ACE Bakery Artisans Meet

In early 2013, Linda Haynes, the co-founder of ACE Bakery one of Canada's great artisan success stories, invited me to participate in a project that she envisioned as a celebration of their 20 year anniversary. Rather than merely throwing a party, she created a "Tastemakers" panel of which I was honoured to be Chair.  With representation from across the country, our task was to select and bring together some of Canada's up and coming small producers. 

U of G Appoints First Food Laureate

Anita StewartThe University of Guelph has appointed its first Food Laureate. Anita Stewart, an expert on food and Canadian cuisine will serve as the University’s food ambassador, providing advocacy and leadership and promoting initiatives.

“This historic appointment is a significant step towards strengthening U of G’s reputation as ‘Canada’s food university’.” said president Alastair Summerlee.“We are known internationally as the place for food research, teaching and technology, but our contributions to the culinary life of Canada need to be more widely touted. Having a Food Laureate will allow the University to engage people across the country and strengthen our profile and support.” 

As the Founder of Cuisine Canada, Stewart’s Mission Statement is to “actively promote the growth and study of our distinctly Canadian food culture.”

Life in the (sort of) fast lane...

With His Excellency David JohnstonA spectacular honour came my way in May when the invitation arrived to Rideau Hall and the Investiture into The Order of Canada.   There are no words to describe the emotions that well up when, seated amongst some of the people I admire the most, my name was called.  

Okanagan Lavender Flower Crepes with Warm Icewine Butter Sauce

Crepes with Lavender

Studded with pungent lavender, these crepes may be made well in advance of your brunch.  They make a spectacular dessert as well.  If you're a gardener, experiment with different varieties of lavender or better still, visit the Okanagan Lavender Farm just outside of Kelowna. 

Soupe à l’ oignon à la Blanche de Chambly

Onion SoupIn Chambly, Unibroue has set up Fourquet Forchette, an interpretation centre featuring not only the beer of Unibroue, but also the early foods of Québec. 

This recipe, originally printed in Flavours of Canada, is perfect for a cold winter day.  Any wheat beer can be substituted for the Blanche de Chambly.

Canada IS Food!

 

Salmon Hearings into the "Northern Gateway" pipeline are underway.   I would hope that this article, originally published in my last book, Anita Stewart's CANADA, will shed a little more light onto the discussion.  

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From the boreal forest to the tundra; from the Prairie grasslands to Ontario’s Carolinian woodlands, Canada is stunningly rich with flora and fauna. Bio-diversity is our most valuable heritage. With 71,000 species which have been scientifically described and another estimated 69,000 * species yet to be named and classified, it becomes crystalline that the protection of our ecological heritage is absolutely paramount.  These raw materials are the building blocks of future crops, both food and medicinal.  As plant breeders head to the original cradles for the landraces of the particular crops with which they are working, so too, will future biologists come to Canada.

For the First Nations, the rhythm of life was in the harvest and the attitudes towards it.  The notion of ‘oneness’ with the earth and its gifts was embedded in Aboriginal belief long before contact, predating the modern concept of “eco-systems by millennia. For the Nuu-Chah-Nulth people of coastal B.C their physical reality was transposed into their culture. “All things are related and interconnected.  All things are sacred.”

Member of the Order of Canada

Order of Canada Lapel Pin What a New Year's gift!  Being appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada is an extraordinary honour.  

The citation reads " Anita Stewart: For her contributions as a journalist, author and culinary activist and for her promotion of the food industry in Canada."   Joe Friesen wrote a great piece on a number of this year's appointees in the Globe and Mail

The Order of Canada itself was "Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country. The Order of Canada’s motto is DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (They desire a better country)."   

On the Winter Solstice

 

Candle and Drying Nets in NFLDThe Winter Solstice has passed and we are heading into the light.  Make some good winter soup, bake some great bread and whip up a batch of shortbread, then try to share the culinary joy with as many friends as you can.   

 

Best, best, best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a spectacular, sunshine-filled 2012! 

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Kickass Canadians!

Amanda SageAmanda Sage is an exceedingly creative and very proud Canadian.  

One of her Queen's University profs, Clarke Mackey, Head of Film and Media,  described her by writing. “Amanda is THE most exceptional student I have ever had in 20 years at Queen’s. She is willing to take extraordinary creative risks with a confidence and clarity that is very unusual for one so young.”    

She calls her musings 'brainflow' which best describes how easily she shifts gears from writing magical children's books (she has her own print house named Wonderpress) to film, photography and her latest bigZootopia project Kickass Canadians where she profiles men and women who, for her, are making a difference.  In her own words: "I launched kickasscanadians.ca because I know a lot of inspiring Canadians and wanted to share their insights and experiences with the world. Everyone you’ll read about here has a unique perspective, talent, drive and generosity that makes our country a better place to be."  It was a great privilege to be interviewed by Amanda and when I view the roster she has on her site, it's pretty humbling. 

Canada's Original Cooking Vessel

Bentwood Box CookingCanada can claim only one indigenous cooking technique – the bentwood box from the First Nations along the coast of British Columbia. The world has taught us how to make oatcakes and pasta, pizza and Yorkshire pudding, perfect sushi and great perogies. We roast, boil, bake, stir-fry, microwave, pickle, freeze, preserve, pit cook, barbecue…ad infinitum but the bentwood box is the only method that’s utterly unique to our country.

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