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.
Greg said it best on Twitter: “sweet merciful crap, there’s more food inside!”
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Second Harvest’s Toronto Taste fund raiser upped its game substantially this year, doubling the number of chefs involved (from 30 to 60) and taking over part of the Royal Ontario Museum and Queen’s Park (the street, not the park itself). With tickets going for $250 (half of which garnered a receipt for tax purposes), it wasn’t an event for everybody – a fact that won Toronto Taste the teeniest bit of flack over on Torontoist, where they pointed out the irony of having a fancy food event in order to help raise funds to feed the hungry. Especially one where some people would take a bite of something and then pitch it. Yikes! (Next year I’m going with a doggy bag to bring people’s half-eaten leftovers home to my dogs! Can I get away with that at the swankest food event of the year?)
But the fact is that every $250 ticket will buy 250 meals, and Second Harvest delivers over 15,000 meals every day (that’s 6 million pounds of food each year!), mostly from donated perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from restaurants and cafeterias.
And while the following photos are most definitely food porn, we’d like to encourage you to consider the bigger picture. Second Harvest will happily accept your donations – in any amount – even though the big event is over. The Toronto Taste online auction, which runs until June 23rd, includes cool items at every price point. As well, please consider supporting the participating restaurants if you possibly can – they all worked incredibly hard and donated their time and food to the cause.
We’d also like to offer hearty congratulations for a job well done to everyone at Second Harvest – and that amazing army of volunteers. You guys rock.
Shown above: Ontario perch with chorizo, pickled heirloom tomatoes and fava bean puree from Chef Andrea Nicholson of Great Cooks on 8.
People always assume because we write about food that we’ve been to every restaurant in the city (all 5000 or so of them), and they’re always disappointed that we haven’t been. Meanwhile, readers tell us that they’d like more photo-essays.
So to satisfy your food porn cravings and what might be an inappropriate desire to live vicariously through us, we’ve started eating out more just for the sake of eating out; to expand our palates, to learn more about our city’s great restaurants, and to give you all something to drool over. Note that these are not reviews – just photos of pretty and tasty food, and that while all the restaurants and chefs knew who we were, all have been paid for out of our own pockets.
Above, from L.A.B. (651 College Street), are chicken pogos; breaded chicken legs that have been Frenched to reveal the bone which doubles as the stick. The creamy puddles are the blue cheese dressing and the red discs are a jelled hot sauce. A shredded celery salad takes the place of the traditional celery sticks that accompany chicken wings.
We visited LAB with a vegetarian friend who was quite delighted to have another slightly upscale place to go for dinner. We tried a number of things on the menu which is about 50/50 vegetarian to carnivore. We all dug the fun tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that chefs Dubrovsky and Scott demonstrate in their menu.
Okay, so I know you readers are divided on the topic of event recaps. Some of you hate them, preferring an event preview instead so you can actually buy a ticket and go – and for the most part, I agree. Who wants to hear about all the fun they missed? But others of you love the food pr0n, the piles of photos of gorgeously executed food and drink, particularity at events with higher ticket prices that might not be affordable to most.
Here’s our take on this – since the fancy events are usually charity fund-raisers we have no problem running a photo-essay after the fact, because it raises more awareness of the issues and the charity (even though the event is over, I’m sure The Stop would be happy to accept any donations our readers might want to make). And it also helps to promote the many wonderful restaurants that donated their time and product to such a worthy cause.
So if you hate the recaps, look away, and we’ll use the same images when we write the event preview article next year! But if you want to see the tasty treats offered to What’s on the Table guests, click on through and enjoy.