Sunday, November 19, 2017

Eva's Initiatives for Homeless Youth Fundraiser

DATE:  Nov 2, 2017
LOCATION:  Liberty Grand, Toronto
CHARITY:  Eva's Initiatives for Homeless Youth
Social:  #TasteMatters

TASTE MATTERS is a Fundraiser that benefits Eva's Initiatives a charitable organization that helps homeless youth. Eva's Initiatives was created for Eva Smith who emigrated to Canada in 1956.  She passed away in 1993 and a few years later the Satellite Emergency youth shelter was created in Toronto.  It helps youth between 16-24 with emergency shelter and assistance.

The Taste Matters event is hosted by cookbook authors and sisters, Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat to continue raising funds for the much needed services in Toronto.

The Fundraising event was held at the spectacular Liberty Grand at Exhibition Place where 22 Food and beverage vendors in Toronto provided samples of their food and drink.  Below are a few of the things I sampled at the event including Rancho Relaxo's Fish Tacos, ones of the longest lineups.  I also enjoyed the Butternut squash ravioli from North 44 and the salmon Tartare from the Edible Story.

They also had a raffle and silent auction.  These are a couple of the things from the silent auction that caught my eye but unfortunately I don't have anywhere to put them.

 For more information on how you can help check out their website

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Michelin Star Chef from Italy comes to Toronto for Cent Italia


Event:  CENTItalia Dinner
Location:  Nella Cucina on Bathurst
Chef:  Cristina Bowerman
Hosted by:  Italian Chamber of Commerce & Centennial College
Date:  November 16, 2017

My friend Natalie invited me to join her for what she called "some Italian event in the Annex".  All she told was that it was a dinner and since I had a long and busy day and knew I wasn't going to want to cook when I went home and love Italian food I said I would join her.  We met at a coffee shop in the Annex and the she told me it was at Nella Cucina and I wondered if it was a hands on thing because that space was usually used for interactive cooking demos but she said no it was sit down dinner.  And indeed it was a sit down dinner but it was with an Italian Michelin Star Chef who just that day announced that she received her 2nd Michelin Star.  Her name is Cristina Bowerman and she is the only female Michelin star chef in Italy.  Glass Hosteria is located in Rome, Italy where food is probably the number one reason for tourist to visit there besides the art and architecture. You know that most people dream of eating Italian food in Italy including me but we were lucky to have her cooking for us at Nella Cucina in Toronto for one of CentItlaia's various events brought to Toronto by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Centennial College.  This was the only event I was able to attend out of a few during the week but probably the one that I would have wanted to attend the most anyway.  So you never know how events are going to be but I am glad I was able to attend this one because the food was amazing and so many different flavour combinations made it really interesting.  Check out the dishes we had:

 Jerusalem Artichokes and potato cream, creamed bacala and bread chips

The best part of this was the Artichoke cream.

Risotto with butter, anchovies, candied ginger, lemon and caper powder and demi glace.

This risotto was made with Italian Canaroli rice which is slightly larger than Arborio and the perfect rice for Risotto but a lot harder to find in Toronto.  The taste of this risotto was the best I have ever had and a surprising mix of flavours.  We all inhaled this little bowl of rice. 

Scallops, dashi pistachio, mushroom and kumquat and bonito flakes.

This dish has the most perfectly cooked scallops which were cross hatched to absorb the butter and the combination of the other ingredients on the plate were a mix of Italian with Asian touches.  

Ricotta cheese soup, candied fruit and zeppole.

We couldn't get enough of this dessert.  They made a lot of the Zeppole's which are light as air Italian donuts and because there were so many we ended up eating 3 each because they are so light you just want to keep eating them.

 Petits four chocolates

And we wrapped up our delicious Michelin Star meal with some fine chocolates but honestly we just wanted to eat more zeppoles.  

I hope that one day I can visit Italy and have Cristina's food in her element.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Chowder Chowdown - Serves up Sustainability

Event:  Chowder Chowdown
Date:   November 14, 2017
Location:  The Fermenting Cellar - Distillery District - Toronto

November is Ocean Wise Seafood month and last night I had the privilege of attending the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown for the second year in a row at the amazing Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District.  Although it's a hike to get there once you are at the Distillery you feel like you have gone somewhere else in the world.  There is nothing else like it in Toronto.  And the Fermenting Cellar is a great place for a Chowder Chowdown contest brought to you by some great Chefs in Toronto.  Centennial College was also one of the participants.  This event is a fundraising event for Ocean Wise's Sustainable Seafood Program.  It's a fun event where there are 5 Top Chefs and food industry people as Judges including Brad Long and Martin Kouprie this year.  It is hosted by Vancouver Chef Ned Bell who is a champion for Seafood Sustainability and who has a new cookbook called LURE that has just been released. It's a fun event where the Judges judge but also the attendees get to place their votes.

