The Toronto Food & Wine Festival brings in some of the Top Chefs in North America and a lot of the best chefs in Toronto were present with booths or to do Chef talks or food demos. There was a lot of Chef love in the air and it attracts a lot of high profile chefs because they get to hang out with each other and try each others food. There was a lot of chef hugging going on all weekend. It's kind of a nice thing to see them all get along so well since in a lot of other industries they would be competition but in food you can have 10 chefs all doing different things so you really only compete against yourself to produce good food.
The show took place over 3 days from September 18-20th.
I spent 2 days doing as much as I could at the show.
Although the main part of the show takes place at Brickworks it is also broken up into different events at Brickworks and also offsite at different restaurants like a special dinner at Mark McEwen's Bymark with Chef Curtis Stone. There was also 2 brunches at both Buca and Cafe Boulud.
There were ticketed Chef workshops held onsite but I didn't attend any of those but I did attend the Cochon 555 Heritage BBQ on friday night. I will do a separate post about that event.
Some of the Celebrity Chef demos that I sat in on included Top Chef's Gail Simmons who hails from Toronto but left at 18 to pursue her culinary career in New York and worked with Food & Wine Magazine.
The handsome and fun Aussie Chef Curtis Stone had the whole audience laughing and shaking their asses in his crazy cocktail, chocolate and salsa and chips demo. He pulled a few people from the audience to play a hilarious game of chocolate love.
|Curtis Stone and friends|
|Amy Rosen & Jason Bangertner|
David Rocco was on hand to promote his wines and well known Brickworks regular Doug McNish also had a booth. Other popular restaurants represented included Beast, Cluny Bistro, Dirty Bird, Tabule restaurant, Pizzeria Libretto, El Catrin, Carver and a whole lot more.
A few of the things that I did try that I loved included Carver's porchetta sandwich which was pretty popular with the Chefs and food bloggers.
I was also blown away by Tori's bakeshop's smoked beet and cashew cream crostini's.
Gail Simmons was also sampling her bread pudding recipe with little bites of both sweet and savoury bread pudding. I only tried the sweet apple and it was delicious.
I also shared a Vegan pad thai dish but the vendors name unfortunately but they were set up in the area where the Brickworks regular vendors were.
I got a chance to sample some of Chef Antonio Parks amazing fish demo with a citrusy fresh herb vinaigrette pesto. It was fish seared with a nice crust on the one side and then raw like sashimi through the rest. It was sliced like sashimi and placed on top of the citrus pesto. It tasted like ceviche. I have never had that fish before but it's a mild light fish. I could have eaten the whole plateful but i got 2 pieces of the fish.
This is the second time I have seen Tyler Florence and he really impresses me with his industry savvy on where things are going. He headed up the food truck craze before there was one. He shot his last cookbook using his ipad. He is gearing up to launch a social recipe app and who knows what's next. And he is a nice guy and handsome too.
Well it was a Food and Wine show but I didn't drink any wine but one of my friends enjoyed one of the tutor tastings. There were other beverages on hand that were great too. I had some of Pluck Tea's Ice tea in berry berry flavour. My friends at Craft Soda were there sampling away. I also tried a refreshing Milagros tequila cocktail.
There was a huge Magnum ice cream booth that had mini magnum ice creams. I think that was one of my friends favourite stops. It was appreciated on the hot and humid days.
There is usually a Farmer's Market every saturday and sunday at the Brickworks but it was held at another location but some of the vendors rotated in a smaller market set up on site. I'm sure sure it was very helpful as it wasn't really a shopping event but more of an eating event.
The best part of the show was seeing all my blogger buddies wandering around and trying to scarf in as much food as they could muster. And all the friendly Toronto Chefs like Roger Mooking, Brad Long and more just chilling and having fun. Even my foodie dentist and his wife were there enjoying themselves. This show is really for serious food lovers, people that will spend money on a good meal. If you are looking for a food bargain this isn't the show for you.
|Mark McEwen, Brad Long & Roger Mooking|
Also affecting the commute was the TTC shutdown of the subway from Lawrence Stn to Bloor Stn. which didn't help people that live north of the city get there very easily.
The first day of the show was mostly media types and by the afternoon when they all went back to their offices it was much quieter but on Saturday when the buses and shuttles were more available it was busier.
The cost of the show can get pretty expensive. You buy a pass to the show and then receive a wristband that has a computer chip that you top up to pay for food and drinks.
|Abbey Sharp & Mark McEwen|
|Afrim Pristine -Cheese Boutique|
Well unfortunately at the time of writing this the show is now over but hopefully you can check it out next year and some of the venue kinks will be worked out a bit better.