Thursday, January 27, 2011


Hello my lovely readers!

Discussion Day is back! We had SUCH a great turnout in December so I thought it would be a great thing to continue!

So please take a minute to comment or share your thoughts on today's discussion day.

Today's discussion question:

"Eating Local" is a term you hear everywhere these days! From TV shows to chef ideologies to the changes on menu, "localism" seems to be the new trend. As a budding chef I feel knowing your suppliers and learning to use great product from the province you live in (for me Ontario) is such an important element in today's cooking world, so for me - learning and loving local is key!

Does eating local affect your life at all? Do you eat local, do you support and what do you think of the localism movement?!

Let me know and let your fellow blog readers learn a thing or two from you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Thanks to my excellent Facebook creeping skills I recently discovered a post from a blog ENDLESS SIMMER about America's Top 10 New Sandwiches. Out of complete curiosity I decided to check it out and was WOWED with the crazy sandwiches and pictures to boot. So for all you sandwich lovers, this article is a must read - but for now here are some of the sandwich names & pictures!

The Maple from Meat Cheese Bread, Portland (Oregon)
"Two hot-from-the-oven slices of maple-currant bread pudding loaded with savory sausage, chipotle cheddar cheese and tangy shavings of fresh fennel."

Brussels Sprouts Sandwich from No. 7 Sub, New York
Brussels sprouts, granny smith apples, and crushed peanuts on a sandwich roll

The #1 New Sandwich....

The New Luther from CurchKey, Washington
"A house-made brioche donut is glazed in savory maple-chicken jus and topped with warm pieces of oven-baked pecans. While that sounds like a meal already, the brioche is cut in half and stuffed with a hunk of buttermilk fried chicken and wedges of applewood smoked bacon."

Does this not sound like a heart attack waiting to happen! Crazyness! So out there it is only available BY REQUEST (speakeasy styles) on Sundays!

To read the rest of the article go to :

What sandwich would you TRY?

photo credit: endless summer


Hello readers! Sorry for my lack of posting lately. I have finally started Chef School at George Brown and I have just been quite busy!

I thought I would share a photo with you - from my FUNDAMENTALS OF BUTCHERY class. Last week was butchering a chicken - this week a lamb shoulder. We had to cut into stew meat size, uniform shapes of course! Here is the great photo from the lab - courtesy of Carl, one of my classmates!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


A winter vegetable I just can't get enough of right now is the PARSNIP! A root vegetable similar to a carrot yet paler and sweeter. Prior to the staple potato the parsnip was actually the main source of starch in diets as they had a long storage life, a sweet flavour and nutritional value. Parsnips grew in Europe and in Roman times parsnips were believed to be an aphrodisiac and a luxury item for the aristocracy. The Europeans brought parsnips to the United States in the 16th century, but to this day they are still not as popular as the carrot - although they are truly superb.

Interestingly, parsnips are NOT grown in warm clients, as frost is actually what helps develop their flavour - the cold converts the starch to sugar, sweetening the parsnip and mellowing the flavour.

My favourite ways to enjoy parsnips are either roasted or in a soup! Parsnip soup is one of my ultimate favourites!

Try Jamie Oliver's Spicy Parsnip Soup!

Ingredients: Serves 4
- olive oil
- knob of butter
- 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 6 parsnips, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 500ml milk
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely sliced
- optional: a handful of fresh coriander leaves
- crusty bread, to serve

- Heat a splash of olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and garam masala. Gently fry for around 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and sweet.
- Drop in the chopped parsnip and stir together so that everything gets coated in the oil and flavours. Pour in the milk and stock, season well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a lid on.
- After half an hour, check that the parsnips are cooked by sticking a knife in. If you’re happy, remove them from the heat and carefully whiz up using a hand blender or liquidizer. Taste the soup to see if it needs a little more salt or pepper.
- Serve with a sprinkling of sliced red chili, a few coriander leaves if you like, and a good chunk of crusty bread.
- Tip: Use coconut milk instead of regular milk for a twist.

To roast parsnips cover peeled and sliced parsnips with oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes, or until they turn golden brown with the roasted look!

photo credit: jamie oliver & google images

Sunday, January 16, 2011


The Black Hoof (and Hoof Cafe) of Toronto are turning into the trendy spots to go for meats - serving up rarely seen items like HORSE and other great meats including, prosciutto, jamon iberico, charcuterie, pork, duck, pork belly, bone marrow and fois gras!