And the Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion is......
For the second year in a row, a judging panel of food-savvy media, chefs and industry leaders selected Chefs Chris Torgis and Joel Gray as the 2017 Ocean Wise Seafood Chowder Chowdown Champions. The Thornbury-based restaurant presented chowder lovers with their patriotic Canada 150 Coast to Coast Chowder . It featured a mélange of sustainable seafood, including Ontario farmed whiteleg shrimp, Gulf of St. Lawrence crab, Lake Huron smoked whitefish and wild Pacific ikura, complemented by local corn velouté, wild leek pesto and pickled roots and left the judges wanting more. The attendees voted Scout’s Cannery as the People’s Choice Award winner, selected for their Scout’s Scullery Soup, made with clams, mussels and haddock.

Chef Ned Bell
Chef Dave Mottershall

Judges included:
     Brad Long, Owner and Executive Chef, Café Belong
        Martin Kouprie, Executive Chef
      Kristin Donovan, Co-Owner, Hooked Inc.
      Joseph Chiaravalloti, Sustainability Specialist, Seacore Seafood Inc.
        Rita DeMontis, National Food Editor, Sun Media


 Even though the Chowders are served in little bowls, there were 14 of them so I think  I only tried about half of them.  My favourite was the not very Chowder like Thai Tomato by SOCO Kitchen.  I just loved the balanced flavour and a kick of heat at the end but it was very far away from a traditional chowder so I can see why they chose a more traditional chowder by Bruce Wine Bar with their National Seafood Chowder.

2017 Ocean Wise Restaurant Finalists

The Beverly on Locke
Chef Rory O'LearyCatfish and Caviar Chowder
Bistro '67Chef Raul SojoOyster and Bacon Chowder
Bruce Wine Bar
Chef Chris Torgis and Chef Joel GrayNational Seafood Chowder
Centennial College: The Local Café and Restaurant
Chef Nick MooreSmoked Seafood Chowder
Cluny Bistro & Boulangerie
Chef Murray McDonaldCod Chowder
Distillery Events and Archeo
Chef de Cuisine Joshua Dyer
Wampanohog Chowder
Le Sélect Bistro
Chef Laura MaxwellSnow Crab and Smoked Clam Chowder
Chef Dave MottershallPEI Potato Mussel Chowder
PORT RestaurantChef Samantha JoyceClam Chowder with Bacon and Grilled Clams
Pure Spirits Oyster House & Grill
Chef Danny Chae
Asian Inspired Clam Chowder
The Restaurant at Peninsula Ridge Winery
Executive Chef Matt Hemmingsen
Chowder with Lobster Grilled Cheese
Rodney's Oyster House
Chef Rodrigo de Romana
Bahamian Seafood Chowder
Scout Canning
Chef Charlotte Langley
Scout’s Scullery Soup
SOCO Kitchen + Bar, Delta Toronto
Chef Keith PearsThe “TTC” Thai Tomato Chowder

These Chowder Chowdown events are held in Toronto and Vancouver and for more information you can check out their website: Vancouver Aquarium 

The Ocean Wise seafood program began as a grassroots movement in Vancouver in 2005 and is now Canada’s most recognizable sustainable seafood program. What started as an initiative involving 16 chefs has expanded to include more than 700 partners with locations from Victoria to St. John’s.  

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Edit Expo - Smart Design for Life

EDIT EXPO -The Festival of the Future

Dates: Sept 28- Oct. 8, 2017
Location: 21 Don Roadway
Event: Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology
Cost:  $15 day pass

I hoped to post this much earlier but I only had a chance to visit the Edit Expo on the last day due to the location and time factors but I wish I had time to go to a few more of the panel events.
The Inaugural 10 day Edit Expo was situated inside an abandoned factory in Toronto's Port Lands area tucked in at the end of the Don Valley Parkway.  It was an immersive festival that brought together world-changing ideas with a goal to get closer to achieving the UNDP's Sustainable Development Goals.
Situated inside an abandoned factory in Toronto's Port Lands, the inaugural EDIT –– a 10-day immersive festival full of world-changing ideas –– brought us one step closer to achieving the UNDP's Sustainable Development Goals. 

