Every year we buy a food-related calendar for the kitchen. I’m not sure why – in this age of personal electronic devices, wall calendars are pretty much obsolete, and the selection becomes more and more sparse each year. But we have this one section of wall that needs something, and it’s kind of fun to mark the passing of the months by flipping the page and enjoying a new picture for 30 days.
This year, our kitchen calendar is a collection of vintage food ads. None of them are exceptionally remarkable, but they meet the criteria of being food-related and vaguely retro. Like most calendars, we don’t really look at the pictures as “art”; that is, we just enjoy the image and don’t really analyze it too much.
On new year’s day, we opened up the new calendar and flipped it open to January, where the ad is for a brand of foie gras; Edouard Artzner of Strasbourg, France, a company which has been around since 1803.
I seem to have amassed a sizeable collection of photos of recently-eaten meals that I’ve never gotten around to posting. In part to share the food porn love and to clear out my files before year-end, I’ve got a couple of Smörgåsbords for y’all.
Above, the gloriously luxurious foie gras parfait at Splendido where Greg and I spent my birthday in September.
As the food charity season winds down, we finish off with the biggest of the lot. Last night, Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste took over the lobby of the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as much of the street along Queen’s Park as 2000 guests descended upon 60 chefs and restaurants, and over 30 beverage purveyors for a night of eating in support of one of Toronto’s most beloved food charities.
There is no possible way the average person can sample every item, and even though Greg and I tried to share things, we still couldn’t get to even half of the things on offer. But here’s an idea of what we came across.
By all accounts Toronto Beer Week was a resounding success. Many beers were consumed, and there were some outstanding beer dinners and other food pairing events that took place at restaurants across the city. Greg made it out to more of them than I did (stupid allergies), so many of the photos here are his (which explains why they might get a touch out of focus as we go through each course, as pretty much every one of these dishes came with an accompanying beer pairing.)
Brian Morin grew up in Toronto, where he studied at George Brown College, and then moved on to working in small restaurants like Napoleon and Truffles. In the 1980s, he moved on to work in hotel kitchens such as The Four Seasons, Sutton Place, and the Intercontinental. He then became the executive chef of Prime restaurants, and in 2003 opened his own restaurant, beerbistro(18 King Street East).
What inspired you to become a chef?
I loved cooking from an early age, probably about 10 years old.
What is your favourite dish at the restaurant where you cook and why?
Hard to say because it would depend on my mood. I think our mussels are some of the best things we do and are the best in the city.
Three ingredients you couldn’t live without and why?
Oh we ate some tasty things this month, my friends. Despite being sick for the past month, I’ve managed to drag myself out to a few places for a bite to eat (I know, the sacrifices I go to for this website), and have documented them all for you lovers of the food porn.
The above dish is not a pizza, or a tart. Rather it’s the very intriguing presentation of the duck and foie gras ravioli at Scarpetta (550 Wellington Street West). Drizzled with a marsala reduction, it was earthy, homey and sweet all at the same time. Possibly my new most favouritest thing.