‘About Local Food’ Book Launch

Life Rattle Press invites you to celebrate the launch of its newest publication:

About Local Food: Four Conversations with Toronto Activists
By Laurel Eden Waterman

When: Monday May 3, 2010 – 6:30-8:00p.m.
Where: Supermarket – 268 Augusta Avenue, Toronto (In the heart of Kensington Market)

Author Laurel Eden Waterman will read from her new publication and discuss her interviews with four activists in the Toronto local food movement.

Elizabeth Harris: manager, the Riverdale and the Brick Works farmers’ markets.

Jane Hayes: gardener, artist and educator.

Tobey Nemeth: Chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar.

Wayne Roberts: manager, Toronto Food Policy Council, and food writer.

Interview with Chris McDonald

Chris McDonald was chef and owner of Avalon for 12 years before he opened Cava, and now Xococava, a chocolate store next door to Cava. Slow Food Toronto’s John Greenhow sat down with him to discuss his restaurant, his approach to cooking, and food ethics.

JG: Describe Cava and Xococava for me.

CM: Cava was meant to be a relaxed, less expensive, neighbourhood restaurant – albeit with sort of a cheeky edge – you see the hams hanging. We call the food rustic-modern because it is modern but it has roots in Spanish and Mexican flavours.

It’s not about us showing off. A lot of the stuff we’re doing is very simple.

The menu’s very large and so some people can come and play it safe, and some people come and challenge themselves, and some people are coming knowing that there’s a certain level of trust with what I’ve been doing in the city for the last long, long time, and so they’re maybe going to try something they wouldn’t normally try. If you’re looking for a diving board, you can find one here, most people will find one here.

It’s certainly engaging, which is what I want to do. To the extent that this can be considered art, art to me is something that leaves the participant, not the practitioner, somewhat altered after they’ve participated in that art. So whether you go and see a dance, or a fantastic photography show, or hear an opera or something, you’re somehow not quite the same person you were prior to the experience. I would like to have that little bit of engagement that is risk-taking from me, and you are also risk-taking and somehow we’re united in that. We’re connected through that.

Continue reading Interview with Chris McDonald

Dirt! The Movie

Editor
January 26, 2010
Presented by FoodCycles:
Dirt! The Movie
When: Thursday, January 28th, 2010 – 6:30-8:30
Where: Bloor Cinema
This film is about the relationship between humans and soil. It looks at innovative and inspiring community food projects improving this relationship. The night is also a fundraiser for FoodCycles’ work growing vibrant soil, food, and community.
To Purchase Tickets: Call Ian at FoodShare – (416) 363-6441 (x241)

Ontario Game Dinner

This is the first for 2010 of Slow Food Toronto’s Chef’s Series Events.

When: February 2, 2010 – 6:00p.m.
Where: Wine Bar/Hank’s – 9 Church Street, Toronto
Tickets: $60 (members)/$70 (non-members)* – available on UofTTix.ca / (416) 978-8849
BYOB – no corkage (+ Hank’s has a fine selection of Ontario wines)

Slow Food Toronto Chefs joining us for this evening:

Joshna Maharaj (Food Studio~ Charcuterie
Bertrand Alepee (Amuse Bouche) &  Scott Vivian (Wine Bar/Hank’s) ~ Venison
Jason Bangerter (Auberge du Pommier) & Mike Steh (Red’s) ~ Rabbit
Chris Brown (The Stop) & Jason Inniss (Amuse Bouche) ~ Squab
Jeff Crump, Scott Baily & Bettina Schormann (Ancaster Old Mill) ~ Wild Boar
Rachelle Vivian (Wine Bar/Hank’s) ~ Desserts

*Proceeds from the evening will help send delegates to Terra Madre, Slow Food’s bi-annual conference on sustainable world food economies in October 2010. They’re going because delicious isn’t good enough. They want to play their role in creating a local sustainable food system.

Canadian and International (Slow) Food Culture

Editor
December 21, 2009

Joshna Maharaj

Whenever I tell people about Slow Food, they don’t always get it right off the bat.  There are lots of questions about whether it’s an organization promoting lengthy cooking times (and therefore eating only stews and braises), or chewing many times (slowly) before swallowing.  Then I say that it was created in objection to the efforts and effects of fast food, and I am almost instantly understood…and they’re curious to know more.  To be honest, before the autumn of this year, my understanding of Slow Food was of an organization that held expensive dinners with wonderful food.  The chef in me knew that quality was worth paying for, but the anti-poverty worker in me couldn’t wholeheartedly sign on to something that didn’t speak to everyone, or address food’s connection to poverty.

But then I went to Slow Food Nation in San Francisco in September, and found myself listening to people I respect like Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Raj Patel and Vandana Shiva, all of whom stand firmly behind Slow Food as the good news for a bad news world.  In a way that I had never heard before, Slow Food was talking about justice and the right to pleasure, about ethical food systems and the global food crisis…and I was loving it.

Continue reading Canadian and International (Slow) Food Culture

2009 Closing

Editor
December 2, 2009

Slowly, with resolution

Hello to Slow Food Toronto members and other supporters,

It has been an amazing year to be involved in the ongoing revolution in how we produce and share food. I feel tremendously fortunate to be part of this community that cares deeply about the quality of the sustenance we rely on, and is intrigued by the stories that bring meaning to our dining experiences. Together, we are creating a uniquely Toronto narrative that unites us within a sustainable, delightful network that nourishes body, mind and spirit.

It has been humbling to witness the commitment, wisdom and resilience of the producers who sustain us. Slow Food Toronto has created many forums for urban eaters to meet with these professors of the soil and come to appreciate the value that they provide us. As we draw near to Terra Madre Day, we are all reminded to consider our debt of obligation, and to seek out ways to reward farmers, fishers and other food artisans fairly for their risk and labour.

