The big food news this past weekend was that chefs Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth will be taking over the Niagara Street Cafe (169 Niagara Street) as of April 1st, renaming it Edulis. Caballo was the chef at Niagara Street until a few years ago when he and partner Nemeth (she was the chef de cuisine at Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar) left Toronto to travel. After working at restaurants around the world, including in Tuscany and California, they’re returning to the city to run their own place.
Ici Bistro (538 Manning Avenue) is closed until March 21st for staff vacations.
Dark Horse Espresso Bar has taken over the old Smokeless Joe’s location at 125 John Street and opens today.
Greg Clow got the scoop about Mill Street Brewpub opening a location in Pearson Airport. Basically, there will be no beer brewed onsite, but there will be a 130-seat pub with 10 Mill Street brands on tap. Get the full story at Canadian Beer News.
Continue reading “Lucky Dip – Monday, March 5th, 2012”
I am spending this week watching holiday specials. Not the cartoons and tired old movies of yore (Come on admit it, It’s a Wonderful Life is three hours of tedious, sentimental schlock.), but holiday food and cooking shows, specifically of the UK variety.
As it turns out, holiday cooking shows are the big thing for UK chefs, and anyone with an existing series, or a cookbook, or a well-known restaurant, is there on the screen, setting fire to booze-soaked puds and making the holiday hassle look easy. But because there are so many shows, so many chefs competing for viewers’ attention, they’ve all got to do something different, to jazz up the traditional Christmas dinner in some way to make it unique.
Stuart Heritage of the Guardian sees the mass of holiday cooking shows as a as testament to gluttony in the “so… much… foooooood” vein. Because, he claims, it’s all about the watching and not about the cooking. But isn’t that really the saddest part? By which I mean, I bet that your Christmas dinner this year will be exactly like the Christmas dinner you had last year, and the year before that, and the year before that… there will be no trying of new dishes from Jamie or Nigella or Gordon. It’s fun to watch, sure, but hey, don’t fuck with Christmas dinner.
Continue reading “Death by Turkey”
While the rest of the world has been avidly watching Jamie Oliver challenge the concept of school dinners, and trying to figure out how to translate his ideas to their own kids’ schools, here in Toronto a catering company dedicated to providing children with healthy, nutritious meals has been going strong – and growing rapidly – for the past five years.
Real Food For Real Kids (RFRK) is the brainchild of David Farnell and his wife Lulu Cohen-Farnell. Shocked at what daycare centres were offering as snacks to their charges, the Farnells started sending their son Max to daycare with his own snacks and lunch because they wanted him to have healthy, tasty, nutritious food. The idea grew and RFRK now cooks up thousands of meals every day that are sent out to daycares, schools and camps across the GTA.
At a recent open house for care providers, staff from schools and daycares were invited into the RFRK kitchens for a tour and to sample some of the items on the new menu.
Continue reading “Real Food For Real Kids”
It’s no secret that I would rather watch UK food shows than anything made in Canada or the US. Chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Valentine Warner and even Gordon Ramsay do a lot of good work for Channel 4 and the BBC when it comes to promoting seasonal, local, sustainable foodways. For years, Greg and I have had no choice but to download these from online file-sharing sites (shhh!!) because they seldom get shown here and there’s few, if any, domestic equivalents.
Except, bit by bit, Food Network Canada has been picking these shows up. Heston Blumenthal’s Big Chef Takes on Little Chef series that ran last year recently got aired here. Likewise his feasts series in which he recreates (with his own twists, of course) historic meals. Jamie Oliver is a big commodity on this side of the pond, so most of his stuff eventually shows up, but sometimes up to a year after its original air date.
This delay is annoying enough, but makes sense – Channel 4 wants to rerun these shows before selling the rights to anyone else. My frustration is that when Food Network Canada finally gets them, they do very little to promote them.
Continue reading “Buried Treasure – The Hidden Gems of the Food Network and Why You Can’t Find Them”
Today marks the beginning of two weeks of fantastic food-oriented television programming. Gordon Ramsay expands his Kitchen Nightmares series to try and get people to eat at local restaurants; Jamie Oliver takes on the pork industry in an effort to get producers to improve their husbandry standards; Heston Blumenthal has a 3-part series on his reinvention of the UK Little Chef chain of roadside diners; and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall revisits last year’s Chicken Out campaign to see if his efforts really did encourage people to choose free-range chicken and think about where their food comes from.
Too bad you don’t get to see any of it.
The Great British Food Fight series is an annual event on Channel 4 in Britain, and generally deals with politically-charged issues having to do with food production – this year’s series also includes a show called The True Cost of Cheap Food hosted by Jay Rayner of the Guardian.
Enterprising Canadians who want to see these shows will likely have no trouble finding them available for download online, but everyone else will have to miss out. Which is too bad because many of these shows are dealing with important issues that should be at the forefront of any conversation about where our food comes from, yet those discussions still aren’t really happening here in North America.
Continue reading “Where Are the Chefs?”
As a huge fan of British TV, and an openly honest stealer of television shows on the Internets, I was likely one of a small number of North Americans to view the series on Britain’s Channel 4 called Hugh’s Chicken Run in which food journalist and farmer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tries to get his entire town of Axminster to switch from intensively-farmed (and cheap) chicken to slightly more spendy free-range chicken.
In a three-part series, HFW sets up a chicken farm in which he raises half a barn of chickens as they would be in an intensive farming operation (no poultry operation would give him permission to film on their premises, so he was forced to create his own), and the other half as free-range, with more space, access to the outdoors, toys and activities, etc. He also trolls the aisles of his local supermarket to try and convince customers to purchase the free-range birds.
This is the point where Greg and I looked at each other and went “Waitaminute!!! Whaaaa???”
Continue reading “Playing Chicken – The Chicken Out Campaign”