Lucky Dip – Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Michael Schmidt is now on day 19 of his hunger strike over the lack of legalization for raw milk, and says he will continue until Premier Dalton McGuinty grants him a meeting. [Toronto Star]

When it comes to shoplifted items, cheese is the most popular food for people to steal. I’m guessing this is because it’s usually small enough to slip into a pocket. Shame about the crackers being so bulky. [Sky News]

The blood is the life… just in time for the season of ghouls and vampires, Toronto chefs are cooking with blood. And while, IMO, items like blood sausage tastes like rank death, some of the stuff (like a tart where blood is combined with chocolate) are actually really good. [Globe and Mail]

For all of those 99% complaining that they can’t get a job, any job at all, maybe they can explain why, all over the US, in the face of a crackdown on illegal immigrant workers, farmers are having to either turn to prison labour or destroy their crops because they can’t find unemployed people willing to do field work. [Wall Street Journal]

Confirmed – The Four Seasons‘ “mystery chef” is indeed Daniel Boulud. [Toronto Star]

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Where Can I Find – Cake and Candy-Making Supplies

Despite the fact that we here at TasteTO have officially declared the cupcake to be soooo over (enough already, please?), it seems that more and more people are becoming interested in cake decorating. Based on the number of emails we get from places looking for coverage for their cupcake or baking business, it’s an industry that is taking on a life of its own. But with many equipment supply places open to the trade only, finding the necessary equipment and ingredients can be difficult, especially if you’re a home baker.

Sure, tracking down basic baking pans, plain cupcake papers and some simple cookie cutters is easy enough, but once you get into the serious stuff, special molds, pre-made fondants, specialty pans and decorative items might be more of a challenge.

Here’s a list of GTA-based businesses where aspiring pastry chefs and candy-makers can find their gear and supplies.

Nickolaau
629 Queen Street West
416-504-6411
This rabbit’s warren of restaurant equipment has lots of stuff for pastry making, from piping bags and tips, cake stands, palate knives and cake pans. It’s all professional quality gear, though, so don’t be surprised to blow the dust off that cake stand and discover that it’s $70.

Placewares, St. Lawrence Market
92 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1C4
416-603-1649
This is probably the easiest place to access in the downtown core, and they have everything from a huge wall of cookie cutters to piping bags, tips, cake pans and moulds, fondant sculpting tools, cupcake papers and (usually seasonal) decorations such as non-pareils and dragees. They also stock some colours of Wilton fondant.

Bulk Barn – Loblaws Leslie St. Market (and others)
17 Leslie Street
416-466-4512
Cake pans, including novelty shapes; they also offer a pan rental service if you know you’re never going to use that teddy bear cake pan again. They also have cookie cutters, icing paste and gels, cake decorating supplies, candy molds and couverture wafers, plus wedding, birthday and seasonal supplies.

McCall’s School of Cake Decorating
3810 Bloor Street West
416-231-8040
This is kind of the motherlode; pans, cutters utensils, gum paste, sprinkles, cake stands, moulds, food colouring, decorative paper products. They offer classes as well. Bonus – there’s online shopping if you can’t make it out there.

Katie’s Cakes
1531 O’Connor Drive
416-757-6896
Offers courses in everything from basic cake decorating to working with gumpaste and fondant.

Foodstuffs Inc.
89 Main Street South, Georgetown
905-877-6569
Technically out of the GTA but if you’re in the area, it’s a good source of baking pans, chocolate and candy-making supplies and cake-decorating equipment.

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Starting a Baking Business – It’s Not a Cakewalk

At least once a week we receive email here at TasteTO from someone wanting us to cover some small local food business. The majority of these appear to be bakery-type businesses selling cupcakes, cookies or custom-made cakes. The emails are often referrals from friends or customers, and sometimes come in the form of professionally-written press releases from the business owners themselves.

As we’re always looking to support local independent food artisans, we always check out these leads, and often find professionally-designed websites, gorgeous photos of even more beautiful products, and what appears to be really skillful bakers and artisans wanting to take their hobby to the next level. Unfortunately what we also almost always find is that these businesses are operating illegally out of a home kitchen.

That’s right, I said “illegally”. People who make food at home and sell it to the public are breaking the law, because it is completely and utterly illegal to sell food to the public that has been prepared in a home kitchen.

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