Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Art - Food - Charity Collide to save kids in Cambodia

ART - FOOD - CHARITY Collide to save KIDS

I love Art, I love food and I love it when these 2 things can come together to do something good in the World.  A local Toronto Chef and some great artists come together for a great charity event that will help kids in Cambodia have a chance to get the help they need and take them away from abuse and give them a chance at having their childhoods back.  

This is the kind of event I love to tell you about and hope that you can participate in some way.
If you are an Art Lover and a Foodie and fancy yourself a Philanthropist too then you can pick up some beautiful art and have a great dinner and have no guilt about it because your money spent will help so many kids that wouldn't have a chance at a good life without your help.  
It's a no brainer I think.

Toronto's rogue chef Matt Blondin and soon to be chef at Food Dudes collaboration JUNK a Food Dudes collaboration, is diving into charity work by auctioning off his services in support of the event Buy Art Not Kids.www.buyartnotkids.com

The art auction is offering a lot called The Perfect storm that is a private and exclusive dinner for six by Blondin in an artists residence. 

Buy Art Not Kids on April 4, 2014
BANK works to end child sex trafficking by raising funds with original artwork and one of a kind culinary experience with Matt Blondin

On April 4, 2014Buy Art Not Kids (BANK) returns for its annual fundraising event to raise awareness and funds for Ratanak International. Ratanak is an international organization working to bring an end to child sex trafficking. BANK features 31 acclaimed Canadian artists and 14 senior students from Havergal College, where the event is held.

On April 4, the BANK Art Auction consists of live music, performance art, raffle prizes, sumptuous food, wine, a silent auction and live auction facilitated by auctioneer Stephen Ranger, including works by notable artists like Christopher BoffoliMichael LevinJulie Himel,Sheila Kernan and Marjolyn van der Hart.

Anne-Marie Mediwake, cohost of CBC News Toronto, is hosting this year’s fundraiser.

Buy Art Not Kids is a great way to reach and rescue young girls and boys who might live half way around the world, but desperately need our help. This fundraiser encourages you to support Canadian artistic talent and in turn you can also help save the lives of youth who are at risk of child sex trafficking. Support and change a life. It really is that simple,” says Mediwake.

Also featured in this year’s auction is Lot # 19, The Perfect Storm. For The Perfect Storm, much loved Toronto chef Matt Blondin has paired with BANK artist Cesan D’Ornellas Levine to create a once in a lifetime dining experience combining food, wine and art. The winning bidder receives a catered dinner created by Matt Blondin for 6 people. The dinner party will be hosted in the world renowned home/studio of artist Cesan D’Ornellas Levine, who will also provide the winner with a painting commission valued at $1,000. The total value of Lot # 19 is $5,000.

Lot #21, Christopher Boffoli, Peanut Butter Cup Repair Technician, 2011, Lambda C-print
At its inaugural event in 2013, BANK raised $50,000. This year’s event aims to exceed that.

BANK is hosting a sneak peek of artwork being featured at the April 4 fundraiser in the CBC’s Context Studio (205 Wellington St. W.) from March 5-March 28, 2014.

About BANK
Buy Art Not Kids (BANK) is an art auction founded in 2011 by Rachelle and Stephen Kearns. As a mother of two she is highly motivated to take the compassion she feels and create tangible change. BANK showcases top Canadian artists and raises funds and awareness while shedding light on the modern face of child slavery and exploitation.  All funds raised benefit Ratanak International, a Canadian charitable organization created in 1992 by founder Brian McConaghy, with the goal of raising awareness in support of the Cambodian people,  by rescuing exploited children and providing them with a safe haven, medical aid and emotional, mental and spiritual healing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Food Revolution Day 2014 - Italian Getaway Gnocchi from scratch Workshop

FOOD REVOLUTION DAY is coming May 2014

Join me for a Hands on Workshop on Monday May 12, 2014 
at The Depanneur at 1033a College St. in Toronto
Time:  6-9pm

Learn how to create an Italian meal the old fashioned way using fresh ingredients and traditional cooking methods. During this workshop, you will learn how to make homemade dough for gnocchi as well as a fresh tomato sauce using Roma tomatoes and fresh herbs. There will also be a grilled asparagus side dish and a fresh and easy dessert.

Tickets are $40 and include the workshop and  a chance to 

Tickets will be available soon and will be available from The Depanneur.  Space is limited

FOOD REVOLUTION DAY around the World is May 16, 2014 but get a head start on learning how to cook an Italian Food Revolution Day dinner to share with your friends and family on May 12th.

