Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Chef Flynn film will inspire you to step up your cooking skills.

CHEF FLYNN Documentary

Last year I had a chance to watch the Chef Flynn documentary and I was blown away by the focus and talent of such a young chef.  I know many adults that can't do half of what he can do including myself.  Chef Flynn is now 18 and has his own restaurant in New York City.  See how Flynn goes from his mothers home to running his own NYC restaurant.

You can read my original review on a previous blog post here:  
Chef Flynn Skips boyhood for Chefhood

The film returns to Toronto for a limited engagement of a week at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema at Bloor and Bathurst.  
I highly recommend that you get your butt off your couch in the chilly month of January and make your way down to the the Bloor Cinema to see this HOT movie.  Plan a dinner after the movie because you will be hungry.
If you have any budding mini chefs in your household bring them to see this movie because Chef Flynn is the ultimate professional role model for young budding chefs.

Follow Chef Flynn Mc Garry on Twitter @diningwithflynn  
Directed by Cameron Yates

One-Week Engagement Begins January 25, 2019Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

Chef Flynn McGarry was 10-years-old when he opened a supper club in the living room of his California home, using his classmates as line cooks and serving a seasonal foraged tasting menu to wide-eyed Los Angelenos. 
As the years pass, Flynn grows both as a chef, and a teenager, eventually outgrowing his family kitchen, and his mother's camera. 
Featuring over 18 years of personal archival footage as well as intimate vérité, this feature documentary portrait is not only the study of a rising star thrown into the media spotlight at an early age, but also a reflection on motherhood and what it means to give up one's own identity in furtherance of a child's passion.
Director Cameron Yates (The Canal Street Madam) captures lightning-in-a-bottle to reveal Flynn’s singular drive and passion as he navigates the often-cutthroat world of fine dining. 
Chef Flynn had its Canadian premiere at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and also screened at Sundance, Berlinale, SXSW, in 2018.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Christmas Food Traditions


Christmas traditions don't have to be the expected ones with family that some people look forward to and others dread each year.

For myself, I didn't grow up with Christmas traditions because we didn't celebrate Christmas or many other holidays either.  At Christmas time we just sat around the house and ate whatever there was and watched TV.  My family were never into the big holiday things but I kind of feel like I missed out on the magic and the creativity and the memories of the excitement of the things you only do during the Holiday times.

Since my parents have passed and I am estranged from my brother and don't celebrate holidays with any of my other remaining relatives my Holiday traditions are now spent with my friends.

I have a few different groups of friends so I do things differently with all of them.

For the past 3 years I have tried to organize a gift exchange and dinner with my Food Blogger friends.  This year was the most successful one yet.  With the weather being perfect and no snow storm to get in the way and a location that was central for everyone to get to, this year everyone I invited was able to make it out to the dinner.  Some were late but everyone was there to eat, drink and exchange fun gifts.  We met up at the Keg in North York because my friends come from Markham, Maple, Thornhill, downtown Toronto and the Scarborough Bluffs area.  It was a challenge to find a place that would be able to seat 7 of us and still be able to have it quiet enough to talk.  The Keg fit the bill for location and comfort.  Although it's a bit pricey and they had an even bigger party than ours so our food took a long time but we still had a great time catching up and doing our Secret/not so secret Santa exchange.

Another tradition that I spend with friends is actually hosted by one of my film festival friends who hosts an Open House at her home just before Christmas.  Some of my Tiff Entourage team meet up at her house and enjoy the usually Potluck kind of snacks while we mingle with her other friends.

And what I hope to be a new and long lasting tradition was started last year at my house with my friend Adam, his husband and at the time his 3 year old daughter and their friend also joined us for Ugly Sweater and Christmas cookie decorating.  His daughter has grown to love baking things and we thought it would be fun to decorate cookies.  This year some of his other friends wanted to join the party so we had to move it from my tiny apartment to his house and we invited a couple more of his friends and I invited my friend, her husband and her 3 year old son.


This time we added 2 Gingerbread Houses for decorating,  one bought by me was a traditional one and the other bought by Adam was a Hanukkah House which had blue and gold decorations.  It's a good thing we had 2 because we broke one of the pieces on my house so it wouldn't stay together.  Oh well.   We had lots to decorate.

I pre-made dough and some Ugly Sweater cookies.  We were going to have the kids and adults cut out cookies to bake but that didn't happen.  The kids were happily playing downstairs with lego and all kinds of other toys while the serious adult decorators proceeded to have an Ugly Sweater decorating contest.  Unfortunately I didn't win but we let the kids decide and there was a tie between 2 cookies.  I hope to make this a new annual tradition until the kids are sick of doing it and the adults don't have the energy to decorate cookies anymore.  It was a huge messy success and I hope it makes a lot of memories for the kids and the adults.

Even at work we had our annual Potluck, Secret Santa and this year an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest that competes with other offices.   I didn't win that one either,  oh well it would probably look bad if the organizer won anyway.

So you see you can choose whatever tradition you like and with whomever you wish to do it with.  It doesn't have to be opening presents with family on Christmas day or dreading the family dinner.

Create your own new traditions with the people you love doing the things you love to do with them.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Cooks the Books Competition

Taste Canada presented Cooks the Books Student Chef Battle
at Mildred's Temple Kitchen on October 18, 2018.


Part of the Taste Canada Awards is the Student Chef Battle that happens before the awards where students from 9 teams from various cooking schools battle against each other and our judged by some Food Industry pros. 

Assiniboine Community College – Brandon, Manitoba
Centennial College – Toronto, Ontario
Conestoga College – Kitchener, Ontario
Fanshawe College – London, Ontario
Liaison College of Culinary Arts – Kitchener, Ontario
Liaison College of Culinary Arts – Toronto, Ontario
Thistletown Collegiate High School – Toronto, Ontario

The Judges were: Cookbook authors Christine Tizzard and Dennis Prescott and recipe developers Annabelle Waugh and Jennifer Emilson

Although I wasn't a judge an didn't get a chance to taste any of the dishes they were impressive creations that can stand up to most of the best restaurants in Toronto.

The Winners were:

The Silver Medal was awarded to  Celina do Souto and Sydney Lutz from Conestoga College (Kitchener, Ontario) for their Braised Beef Cheeks with Roasted Squash & Maple Milk Foam recipe.  

The Gold Medal was awarded to Jessi Coulter & Kaitlin McCarthy from Assiniboine Community College (Brandon, Manitoba) for their Cast Iron Seared Hudson River Arctic Char with Smoked Maple Birch Glaze, on Heritage Grain recipe.