Monday, August 28, 2017

Lechon Fest at Wychwood Barns

Announcing WONDER CHEF CANADAthe Culinary Showdown segment in the

WONDER CHEF CANADA (WCC) Culinary Showdown is a competition project of the
in LECHON FEST (LF) with a mission to brand Philippine cuisine by recognizing
Filipino-Canadian amateur cooks and food enthusiasts, and bring greater awareness
and appreciation of Filipino cuisine among the global community at large. Partial
proceeds to build a library in an orphanage ​partner ​in the Philippines ages 1-21.
It will be held on Sept 2-3 at Wychwood Barns, from 3pm to 6pm.

The competition will showcase the cooking prowess and expertise of up to 7 amateur
Filipino-American cooks and foodies. There is only one category of entrées which could
include: Kare-kare, Escabeche, Caldereta, Menudo, Afritada, Pochero, Pinakbet, Sisig,
&Laing. The winner will receive a trip for 2 to Iceland. (why? Because it’s a cool place to
“We hope that through WCC, we could encourage all residents in our community to
actively support Filipino restaurants in the GTA and also boost participation from
community organizations, business entities and other groups in this advocacy
campaign.” says Julian Baricuatro, founder of WCC and LF.

The actual event Lechon Fest Canada (LFC) is a pioneer caravan festival which aims
to preserve and promote the diverse Asian cuisine & culinary heritage and strengthen
the ties that bind Filipino-Canadians.

The centerpiece of the fiesta, the “star of the show”, so to speak, will be the lechon in
several forms – from whole roast pig to lechon manok and the humble yet succulent
lechon kawali. There will also be folk dances, arts and music.

The opening ceremonies start at noon and the festival is on till 9pm
There is a book drive with partial proceeds to build a library in an orphanage
​partner ​in the Philippines ages 1-21.

For more info: #lechonfest or #lechonfestival or

Thursday, August 24, 2017

4th Annual Coconut Festival - Aug 26


Toronto hosts Canada’s 4th Annual Coconut Festival and Marketplace on Saturday, August 26, 2017, at David Pecaut Square. Coconut Festival Canada produces the event to connect all communities to learn about the coconuts’ various health benefits & diverse addictive delicious culinary and lifestyle uses with the addition of a Book Drive for an orphanage partner in the Philippines.

It’s a Free General Admission event featuring 60+ vendors dealing with coconut in your food choices, wellness program, cleaning, cosmetics, fashion and more from Asia & Pan America. You can taste and shop for various coconut products including those from local artisans: vegan coconut cakes, spreads, oils, energy snacks, chips, dips drinks, organic baby food and more. And full meals from the Caribbean, Thailand & , Hawaii. 

Date: SatAugust 26 (10am to 8pm)

Venue: David Pecaut Square, downtown Toronto (55 John St., the beautiful square between King and Wellington)

Exhibitors: 70 specialty vendors, 20 community chefs and speakers

Parking: Lots of nearby street parking available, as well as underground parking in such lots as Roy Thomson Hall

Festival admission: FREE!

Special Activities: Talks and lectures,
 Hawaiian dance, yoga, presentations and activities, fresh coconuts, delicious food, & health & wellness products 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pan American Food & Music Festival

Festival:     Pan American Food & Film Festival
Date:          August 11-13, 2017
Location:   Yonge & Dundas Square
Twitter/Instagram @PanamFestTO

It's Food Festival season in Toronto and there were at least 5 food festivals happening in Toronto on August 12th but I dropped by the Pan American Food & Music Festival.  Celebrating it's 4th year and moving to Yonge and Dundas from the former Daniels Spectrum venue.

I went to check out the Chef's Challenge and had a chance to chat with Chef Jagger Gordon.  Chef Gordon has an organization called Feed it Forward where he utilizes his skills as a Chef and an activist to feed people in need.  He has recently opened a Soup restaurant that feeds people in need using tokens paid for by other customers.  He is looking for a space to be able to set up cooking meals for more people and wants to open a grocery store to share donated food.   At the Pan American festival he set up a Chef's Challenge using some of the produce from his farm and other donations and had 3 local chef teams competing to create some great dishes using the food provided.  In 45 minutes they had to test their creative skills and feed the people in the audience for a $5 ticket.  Chef Gordon operates using skilled and non skilled volunteers and is always looking for more help to expand.  He would also like to get people to sign a petition to get the government to make it illegal for grocery stores to throw food out but have to donate it to charities and food banks.  
You can sign the Petition CLICK here:

The Chefs competing in the Chef's Challenge included local Chefs Devan Rajkumar, Doris Fin and Nick Vorlicek.   I don't even know who won because it was chaos afterward with the audience jumping to the front to get their food.  They got to try all 3 dishes for $5.   Chef Devan was the first to finish using his Ninja knife skills to make his version of a vegetarian Ceviche.  Chef Doris also made a salad and Chef Nick made a pasta dish.

