Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Eat to the Beat 2016 - 60 Female Chefs - 1 Great Event

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 | 7 pm – 10 pm | Roy Thomson Hall

The countdown is on to one of the hottest food events in Toronto! Join us for the 21st annual Eat to the Beat presented by KitchenAida fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) that features 60 female chefs supporting people living with breast cancer.

Emily Richards - photo provided by Eat to the Beat
Eat to the Beat guests have the opportunity to enjoy specially prepared savoury and sweet dishes at 60 stations, along with wine, beer and a selection of non alcoholic beverages set up around Roy Thomson Hall’s outer lobby.

In addition to food and drink, colourful and whimsical one-of-a-kind corsets, inspired by food and created and modelled by breast cancer survivors, have become an integral part of Eat to the Beat.

photo provided by Eat to the Beat
Started 21 years ago by sisters Lisa and Abby Slater, Eat to the Beat has raised more than $3.9 million since its inception. Funds raised at Eat to the Beat will support the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – dedicated to funding relevant and innovative research, supporting and advocating for the breast cancer community, and providing credible, unbiased information to help empower those affected by breast cancer or at increased genetic risk of developing the disease.

The 60 Participating chefs and select menu items that will be featured at this year’s Eat to the Beat include:

·         Sandra AbballeSucculent Chocolates and Sweets
·         Vanessa Baudanza and Isabelle Loiacono, The Rolling Pin
·         Wanda BeaverWanda's Pie in the Sky - Grand Marnier Nanaimo bars
·         Renee BellefeuilleArt Gallery of Ontario - cured whitefish, rye toast, tarragon crème fraiche and        pickled caperberry goat cheese and artichoke puff
·         Cathy Beneway, Creative Catering by Cathy
·         Emma BeqajEmma's Eatery Catering - lobster grilled cheese
·         Arvinda Chauhan and Preena ChauhanArvinda’s - spicy curry leaf infused chick pea dip with            tomato purée served on cucumber and zucchini rounds and garnished with noodles and curry leaf
·         Tiiu Christie and Tysa ChristieMarigolds and Onions
·         Felicia Derose Colette Grand Café
·         Donna Dooher and Michael Leary, Mildred's Temple Kitchen
·         Kyla Eaglesham, Madeleines
·         Rossy EarleSupiCucu
·         Michelle Edgar, The Sweet Escape Patisserie
·         Alison FerlandByblos
·         Mali FernandezXola Mexican Food
·         Alexandra FeswickThe Drake Hotel - Adobo pulled pork steam buns with daikon pickle
·         Trish Gill, The Emmet Ray
·         Bonnie GordonBonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts - Macaron in a variety of flavours,          homemade chocolates, and langues de chat
·         Tamara GreenThe Living Kitchen
·         Kimberly Humby, East & Main Bistro
·         Anna Janes, Cocomira Confections
·         Vanessa Le PageCake Lady - Edible Art - The Shortbread 
·         Tara LeeBar Hop - mini pork and ricotta meatballs with a tomato cream sauce
·         Jacqueline LoRuelo Patisserie
·         Erin MarcusAce Bakery
·         Lynn MendelsonLynn Mendelson Catering - million $ bars
·         Joan MonfarediPark Hyatt Hotel - tuna tartar wonton tacos with pea shoots
·         Jennifer Mooers and Chris Brown, Citizen Catering
·         Lauren Mozer, Elle Cuisine
·         Catherine O’Donnell, Willow Cakes and Pastries
·         Christine Ostiguy, Yorkshire Pudding Catering
·         Angela Panigas, The Sultan's Tent & Café Moroc
·         Chef Véronique PerezCrêpes à GoGo Spadina and Limonana
·         Jennifer Perusini, BerBer Social
·         Andrea Poirier, Inn on the Twenty
·         Karen RachlinBite Catering
·         Regular NuitPai Northern Thai Kitchen, Sabai Sabai Kitchen and Bar and Sukhothai Restaurant -     "Mee kra ti" – stir fried rice vermicelli with coconut milk and tofu
·         Caroline Reid, Scaramouche - house-cured duck pastrami with celery root salad, hazelnut purée 
·         Emily RichardsProfessional Home Economist - balsamic roasted pear wedges wrapped in                prosciutto with gorgonzola dip
·         Dufflet RosenbergDufflet Pastries - cookie bar
·         Barbara Rotberg, Lollicakes 
·         Gauravi Shah, Tilde - chorizo meatballs with lime aioli and grilled pineapple salsa, bean vegballs          with roasted tomato salsa and cilantro gremolata
·         Trista SheenBar Begonia
·         Alida SolomonTutti Matti
·         Lili SullivanWaupoos Winery - cider braised lamb in a filo cup with spiked apple
·         Meghan Van HornePublic Schoolhouse @ Jackson’s Falls - polenta crisp with smoked trout,              chèvre, wild spinach and walnut pesto
·         Karen Viva-Haynes, Viva Tastings
·         Elaine Wong, The Omni King Edward Hotel
·         Winlai Wong, The Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto
·         Jeanne Da Silva, George Brown College Chef School - edamame falafels with a cultured                      vegetable slaw on whole wheat tortilla cups and vegetarian BLT with coconut bacon, roasted                tomatoes and a spicy avocado purée on whole grain baguette
·         Vanessa YeungAphrodite Cooks
·         Eden HertzogNew Moon Kitchen
·         Leyla Kizilirmak, Art Square Gallery and Café - organic and fair trade dark chocolate boobs
·         Carmen Jeffrey, President’s Choice Cooking School

