By Jessica Allen - Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 0 Comments
“The Canadian public teamed with 34 of the nation’s top food experts to provide the most definitive resource to fine dining in the country ever published,” they promise. (Public votes make up 25 per cent of the total outcome of their top 50 list.)
Montreal restaurant Joe Beef came out on top in the “curated list,” followed by Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ont., and Vij’s in Vancouver, B.C., the restaurant that secured the number one spot in the rankings last year. Ottawa’s Atelier, and Calgary’s CHARCUT Roast House round out the top five.
The top choice on the “crowd rank” list, however, is Calgary’s Q Haute Cuisine, which came in at number 28 on the “curated list.” It was followed by Joe Beef and Langdon Hall.
And for the record, here’s the 2012 Maclean’s Guide to Canada’s best 50 restaurants.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:16 AM - 0 Comments
I didn’t watch Monday night’s episode of Top Chef Canada, now in its third season, so I have no idea which of the remaining 10 chefs won the honour of creating “our new national dish”.
To be honest, I haven’t watched reality food TV in about a year now. But there was a time when it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to plan an evening around an episode of Top Chef or Hell’s Kitchen. In fact, the 2011 season finale of Top Chef Canada, which was the highest rated episode in Food Network Canada’s history, is the last time time I remember making an effort to tune in.
I may not be the only enthusiastic-turned-apathetic reality food TV viewer: The Emmy and James Beard-award winning American Top Chef on Bravo is the number one rated food show on cable. They just crowned their 10th winner (and only the second female to win) at the end of February. But their season premiere ratings peaked during 2008′s fifth season with 2.7 million viewers and has declined every year since. (Season 9′s premiere in 2011 had 1.6 million viewers.)
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Faith Wallis, a professor at McGill University, was looking through a manuscript in Cambridge when she came across a series of food recipes. Realizing that they predated the previously earliest known Medieval recipes by about 150 years, I’m guessing she–an expert in medieval history and science–was ecstatic.
The latin manuscript consists of both food recipes, like “hen in winter”–essentially chicken with garlic, pepper and sage–along with ointments. “Some of the medical potions in this book seem to have stood the test of time,” Giles Gasper, a professor at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University told his institution. “Some emphatically haven’t! But we’re looking forward to finding out whether these newly-discovered recipes have done so and whether they also possess what you might call a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi – or Quidditas, to use the Latin.”
“The sauces typically feature parsley, sage, pepper, garlic, mustard and coriander which I suspect may give them a middle eastern, Lebanese feel when we recreate them,” said Gasper. “According to the text, one of the recipes comes from the Poitou region of what is now modern central western France. This proves international travellers to Durham brought recipes with them.”
On his website Eat Medieval, Gasper said that the recipes “would appear to date from the mid-later 12th century, which makes them amongst the earliest in the western tradition.” They were compiled and written at Durham Cathedral’s priory around 1160. (Footnote to film fans: interiors of the Romanesque cathedral were featured in the 1998 movie Elizabeth, starring Cate Blanchett.)
Gasper and his colleagues will attempt to recreate some of the recipes on Apr. 25 at Blackfriars, a restaurant housed in a 14th century Dominican friary. And if you live near Newcastle, you can taste some of the dishes yourself on the following Saturday when a lunchtime Medieval-style feast will take place, along with a lecture on “Food in Medieval England”.
The rest of us will have to wait for the cookbook, which is in the works.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 9:03 AM - 0 Comments
I always imagined that the cabbage rolls my mom and her sister make–the best, in my books–hail from some recipe that my grandmother’s ancestors brought to Canada from Germany’s Alsace-Lorraine region some 150 years ago.
Nevermind that cabbage rolls and Alsace-Lorraine have little to do with each other. More importantly, it turns out the Vi Moffat, the English woman who lived across the street from my mom and her siblings in Strathroy, Ont., was the one who shared the recipe with my grandmother.
