TORONTO — The 20th annual Taste Canada Awards took place last night in Toronto. Held at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto, the event brought together cookbook authors and food bloggers to honour culinary writers and publishers from across Canada. This year, 147 books and blogs in both English and French were entered in the competition. A shortlist of 54 books and blogs was announced in July.
Guests were treated to a welcome wine-and-cheese reception sponsored by The Dairy Farmers of Canada, Monforte Dairy, Forno Cultura and the Niagara College Teaching winery. Noah Cappe, host of Carnival Eats on Food Network and the Bachelor Canada, and food expert Claire Tansey, hosted this year’s gala, which kicked off with an address from MPP Grant Crack highlighting the importance of Canada’s food industry to the overall economic health of the country.
In total, 24 silver and gold awards were handed out in five categories in both French and English: Single-Subject Cookbooks, Culinary Narratives, Health and Special Diet Cookbook, Regional Cultural Cookbooks and General Cookbooks.
New this year, awards were presented in two blog categories (English only) — General Blog and Health and Special Diet Blog.
Gold winners included James Walt, for his book, Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm-Fresh Recipes; and Naomi Duguid for her book, Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Angela Liddon won a gold for her book Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-Based Recipes, and another award for her blog, OhSheGlows.com.
The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees included Bunny Barrs, food history writer and cookbook author whose work preserves and celebrates the rich history of ranching and pioneer experiences in the Canadian West; and Edna Staebler (posthumously), the award-winning journalist and author of 21 cookbooks — including the iconic Food that Really Schmecks.
The awards wrapped up with the presentation of the Taste Canada Cooks the Books champions. Held at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto, the competition pitted nine teams of culinary students against each other to recreate a recipe from a Taste Canada author’s cookbook. The team from Centennial College took home bragging rights this year, with Liaison College winning silver (Kitchener campus) and bronze (Oakville campus).
Following the awards, 12 chef stations — including offerings from Langdon Hall’s Jason Bangerter, Matt Basile from Fidel Gastro’s, Jonathan Gushue of The Berlin and Tawfik Shehata from the International Centre — offered guests a selection of innovative and seasonal dishes.
A full list of winners can be found here.