Sunday, July 29, 2018

New UpMarket Wednesdays at Yorkville Village

Summer in the city gets even more delicious
with UpMarket: The Lunch Edit

The summer-long market curated by Foodiepages & BRIKA takes over The Lane at Yorkville Village

TORONTO, ON — Summer means it’s time to enjoy lunch outside and what better way to do that then at the city’s newest outdoor market:  UpMarket: The Lunch Edit, where tasty treats meets one-of-a-kind gifts. Located in The Lane at Yorkville Village (136 Yorkville Ave.), every Wednesday from June 13 - August 29, 2018 from 11 am to 3 pm, Torontonians can enjoy scrumptious dishes from at least nine vendors and peruse through artisanal handmade items from the city’s most exciting makers and creators, presented by Yorkville VillageBRIKA andFoodiepages.

Dine on delectably delicious dishes from vendors such as NutbarRawcologyCountry Fareand more. Whether diners are looking for healthy bites, sweet treats or a mix of everything, UpMarket will have it all. In addition to food, The Lane at Yorkville Village will be filled with an impressive array of shoppable goodies. Whether you’re looking for a birthday, anniversary or thank you gift, or simply want something for yourself, shop a selection of thoughtfully-made bath and body products from Leaves of Trees, hand-poured candles from 100 Years of Love, and playful pieces from OKAYOK, among others!

The full vendor list for UpMarket:  :
  • Nutbar
  • Kelly’s Bake Shoppe
  • Rawcology
  • Laine & Lola Confection
  • Maple Key Tart Co.
  • County Fare
  • Phancy Food Catering
  • Gouter
  • ​Williams Sonoma
  • Planet Y
  • Artestile
  • Leaves of Trees
  • Poppys Collection
  • 100 Years of Love
  • Cicco Chains
  • La Botica
  • YABA Home & Décor
  • Kb
  • Art of Marina
  • Sonic Bloom
  • Tea Rebellion
To stay up-to-date on the vendors at UpMarket, follow Yorkville Village on social through the hashtag #YVUpMarket and visit for more details.


Yorkville Village is a premier lifestyle shopping destination located in the heart of Toronto’s luxury Bloor-Yorkville district. Owned and operated by First Capital Realty, Yorkville Village consists of the shopping centre formerly known as Hazelton Lanes as well as a number of street front boutiques on Yorkville Avenue comprising of over 330,000 square feet of retail space (in addition to FCR’s flagship retail space at Yonge and Bloor). The centre is currently undergoing Phase 2 of the redevelopment, continuing through 2018 and will welcome prime new retailers, including several first-to-market luxury brand introductions to the Bloor-Yorkville neighbourhood.

Instagram:      @YorkvilleVillage
Twitter:           @YorkvilleV
Facebook:      @YorkvilleVillageToronto
Hashtag:         #YVLife / #YVUpMarket

FoodiePages curates craft food & drink made in Canada. We help you discover and support the country’s most exciting independent makers.We think that food and drink made by small independent makers is the most interesting thing happening in the food world right now. We also believe that goods made by people who care about each of the ingredients and materials used is simply much better than those made by large corporations or big factories. We hope you’ll think of FoodiePages any time you want to discover something delicious or send a standout gift.

At BRIKA, we believe that by bringing carefully selected, beautiful products by lesser-known artisans and designers together, we can shine a brighter light on the community of talented, creative people who are building businesses, positively impacting their communities and teaching us a new way to work and live. In our stores and online shop you will find quality, well-crafted products that bring beauty to your life whether for your home, your family, yourself or for the perfect gift.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Taste Canada Awards 2018 - Short list

Taste Canada Awards 2018 shortlist for Canada’s cookbook and food writing awards 

The winners to be revealed on October 29th at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto

Hosts Claire Tansey & Noah Cappe
Now in its 21st year, Taste Canada Awards / Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada ( has announced the shortlist of cookbooks and food blogs competing for a coveted culinary writing award.  
A champion of cookbook authors and food bloggers, Taste Canada inspires and encourages readers at home and abroad to discover delicious recipes and diverse food stories written from a Canadian perspective.
Each year, Taste Canada presents awards to some of the best food and beverage writers in both official languages. The jury is comprised of volunteers from Canada’s culinary profession appointed by an independent selection committee.  This year, 91 cookbooks and 50 food blogs entered the competition. The shortlist narrows the competition to a maximum of 5 entries per category.
The 26 gold and silver award winners will be revealed at the Taste Canada Awards Gala on October 29 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The Gala, a one-of-a-kind gastronomic celebration, brings together writers, publishers, chefs, farmers, industry, media and cookbook fans and promotes a vibrant national conversation about food and the art and culture of culinary writing.