Memories can be tricky.
The 7th annual Terroir hospitality and food industry symposium on Apr. 8 in Toronto, was dedicated to the stories, memories and culture that surround food. The impressive roster of speakers, with nary a French, Spanish or Italian representative in sight–an observation that Scandinavian chef and author Trine Hahnemann pointed out as being indicative of the changing of the guard, so to speak, all had narratives swathed in nostalgic memories to share.
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 11:13 AM - 0 Comments
Every month, Toronto’s Cookbook Store manager Alison Fryer shares their bestsellers list with us. The February top-sellers, says Fryer, may have been partially determined by both Valentine’s Day and Family Day, with Nigella Lawson’s ode to Italy coming out near the top and Fifty Shades of Chicken making an appearance in the no. 10 spot. Plus, she says, “French, vegetarian, quick and one-pot [cookbooks] all resonate this month as we hunkered down in the kitchen during a wild month of winter weather.” And the fascination for food journal writing continues not only with the “much-hyped latest issue of Lucky Peach coming in at no. 1, but also with the third issue of Toronto-based ACQTaste, which quietly hit the list this month.” Fryer also recommends the Spanish So Good magazine for those that love pastries, desserts and incredible food photography. Although it’s not a magazine in the traditional sense, ” it is the go-to publication for pastry chefs.”
1. Lucky Peach issue #6, edited by David Chang and Peter Meehan
2. Nigellissima, by Nigella Lawson (read our interview and watch our video with Lawson here)
3. Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
4. For the Love of Soup, by Jeanelle Mitchell
5. ACQTaste, edited by Chuch Ortiz
6. So Good Magazine issue #9
7. Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, by Jamie Oliver
8. One Pot French, by JP Challet
9. Dirt Candy by Cohen, by Dunlavey & Hendrix
10. Fifty Shades of Chicken, by FL Fowler
By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM - 0 Comments
Bestselling author and TV personality Nigella Lawson visited the new Chatelaine test kitchen powered by GE this morning to talk about her new book, Nigellissima, a collection of 126 Italian-inspired recipes. We had a chance to speak with Lawson about food writing, the pressures of a non-Italian tackling Italian recipes and the virtues of vermouth.
A: I will, and do you know what I love most of all? Seeing a really old, used, beloved copy. It always warms my heart.
Q: This book is actually the way I came at the discourse of food writing 16 years ago, and via you I was introduced to other food writers, namely Elizabeth David and Anne del Conte and so on. So I’m curious to know how you arrived to the subject.
A: Completely by mistake. It was a long time ago so I was relatively young and I always thought that I wanted to write a novel. And then one day my late husband John said to me, ‘You think everyone is as confident in their attitudes towards food as you are–you should write about it.’ This [How To Eat] isn’t really a recipe book–there are lots of recipes in it–but it’s a different sort of book. It’s about talking about food and why it matters. So I spoke to my agent and asked what he thought and he said let’s do it. And I said, ‘I don’t really know if I want to do a food book.’ And he said, ‘Before you write a great symphony just do a few chords. This will be it.’ Of course I wrote this book and realized I didn’t want to be a novelist. I’m not a novelist. I felt I found my voice through food. So it was just an accident. At the time I was journalist–not even a food journalist; I’d write about anything–but you see the thing is food is not to be left to the experts because we all eat. We eat everyday and food is such an important part of our lives, not just in terms of giving us all sustenance but emotionally it explains so much about us. So I wanted to write about food in its context–sometimes historically and sometimes I suppose sociological, and sometimes just purely personal. So for me it’s just the biggest subject in the world and I love every aspect of it.
By Jessica Allen - Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 2:07 PM - 0 Comments
Nigella Lawson will be in Toronto on Monday to promote her new cookbook, Nigellissima, in the Chatelaine test kitchen, just three floors down from the offices of Maclean’s.