With a day pass you could access speakers, exhibits, and workshops.  On the last day that I attended they had a FREE Lunch for anyone that attended using Food that would normally be thrown out with a host of volunteers serving up Soup and Foccaccia bread to up to 5000 people.

Second Harvest Ambassador and Chef Bob Blumer was on hand to do a food demo using left over bits of food provided to make a Cauliflower crust pizza with green pesto and vegetables.   I had a bite and it tasted great.

As you can see from the sign that one of the volunteers above was holding, we waste up to 30% of Fruits & Vegetables in Canada mostly because it's thought of as "too ugly".  Grocery stores will not stock blemished fruits and vegetables so most of them go into landfills.  People at home do not want to buy these so called "ugly vegetables" and they also waste food that goes un eaten.  I am guilty of this and am trying to be more mindful of what I buy and how I use it.  Almost half of the food produced in the world doesn't end up being consumed by people.  That would be enough to feed everyone in the world if it was better managed.

Besides the Food aspect which is what I was most interested in of course,  I am also interested in smart design and technology that makes life better for people.

I have to admit that I didn't understand some of the artistic installations but as you can see there were some beautiful installations.

I wish this Expo was in a more accessible area so that more people could have attended.  There was parking and that was probably the easiest way to get there besides on bikes.  They had a bike share company there at the entrance.  I took the ttc and then took an Uber back to the subway because it was a bit of a hike from the stop closest to the location.  I wish I had more time to visit sooner.

One of my favourite things at the Expo was the rooftop garden.  I think every multi unit building should have a roof top Oasis that provides food, relaxation and at the same time cools the buildings.  That's smart design.  Keeping nature in an Urban environment and for Sustainability which is the ultimate goal.  
We need to start finding solutions to problems of the ever increasing population and density with the decreasing amount of natural resources.
I would love to see where the direction of this Expo goes next year.

KitchenAid - Yours For The Making

The Future of Cooking in your home.

Event:  KitchenAid -Yours For the Making
Location: The Storys Building 11 Duncan Street
Date: Tuesday Oct 3, 2017
Demo by Chef Corbin Tomaszwski
Hshtag #YoursForTheMaking 
Social handle @KitchenAid_CA.

I was really happy to receive an invitation to go to a lunch time event by Kitchen Aid at the Storys Building recently.  First, I had never been to the Storys building and wanted to check it out and most importantly I own and love KitchenAid small appliances and I am always interested in seeing what's new on the market so that I can plan my dream kitchen.

The always fun Chef Corbin Tomaszwski was on hand to do a hands on demo where he showed how KitchenAid innovations help in the kitchen from start to finish.  He did a demo of fresh pasta made using a KitchenAid stand mixer with a pasta attachment with pan seared Salmon cooked on the KitchenAid stove.   As you can see from the photo below I helped zest an orange for the marinade for the Salmon.  There were a lot of Kitchen, Lifestyle and Home experts in attendance so I was honoured to be included with them.

We got to see some of the Kitchen Aid appliances in action and learn about some of the innovative features.  KitchenAid stand mixers may seem expensive but the value comes in all the amazing attachments you can add instead of buying a lot more appliances.  You can make pasta, juice, grind, and one of the coolest attachments is the vegetable sheet cutter.  You can make thin strips on zucchini to make zucchini pasta or lasagna with it.

The Fridge has the touch window front and a double door so you can open things you use frequently without opening the whole fridge.  The appliances are all sleek clean and attractive so they really make your kitchen look great while being super functional.  My pet peeve is design without good function.  That's just art and not design.

After the demos we sat down to a lunch prepared with the techniques shown in the demo.  The lunch main was a citrus marinated pan seared salmon with fresh pasta and Kale.  Some people attended a breakfast session and had different treats.
As you can see from the photo above there were also pastries for dessert and an Ice cream that was made using the KitchenAid stand mixer with the Ice Cream maker attachment.

It was a quick and well organized lunch and I enjoyed it very much.  If you are planning your dream home I encourage you to look at KitchenAid appliances to make your kitchen sparkle and your cooking easier and more fun.

*Disclaimer:  I was invited for a complimentary lunch and some of the photos were provided and some are my own.  All of the opinions are my own. Sponsored post.