I hope to see you at the AGM on December 6th, as we plan action and take responsibility for Slow Food Toronto activities in 2010. Also, Terra Madre Day will be a joyful gathering of the Slow Food clan, and a chance to directly express our appreciation for our local, sustainable producing communities. Please look out for the upcoming changes to our web site, which will create forums for you to share your experiences as an engaged co-producer, as we together reinvent a food system that values taste, enhances bio-diversity, heals the earth, and rewards those who serve as stewards of our lands and waters.

Slowest regards,
Paul DeCampo

Explore Everdale – A Day on the Farm

On August 8th and September 12th – enjoy a day on the farm!

Experience Home Alive! the straw bale demonstration home
Explore the Organic Farm
Enjoy: Adult workshops, Kids farm fun Activities, Self discovery quests, A story walk, Playing in our seed maze, A stroll in the labyrinth, Visiting with the farm animals and a delicious organic lunch!

KIDS: admission FREE

Everdale is located in Hillsburgh , Ontario. 1 hr NW of Toronto

For more info go to http://www.everdale.org 519-855-48

Interview with Scott Vivian

scott-vivian-slow-food-torontoMiriam Streiman met with one of Slow Food Toronto’s gifted chefs, community leader and all around good guy, Scott Vivian, to discuss his rich culinary history, his relationship with food, and his approach to good, clean and fair cooking.

Get Scott’s delicious Cassoulet recipe in the SFT Recipe section.

MS: Scott, I don’t know much about your culinary history; can you share your journey on becoming the incredibly gifted chef that you are?

SV: I started cooking professionally in 1994; I will preface this with, I was born in Montreal, my parents moved to California when I was three years old and I lived the first part of my life there. My father worked for Coca-Cola, his job ended up moving us to Atlanta when Coca-Cola moved its headquarters. So Atlanta was basically where I started my professional cooking career. Although it was in high school that I started cooking in a professional kitchen – it was a pizza place called California Pizza kitchen. I learned how to make pizza doughs in wood-burning ovens and they also had a saute pasta side. So I briefly learned about that.

After high school, when everyone started going to college, I decided that was not for me, so I went out to Colorado. I couldn’t find a job waiting tables, and that was what I wanted to do because I heard that was where the money was. So I was forced to get a job in a kitchen. It was a small kitchen, an 11-table bistro restaurant. The chef took me under his wing. I started as a dishwasher and moved my way up learning how to cook. I signed up for a two-year apprenticeship with him. After that I moved back to Atlanta.

Continue reading Interview with Scott Vivian

Author Margaret Webb – Talking to Farmers

Author Margaret Webb Talks about Talking to Farmers

Farmers say the darnest things – wise, perceptive, gritty, funny things. But most of all, they speak about the joys and challenges of growing food from the quirky depths of their hearts. While we eaters debate food issues, farmers work in the muck of them.

Electrifying is how I would describe the many conversations I’ve had with farmers while researching my book, Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms (www.margaretwebb.com). Just get a farmer talking, in the workshop on a rainy day, in a long truck ride through the prairies, on horseback during a cattle roundup. What you will hear are the passionate, earthy ruminations of people who are trying to do what is right by food and nature, while trying to scratch out a living in our deeply flawed agricultural system.

Sadly, too few of us get to make this connection to the people who grow our food, the chief reason I wrote my book and also why I initiated an interview series called, Talking to Famers, during my book tour across Canada. In an effort to give farmers their rightful place in the food debate, at centre stage, I invited a few local farmers to be interviewed live, before an audience. I hoped the event would introduce local eaters to local food producers and also start a conversation between strangers about the thing they have in common, namely, our food.

From my vantage point on stage with the farmer, I could see that the audience of urban eaters got the same thrill from listening to farmers as me, and so I started taping and videotaping the conversations, trying to bring the voices of farmers to even more people.

Here are a few of those interviews, with farmers near my home in Toronto and in my home country of Simcoe. The video, Farming: What Future? features two new farmers near Creemore, Ontario, speaking about the farm crisis in Canada.

To watch Margaret’s videos, click here.

Interview with Chef Marc Breton

Editor
February 3, 2009

marc-breton-slow-food-torontoSlow Food Toronto’s Miriam Streiman met with Chef Marc Breton, Executive Chef at the Gladstone Hotel, to discuss how his upbringing influenced his approach to food, the importance of food and our seasons, and building relationships with local producers.

MS: Why did you become a chef?
CMB: I am French Canadian and grew up with food being a big part of everyday life. When I was young, eating was a social event.  I did well in high school and then went to University.  I hated it and ended up answering an ad for kitchen help.  I started as a dishwasher and moved my way up.

MST: What were the traditional foods eaten at home?
CMB: Some are on our menu now; tourtiere at Christmas time, for Harvest Wednesday this year we made Head Cheese, but it was not as good as my mother’s. We had the staples growing up, baked beans, pies. We also did a lot of preserving, which we have done at the Hotel all along.  That was from my grandmothers and mothers kitchen.  I remember going to pick fruit as a family, and going back and making plum jam. With my grandmothers cooking, it was like you had died and gone to heaven.  It was not do you want pie, but what kind of pie? My grandmother was an amazing cook.  She used lard to make her pie crust.  Now fat has become a bad thing, but then, we needed to eat fat to survive the winter, we also used a lot of pork and cheaper cuts of meat.

MS: Are people more open to eating animal fat now?
CMB: People are making a political statement when they pick up their fork. You have to eat in a healthy way and in moderation, diets are not moderate, they are too extreme.  There is no reason you should not have a little bacon now and again, or some of those excellent dried cured salamis.

Continue reading Interview with Chef Marc Breton