I, for one, am excited. For years her first book, How to Eat (1998), sat on my bedside table. To be honest, I rarely cooked recipes from it–heck, I rarely cooked at all–but it was so beautifully written that I couldn’t put it down. And she lead me to other food writers, including Elizabeth David and Anna del Conte. Food writing, Lawson taught me, was a genre all unto its own.
Nigellisima, her 10th book, has 120 Italian-inspired recipes and are written with Lawson’s usual flare, which includes descriptors that are singularly hers in style: Radicchio is “beautifully bitter;” Marsala-soaked porcini mushrooms have “husky depth;” and her cinnamon almond cake is “meltingly damp and fragrantly redolent of marzipan.”
Bu why Italy, and why now? In fact, the germ for her latest book may predate her other literary offerings. Lawson, who started as a journalist (by 26, she was the deputy literary editor of the The Sunday Times), spent a year working in Florence during her gap year at university. Not only did she work as a chambermaid during her sojourn, but she also learned how to cook–and eat like a Florentine, and a life-long love affair with all things Italian was born.
When I speak with Lawson on Monday about her new book I’ll ask when to adhere to and break with Italian culinary traditions and find out how she manages–after all her books, TV shows, awards, apps and gastronomic entrepreneurial forays–to stay genuinely enthusiastic about food.
By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 11, 2013 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
During that glorious lull between Christmas and New Year’s, I found myself alone one evening. I’d just finished reading The Raw and the Cooked, a collection of essays by Jim Harrison, an American author who’s written more than 30 works of poetry, fiction (including the novella Legends of the Fall) and nonfiction. He’s the sort of writer who gets as emotional over sitting down to a feast of game birds and a case of good Burgundy as he does about considering What It All Means. Actually, come to think of it, the meal and the thinking usually go hand in hand.
Partly inspired by Harrison’s solitary cooking adventures, I was eager to prepare dinner for one. I settled on a favourite pasta–one I imagined the author would admire in both portion and flavour: Cook half a box of Barilla spaghetti in a pot. Drain, after reserving a little starchy water. In the same pot, over low heat, melt a couple tablespoons of butter and add the juice of half a lemon. Add the spaghetti back in, along with some of the reserved water. Throw in a generous handful of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, baby arugula and toss. Top your serving with freshly ground black pepper, Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil. (I had no woodcock stock, or duck confit, which Harrison would have most certainly added.)
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 3:57 PM - 0 Comments
“The only thing I can liken this meeting to would be the DeNiro/Pacino scene in Heat,” writes Soto, who is actually Taylor Clarke–a screenwriter who started impersonating as a chef of a fictional restaurant called Gravitas on Twitter in January, 2012. (Routine tweets include making fun of Chef Susur Lee’s ponytail, McEwan’s curls, pop-ups, tacos, chefs tables, ramen and generally ridiculing the fictional-or-not-lifestyle of the Toronto restaurant industry.)
But Clarke/Soto thinks “it’s important for two Canadian culinary giants to come together finally in a symbolic showing of unity.”
The place doesn’t need to be fancy, insists Clarke, just “somewhere where I can where my Teva sandals and seashell necklace and not feel frowned upon.” And although Clarke has no interest in paying for the lunch, he has offered to pay for parking: “One of those $10 dollar lots though, not one of those fancy car park places,” he writes. “It’s just a car.”
Clarke, who first revealed his identity to The Toronto Star’s Amy Pataki in June of 2012, told me in an email that he’s eager to pick McEwan’s brain on the Toronto food scene and how it has evolved–not for jokes, but for actual research: Clarke is currently developing a television show with Just For Laughs called…wait for it…Chef Grant Soto.
“I’ve wanted to sit down with him for a while and interview him,” he said. “This guy has been around. I bet he has some good insight that would be very helpful.”