Eat to the Beat at a Glance:
DATE:              Tuesday, November 1, 2016
TIME:                7 pm – 10 pm
VENUE:            Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto (St. Andrew subway station) 
COST:  General Admission Ticket: $189 (a tax receipt will be issued for the maximum allowable amount) Tickets include dishes at 60 stations along with wine, beer and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages.
DRESS:            Smart Casual
CONTACT:        eattothebeat@cbcf.org or call 1 (800) 387-9816
FACEBOOK:     www.facebook.com/cbcf.ettb 
TWITTER:         @EattotheBeat_TO
HASHTAG:        #EattotheBeat

About the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation:
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) is a national community-driven charity. As the largest charitable funder of breast cancer research in Canada, CBCF’s vision is to create a future without breast cancer. Since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has invested over $360 million in breast cancer research, funding more than 1,400 scientific and community grants.CBCF’s investments in vital research, education, health promotion, support and information programs have led to progress in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care. For more information, visit cbcf.org.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Celebrate World Food Day with Pulses

Date:  October 14, 2016
Event: World Food Day #WFD2016
Location:  Planta Toronto - Yorkville
Host:  Chef Michael Smith & Pulse Canada

Special Guests:
Nick Saul, CEO, Community Food Centres Canada
Dr. David Jenkins, Founder of Glycemic Index
Chris Martinageli, Director, of Pulse Canada
Dr. Joyce Boye, Special Ambassador for International Year of Pulses
Lee Moats, Chair Pulse Canada, Pulse Farmer Denis Tremorin, Director Pulse Canada

In Honour of World Food Day I was invited to a great private event at the new Plant Based Restaurant - Planta in Yorkville at the former Pangea Restaurant space on Bay Street, for cocktails and a little bit of information about what Pulses can do for the World.  Pulses are Peas, Beans, Lentils and Chickpeas.  2016 is the International Year of Pulses.

Chef Michael Smith who is a strong supporter of using more Pulses to feed people everyday was the Host of the event.  He did a whole series for Pulse Canada on the use of Pulses around the world.  We produce more pulses than anyone and export more than anyone.  I bet if you visit India you will be eating Canadian Pulses.

The event took place at the highly anticipated Plant-based Restaurant called PLANTA in Yorkville.  I think it's the perfect spot for this restaurant and the perfect time where the trends have been crazy but at the same time I think people are getting tired of eating food that is bad for them and the planet.  I heard about this restaurant not long ago and it was on my radar for places to check out because I love vegetables when prepared properly.  Most vegetarian/vegan restaurants really don't make the food that exciting.  Yeah we all know about Kale salad but what else can you do.  Enter Chef David Lee who has adopted a plant based diet in his own life so naturally it made sense for him to have it crossover into his professional life. In partnership with the Chase Group who is well established they scooped up the prime location in Yorkville and I don't think they did too much to renovate the space but the menu is nothing like anything else in the city.

Although I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian I eat far less meat than I used to and actually enjoy a wide range of vegetables and I have been looking for more ways to introduce pulses to my diet because I have always had vegetables because of my parents European background but less so the pulses,  I had them less often as my mother's knowledge about what to do with them was limited as it is for most people.  This is where Food Education in schools could be used to really make a change.  If kids were taught simple recipes in schools and the nutritional value of cooking with pulses, I am sure it would be shared for generations.

*Pulses are good for so many things.
  • For farmers they are great because they are a sustainable crop that actually enrich the soil instead of depleting it.
  • Good Source of protein
  • Iron rich - one serving of lentils contains 1.5 times as much iron as 3 oz. serving of steak.
  • Good source of potassium
  • Excellent source of folate - chickpeas contain 3x more folate than a serving of kale
  • And fibre - all pulses have 4x more fibre than brown rice.
  • Gluten free
  • Sodium free
  • Trans Fat-free
  • Crops are Drought-tolerant
  • Produce a low carbon footprint
  • Pulses require 19L of water to produce 1gram of protein compared to Meat which requires 68L of water to produce 1 gram of protein
* source Pulse Canada

The Cost per serving of lentils is $0.16 Canadian compared to:
Beef - $1.36, Pork - $0.92 and Chicken $0.55

Lentils and peas take not longer to cook than pasta or rice.