Some photos from the 2017 Taste Canada Awards

Joel McCharles and his wife with their cookbook Batch
Coup de Grasse author Sam Joubert

David Rocco
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk with her husband and sister Lynn

 And some familiar faces at the Awards including Lisa Marie's Matt Basile serving up some meatballs at the reception afterwards.

Harvest Wednesday at the Gladstone

What: Second Harvest’s Food Rescue Challenge Kick-off

Who: Bob Blumer, Celebrity Chef & Liam Lewis, 15-year-old Toronto Chef (The Little Locavore)
Time: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 from 7-9pm
Where: The Gladstone Hotel
1214 Queen Street West, Toronto ON

Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, launched For The Love of Food Challenge, a one-month program that challenges Torontonians to reduce their household food waste by 50 per cent.

Commencing on Earth Day, the goal of the program is to educate and raise awareness about household food waste, greenhouse gas emissions and how to make a difference at home.

To kick off the challenge and encourage pledges, Second Harvest, will be hosting a cooking demo
featuring Celebrity Chef Bob Blumer, and 15-year-old, Toronto chef, Liam Lewis. The two will create a dish showcasing a simple way to use leftover food items in your kitchen that would otherwise go to waste.

The kick-off is hosted in collaboration with the Gladstone Hotel’s Grow-Op Exhibit and Harvest
Wednesday’s Food Series launch, a new event that showcases some of the Hotel’s favourite Ontario

There were many different local Food and Drink Producers on hand for sampling such as Fifth Town Cheese and Chocosol chocolate, Island Oysters, Honey from the Bee Keeper Collective, Alchemy Pickle Co. and Sapsucker water and more.


Coming up on August 22nd,  Bob Blumer is back at the Gladstone Hotel for a Harvest Dinner to once again battle food waste, a cause that he is passionate about and which benefits his charity Second Harvest.

For more information and tickets:

I also had a quick peek at the Grow Op Installation upstairs at the Gladstone.  I picked up this free plant there.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Feast of St Lawrence - Dinner under the Stars



When:    Saturday July 14, 2018
What:     Media Preview for Dinner Under the Stars
Why:      Charity Event for Second Harvest
Who:      Sponsored by Audi Toronto
Where:   Preview at 4 participating restaurants in the St. Lawrence Market Area

On August 10th there will be a great Sit Down Charity Event called the FEAST OF ST LAWRENCE -DINNER UNDER THE STARS that will take place at St. Lawrence Market.  It will feature restaurants in the St. Lawrence Market area and the proceeds from this event will be donated to the Food Rescue Non-Profit organization Second Harvest I really love what Second Harvest does because it tackles the food waste problem while also taking care of food insecurity for so many people in Toronto. Sponsored by Audi Toronto.

On a very humid Saturday afternoon I joined fellow bloggers/influencers for a walking tour and preview of some of the participating restaurants for The Fest of St. Lawrence - Dinner Under the Stars.  Unfortunately I missed the first stop at Pearl Diver because of the subway closures but luckily I have been to Pearl Diver many times so I know they are fantastic. I haven't had a chance to go to the Feast of St. Lawrence but I have heard that it's an amazing event and it's a gorgeous night out at the Market while doing great things for so many people.

1st Stop: Pearl Diver
Location: 100 Adelaide St E, Toronto, ON
Tasting: Oyster 

2nd Stop: Omni King Edward Hotel
Location: 37 King St E, Toronto, 
Tasting: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, petit tender - Beef, Chimichurri crema. Vegetarian Alternative: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, squash blossoms, carrot cider puree.
3rd Stop: Farmr
Location: 140A The Esplanade, Toronto, ON
Tasting: Pickled Watermelon Salad, local tomatoes cucumber, arugula, finger chilies, tomato vinaigrette, micro basil
This was probably my favourite on the tour only because it was a hot day and this was so refreshing and light and we had it sitting outside on their cozy patio sitting on picnic tables so it really felt like summer.

Location: 45 Front St E, Toronto
Tasting: Gooderham & Worts Four Grain Canadian Whisky and
Cocktail Toronto -  J.P. Wiser’s Deluxetriple Sec, Lillet Liquor and fresh Lemon.
Herbed fries with dips.

This Lounge is beautiful with some fantastic huge chandeliers and a long bar and cozy seating.  The building has a ton of history and you sort of feel it when you are there.