No word yet on whether or not McEwan will accept Clarke’s offer to go for lunch–and pay for it. But prospects are looking good: just moments ago, real chef Mark McEwan began following fake chef Grant Soto on Twitter.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM - 0 Comments
You can’t find a bottle of wine for under $5 in most Canadian liquor stores, despite the fact that low-cost vino makes up 70 per cent of wine consumption globally. The irony was not lost on the crowd at the Jan. 22 Vinexpo news conference that detailed the results of a global study on current wine and spirit trends. They even giggled after seeing a chart breaking down world wine consumption by price in 2007 to 2011 with a forecast to 2016. In 2011, almost 70 per cent of wine sales were for bottles under $5 USD. Twenty-one per cent were for bottles priced between $5 and $10, and the remaining nine percent were for wines costing more than $10. The next chart broke down Canada’s consumption in the same way, only there wasn’t even an under $5 category (see the first two slides below).
But Vinexpo chairman Xavier de Eizaguirre–and Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s managing director–looked on the bright side of Canadians having practically no access to wines $5 and under. They tend to be of poorer quality, he said. Think of it as training our palates to not accept cheap plonk.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 12:28 PM - 0 Comments
For someone whose arm hair goes up like a cat when she walks into health food stores lined with ineffective vitamins and overpriced supplements, not to mention highly processed “health food”, choosing to go on a cleanse might sound as hypocritical as an atheist praying to God before bed.
Still, I started one on Jan. 5, 2013. To be fair, a good friend was going to do it and I wanted to be there for her, to feel what she would feel. And I desperately desired a sort of “restart” after weeks of eating gingerbread cookies for breakfast and entire cheese plates for snacks, not to mention the wine, which flowed plentifully in December.
I chose the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox cleanse, mostly because it isn’t a liquid cleanse, which most reasonable people (not including Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek) are suspicious of, and because it doesn’t eliminate food; only wheat, dairy, sugar, tropical fruits and anything that’s been fermented, including alcohol. That leaves a great deal of good things to eat. Certain foods are to be consumed in moderation, like meat, beans, coffee, eggs and most grains. But others–like brown rice, quinoa, fish, green vegetables and berries–can be eaten in almost unlimited quantities.
There’s one catch, though: The Wild Rose kit comes with four “herbal formulas” in the form of three types of tablets and one liquid extract that must be consumed twice a day, preferably with meals. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing unnatural about them: they are filled with all sorts of roots, barks and herbs. The catch is that one of these is a “laxaherb”, and this guy is responsible for the often vigourous, around the clock elimination of everything evil in your intestines, including, presumably, good things, like water.
By Jessica Allen - Monday, January 7, 2013 at 12:01 PM - 0 Comments
The Food and Culture Organizations of the United Nations has announced that 2013 “is the international year of the quinoa.”
Proposed in December 2011, “the government of Bolivia, with support from Argentina, Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, and FAO, and approved by the United Nations General Assembly,” the organization’s objective “is to focus world attention on the role that quinoa’s biodiversity and nutritional value plays, in providing food security and nutrition, the eradication of poverty in support of the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals.”
Those are all good reasons to make 2013 the year to celebrate the grain that everybody knows isn’t exactly a grain (it’s an edible seed), but did the organization miss the quinoa boat? Isn’t quinoa so 2008? Or ’09? Or ’10?
Maybe not: In 2011 Canadian Living reported that searches for quinoa by their web visitors–approximately 2 million Canadians a month–increased by 153 per cent from February 2010 to 2011, and a whopping 311 per cent in March. And just last September, Chatelaine posted a Quinoa 101 on their site. Plus, four of the six English paperback cookbooks that Amazon.ca offers with the word “quinoa” in the title, were published in 2012, including the Canadian The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook in September, and The Quinoa Revolution in October. (Man, I’d be pretty smug if I were R. Wood, who published Quinoa, the Supergrain: Ancient Food for Today, in 2002.)