The Jamie Oliver Foundation created Food Revolution Day as a way to bring people together to bring back food education for kids and to get families back in the kitchen cooking their meals again.

For more information on what you can do to participate in Food Revolution Day and what it's all about you can check out the website here:  www.foodrevolutionday.com  It will be fully updated early in April.

Tickets for the Workshop will be available soon from The Depanneur. http://thedepanneur.ca/  Check out their Facebook page as well and keep checking back on this Blog for any updates about the Workshop.

Feel free to Join the Toronto Facebook Group here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/FoodRevolutionDayToronto2013

Also follow our Toronto Twitter Feed at @FOODREVTORONTO

Tweet about us using the Hashtag #FRD2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

F Cancer - The F Connection

F  CANCER and the Food Connection

I saw this posted on my Facebook Feed this past week and it struck me immediately because I remember when I was a kid it was rare to hear that someone you knew had Cancer.  Just this past year I have had many people that are very young that are in my life that have been through various stages of Cancer.   Cancer has taken away many members of my family.  My father had Cancer and all of my aunts and uncles died from various Cancers.  I spent 14 years at Sunnybrook Hospital and I can honestly tell you that Cancer is not pretty and affects more than just the person going through it.

My friend Lynn Manwar had Breast Cancer and went through the usual chemotherapy and radiation and then surgery and then she was clear of that only to find out that she now had to deal with seizures and then had to have surgery on her brain to get rid of the seizures.   She is working towards recovery.  She is eager to get back to her very social life.  This is a recent article about her. http://www.myvirtualpaper.com/doc/Desi-News-Corp/edesimarch2014/2014030501/#40 
I introduced Lynn to another friend of mine that also had Cancer in the past and was working on a documentary about Raw foods.  She introduced Lynn to Raw foods which Lynn credits for her surviving the Cancer.
This photo of Lynn and I is from a few years ago at a party at my house before she went through her Cancer surgeries.

Another friend that I know from my Film Festival life has a husband who is only 40 years old and is going through stage 4 Cancer after feeling stomach cramps. This is their story. http://www.citynews.ca/2014/02/27/new-father-battles-disease-at-centre-of-provocative-ad-campaign/#ad-image-0

This past week Film Critic, Journalist and Author Richard Crouse just revealed that he had gone through Cancer treatments, but in his case nobody knew about it until now.  I have known Richard for many years as I used to do the makeup for the Rogers Television show Real to Real when he was one of the hosts.  Richard's revelation was a surprise to many people including myself because he continued on with his very busy entertainment schedule while he was undergoing treatments.  I run into him about town every now and then and I never noticed anything different about him and that's the way he wanted it.  He didn't want "pity" from anyone and chose to have a good attitude and continue living a healthy life.
I am sure Richard will inspire and help a lot of people.   Richard wants to save your life so he has decided to tell his story.   Read about him here:  http://www.richardcrouse.ca/tag/colon-cancer/

What all of these 3 people have in common is their love of movies, life, people and they all lead a very healthy normal lifestyle.    So why did they all get Cancer?  None of these people smoke.  None lead high risk lives.  There has to be more to this connection.  Why is the funding for Cancer going up and the cases of people getting Cancer going up along with it?  Most of the news says that more people are surviving from many cancer diagnosis.

But here's the thing that I think may be one of the reason's that things have changed over the past 100 years.  We can now diagnose it earlier and more people talk about it.  Drug companies are constantly pumping out cancer drugs and I think that they don't really want to find a cure because they make billions off of Cancer drugs.  There is a whole machine that runs around the world of Cancer.   My mom had Dementia and nobody talked about it and there wasn't really much out there for her.   There is a walk for Memories but it is a blip on the media radar compared to all the Cancer walks and fundraising activities.  This past year I even participated in fundraising for A Cook for the Cure.   I don't know if the $200 that I raised will make a difference but I hope some of it does.

What I think is probably the thing that most affects and helps Cancer is our FOOD.  We are eating more processed food because of our busy lifestyles and also because sometimes it's just cheaper and more convenient.  We don't know what's in this stuff and the long term affects it has on our bodies.

We don't know what to eat anymore because the EXPERTS tell us different things everyday.   You shouldn't eat Beef,  you shouldn't eat dairy,  you shouldn't eat Fat, you shouldn't eat white foods.   But then you hear about people getting sick eating lettuce or other so called healthy foods.   If eating the right foods is key to preventing or helping Cancer then how do we know if these foods are actually what they claim to be and are actually healthy for us.   With companies like MONSANTO making money off ruining our health by creating GMO corn and other products and producing TOXIC pesticides that are sprayed on our farms and then the run off waters then are consumed by animals and by us.  How can we reverse this process?  I believe that if you look at a chart of when food changed and align it with the Cancer rates you will see a connection.  Michael Pollan researches this in his books.