Now for more details about the actual event including the full menu and ticket information:


The Feast of St. Lawrence begins on August 10th with an exclusive, al fresco fine dining event for charity. Two hundred and fifty guests will be seated at two continuous tables on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) and served a sumptuous five-course dinner prepared by chefs from some of the top restaurants in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood including Biff's Bistro, Farmr, ARDO, The Hot House Restaurant, The Omni King Edward Hotel, Pearl Diver, The Sultan's Tent and George Brown College. 

Wine pairings from Prince Edward County vineyards and Creemore Springs beer will
be served with the dinner and CC Lounge will present a special Whisky tasting bar. The 18-piece JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band will provide added ambiance in the beautifully illuminated Berczy Park lounge area.
The event begins with a reception featuring hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer starting at 6:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. 

A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Second Harvest.

Tickets are $200 and are on sale now!

Purchase tickets:

By Phone: call 416 410 9242
Location: Front Street East (between Scott and Church Street)
Friday August 10, 2018 - 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Official Accounts:

Official Hashtags:

Second Harvest: Second Harvest is the largest food rescue organization in Canada and a global thought leader on food recovery. With a goal to drastically reduce the amount of food wasted while ensuring people have access to the good, healthy food they need for success, Second Harvest works across the supply chain from farmer to retail to capture surplus food before it ends up in the landfill and negatively impacts our environment.
Since 1985 we have rescued and delivered more than 127 million pounds of food and prevented over 70 million pounds of greenhouse gas equivalents from entering our atmosphere. Currently, we rescue food from over 470 donors and deliver that food to 253 social service agencies in Toronto and food hubs across Ontario, providing enough food for 30,000 meals a day.

No Waste. No Hunger.



Oyster Station (Pearl Diver)
Whisky Bar (CC Lounge)
Beer Bar (Creemore Springs Brewery)

Biff's Famous Chicken Liver Parfait (Biff's Bistro)
Falafel with Tahini Sauce (The Sultan's Tent)

Stanners Vineyard 2016 Lincoln Lakeshore Riesling / Stanners Vineyard 2016 Prince Edward County Chardonnay / Broken

Stone Winery 2017 Estate Pinot Noir


Chilled Melon Soup with ginger (The Hot House)
Rosehall Run Ceremony Blanc de Blanc Brut

Tagliata di Spada - Nova Scotia Sword fish with Ardo sour dough, breadcrumb green peas mint pure, pickled cipolline


Closson Chase 2017 K. J. Watson Pinot Gris


Pickled Watermelon Salad, local tomatoes cucumber, arugula, finger chilies, tomato vinaigrette, micro basil (Farmr)

Karlo Estates Winery 2017 Frontenac Gris Rose


Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, petit tender, Chimichurri crema

(Omni King Edward Hotel)

Vegetarian Alternative: Ancient grain and hazelnut clusters, roasted summer vegetables, charred pickled onion, squash

blossoms, carrot cider puree (Omni King Edward Hotel)
Keint-he Winery & Vineyards 2013 Queenston Road Pinot Noir


Tonka Pavlova with Ontario peaches, wild blueberry and basil cream (George Brown College)
S'mores Tart with smoked chocolate, toasted marshmallow and crushed raspberry (George Brown College)

Broken Stone Winery Exuberance Sparkling Riesling

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tastemaker - what makes a successful food event?

Date: June 26, 2018
Location:  Evergreen Brickworks - Toronto
Ticket price: $60


I found myself asking this question after attending the Saturday afternoon session of the Tastemaker Tour.  I was able to attend as media so I don't want to say anything negative towards the organizers because through no fault of the organizers it was a success or failure depending on your perspective.

Because I have a lot of experience with attending and organizing and volunteering at events I have a very big picture view of events.   From the perspective of the organizers this was an extremely successful event because it was SOLD OUT and filled with people for all 3 sessions.  It had some of the best Chefs in the city making some great food and their food was so popular that they ran out of food on the first session from what I heard.  From the Chefs perspective it's great that so many people ate and enjoyed their food.  So looking at the event from their lens it was a huge success.

But looking at it from an attendees perspective there was disappointment if you were in a line that ran out of food.  The main area as shown below where there were 2 separate lines for the 2 main chefs where lines that went from the booth to the very back of the large Brickworks space so I would say at least 100 people long to wait to get food.  Because there were 2 lines you had to wait in line for 2 dishes from one chef and then get back in line for the other line for the other chef.  I was there when it was Rob Gentile from Buca and Grant Van Gammeron from Bar Raval and other restaurants. 
I stood in line for a few minutes and then gave up because with the short 4 hour session I figured I would probably spend most of it in these 2 lineups so I opted for getting food from the other vendors and the Chef cooking demos.  I skipped the lines because I have had many chances to try both chefs food and because I can go to their restaurants anytime I choose to and know that I will see them at other events so it wasn't as important to me to have to try their dishes but they were the big attraction of this show so most people were there to try their food.