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 8:12 AM - 0 Comments
Sometimes it’s difficult not to grow weary in the face of keeping up with food trends. But there are writings relating to food of which I will never tire. Here are some of my favourites that’ve been covered really well in 2012 and that I hope to see more of in the year ahead.
1. Great profiles:
In 2012, I enjoyed reading more about people who make food rather than reading pieces devoted to food itself. There were some incredible profiles this year, from such big-name industry players as London’s Yotan Ottolenghi and Paris’s Apollonia Polaine–both from The New Yorker food issue–to local chefs like Toronto’s Keith Froggett, whom David Sax wrote about in The Grid. More please!
2. Heritage foods:
Speaking of profiles, remember when the New Yorker wrote about South Carolina locavore-extraordinaire Sean Brock in 2011? He’s the chef of Husk Restaurant who’s obsessed with bringing many of the region’s forgotten varietals of plants and animal breeds back to the table (he also has a cookbook coming out in 2013.) ”Since building a network of farmers, grain purveyors, food historians, and scientists during the past few years, Brock’s seed-saving mission has revived about 35 Southern plants, some of which might otherwise have gone extinct,” writes Cooking Light, which awarded Brock its Trailblazing Chef of the Year Award. In recent years, there’s been plenty of attention to paid to heirloom foods: from Red Fife, a Canadian grain that fell off our radars until Toronto chef Jamie Kennedy championed its virtues in 2006, to apples, of which there are thousands of varietals besides the ubiqitious Red Delicious, Granny Smith or Macintosh. And even though seed libraries, repositories that preserve seeds for generations to come, are nothing new (even Thomas Jefferson collected heirloom seeds), I hope to read more about them–and all things heirloom-related–in 2013.
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:40 PM - 0 Comments
Food trends can be fickle. You never know what sort of comestible is going to make it big. Imagine it is 1992 and you get the chance to step into a DeLorean that doubles as a time machine and travel to 2012 for dinner. Here’s how that meal might play out.
Server: Welcome to the future of food. May I take your …whoa. First thing’s first: nobody really wears oversized blazers with shoulder pads anymore. Most people’s jackets are really tightly tailored.
Man: Yeah, but not men’s jackets.
Server: Especially men’s jackets. But that’s not why you two are here. Please, sit down. Here’s our cocktail list.
Woman: Sweetie, look at this! They infuse their bourbon with bacon!
Server: We distill it ourselves.
Man: I think I just want an Old-Fashioned. Do you have that?
Server: Actually, we make the authentic version of the Old-Fashioned. Our mixologist–
Woman: What’s a mixologist?
Server: She makes our cocktails.
Man: Like a bartender?
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 2:57 PM - 0 Comments
I have never seen an episode of Recipe to Riches, the Food Network Canada show now in its second season. But I really like the premise: Thousands of Canadians cook up their best home recipes to compete in seven different categories (think savoury snacks, cookies and squares and entrees). In each of the seven episodes, one winner is chosen from the three finalists in each of those seven categories. At the end of the season, that leaves seven winners, all of whom take home $25,000 and have their recipe turned into a President’s Choice product that’s sold in grocery stores across the country.
Tonight (Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT) the country gets to vote on which of these seven dishes they think is the best. The final winner stands to win $250,000–the largest cash prize in Canadian reality show history.
I hosted a dinner party with all seven dishes so that we could judge the PC products for ourselves. Four Maclean’s staff memebers ranked each product from the best (7) to the worst (1). On the show, “recipes are judged based on taste, presentation, originality, the story behind the recipe and its suitability to become a mass produced grocery store product.” Our judging criteria? Taste, and taste alone, although it was hard for our science writer not to comment on the appearance of the food and our art director to ignore the packaging of the products. The three panelists I chose have never judged food professionally. They are lay people, much like the consumers to whom these products are presumably marketed. I advised them to consider whether or not they would be enthusiastic about recommending each dish to a friend to buy.
