TORONTO — With interest in all things food continuing to grow at an obsessive rate, it stands to reason that last night’s Taste Canada awards at the Arcadian Court in Toronto attracted hundreds of food professionals to celebrate excellence in food writing and publishing.
Donna Dooher, national chair of Taste Canada and president and CEO of Restaurants Canada, welcomed the nominees and a collection of industry professionals to an evening that featured an awards celebration followed by a sampling of food from some of the city’s top toques.
The hosts for the evening were Vikram Vij, Vancouver chef, restaurateur and cookbook author and Ricardo Larrivée, chef, author and television personality, and most recently magazine publisher. The duo regaled the audience with banter providing a humorous background to what was an entertaining evening focused on the efforts of 68 cookbook authors. For the first time, this year’s competition also featured entries from 27 bloggers from coast to coast, providing a new dimension to food writing. Last night’s winners included:
Culinary Narratives, English: Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirby
French: Ainsi cuisinaient les belle-soeurs dan l’oeuvre de Michel Tremblay by Anne Fortin
General Cookbooks, English: Family Meals by Michael Smith
French: Ensemble: Cuisine gourmande et colorée by Christelle Tanielian
Single Subject Cookbooks, English: Duchess Bake Shop by Giselle Courteau
French: Soupes-repas gourmandes by Anne-Louise Desjardins
Regional & Cultural Cookbooks, English: The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canada Road by Lisa Ahier and Andrew Morrison
In addition to the cookbook awards, four women were inducted in the Hall of Fame: Rose Murray, food writer; Nellie Pattinson (presented posthumously); and Elinor Donaldson Whyte and Helen Wattie (presented posthumously).
As a relatively new feature of the Taste Canada awards, initiated two years ago, the evening also celebrated winners from the Taste Canada Cooks the Books, a cooking competition pitting students from culinary schools across the country against each other to compete for the title of Canada’s Best New Chefs. Each student team was paired with a Taste Canada culinary author and given the challenge of recreating a recipe from the author’s cookbooks, along with their own signature garnish. The competition took place this past weekend as part of the Food & Wine event held at Evergreen Brick Works. Awards were presented to George Brown, which placed first and second in the competition while Centennial College placed third.
The Taste Canada awards were initiated by Cuisine Canada in 1998 under the leadership of Jo-Marie Powers. Three years ago, the awards were rebranded with a new name, logo, website and additional award categories.