Chef Devon

Chef Doris
Chef Nick

Here is my quick interview with Chef Jagger Gordon on Feed it Forward and the Chef Challenge.

After the Chef Challenge there was also a butter tart challenge.  For $10 you could try 6 different versions of butter tarts.  The 2 people i knew put a creative spin on theirs.  Vanessa from Holy Cannoli made butter tart Cannoli's and Olivia Simpson from Hawthorne Food & Drink made Coconut charcoal activated crusted butter tarts.  Another competitor added beer and another one added peach bits and there was a pecan one and a gooey traditional one which was the winner the previous year.  I really like that one.


 There is also a few food trucks and vendors at the festival to sample things from BBQ'd meat to Corn on the Cob and more.

I was there for the food mostly but heard the music in the background and a lot of the chefs  were even dancing to the music.  I saw a little bit of one of the dance groups but I couldn't stay late to watch more.   But everyone had a great time and even when it rained nobody left and it didn't seem to bother anyone.

It was also nice to see my festival friend Pamela volunteering at the program table.  She volunteers at a lot of the festivals around town and I run into her at both film and food festivals all the time. I used to volunteer and now I write but it's always fun to be at a good festival.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Food Day Canada- Easy Caesar Dressing Potato salad

Today is FOOD DAY CANADA  #FoodDayCanada - August 5, 2017.

Anita Stewart

It's a day created by ANITA STEWART, C.M., LLD (Hon), M.A (Gastronomy), P.Ag (Hon)
President of Food Day Canada and Member of the Order of Canada among other distinctions.  

Stewart created the term "culinary tourism" and has been a tireless Champion of Canadian Foods, Restaurants and the talent Chefs who showcase our great products.

I was lucky to be able to spend an afternoon with Anita on a Lentil tour of some amazing restaurants in Toronto.  It was one of my favourite experiences.  She really has her hands on the food pulse of Canada.

You can Join the Party by visiting a Canadian Restaurant that showcases Canadian products or you can visit your local Farmer's Market or Cook something yourself to celebrate our own diversity of delicious food. In honour of Food Day Canada I thought I would use some of my Farmer's Market produce to make a great Summer Salad.



1 pt or a small container of Farmer's Market New Potatoes  approx 2-3 pounds depending on size.
1/3 Caesar dressing,  a good ready made one or make your own.
2 Green Onions
1 stalk of celery
1/4 lemon slices
4 hard boiled eggs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 green pepper chopped
salt, pepper and Paprika to taste and garnish


Rinse the new potatoes and cut in half and boil in salted water for about 15-20 minutes or until a knife cuts through easily.  To cook your eggs place in a small saucepan and cover with cold water.  Place on the stove and cook on high heat until the water boils rapidly and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.  Turn the heat off and let sit for another 5 minutes and then run under cold water and peel.

Chop the green onions into small pieces.  Dice the green pepper and slice the celery into 1/4 inch pieces.  Finely chop the parsley.

Peel and cut the boiled eggs into halves or quarters or slices depending on how you want to place it into your potato salad.  I just sliced mine in half and placed on the sides.

Once the potatoes are cooked drain and place them in a large bowl and add the Caesar dressing and toss while they are still warm so that the dressing can penetrate the potatoes and add more flavour.  Add the celery, green onions and green peppers and toss.  Squeeze a bit of lemon on top and add the parsley and dress your plate with the eggs and lemon slices and add salt, pepper and paprika on top to season and garnish.

*Optional,  Add some crumbled bacon on top.  I didn't have any or I would have.

Serve at room temperature or place it in the fridge to cool.  Do not let it sit out too long because of the mayo based dressing.

This recipe is a bit of a potato salad twist and inspired by the ingredients I had in my fridge from my Farmer's Market purchases this past week.

Show Food Day Canada what has inspired you and don't forget to add the Hashtags #FoodDayCanada and CanadaisFood to your photos so that Anita Stewart can see your Canadian Food Love.