- See the dinner party photos here, or scroll to the bottom
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 10:50 AM - 0 Comments
Every month, Toronto’s Cookbook Store shares their bestsellers list, compiled by manager Alison Fryer, with us. The November top-sellers, says Fryer, were an eclectic bunch: “a little Canadian, a little Middle Eastern, a successful food blogger, a TV personality, a chemist, and a dash of baking rounded out with healthy cooking.”
There are some pretty great gift ideas here, people. For example, I would really like No. 2, 3 and 7.
2. Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimia
3. Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Pereleman
4. Lucky Peach Issue 5, by David Chang and Peter Meehan
5. Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel
6. Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook, edited by Mairlyn Smith
7. Barefoot Contessa Foolproof Recipes by Ina Garten
8. Modernist Cuisine at Home, by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet
9. Spilling the Beans, by Sue Duncan and Julie Van Rosendaal
By Jessica Allen - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11:06 AM - 0 Comments
A crowd of 400 revelers gathered on Saturday night to watch five Canadian chefs–Lynn Crawford, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan, David Rocco and Michael Smith–lead culinary teams in a three-course cook-off at the third annual Chef’s Challenge, which has raised over $2-million for breast and ovarian cancer research at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Restaurateur and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star Guy Fieri hosted the event, which also featured a live auction. The fight for the cure is personal to him: he told the audience early on in the evening that he lost his sister, a single mother and massage therapist, to cancer last year.
Fieri’s trademarked enthusiasm was spot on throughout the evening, not to mention contagious: he spurred his fellow chefs to up the prize ante with food and wine giveaways during the auction. Plus, he added to the “ultimate foodie package”, which awarded the winning $25,000 bidder meals at Crawford’s Ruby Watch Co., McEwan’s ONE and two prepared at home by both David Rocco and Chuck Hughes, dinner for eight at one of his restaurants. Fieri, who recently appeared on The Today Show after the New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells published an extremely entertaining but eviscerating review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, also visited a number of Toronto eateries for an upcoming episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while he was in town.
The five celebrity chefs, who weren’t allowed to touch a thing, lead their team of cooks–all top fundraisers for the event–in preparing three dishes from secret ingredients of sushi-grade Ahi tuna, beef tenderloin and phylo pastry, while guests ate a five-course meal prepared from Fieri’s own recipes.
Lynn Crawford, who won the first Chef’s Challenge in 2010 (McEwan won last year), and her team took home top honours. More importantly, a total of $775,000 was raised by the evening’s end.
Here’s how the event unfolded via Twitter:
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 9:34 PM - 0 Comments
Last week, I spent American Thanksgiving with friends in Washington D.C. They’re enthusiastic wine drinkers and the last time they visited this side of the border they couldn’t contain their excitement over a variety of Niagara wines they’d enjoyed. So, I brought along a couple to share.
They did not disappoint. But I did: when they asked me how it’s possible that cold Ontario could produce such standouts, I babbled on about Southern Ontario being on the same latitude as Northern California, so, you know, there’s that. Eyebrows were raised, and we all returned to our glasses of baco noir.
