Sunday, June 18, 2017

Toronto Taste 2017 - A feast for Second Harvest

I was really fortunate this year to be able to attend the TORONTO TASTE Charity Event at Corus Quay on Sunday, June 4, 2017.  A culinary event where the proceeds go to Second Harvest.

Tickets were $260 for all you can eat and drink and lot's of entertainment.

This 27th edition with the help of many Chefs, top restaurants and over 400 volunteers they were able to raise $925,000 for Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue charity. Funds raised will provide 1.8 million fresh and healthy meals to people facing hunger across Toronto. It accounts for 20% of Second Harvest's annual revenue to help provide meals to those in need in our ever growing city.

Guests sampled spectacular dishes and drinks from over 90 of the most sought-after restaurants and beverage purveyors, including Baro, Lavelle, McEwan Group, Antler, Hawthorne Food & Drink, Kanpai Snack Bar, Bar Reyna and Ufficio.

Michelle Jobin, John Catucci and Eric Chong - Masterchef Canada winner.
This year Top chefs Guy Rawlings (Montgomery’s), Anne Sorrenti (The Oakwood Hardware Food & Drink and Chopped Canada winner) and Eric Chong (R&D and MasterChef Canada winner) entertained guests in the Chef Challenge.  Guy Rawlings was crowned the winner.

At the live auction, attendees could bid on chef dinner packages, such as dinner at Bob Blumer’s LA home or the opportunity to join Chef Roger Mooking for an action-packed food tour of New Orleans. The exclusive live auction chef packages from Michael Smith, Michael Hunter, Roger Mooking and Bob Blumer raised a total of $46,000. Notably, Bob Blumer, Second Harvest Ambassador, raised $165,000 towards the purchase of a truck for Second Harvest and an anonymous donor came forward to top up his fundraising. With a long history of supporting Second Harvest, Purolator Inc. stepped forward to donate an additional truck, a valuable asset as Second Harvest transports food to hundreds of social service agencies across the GTA daily.

There were so many fantastic dishes that I tried to eat my way through the large outdoor tented event by the lake, but I think I probably only tried about half of the food before getting really full.

One of the favourite dishes for me and my foodie friends was the Scallop crudo from Buca.  They are one of the top restaurants in Toronto for good reason.

(left, Michael Hunter - Antler - r?

El Cabalito's Elia Herrera made a great pulled pork slider.  Hawthorne food and drink made their signature Schmaltz Carbonara.  Michael Hunter from Antler made really flavourful Duck skewers.

Trevor Lui - Kanpai Snack Bar
Pork Belly

It's great to see Chefs you know having some fun and creating great dishes at the same time.  Trevor Lui from Kanpai Snack Bar having a little fun with us and he created an amazing crispy pork belly dish with a slaw on the side.
Ivana Raca - Ufficio

All of the Top Chefs in Toronto were there and Bob Blumer from the West Coast and Michael Smith from the East Coast.  

They all really like this festival because it's organized really well and they are all fairly close together and they can do something they don't always have time to do because they work crazy hours,  something most of us take for granted.  Social time.  Yes they get to catch up with their peers and see what's new and actually try their food sometimes.  The Chefs in Toronto are mostly a tight knit group of very generous and hard working people.  I know this because I have gotten to know a lot of them at a lot  of these events and they are long days standing in the heat mostly.  I know that I don't have the stamina to do this everyday for a living.  So I have a lot of respect for their hard work and for pitching in their time and creativity to raise funds for Second Harvest and other local charities.

They got really lucky with the weather this year.  It was perfect.  The sun was out and the temperature was perfect by the lake.  Everyone was in a great mood and there was lot's of musical entertainment with live music inside Corus Quay.

This was only my 3rd time attending Toronto Taste.  The first time I was a volunteer and I can tell you that they couldn't do this event without volunteers.  The second time was years ago when I was writing event listings for B Magazine.  It was more about the overall event then.  This time with the knowledge of many years working on my Blog and getting to know who most of these chefs are and what kind of food they make I can honestly say I really enjoyed every minute of it and the best part was that I was able to spend the time with my 2 fellow blogger buddies (Cooking Quidnunc & Mary's Happy Belly)  so it made it that much more fun to run around and sample and compare dishes and hopefully between the 3 of us were were able to taste almost all of the different dishes.

I hope to be able to go back for more again next year.  I hope you can attend or at least try and donate to Second Harvest or buy raffle tickets or bid on one of their auction items and help them to keep doing great work.

Disclaimer*  The ticket was complimentary but the photos and comments are my own.  Some information was provided by Second Harvest.

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