DiRoNa’s Toronto Conference a Culinary and Educational Success


TORONTO — The Distinguished Restaurants of North America’s (DiRoNa) 20th Anniversary reunion conference, held last week, from Sept. 19 to 22, at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York, featured moment after moment of culinary and beverage achievement.

The gourmet samplings of Canadian cuisine at the CN Tower’s 360 Restaurant set the stage for a number of events and special meals. Highlights included a visit to Niagara Falls; a lunch and Holt Renfrew fashion show at Ruth’s Chris; a gala dinner prepared by Pino Posteraro of Vancouver’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca, which incorporated 10 kilos of Italian truffles (valued at $70,000); a Japanese lunch created on the philosophy of Oh-Kyaku-San (guest and customer are one), and a Kaiseki Dinner prepared by Iron Chef Japan Kimo Nonaga, Hihonbaschi-Yukari, Ryo Ozawa and his staff from EDO restaurant in Toronto. Japanese celebrity chef Hidekazu Tojo, past chef to the Emperor and Empress of Japan and chef/owner of Tojo’s Rastaurant, Vancouver, was unable to participate in the aforementioned dinner due to a sudden illness.

A range of intense workshops, seminars and presentations — including a dramatic carving demonstration of a 60-kilo fresh Blue Fin tuna by chef Kimio Nonaga — were also part of the DiRoNa conference.

Two workshops presented by Humber College held the rapt attention of delegates. Emerging Trends in Canadian Cuisine was one workshop, led by Humber professors and chefs Rudi Fischbacher and James Bodanis. It highlighted new equipment and technology changing the kitchen; the other workshop was a demonstration and tasting of Cooking Sous-Vide. According to the speakers, the equipment trends changing the industry, include Pacojet, technology used for production of savoury and sweets; GastroVac, which works like a crock pot, vacuum pump and heating plate in one; anti-griddle, inspired by chef Achatz at Alinea in Chicago, which quickly freezes  sauces and purées into solid or semi-frozen consistency at -30F (-34C); and induction stoves (magnetic resonance cooking), which are used in a number of Canada’s leading restaurants, including Toronto’s CN Tower, Auberge du Pommier, Canoe and Granite Club.


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