When award-winning wine writer Natalie Maclean published the winners of the Southern Ontario Sommelier Association’s awards for the best Ontario wines on her website recently, I reasoned that she’d be much better suited than I am to articulate how places such as Niagara, the North Shore of Lake Erie and Prince Edward County provide perfect terroirs for particular varietals.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 8:14 AM - 0 Comments
The 2012 Food Writing Awards, which recognize and celebrate superior writing and publishing throughout Canada’s culinary world were handed out on Nov. 7 at the Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto. There were a total of twelve nominees spread across five categories. The winners are bolded below:
Leslie Beck’s Longevity Diet, by Leslie Beck
The Boreal Herbal, by Beverley Gray
- Unquenchable, by Natalie MacLean
Genèse de la cuisine québécoise, by Jean-Marie Francoeur
Une agriculture qui goûte autrement, by Hélène Raymond and Jacques Mathé
Revel 2012: Guide des champagnes et des autres bulles, by Guénaël Revel
Whitewater Cooks with Friends, by Shelley Adams
Odd Bits, by Jennifer McLagan
- Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen, by Michael Smith
L’univers gourmand de Jean-Luc Boulay, by Anne L Desjardins and Jean-Luc Boulay
À la di Stasio 3, by Josée Di Stasio
L’artisan culinaire, by Sébastien Houle
The Ontario Table, by Lynn Ogryzlo
- Made in Italy, by David Rocco
Market Chronicles, by Susan Semenak
Asie: Un voyage culinaire, by Vincent Beck and Diem Ngoc Phan
Su: La cuisine turque de Fisun Ercan, by Fisun Ercan
Stefano Faita: Je cuisine italien, by Stefano Faita
SINGLE-SUBJECT COOKBOOKS :
Preserving, by Pat Crocker
We Sure Can!, by Sarah B Hood
- Spilling the Beans, by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan
Nos 200 meilleurs desserts et biscuits, by Coup de Pouce
Saisis, by Louis-François Marcotte
Sous le charme des courges et des citrouilles, by Louise Gagnon, Louise
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 7:53 AM - 0 Comments
In the swirl of superstorm Sandy, some 500 people turned out to see chef Thomas Keller at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto this week.
The celebrity chef and author was in town for an engagement with The Cookbook Store’s Allison Fryer.
“He’s Hurricane Keller,” she said after noting that he’d just signed 700 copies of his new cookbook.
The audience, a near-perfect split between men and women, young and old, cradled their copies of the 6.5 lb. Bouchon Bakery cookbook like babies on their laps.
The woman to my right had never dined at any of Keller’s six restaurants or six bakeries, but seemed eager to get to The French Laundry. “I saw him on a Cook’s Tour with Anthony Bourdain,” she explained. “I am mesmerized by that level of artistry.” On this night it was her dream to meet Keller. She imagined that while autographing her book he’d invite her to intern at the French Laundry for a month. “I’d even take a weekend,” she said.
To my left was a woman who’d eaten at the Bouchon Bakery at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York. “I really didn’t know who Thomas Keller was, per se,” she said. “But I thought a night out would be nice.”
By Jessica Allen - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Keller, the only American chef to simultaneously win three Michelin stars for two different restaurants (The French Laundry and Per Se)–and the executive chef and designer for the animated film Ratatouille–will be in Toronto on Oct. 30 for a special event hosted by the Cookbook Store. Manager Allison Fryer will conduct an onstage interview, followed by a question period with the audience. Guests will also be able to have copies of Keller’s new cookbook, Bouchon Bakery, signed.
We’ll be at the event to hear Keller talk about his fifth book, co-written by his executive pastry chef Sebastien Rouxel, and to ask his fans which of the 150 recipes they’ll be attempting first.
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 9:40 AM - 0 Comments
After travelling through Italy and America and pegging TV shows and books to their respective food cultures, Jamie Oliver turns to his home and native land. His latest book, Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain, is a beautiful ode to the gastronomy of the U.K. And if you love culinary history, the tome does an incredible job of reminding readers that Britain was once a top-notch leader. Thanks to young people with an interest in food (and Oliver himself, if you ask me) things are looking better than ever after that 50-year mid-20th century comestible blip.
Oliver will be in Toronto to promote his book, and a six-part television series attached to it, on October 19 at Massey Hall. The $49.50 to $99.50 ticket price tag to attend includes a copy of Great Britain, which I can’t seem to stop reading.
We had the chance to ask the chef via email about his latest–and very patriotic–project.
