TORONTO — Technology may becoming pervasive in our lives, but last night it was the printed word that took centre stage, as Taste Canada presented its annual Food Writing Awards, honouring Canada’s best cookbooks.
More than 300 food media and chefs gathered at the Arcadian Court in Toronto to find out who the winners were in seven writing categories. The 15th annual awards ceremony was chaired by Karen Gelbart and Michael Bonacini. “We want to get the message out that Taste Canada stands for excellence,” said Gelbart in her opening address. Bonacini echoed that message. “As Canadians, it’s in our nature to be humble, but the truth is Canada boasts one of the most exciting culinary traditions. Canadian food culture is alive and well and deserves to be celebrated.”
The awards program saw 73 submissions, and when the jury of 18 was done testing the recipes and tasting the food, this year’s winners were announced. They were: Jean-Marie Francoeur for his Genese de la cuisine quebecoise (Culinary Narrative, French); Natalie MacLean for Unquenchable: A tipsy Quest For The World’s Best Bargain Wines, (Culinary Narrative, English); Vincent Beck and Diem Ngoc Phan for Asie: Un Voyage culinaire (Regional Cultural Cookbooks, French); David Rocco for Made In Italy (Regional Cultural Cookbooks, English). In the category of Single Subject Cookbooks, Julie van Rosendal and Sue Duncan won for their book Spilling The Beans: Cooking And Baking With Beans And Grains Every Day, while Coup de Pouce took the equivalent honours in the French category. Josee de Stasio won Best General Cookbook for A la Di Stasio, while Michael Smith walked away with that distinction in English Canada for his book Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: 100 Of My Favourite Easy Recipes.
In addition to the cookbook winners, Anita Stewart, dubbed the “Wonder Woman of Canadian Cuisine” was voted into the Taste Canada Hall of Fame and three women were inducted posthumously, including Catharine Parr Traill, Jeanne Anctil and Margo Oliver.
Finally, Stratford Chefs School took the top prize in Taste Canada’s Cooks the Books culinary student competition, which involved preparing recipes from a featured author at an event this past weekend.
After the awards were announced and presented, guests were treated to a gala reception featuring food from Cynthia Beretta of Beretta Organic Farms; Bradley Lomanto, Cambridge Mill Restaurant; Ted Reader; Donna Sanche, George Brown Chef School; Vanessa Yeung, Aprodite Cooks; Kimberley Lugsdin, Kimberley’s Own; Jamie Meirless, O&B; Matt Dean Petit, Rock Lobster Food Co.; Amira Becarevic, Royal York Hotel; and Steve Gill and Lorraine Snihur, Niagara College Teaching Winery. For a complete list of sponsors, including Kostuch Media Ltd., click here.
The Taste Canada Awards were founded by Cuisine Canada in 1998 under the leadership of Jo Marie Powers. In 2003, the University of Guelph Library joined the program as co-host. This past year, the awards were rebranded with a new name, a new logo, new website and new award categories.