More About some KitchenAid appliances:

KITCHENAID® COUNTER-DEPTH FRENCH DOOR REFRIGERATOR WITH FRESHVUE™ DOOR-WITHIN-DOOR (LAUNCHING FEBRUARY 2018) Designed with the cook in mind, this refrigerator has storage flexibility, premium finishes and stylish wood paneling with the added convenience of the FreshVue™ Door-within-Door. Home chefs love the proximity lighting and Door-within-Door feature because they can quickly see and access their favourite fresh ingredients. This refrigerator is available February 2018 in stainless steel, black stainless steel, and PrintShield™ stainless steel exterior, which resists smudges to keep your working kitchen looking beautiful. MSRP: $5,999

KITCHENAID® STAND MIXER ATTACHMENTS KITCHENAID® VEGETABLE SHEET CUTTER From substituting pasta and wraps with vegetable sheets, to re-inventing snacks and sweet dishes, the Vegetable Sheet Cutter helps inspire fresh versions of everyday dishes. Two interchangeable blades allow you to produce thinner or thicker sheets, depending on your preference or recipe. Compatible with all Stand Mixer models, the KitchenAid® Vegetable Sheet Cutter attaches to the Power Hub of your Stand Mixer for fast, hands-free results. MSRP: $249.99 (KSMSCA) 

KITCHENAID® SPIRALIZER PLUS WITH PEEL, CORE AND SLICE Compatible with all KitchenAid® Stand Mixer models, it’s the first automated spiralizer on the market, leveraging the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer’s motor and hands-free operation. By using a combination of accessories, the attachment’s five blades can perform several functions including peeling, slicing and coring most fruits and vegetables. The two distinct spiral blades can create thin noodles or thicker strands. MSRP: $249.99 (KSM2APC) 

KITCHENAID® 5-PIECE PASTA DELUXE SET Powered by the KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, this set includes five pieces - Pasta Roller, Spaghetti Cutter, Fettuccine Cutter, Lasagnette Cutter and Capellini Cutter – to make authentic, fresh pasta from scratch. Compatible with all KitchenAid® Stand Mixer models, the Pasta Roller rolls 6-inch sheets of pasta with 8 thickness settings so you can make your pasta as thick as you like. MSRP: $379.99 (KSMPDX

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Food Docs to check out at Planet in Focus

The Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival takes place this weekend and they have some fantastic Food Documentaries in their program this year.   These are some of the films that will be screened at the festival.  I have seen a few of them and I can tell you that they are worth checking out.

On the Saturday of the festival there will also be a FOOD Panel after a couple of the films during the day at Innis Town Hall.

My recommendation is to make sure you go see WASTED: The Story of Food because you will have this film in your head at every step of your everyday life.

FOOD COOP Thomas Boothe, France, 2016, 97 min
Sitting between the immersive institutional portraiture of Frederick Wiseman and 
Broad City’s knowing send­up of gentrified Brooklyn, Food Coop offers an engaging and often humorous look at Park Slope’s wildly successful socialist supermarket.

This film is an interesting look at a new way to shop for your weekly groceries and eat better food for less money and at the same time getting to know a like minded community of people.  It has a very New York feel and you will like the different people in the community of Co Op people.

Saturday 21 October, 12:30pm ­ Innis Town Hall
Screens with FIXED! (Cat Mills)

MODIFIED Aube Giroux, Canada, 2017, 86 min[Canadian]
Canadian director Aube Giroux’s first feature, 
Modified, weaves stories of her participation in citizen led movements to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), with interviews from activists Jane Goodall and Rachel Parent, and personal narratives of family, gardening, food, health, and loss. A touching and thoughtful film, Modified, is activism inspired by love.

I haven't had a chance to see this one but hoping to see it at the festival on Saturday.  GMO food is something that everyone should be educated on because people estimate that there may not be enough food in the world to feed everyone by 2050 but is GMO food the answer and what will it do to future generations?

Saturday 21 October, 3:45pm ­ Innis Town Hall
Guest: Aube Giroux

WASTED! THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE Anna Chai/Nari Kye, USA, 2017, 85 min
Slick, solution­-oriented, and featuring Anthony Bourdain at his sardonic best, 
WASTED! The Story of Food Waste is that rare social issue documentary that’s every bit as entertaining as it is informative.