The guest speakers:
  • Nick Saul, CEO, Community Food Centres
  • Lee Moats, Chair, Pulse Canada Pulse Farmer
  • Denis Tremorin, Director, Sustainability Pulse Canada
  • Dr. David Jenkins, Canadian Research Chair in Nutrition & Metabolism and Founder of the Glycemic Index
  • not pictured:  Chris Marinageli, Director, Nutrition Science and Regulatory Affairs, Pulse Canada
  • and Dr. Joyce Boye, my photo wasn't good enough to post.. she is FAO Special Ambassador for the IYP for North America, Director, Research, Development and Technology Transfer Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Nick Saul, CEO of Community Food Centres who said, "the act of cooking is political", that stuck with me because you choose what you want our governments and corporations to do by what you choose to buy and eat and it contributes to what happens around the world.

Dr. David Jenkins talked about how we need to switch to eating more pulses to sustain the environment because we are losing species because we can't sustain the food system.  He basically spoke about the benefit to the world in the environment and health.

Dr. Joyce Boye spoke about how the population will increase in the next 20 years.  We are already having problems feeding everyone in the world and if we don't start making changes we won't be able to feed the increasing population around the globe.

Farmer Lee Moats spoke about how growing pulses is great for the economy because of the amount we export and how it is the best crop for farmers to grow because it uses less water and yields the best soil for crop rotation.

As you can see it's a Win Win thing.  Families can be fed for little money using pulses and improve their health by getting plant proteins instead of meat proteins which have other health risks with increased allergies and all of the antibiotics and other issues that come from eating meat.  While i still love the taste of meat I think it really makes sense to limit the consumption and switch to more consumption of pulses instead.

As you can see there is a lot of information about this subject.  It really is a domino effect,  eating pulses will not only sustain the environment it will lower the cost of health care in the future with a tiny adjustment in what we plant and eat.

Now let's talk about the taste of the food.  It always comes back to that.

I wish I had better and more photos of the food we sampled because it was amazing.  You really didn't miss the fact that there was no meat in it because it was full of flavour and had the mouth feel or Umami that you crave and get from all the fat, sugar, salt etc in less healthy food.

We tried:

  • Chickpea Fries with za'atar and lemon aioli
  • Queso Dip, black beans, pickled vegetables, cashew crema on tortilla chips
  • Cauliflower Tots, truffle parmesan, lemon aioli
We also had a carrot cake smoothie.  All the appetizers were perfectly seasoned with spices to enhance the flavour.  I am the Queen of Spice and really that makes the biggest difference when making vegetables go from boring to fantastic.  What's a tomato without basil?

Yes this is a long post but the statistics are incredible and I am only skimming the surface of this subject.

For more information:
Pulse Canada's website:  http://www.pulsecanada.com/
Chef Michael Smith recipes: http://chefmichaelsmith.com/

Hashtags #lovepulses

Support Community Food Centres Canada at:  http://cfccanada.ca/

Monday, October 10, 2016

Hawaiian Poke comes North

 The new trend hitting Toronto is Poke Bowls.  They are popping up everywhere.  The latest Poke spot is NORTH POKE in Kensington Market.  I was invited to sample some of their authentic Hawaiian Poke Bowls.  I entered the tiny shop on Baldwin and was greeted by the owner also named Linda, who wanted to create an true Poke shop and more of a fish market place.  They receive their fish daily and prepare everything fresh and in limited quantities.  Fresh Tuna is very expensive so it makes sense to order only enough for the day to keep the costs down and the fish fresh.

North Poke owner Linda
 It's a tiny shop so a small group of bloggers and foodies were invited to try 3 different poke bowls and Musubi which is a Spam Sushi type of thing.

We sampled 3 poke bowls:

1. The Big Wave - Albacore Tuna, charred Jalapeno citrus dressing, black garlic, shallots and mayo.

2.  Hawaii Classic - Ahi Tuna, shoyu dressing, cucumber, onions, nori, toasted sesame, fried shallots, avocado, macadamia nuts, house aoili, green onions and seaweed salad.

3.  Waimea -  Salmon, togarashi aoili, avocado, edamame, pickled onion, seaweed salad and fried shallots.

I think this is also the order of my preference.  The Big Wave was light and creamy and a nice balance of flavours.

The great thing about North Poke is that it comes in 3 sizes.  A snack size, the regular size and the large size.  The prices range from just over $5 to about $15.

This is a great fast fresh lunch on the run.  Grab a bowl and go.  It's the perfect fast food.  They do all the chopping and assembling and you just eat and go.

The shop is tiny but very cute with little kitchy touches like ukelele's on the wall and Hawaiian inspired art.  This shop fits perfectly in the Kensington market area with diverse original foods that have a lot of whimsy in the spaces.  It's the cutest Poke shop that I have seen so far.

Check it out at:

North Poke
179 Baldwin Street,
Toronto, ON
Twitter @NorthPokeTO
Instagram @NorthPoke