Q: I’m reading a book right now that chronicles the evolution of cooking using the history of kitchen techniques and tools. A chapter on roasting focuses on British food historian Ivan Day and his passion for Victorian spit-roasting roast beef. The author tries it and writes, So this is why there was such a fuss about the roast beef of England. In a sense, your book is performing a similar service of reminding folks that Britain used to cook food that people talked about. What did British food mean to you growing up? What does it mean to you now? What do you want it to mean in the future?
A: I never realized how lucky I was growing up in my parents’ pub until I was older. They served proper British food, always made from fresh ingredients, cooked from scratch by cooks who cared. My parents cared about good food. My mum’s Sunday Roast is still my favorite meal of all time. With this book, I wanted to share all of the amazing chefs, producers and artisans all over my country who are retracing old recipes, rediscovering great local ingredients and focusing on simplicity and quality.
By Jessica Allen - Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 4:23 PM - 0 Comments
It’s not often you see a Brinks truck parked outside an LCBO guarded by three men in kilts armed with bagpipes and a drum. But then it’s not often the cargo is a 55-year-old bottle of scotch heralded as one of the rarest–and most expensive–single malts in the world.
The bottle of Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts 50 Year Old is one of 15 filled with the golden-hued spirit that the distillery’s then-Malt Master Gordon Ross deposited into an oak barrel on New Year’s Eve 1955. The occasion? To honour “Wee Janie,” granddaughter of William Grant on her 110th birthday. Eleven of the bottles, which took four days to craft from hand-blown glass, will be auctioned off with proceeds going to charity. The sale of six has already raised more than $340,000. (The last was picked up by a U.S. buyer in March for $94,000 U.S.) Four bottles will remain with the family at the distillery.
The bottle of Janet Sheed Roberts 55 Year Old was carried from the Brinks truck into the Summerhill LCBO. Of course it was for ogling, not for sampling.
Instead we tried four other Glenfiddich single malts, starting with a 12-year-old.
By Jessica Allen - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 8:28 AM - 0 Comments
Already we have Gwyneth Paltrow, Valerie Bertinelli, Eva Longoria and even Maya Anjelou.
Still, if the author is Stanley Tucci, then the answer is yes. The Tucci Cookbook, which hit shelves October 9, is as much an ode to Italian-American cooking, which deserves to be distinguished from the regional dishes of the motherland, as it is to family.
Both Tucci’s parents, Joan and Stan Sr., use the outset to explain their family’s passages from Calabria to the New World and the ways in which food factored large around their dinner tables. Gianni Scappin, the chef who Tucci shadowed in the days before Big Night–a film the actor co-wrote, directed and starred in–includes recipes developed for the film, like the timpano (see below for a refresher. And if you haven’t seen it, go and rent it — now!), and his own family’s food repertoire from the Veneto.
By Jessica Allen - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM - 0 Comments
A new book, Come In, We’re Closed, profiles what 25 restaurants, from Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in London to Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in the Napa Valley, feed their employees in those precious moments just before service begins. For each entry, there’s a short piece on the restaurant, an interview with the chef, plus detailed notes on the staff meal itself, including recipes.
Most of the chefs explain how important staff meal is for team morale and team-building, not to mention the old saying, “To cook well, one must eat well”: If you want your staff to know and appreciate good food, then feed them things that taste good. Ferran Adria of El Bulli, the Spanish temple of molecular gastronomy that closed last July, wrote in the book’s forward that after he and his chefs got organized enough to design three-course meals in advance for his staff, “the food got better and better and people started leaving the table much happier.”
A well-run restaurant leaves little food to go to waste, meaning many staff meals utilize leftovers and bits and bops that might otherwise get tossed: think beef heart and watermelon salad or deep-fried chicken feet from The Bristol in Chicago or pork neck soup with dates and barley from The Slanted Door in San Francisco. And there are plenty of one-pot wonders and casseroles, which are perfect for family-style eating: think Maine shrimp and Andouille gumbo from Grace in Portland (Maine), curried rice with chickpeas from St. John in London, and good old lasagna bolognese from Frasca in Boulder.