I absolutely loved this film, so much that I watched it intently twice.  I love Anthony Bourdains sarcastic, brutal honesty and his straight forward no B.S. delivery of the reason this film was made.
It  has the same visual appeal as his show Parts Unknown which was Emmy winning.   It also has the great story telling and fact driven intensity that keeps you interested in the subject and the speakers in the film.  I have seen a lot of documentaries so it wasn't extremely shocking for me but for those that aren't as educated about where our food comes from and goes to, it's a real in your face reality check.  I highly recommend you see it with your friends and family because you may have a great discussion about what you are doing everyday and ways to make changes.   Since watching this documentary I have started a Wasted Soup Crockpot that my coworkers have contributed their excess food scraps to and it's been simmering away almost every day for the past 2 weeks.

Saturday 21 October, 6:45pm ­ Innis Town Hall
Screens with THE POACHER (Nicholas Jones) 

DEAD DONKEYS FEAR NO HYENAS Joakim Demmer, Sweden/Germany/Finland, 2017, 80 min
Famine stricken Ethiopia is exporting food to Europe while receiving aid from the World Bank to feed its population. Director Joakim Demmer investigates this scandalous situation, showing how the government has leased or sold bountiful land to foreigners while locals survive on handouts from abroad.

I have not seen this film yet but I have seen the trailer and it looks pretty interesting and kind of eye opening at what goes on with food that is supposed to help people in need.  

Saturday 21 October, 9:30pm ­ Innis Town Hall
Screens with KÉKWU (Sean Stiller)

THE LAST PIG Allison Argo, USA, 2017, 53 min
The Last Pig, by Emmy award­-winning filmmaker Allison Argo, is an intimate reflection on animal treatment, following ethical pig farmer, Bob Comis, as he contemplates his transition out of raising animals for slaughter. The film takes a meditative approach to animal activism.

What happens when a Pig farmer decides he has a crisis of conscience and decides to stop being a Pig Farmer.  The Last Pig is one mans journey to change his life plan and look at what his contribution to the world is.

Sunday 22 October, 2:30pm ­ The Al Green Theatre at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre


CAN YOU DIG THIS? Delila Vallot, USA, 2015, 85 min
Self-­described “Gangsta gardeners,” including the charismatic Ron Finley, are leaders in the emerging urban gardening movement springing up in notoriously rough South Los Angeles. These gardeners embrace life and their positive energy permeates the community, changing the meaning of what it is to be gangster.

This film is super inspiring to see people struggle but at the same time 1 person can make a difference just by planting a garden.  With a whole host of characters from low income communities and the champions that take it upon themselves to make a difference.

Sunday 22 October, 7:45pm ­ Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
Guests: Ron Finlay 

Ron Finley, and executive produced by John Legend. Following the film Finley will be presented with the 2017 International Eco-Hero award and will give an address about his practice.

Also of note there will be a tribute to the late filmmaker Rob Stewart (Sharkwater) who was a friend of the festival.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Edgy Veg Cookbook launch

I got an invitation to the launch of Candice Hutchings new Cookbook the EDGY VEG at the YouTube space downtown.  Although I had never heard of Candice who has a YouTube channel with her recipes I was curious to find out about what she has been cooking up.  She claims to make Vegan food that will satisfy a carnivore.  Candice wrote the cookbook with her husband who isn't a vegan so she was trying to come up with recipes that would satisfy his tastebuds and that they could both be happy with.

I have to say that the Youtube space is a very cool little spot and they had Activated Charcoal lemonade as well as Kombucha Mimosa's for everyone to sample along with wine.

I was there with my fellow bloggers Natalie (Cooking Quidnunc) and Shuang (The Teleporta).  The room was filled with all kinds of people including Abbey Sharp from Abbey's Kitchen and Home Economist/tv personality Mairlyn Smith who we had a very nice chat with.

I can't say that much about the food because I only sampled 2 things,  the Pulled Jackfruit Slider which was really good and was meant to be a substitute for pork.

I also had a small bit of the "cauliflower chicken wings"  basically a tempura like batter dipped cauliflower with a chicken wing sauce.  I love cauliflower so I also enjoyed this bite.

We didn't stay very long so I think we missed a few things.  I saw that there was a Vegan chocolate Mousse that we missed.  

But I did like what I tried and would recommend checking out Candice's Youtube channel or picking up her new EDGY VEG cookbook at an Indigo bookstore near you.


Facebook: /theedgyveg