By Lory Diaz
Recipe for Change 2017, FoodShare‘s 8th annual fundraiser presented by Tangerine, took place on February 23, 2017 at the St. Lawrence Market’s south tent. Torontonicity was lucky enough to be invited again to smell, taste, and experience the delicious mouthfuls created by 30 local chefs, vintners, and brewers. It was a packed event as guests filled their bellies in support of the many food literacy and community programs FoodShare assists across Toronto.
Barque: Pommery pulled pork 3-bite sliders: If you haven’t been to either of Barque’s Roncesvalles locations, read here about my last visit with Food Nook Tours . You can read all about my love of their delicious 299 dry rub wings.
Cynthia Leung and David Castellan of SOMA Chocolatemakers: they had three featured chocolates available to guests, with each more flavourful and decadent than the last: pomegranate molasses meltaway, Southbrook vineyard truffle, and their award-winning Porcelana made with 70% dark chocolate from Venezuela, that could easily pass for a milk chocolate. SOMA is always decadent, flavourful, and they never disappoint!
Chef Liu of Dailo was back with a vegetarian pumpkin dumpling: soy brown butter sauce, white rabbit candy glaze, an pepita crumble.
If you haven’t checked out Barsa Taberna on Market Street, you can read about my visit here! Chef Andres Salomon started in May of last year and has made some serious changes to their menu. He brought Pinchos three ways: serrano ham with figs and almonds, whipped goat cheese with cucumber and (absolutely delicious and refreshing) pickled raisins, and chicken liver pate with pomegranate and pistachio.
The sisters from Sweet Carnival Cakes baked Callebaut (Belgian) chocolate ganache brownies with salted caramel drizzle and caramel corn crunch.
The cutest garden-like display serving up Monforte Dairy sheep cheese, with waffle cone, compressed root cellar apple and basil oil, as well as a simple spoonful of sheep cheese accompanied by flavoured salt meant to elevate the tasting experiencing.
The Art Gallery of Ontario’s FRANK chef, Renee Bellefeuille, created a colourful vegetarian poke bowl with sticky soy bean, chia seeds, pickled vegetables, miso-yuzu dressing and fried taro. This was one of the top dishes of the night for me, because of how vibrant, refreshing, and clean the flavours were. It was also nice to know that there were delicious vegetarian options available for guests.
Head sponsor, Tangerine, made these lighting boxes available so guests could take the perfect picture of their perfect bites. Everyone enjoyed using them!
Pai Northern Thai Kitchen: spicy grilled pork jowl salad: nice burst of flavour, slightly sweet, with great spice. Only downfall to the lettuce wrap approach is that it tended to fall apart, but with a napkin in hand the messiness was manageable.
The Pizzeria Libretto chef Rocco Agostino brought shrimp cappelletti with celeriac (also known as knob celery) broth!
Aside from drinking and eating ‘til your hearts content, there is a silent auction that takes place throughout the night. Guests can bid on fantastic dining experiences, kitchenware, cosmetics, perfumes, and family-fun packages, knowing that their bids are supporting food literacy in Toronto. My favourite bidding item of the night was the Good Food Machine vertical gardening hydroponic system. FoodShare is working to ensure that informative workshops and resources are made available to the ten schools in Toronto that now have their very own hydroponic towers.
Shinji Yamaguchi’s Gushi (fried) chicken had guests coming back for seconds.
Another delicious vegetarian option from Loka’s chef Dae Mottershall: pan roasted mushrooms, truffled potato, and deer lichen. So delicate, beautiful, and delicious!
Bertrand Alepee of The Tempered Room had the loveliest passion fruit cream-filled chouquettes! The pastry itself was light and airy, allowing the strong and juicy flavours of the passion fruit to delight your entire mouth. This was summer in pastry form!
Propeller was serving up some smooth cups of coffee for guests, and I went for a classic latte.
I can say, without a single doubt, that my number one pick of the night was Hawthorne Food and Drink’s chef, Ricky Casipe’s duck heart tocilog: duck heart tocino (Spanish bacon), soy cured yolk, puffed wild rice, with garlic chips. The puffed wild rice had a wonderful texture, and created such a fantastic bed for the nuanced flavours of the hearts. I’m excited to visit the restaurant and see what else chef Casipe has created.
The Bendale Business & Technical Institute students were back with salt fish fritters and ackee spinach ragout. I found out that the greens used for the ragout were grown in the school garden! I spoke to the culinary arts teacher, Darren Beer, about the value and support FoodShare brings to schools by allowing students the opportunity to learn technical and life skills by seeing through the entire garden-to-plating process. This is another reminder that not only is Recipe for Change fun, delicious, and exciting, but also a great fundraiser for a great cause making a real difference. Please don’t hesitate to attend next year, and put some support behind this important cause!