Here's the thing.  Eating Organic food that is Local and Seasonal is probably the best thing we can do for ourselves but let's face it most people can't do 100% Organic food in Ontario.  The cost is prohibitive and because of our long winters it's not realistic.  It's almost impossible to sustain a 100 mile diet unless you don't like food.  Unless you live on a farm and have a full abundance of all kinds of varieties of chickens, cows, pigs and goats you are probably at risk of eating something that has not had the care and attention to it's processing that it should have.  We breath in Toxic air and eat food that is covered in toxic pesticides and eat food that could possibly be genetically modified.

So what can we do?  Well we can do the best we can to try and know where our food comes from.  I love to go to farmer's markets in the summer and prefer the ones where the actual producer is selling the food.  But what can we do the rest of the year?   Eat as much Organic Food as you can afford.   But especially the Dirty Dozen. Here is the link to find out what they are: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php   The more we support Local Organic food the more the big producers will change their ways.  While it's probably not realistic to expect everyone to have enough food from small independent farmers it will send a message to the big producers that we don't want their chemicals and we want REAL FOOD the way it should be.

90% of Cancers are curable if caught in Stage One.
Here's an idea.  Why don't we figure out how to prevent it from getting to Stage ONE.

Update:   I am sad to say that Joel Urnom lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on May 2nd.  His wife Brandi and his daughter Viva will keep his memory alive and will keep fighting to get more attention on this Cancer to save people in the future.

My memory of Joel.
Every year I would see Joel and Brandi host our annual Oscar Party with our group of people that volunteer together at the Toronto International Film Festival.  We would normally have it at an Uptown restaurant called Safari but one year we had it in Joel and Brandi's condo party room.  This was the last Oscar party he was able to attend.  A year later we went back to Safari and Joel was too sick to attend so we sent them photos while they watched quietly at home.
This photo is Joel holding my fake Oscar on the fake red carpet that I brought to jazz up the party room.  This is how I would like to remember him.

R.I.P. Joel Urnom - February 15, 1973 - May 02, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Flour Power - the Great multi taking pantry staple

It always amazes me how many tried, true and universal recipes start with Flour.  It's like a magic ingredient.  You start off with a bag of white fluffy powder and mix a few basic ingredients into it and you end up with the most delicious things.

I never made bread at home growing up and once I turned 16 and got my license the thing I heard from my parents every few days was "go buy bread".  Well now that I live on my own and don't feel like going to the store just to buy a loaf of bread I can just make some kind of bread product as long as I have flour on hand and some other pantry ingredients like SALT, SUGAR, YEAST, BAKING POWDER, EGGS, MILK and BUTTER or OIL.  

You can make all kinds of things when you start with some combination of these ingredients.  I don't know the history of when bread started but I do know that there is some sort of bread type of recipe produced in every part of the world.  It really is the one thing everyone has in common.   We all know what bread like foods taste like.

Why is it now a Forbidden Food?  When everyone in the world eats it? It tastes so good and is affordable to everyone?  Well because greed and production have turned the healthy grain products that started these recipes into toxic, nutrient free substances.  You hear everyone saying we should stop eating all white foods.  So why did this appear on the earth in the first place.  I find it hard to believe that it is the evil food some people say it is.  The way I see it is that we should find a way to return the soil that produces the grains that produce flour back to the original state where the soil was nutrient dense which produced a healthy nutrient rich milled product.

Anyway I am not ready to give up my bread products and have been experimenting all year trying to make different things.

I have made the following things that started with the base of flour:

  1. White Bread Loaf
  2. Pita Bread
  3. Biscuits
  4. Pancakes
  5. Gnocchi
  6. Pasta
  7. Cookies
  8. Pizza
  9. Pie

and there are many more recipes that I want to try.


I am not going to include the recipes in this blog post.  Some I have posted before and most recipes are available online because they are common recipes.  Teach your kids how to make bread recipes and they will never have to worry about what to eat for the rest of their life.  If you have never made bread, biscuits, pancakes, etc.  I would highly recommend trying to master at least one of your favourite recipes.  If you have to eat gluten free products try and experiment with gluten free flours until you find a recipe you can whip up at anytime.   There is nothing more satisfying than making bread.  You produce this incredible thing from a few simple ingredients and it perfumes your home with the sweet smell of a home baked good and tasty food.

So these are some of the things I have cooked or baked using flour in the past year. 
 Let's see what you can do?