Recently Gordon Ramsey dined there and in an interview with Food Network about new trends, praised the restaurant for their ability to use a unique ingredient, and make it wonderful!

For more on The Black Hoof visit:

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Here is my second post with the blog I write for - FOOD TROTTER.


Reminiscing on my Wolfville days! Enjoy!!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


 I am just beyond excited to post about BUCA Restaurant in Toronto! I have been DYING to go here and my I was finally dazzled by all that BUCA has to offer!

A new addition to Toronto's restaurant scene, and voted one of EnRoute's top 10 new restaurants in Canada, BUCA has taken Toronto by storm - booked solid! I luckily squeezed in last Thursday with over a week's notice for a reservation! Someone must be doing something right!

BUCA is just off King St. (at Portland Ave) down a little alleyway in a historic building's old boiler room. The space is incredibly cool, fitting right into the King St. vibe! Old wooden tables, a glass wine cellar, open concept kitchen, brick walls and hanging lumieres give the space a beautiful rustic feel. We were seated right in front of the fabulous wine cellar and our server was just excellent. The speed of the service was impeccable, and a relaxing 2 hour dinner just somehow flew by!

Before we even opened the menu for the food we saw the "date stamp," it has each day in order to incorporate the daily specials into the menu! Very cool. The menu is edgy Italian. The usual meats and cheeses to start, very simple fresh salads, an array of pastas, meat and fish and then some great "bianca" (white) & "al pomodoro" (red sauce) pizzas (which have little silver scissors to cut it up)!

To start, charcuterie of course! Three meats, three cheeses. Some of the best pairings I have had. Each meat and cheese is paired with an accompaniment, and the detail that went into each of those pairings is truly incredible. The taleggio cheese was the star of the show for me!

Another must have to start - the "nodini" - warm bread knots with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and sea salt. I could have popped those little knots all night! 

To balance out the heavy meats and cheeses, the ever refreshing "arance e ravanelli" - naval and blood orange salad with heirloom radish, red onion, 30-year vinegar, olive oil and basil. This salad was a perfect combination of sweet, sour, and texture. A little crunch from the radish, just lovely!

Before heading to BUCA I had read quite a few reviews just to get a sense of what the best main dishes were and the duck ragu kept popping up everywhere! However the minute I opened the menu my heart was stolen by the "mezze lune" pasta - sugar pumpkin filled pasta with taleggio fonduta, pregiato truffle and toasted pumpkin seeds. Pure bliss. What an incredible winter dish, from the pumpkin to the creamy taleggio sauce, topped with what else? TRUFFLES! By I convinced my date to go for the "bigoli" - hand cranked duck egg pasta with duck ragu, mascarpone and basil. This was a serious meat sauce, for all you general meat sauce lovers out there, this once TAKES the cake! (Also voted best pasta dish in Toronto by Toronto Life!!) Such a light pasta, and the mascarpone cheese is so light as it is that the dish just felt like it was floating on air!

To finish it up dessert of course. There was no way I was skipping dessert after a meal like that. I was so conflicted as to what to get - so I had to ask the waiter to weigh in, and the dessert of choice - panna cotta! Goat yogurt and vanilla panna cotta with red wine poached pear granita and concord grape "mosto cotto" served with an orange and semolina biscotti. What a mouthful in itself! I have to say the biscotti were quite dry but the panna cotta was the most creamy dessert I think I have ever had. It was perfectly smooth, chilled and with a crunch cool flavoured granita on top, the combo was a smash success! (Note: granita is a frozen Italian ice dessert)

The meal finally ended, much to my dismay, I could have stayed there all night. But BUCA fully lives up to the expectation. Rob Gentile has done a wonderful job with the place, with his training from mentor Mark McEwan fairing him well. So for all you Italian lovers wanting real, fresh, simple yet complex Italian food, this is the place for you. A great spot for parties and groups, BUCA should be at the top of your restaurant list! BUON APPETITO!

photo credit: my own and google images

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I have officially started day one of my Culinary Management program at the George Brown Chef School!

One of the perks of starting here was learning about the student run Tastes of Tomorrow program.The program is run by the students at the Chef school and the club is funded by the membership fees and admissions at all the events! Fees are $35 per school year, or $10 at the door. Membership and attendance to all the events are open to anyone!

