food Literacy. FoodShare’s “Good Food Café” is a successful healthy cafeteria, which the Toronto Star has called “the future of school lunches.” And in 2010 the organization helped facilitate Canada’s first school market garden at Bendale Business and Technical Institute in Toronto.

“At FoodShare, we’re cooking up a Recipe for Change,” says executive director Debbie Field, “we’re reminding children what food is and where it comes from, teaching that healthy food also tastes good, and helping them to choose it for themselves. Now with the help of this amazing group of chefs, and the Recipe for Change event on May 26, we are taking this work to a new level: leading the charge to embed food education in the Ontario curriculum and make Food Literacy a requirement of graduation for our students. Recipe for Change will take our vision for students to new heights: healthy fresh food in schools, and students being taught to cook, garden and compost throughout all the subject areas.”

Complete details on the event may be found at http://foodshare.net/RFC2011/index.htm, including chef bios, and all food and beverage offerings. Tickets are just $100, a steal for a full meal and accompanying beverages and a fantastic night out.

Marion Kane (former Food Editor of the Toronto Star, local food sleuth and broadcaster) calls Recipe for Change “the best fundraising feast I have attended”, saying of the inaugural 2010 event that “chefs and guests all relished the fantastic food and uplifting spirit.”

When: Thursday, May 26, 2011, 6-9pm

Where: St Lawrence Market North Building (92 Front St E., Toronto’s first marketplace)

Details: http://foodshare.net/RFC2011/index.htm

FoodShare Toronto (www.foodshare.net) is Canada’s largest community food security organization. Now in its 26th year, FoodShare works with communities to improve access to healthy, affordable, sustainably-produced food through community-based programs and policy recommendations, with a vision of Good Healthy Food for All. FoodShare’s programs, which reach over 145,000 children and adults per month in Toronto, include fresh produce sourcing and sales, childhood nutrition, hands-on food education from JK-Grade 12, a healthy school cafeteria model, gardening, composting, cooking, and urban agriculture. See a full backgrounder on FoodShare’s multifaceted work in schools and childhood nutrition at: http://foodshare.net/download/FoodShare’s%20work%20in%20schools%20backgrounder.pdf

 
 

Be a Taster

16 May

An image from last year - gorgeous Canadian caviar - ah, the romance of the roes

 

Buy a $250 ticket for Toronto Taste on June 12 and you have just provided 250 Second Harvest meals for people in need. That’s the all-important bottom line, of course, but the event has also grown into so much more in its 21 years of existence. For foodies, it’s an opportunity to taste the work of 60 chefs and 30 wine or beer producers – and, even more alluring, to meet the chefs and their teams and chat with them face-to-face. For others, it’s a social affair, a charity gala for a good cause with the always amusing Bob Blumer (author of The Surreal Gourmet books) as master of ceremonies. This year, again, it’s being held inside and outside the ROM and I’m thoroughly looking forward to going. There are always questions to be asked. Will pork be the ubiquitous protein du jour again? Can I eat all 60 offerings? What if I run into any or all of my current nemeses?

Toronto Taste has raised over $4 million for Second Harvest. Auctions as well as ticket sales have made their contribution. This year the lots seem particularly interesting and include a Fiat 500 car and also a barrel of David’s Block Chardonnay 2010 donated by Tawse Winery. This unique prize will yield approximately 300 bottles of custom labelled wine.

Tickets are available for purchase for $250 each (with a tax receipt issued for $125) at torontotaste.ca or by calling 416.408.2594. For additional information and to see the impressive line up of chef and beverage participants, as well as details on the auctions and raffle, please visit torontotaste.ca.

 

Margaux Masterclass

19 Apr

 

A great wine is like a great performance at the Symphony. One starts with excellent grapes, the other with a fine piece of music, but both need a masterful interpretor to become truly unforgettable. Very few wines in the world offer the quality or the cachet of Château Margaux and an opportunity to taste older vintages should always be embraced. Even more exceptional is the chance to be part of a masterclass tasting with Mme Corinne Mentzelopoulos, the proprietor of Château Margaux since 1980. She is coming to Toronto next week, for the first time in 20 years, and wine lovers will have the opportunity to meet her at two events organized by the Volunteer Committee of the Toronto Symphony. It’s all in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the TSO Fine Wine Festival and all proceeds will support the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and its educational outreach programs. Here are the details.

The main event, “An Evening with Château Margaux,” takes place at 6:00pm on April 26 at the Four Seasons Yorkville. Mme Mentzelopoulos will guide a masterclass tasting and discussion of nine Château Margaux wines she has selected, including the 1983 and the 1996 Château Margaux, followed by dinner. Tickets are available at $650, which represents a great value given the calibre of wines being served. While this price reflects the actual cost of the evening with no tax-receipt attached, patrons will have the opportunity to make a voluntary donation at their discretion. Such donations will be acknowledged in the evening programme and receive a full tax receipt.

The following evening, April 27, an even more exclusive reception in honour of Mme Mentzelopoulos and in the presence of the French Consul General is being held in the Rosedale home of Maureen and Wayne Squibb, major supporters of the TSO. Tickets for this reception are available at $1,000, and space is limited.  A tax receipt will be issued for the maximum amount allowable for this reception event.

“The chance to sample a wide variety of wines from this iconic château and engage with its visionary owner is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” says Marianne Oundjian, Co-Chair of the TSO Château Margaux Committee. “What a delight this promises to be for both wine and symphony lovers.” I couldn’t agree more.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the event, please contact Linda McGeown, TSVC, at 416-593-7769 ext. 359, or lmcgeown@tso.ca.

 
 

Another event for Japan

20 Mar

With Sunday 27th’s event sold out, Michael and Nobuyo Stadtlander have created a second evening for people who wish to support the Japanese Relief Fund. Kudos to all the chefs and volunteers who are making this happen!

Chek out the amazing line-up of chefs, wineries and breweries!

 

Pakistan fundraiser

20 Aug

This just in – a letter from Michael Stadtländer. As always, Michael’s vision is slightly wider and deeper than most.

 “My Dear Friends of Eigensinn Farm and Haisai,

It has been a very hot and sticky summer and I want to let you know that the harvest is growing very well. What I really want to say is that we are really doing well. The news about the disaster in Pakistan is making me realize how good we have it here. Even though as Canadians we think we have problems, they are nothing compared to the devastation that the Pakistani people are living through now. So what we are doing, very spontaneously, is organizing a dinner where Adam Colquhoun of Oyster Boy (Restaurant) is donating his restaurant and my friend colleagues are donating their creations and time to cook a multi-course tasting menu for you to enjoy. The fundraiser will be held on Monday, August 23rd. Dinner starts at 7:30 at a cost of $150.00 plus taxes and wine. 100% of the money from the dinner will be going towards the relief efforts in Pakistan. There are forty seats available. Please call Oyster Boy at 416 534 3432 for reservations.

 P.S. I am organizing a Harvest Fest which will be held on Sunday, September 26th at Eigensinn Farm. The event will be revisiting the sculptures of the Heaven on Earth Project. More details to come in the upcoming weeks.

 Thank you for your help

Michael Stadtlander”