Thursday, December 28, 2017

60 Female chefs serve up great eats at Eat to the Beat 2017

Date:  October 17, 2017
Location:  Roy Thompson Hall
Why:  Fundraising Gala for the Canadian Foundation for Breast Cancer
Social:  Twitter @EattotheBeat_TO

Well I am super late in posting this and wanted to get to it right after the event but events and life seem to happen all at once so I finally have time to write about the event.

I have been to Eat to the Beat a number of times and have written about it in previous posts but I always like to show what each event looks like because the food and some of the vendors change each year but there are also regulars who just change their menus.

Some of the ones that have been vendors at the event a number of years include the Cake Lady, Aphrodite Cooks,  Emily Richards,  Pai/Kiin and so many more.

I think one of my favourite savoury dishes was for sure Kiin's mixed rice dish.  I picked one up early because I knew there would be a lineup for it.

The desserts were unbelievably beautiful and I wish I had the stomach to try them all but by the time I hit the desserts I could only try a few of them.   With 60 Female Chefs you can imagine there would be a whole lot of food to try.  Most had 1 dish but there were a couple with 2 different things.  That's a lot of food and desserts to eat.  I think maybe I average about 2/3rd's of the vendors but I think my friends probably try half of them.  I don't know where they put it.

I always like to go to this event because it's a lot of fun and with almost all of the Chefs being female it's really like a great community event and loads of fun to see the Breast Cancer survivors all dressed up in special corsets.   There is live entertainiment and a silent auction that has some fantastic things that I wish I could afford to bid on myself.  All this fun and it raises money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation so it's great for everyone.


I can't possibly pick only a few favourites but let me just say that I lean towards the Tuna tartare's and the Scallops were amazing too and of course I gravitate towards all the chocolate desserts but the Lemon meringue pop blew me away.  You can see that below.

I won't repeat the vendors in this post but they are all listed in my previous post about this event.  You can read about it here: Eat to the Beat

Even though I am late posting this I wanted to get it out to show you all the fantastic food and hope that you pick up a ticket for next years event and you will probably see me running around and stuffing my face and taking lots of photos to make you drool.

Hope to see you there next year.   For more info see their website listed at the top of the page.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Egg Nog Scones with coffee glaze

GoGot Eggnog?

Make some Holiday scones with the little bit of eggnog left after the party.

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Scones with Coffee Glaze

I bought some eggnog just in case anyone stopped by and I wanted to serve them a glass of some but I didn't end up drinking it so i thought it would be a great substitute for buttermilk in scones so I thought about what I would like to pair it with and of course my favourite chocolate would do the trick and make a delicious flavour combo.

Here's what I came up with:


2 cups of sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of cold grated butter
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup of Eggnog
1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

reserve a couple of tablespoons of eggnog for the top and flour for the board to roll out.

Coffee Glaze:
1 tsp instant coffee 
1 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup icing sugar approx.


In a medium sized bowl sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix it up with a fork or a whisk and add the sugar and mix again.

Grate a half a cup of cold butter right into the dry ingredients and mix with a for or pastry cutter until it's combined into little pea shaped bits and then mix the wet ingredients.

In a measuring cup crack 1egg and whisk it up for a few minutes and then add a 1/2 cup of eggnog and a tablespoon of vanilla and mix well.

Chop 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate or measure a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.

Add the wet egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork or wooden spoon until combined and before all the flour is mixed in add the chopped dark chocolate and mix until combined.  It should slightly come together but don't mix it too much or it will become tough.

Dump the mixture out onto a floured board and knead it all together until it's all mixed and pat it down into a dinner plate sized flat shape.

You can cut it with round biscuit or cookie cutters or you can just cut it into pie slices by cutting in  half and then quarters and then cutting each quarter in half if you want them smaller.  

I didn't cut mine out that great but it didn't matter but it does matter that they are similar in size so they can bake the same.  

Place on a baking tray and you can line it with parchment if you like.  I didn't bother this time.

Brush the top with the reserved eggnog and place in the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 -20 minutes depending on how hot your oven is.  Remove when they are brown on the bottom and golden brown on top.

To make the glaze in a small bowl mix the hot coffee with the instant coffee and mix well and then add icing sugar until you get a runny icing paste.

Drizzle with a fork on the Scones just out of the oven and they will dry once the scones are cooled.

Serve immediately.

Makes 12 large scones.

Goes great with eggnog or hot coffee and would make a great Christmas or Boxing Day breakfast.

Restaurants for Change - We dine our at Baro and do good.


October 18, 2017
Baro Restaurant & other Canadian restaurants
485 King St. W.
Baro website:
Hashtag #restaurantsforchange

This post is really late in writing but I wanted to tell you about a great initiative that is hosted by some of Canada's top restaurants that benefits Community Food Programs.  
On October 18th, 2017,  I made reservations at Baro restaurant on King Street in Toronto with a few friends for dinner.  I went to Baro for the preview for the fundraising event and decided to go back for dinner and try their regular menu.  

The fundraiser is easy for people to participate in without doing anything different than what they usually do because all you need to do is make a reservation at a participating restaurant.  You go out to eat on the designated night which was October 18th and the restaurant will donate 50% to 100% of the total food sales from the dinner service to support local community food programs in low-income neighbourhoods.  So all you have to do is dine out to do good.  It's really a win win for everyone.

Since 2014 Restaurants for Change has raised close to $600,000 with this program.  The people in the restaurant industry are really generous with their time and efforts and this makes a huge difference in people's lives.  The programs provide access to healthy food,  and build skills and community.  
Your fun delicious dinner will help make a difference in the lives of Canadians who struggle with food insecurity and poverty.

Sari is a pescatarian and she ordered the Fish tacos which she loved.

Nimu and Domenica ordered a bunch of things including the ceviche, the octopus and the chocolate truffles below which we all tried.

I ordered the mini empanadas and they were hot and so flavourful.

We had a great night catching up and eating great food and it's great to know that it does a lot of good for other people beyond us leaving the restaurant.  I hope you get your reservations in order for the next edition of Restaurants for change.  For more information and to donate check out the website below.


Hawksworth Young Chef competition

Event:  Hawksworth Young Chef Competition

I was invited to join my friend Mary at an interesting event in Toronto where Chef David Hawksworh from the Restaurant Hawksworth in Vancouver, BC created a non-profit  Foundation in culinary arts  to recognize and inspire young Canadian chefs.  It was the finals for the Hawksworth Young Chef Competition. 
The goal was to lift young Canadian talent in the culinary industry and give them a great opportunity to work in some of Canada's top restaurants and to grow and elevate to a higher level of excellence in the food industry.

The winner of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition will receive $10,000, and a stage at a selected top international restaurant – giving them the inspiration and opportunity needed to develop their professional skills.
Hawksworth Young Chef Competition 
The winner of the Hawksworth Young Chef Competition 2017 was awarded to Connor Sterling from Vancouver, BC at the Awards presentation in Toronto.

Leanne and Dennis Prescott, me and Mary Tang
We had a great time chatting with Chef and Instagram celeb and his wife Leanne who works for World Vision where they both work on fundraising projects together by hosting dinners and travelling to Countries in need.

The appetizers were catered by Oliver an Bonnacini and they were all fantastic.  I especially enjoyed the mini Empanadas and the sliders were fantastic too.

I can't wait to see what all of these young chefs do in the coming years.

Congrats to all for your fabulous work.

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.