The three main components of the club are, "Education, Networking and Social Awareness."

  • Invite Toronto’s best chefs and culinary experts to offer their personal and professional stories and demonstrate their talents
  • Organize culinary related fieldtrips
  • Develop the skills necessary to establish professional relationships of the highest standard
  • Hold symposiums where students can be inspired by the influential leaders of our community
  • Collaborate with already existing Associations and work towards common goals
Social Awareness
  • Promote awareness around such issues as food sustainability, food history and diversity
  • Showcase conscientious local producers who’s businesses are helping to promote social change
  • Come together to help people in our community in need, using food as our vehicle to communicate our support

This coming Thursday, one of the culinary wizard in the Toronto food scene - Rob Gentile of BUCA Restaurant will be the featured guest at Tastes of Tomorrow! Rob is one of Toronto's most talked about chefs right now, after training under his mentor Mark McEwan, Rob's restaurant BUCA has skyrocketed to the top restaurant lists in the city and country! Interested in attending? RSVP to ... After just eating at BUCA last week and having enjoyed one of the best meals of my life - I could not be more excited for this event! 

For more on upcoming events visit:!/group.php?gid=11307262142

photo credit: taste of tomorrow &

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Don't forget Winterlicious starts January 28th! But the day that restaurants begin accepting reservations is January 13 - so don't forget! January 11/12 for all you American Express users!

For those of you wondering what the top spots to hit this year might be? Check out Toronto Life's article - "12 best bets for Winterlicious 2011: our chief critic goes through the menus so you don't have to."

Enjoy choosing and happy eating!!

Friday, January 7, 2011


Twitter sometimes really is just the best, because it is through people you are following that you discover really cool new places - and for me, this was Porchetta & Co. I started following them before they had opened, and have been waiting patiently for the opening to try out their mouthwatering porchetta sandwiches! With the business of the Christmas season finally over, I just got there yesterday, and I am so happy that I did. I ended up going on a solo mission after my orientation for George Brown Chef School but after raving to my friends for the past day, I think there will be many more visits to come!

The place is small and specializes stricly in porchetta based sandwiches. They have a porchetta plate, soups, delicious sides and great sauce&toppings for the super simple yet flavour filled sandwich.

Simple and real food, former Canoe and Drake Hotel chef Nick auf der Mauer knows what he is doing. Focusing on one exciting ingredient keeps it simple yet fabulous. The porchetta filling is a trio of tender pork shoulder, salty prosciutto and fatty cured belly. You could literally hear the crack from the crispy exterior being broken as the sandwich was being made. Talk about one small little noise knowing how to excite someone for the delicious lunch to come!

The sandwhich I ended up getting was topped with rapini and their truffle sauce. Truffles, me? Duh! But there are so many other great topping combinations that I will be sure to try!

Porchetta & Co. is a real shop doing what they know best - porchetta. There is a lot of love and soul in the place, you just feel it the minute you walk in!

All you meat lovers head on over to Dundas West for a truly new sandwich experience. Keep up the amazing work!!

Porchetta & Co.
825 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON

photo credit: porchetto&co twitter/facebook and my own images

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Another fabulous congratulations is in order. To Canadian Chef Jamie Kennedy, who has been named to the Order of Canada which is one of our country's highest civilian honours.. An extremely high achievement and well deserved!

To hear Jamie talk about receiving his award listen here at CBC's Metro Morning.

photo credit: the national post


Happy New Year to all my readers! Hope you had a fabulous night to ring in 2011!

Just thought I would share with you Joanne Kates' (Globe and Mail Life columnist) top 10 restaurants of 2010.

1. Hashimoto (6 Garamond Ct)
2. Hoof Cafe (923 Dundas St West)
3. Guu Izakaya (398 Church St)
4. Centro (2472 Yonge St)
5. Malena (120 Avenue Road)
6. Scarpetta (Thompson Hotel)
7. Frank's Kitchen (588 College St.)
8. Ici Bistro (538 Manning Ave.)
9. Niwatei (3160 Steeles Ave. East)
10. Boehmer (93 Ossington Ave.)

Congratulations to all!

What restaurants have you been too?! I'm looking forward to trying Hoof Cafe and Boehmer!