Yeah, I know, I’m a slowpoke these day when it comes to getting event reviews up. Life overwhelms me, what can I say?
In any case, last Wednesday (November 2nd) was the 2nd annual Chowder Chowdown at the Royal York Hotel. Sponsored by Oceanwise, the premise is simple, restaurants create a chowder made with sustainable seafood, and pair it with a beer from Mill Street Brewery. A panel of judges chooses their favourite, but the crowd also gets to vote for a people’s choice selection.
And while Pangaea easily took the prize for both awards last year, there were a couple of upsets this time.
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.
Since the age of fourteen, Andrea has been consumed by the art of food: as a creator, teacher and connoisseur.
She is a Red Seal certified chef who received her culinary training at George Brown College in Toronto. Her professional experience includes positions in respected Toronto restaurants such as Via Allegro, The Fifth, Sequel, Thirty Five Elm and Trattoria Nervosa, as well as travelling the culinary globe and working with internationally acclaimed chefs. Andrea is currently the only Canadian to hold a diploma from the A.P.N. of Naples, Italy, distinguishing her as a Pizzaiuoli.
Andrea’s passion for food is evident in her masterful creations, which celebrate the purity of local and seasonal produce. Support for Canadian farmers and purveyors is a central tenet of her cuisine. Andrea has received several awards for culinary artistry and has been featured on network television. Her credentials and experience identify her as one of Toronto’s top female chefs.
Ocean Wise celebrated its 5 year anniversary this month by announcing a number of new restaurant partners across the country. Readers who haven’t heard of the Ocean Wise program need not feel out of the loop – it’s only been a year since a handful of Toronto restaurants signed on, and while this anniversary celebration included some of the newest Toronto-area restaurants to join, the total still numbers under a dozen.
Created as a conservation program by the Vancouver Aquarium, it makes sense that the majority of restaurants involved in the sustainable seafood program are in British Columbia. While Torontonians have been on the sustainability bandwagon for a few years now, that same diligence seems not to apply to fish, an item that regularly hits our plates without any concern as to how it got there or where it came from.