Besides the fantastic Chefs that were there serving up their own unique dishes there were a few other great vendors.  I really enjoyed this Smoke Show sauce or condiment I suppose and probably should have tried to buy one because I don't even know where it is sold but it was delicious.

I also really enjoyed the chicken meat pies and paired with a fantastic lime cocktail, that was probably the best thing I tried at the event.

Grant Van Gammeran - Bar Raval, Bar Isabel etc.
Elia Herrera - Los Colibris and Host Pay Chen at the Chef Demo stage


The meatballs made by Chef Herrera were very good and the other chef with her, I am not familiar with who she is so forgive me that I don't know here name but she made some asparagus crostini that were very fresh and light.
Some of the samples were pretty tiny but it was nice to see Brookside giving out little boxes of their chocolate. 

So I don't want to say it was a bad event because it had all the elements of a good event but I think was a victim of it's own success with too many people attending and lessening the experience of it by having to spend the whole time standing in lineups instead of enjoying the food.

This event was organized by a group that have done other events and there was great promotion for the event so that increased the attendance but I thought the $60 fee was steep considering it was really hard to try all the food. 

Food events in Toronto are like no other.  We have a city full of food experience loving people who flock to these types of events where they can try all kinds of things in one place.  Many events have failed because of the over abundance of attendees so I know this is a difficult thing to navigate in this city.

My advice for this event in the future is to re-configure the set up of the event so that the lines don't bleed into each other and maybe spread it out a bit more and have more space to actually sit down and eat the food so that people aren't just standing on cement floor the whole time.  Us old folks get tire pretty quickly so this would make it more enjoyable to spend time enjoying the food with friends.

Personally I left still hungry because I gave up on the Chef lineups but hopefully the people that got their food enjoyed it. 

My other blogger friend opted not to write a post because her experience wasn't enjoyable but I decided to take a look at it in a different way and look at it from the perspective of a blogger who attends many events so I have seen the good ones and the bad ones,  I wouldn't say this one was bad but it had some issues and if you look at the event from the perspective of an attendee who isn't able to go all over the city to try all these different foods then it's great.  From the perspective of the organizers and chefs it's fantastic because there were so many people.

I decided to write this post to get you to think about the Big Picture when you attend an event and try and put yourself in the shoes of the people that organize them and the people that work them and people attending them to make an objective decision about whether the event is a success.  In my opinion all parties must walk away from the event having the feeling of a great memory being created and having had a great time.   That's True Success.

Italian Day at the Castle

Event:  Castello Italia - Italian National Day
Date:  Sunday June 3, 2018
Location:  Casa Loma in Toronto

It's taken a while to get to this post but I wanted to tell you about the FREE event I attended at Casa Loma in June.  Presented by the Consulate General of Italy this event is open to everyone to celebrate National Italian Heritage Month.  Although I am not Italian I grew up with a lot of Italian influence in the homes of my neighbours so I feel like an honorary Italian and most people think I am Italian so I know that I would feel right at home in Italy and this event was like a mini trip to an event in Italy.

When you arrive at Casa Loma there are Premium Italian made cars on display in front of the castle and then you enter and then you walk through a constant path of food vendors.  All your favourite Italian foods are there.  There is a whole room as seen below just dedicated to cheese and cured meats mostly.  Some of the dishes available were Arancini, orrichette pasta, goat cheese gelato, Ndjuia spread, Nutella pizza, regular pizza, risotto and of course there is great coffee in a couple of different places and there are a couple of bars too.  

It was a gorgeous day for this event so it was jam packed so there were long lineups for some of the food so we pretty much went from line to line but there was so much to try and I know I probably missed trying a few amazing things but I think I tried a whole lot of good stuff.

My only thing about this event was the getting there.  Casa Loma really should have a dedicated bus from one of the subway stations to get there and I can't understand why they don't.  Maybe I should have gone downtown and jumped on a tour bus to get there.  There was a shuttle but it only dropped you off at a parking lot at George Brown college so they assume you drove there.  It's great that they had a shuttle for that but it's a jaunt for ttc commuters and they should really have a bus since it's a tourist attraction.   

Anyway it was a pretty fun event and people were all dressed up pretty fancy.  There was music and all kinds of things going on so it was an event in constant motion.

