Stirring the Pot with Chef Martin Kouprie

Ask chef Martin Kouprie the secret of his culinary success and he’ll tell you that it’s a love of fresh food. This passion for freshness and an understanding of the science of cooking allow him to create menus and recipes that celebrate the magnificence of each season’s harvest. Although local ingredients hold centre stage in Kouprie’s cooking, he also views his pantry through the lens of the latest food trends. As a result, Kouprie’s fans come to Pangaea (1221 Bay Street), the restaurant he co-owns with business partner Peter Geary, to enjoy his ingredient-driven cooking which is simultaneously regional, modern and sophisticated.

Kouprie and his staff participate in numerous charitable events each year including large fundraisers such as Toronto Taste and Empty Bowls as well as smaller grass roots events. He has also been an active participant in programs such as Oceanwise, an initiative spear headed by the Vancouver Aquarium, which works with fish and seafood suppliers to ensure that chefs can access products that not only taste delicious but have a negligible impact on ocean ecosystems.

In his personal life Martin Kouprie is an accomplished carpenter and a speciality scuba diver. He is the father of a son, Oliver, and is married to cookbook author and food concept architect Dana McCauley. His first book, Pangaea. Why it Tastes So Good will be published this November.

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Souped Up

This past Wednesday was sunny and warm – not a day you’d typically consider eating soup. But 400 people lined up at the doors of the Gardiner Museum to take part in Empty Bowls, an annual event featuring local chefs, local pottery artists and of course, great soup.

For $45, attendees not only got to sample soups from 20 different restaurants at the Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner restaurant, they also got a beautiful, hand-made bowl to take home.

This fantastic event is based entirely on donations – from the chefs donating their time and food, to local potters donating bowls, many made especially for this event. With bread donated from Ace Bakery and crackers from Evelyn’s Crackers, plus water from Gaia and cups from Green Shift, all proceeds from the event go towards Anishnawbe Health Toronto, a charitable organization that provides food to homeless people. Volunteers and Gardiner Museum staff also donated their time, and props, kudos and huge piles of thanks and appreciation must go to organizer Siobhan Boyd who pulls this thing together every year with aplomb.

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Bowled Over

Last Wednesday evening, the line-up outside the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art stretched as far north as Bloor Street. People had come prepared; many had snacks, drinks and umbrellas to shield them from the warm May sunshine, because to be first in line meant having the dedication to wait for hours to get in. But being first in line also meant having first choice when selecting a bowl, as well as getting to the variety of soups from the participating local chefs before they all ran out. And they would run out.

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