This wasn't a media event for me.  My friend had an extra ticket so I joined her but if you are quick you can try and a limited amount of tickets when they become available.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Spring farm food tour in Wellington County

I live and work in 2 most dense places in Toronto and basically go from underground high rise buildings to large tower offices.  I don't see much green and nature these days so I jumped at the chance to go on one of Farm & Food Care's Farm Tour's organized by the lovely Jennifer from Foodworkx.  I have been on a similar bus tour once before but because I have been busy working I have missed a couple of them so this time I was determined to go.  I love these farm tours because you get to see a whole other side of life and get to meet the people making your food face to face and have the opportunity to ask them questions and find out things you never knew about the food you are eating.  Besides this it's just a really awesome day with fellow food industry people and eating great food too.  I have been very lucky because the last time and this time the weather was spectacular and I heard I missed the 2 rainy and cold days.  For once my timing was excellent.  I think more people should learn what it takes to make their food because the would appreciate it and the people who make it so much more.  The farming and agriculture industry is very hard,  it's weather sensitive and it's a LOT of hard work.  Farmer's markets where the vendor is actually the producer are great because you have a chance to thank those people for their efforts and connect to the people that you can't live without.


We started our tour at Elgersmas' Family Farm where the lovely young couple Andrew and Lindsay Elgersma gave us a tour of their egg production facility which is also where they live.  They have 3 children and 10,000 hens on their family farm in the Elora area.  They also have other day jobs.  And you thought you were busy! Their farm is a family business that has been in Andrew's family since the 1850's but Andrew and Lindsay are taking it into the future with some modern information on how to best produce healthy hens and eggs.  All of their eggs are Omega 3 eggs which means they are fed flax seeds.  Their facility uses what is called an enriched housing system.  It houses smaller more natural sized space with nest boxes, scratch pads and perches. They have a raised cage system so that their waste drops away under them preventing disease from contact. 

Fact 1: Did you know that a hen only lays one egg a day?

Their hens produce 330 a year and in previous years it was only 175.
The eggs go from the conveyor to your store within 4-5 days.  That includes packaging at Burnbrae Farms who distribute it for them.

Fact 2:  Eggs are harder to peel when they are fresh so use your old eggs first if you are going to hard boil them.

Fact 3.  If eggs aren't washed they can be stored at room temperature because they have a protective coating.  If they are washed which is normally how they are sold in supermarkets then they need to be stored in the fridge for up to 5 weeks.

Fact 4.  The color of the egg depends on the color of the hen.   Hens that lay eggs are not the chickens you buy in the grocery store. 

Fact 5.  In Canada their are 1000 egg farmers.

After our tour of the Elgersmas' Farm we headed over to the Wellington Museum & Archives in Fergus enjoy a fantastic lunch using of course the Eggs and beans that are featured on this tour.  

We started off with a fantastic Scotch Egg and amazing bread with 6 bean hummus. There was a buffet featuring Black bean chili, Quinta quinoa salad and a Goat cheese Frittata and salad with local strawberries.

The dessert was a decadent brownie made with beans.  Thanks to Chef Derek Roberts and Jackie Fraser of Fraberts Fresh Foods for the great lunch. The Museum grounds have a gorgeous garden.  While enjoying our dessert we listened to Lynn Weaver from SaskCanola talk about the Canola produced in Saskatchewan and how important it is in export to other countries.

After lunch we jumped back on the bus and our last stop was at the University of Guelph's Elora Research Station.   Dr. Peter Pauls gave us an information session about different beans and legumes and the their studies to produce different varieties of beans that will meet the demands of consummers.

Did you know that there is a Bean Research Program at the world renowned Elora Research Station?

Fact 6.  Canada exports 80-90% of our Bean/Legume crops.

One of the most fun parts of the day was seeing all the food writers, recipe developers and industry people all hop on board for a good ol' wagon ride through the Wheat and Pea fields.  Did I mention that the weather was perfect and we all enjoyed a bit of the warm sun and a fun ride too.

Fact 7.  97% of Canada's farms are family owned.

Fact 8.  According to Statistics Canada there were 193,492 farms in 2016.  That's 5.9% fewer than in 2011.

Fact 9.  The average Canadian farm is around 820 acres which has increased from previous years.

Fact 10.  The average age of a Canadian Farmer is 55 and 28.7 % of Canadian farmers are female.

I always learn many things when I have the opportunity to tours like this and it's why I always like to promote local and Canadian producers because besides producing food for us and other parts of the world they are also part of our local communities and they make a difference in everyone's life.

You can get a 360º view of the different types of hen housing on www.

For more information:  &