We’re traveling the province looking for the most delicious local food news! Find it — and more! — here.
By Danielle Heft
The Metro Toronto Convention Centre has reached another sustainability milestone! In partnership with OCTA, the MTCC has added a local food advocate to its team – Kelly Hughes is now the Local Food Procurement Officer, Chef and Project Manager who has taken on the mandate to create and implement a new strategy for the MTCC around Ontario-based sourcing.
Funding for Hughes’ new position has come from the Broader Public Sector Investment Fund as part of the Greenbelt Fund.
This milestone will support local economies and build strong communities; it is a green initiative that will reduce the environmental impacts of air pollution from food travel; and above all else, it will provide tastier produce.
As the initiative unfolds, the MTCC website will continue to release updates!
By Agatha Podgorski
TORONTO, Ont. //– The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 Culinary Tourism Awards! The 2011 Culinary Tourism Leadership Award winner is Savour Stratford Perth County. The 2011 Culinary Tourism Experience Award winner is The Apple Pie Trail.
Winners were honoured at the 2011 Ontario Tourism Summit, taking place in Hamilton, Ontario on October 3rd through the 5th.
The Ontario Culinary Tourism Awards celebrate the passion and excellence of those dedicated to advancing the culinary tourism movement in Ontario. Through their steadfast leadership and unique experiences, both winners and finalists set the bar for what culinary tourism in Ontario represents.A� Presented by the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, these awards recognize those who work hard to tell the stories of our growers, producers, chefs, winemakers and brewers.
Also of note were the awards runners up: For Leadership, it was WindsorEats.com; For Experience, it was Oktoberfest at Beaus All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill.
By Agatha Podgorski
It was the 2nd annual Chudleighs PieFest and I had the delicious pleasure of being invited to judge the event! Along with Blogger Deborah Coombs, Valerie Howes of Reader’s Digest Canada, Steve LeBlanc from the Milton Champion, Tamara McPherson of WonderMoms.ca & Adell Schneer of Canadian Living, I had the pleasure of tasting 18 fantastic apple pies and struggling to choose a winner.
The rules were simple. Pies must be apple, only apple, and arrive in a 9inch pie tin. This year, there was also a silent auction with all proceeds going to the Starlight Foundation. All bakers were required to bake two identical pies – one for the contest and one for the Silent Auction. During judging, spectators got the chance to weigh-in on the best pies and place a bid.
First prize went to Shannon McCrae and her fantastic caramel studded dual-crust pie. Second place went to Penny Martin of Sweet Sadies Baking, who also won best crust, while third was awarded to Eva Menda-Gibson. Sonja Tam went home with the prize for best filling.A�All the pies were phenomenal though�a point proven by the flock of spectators devouring the left overs once judging was finished!
Chudleighs is open July through October for pick-your-own apples, country lunches, tractor rides andA� other family fun. They’ve also got a restaurant and country shop on site where you can find apple goodies, local cheeses and of course, fresh baked pies! For more information, visit their website or follow them @chudleighsfarm!
By Rebecca Mackenzie
The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is proud to announce it is partnering with Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) for a special media visit to Tokyo, Japan Oct. 10-15, 2011. This exciting opportunity will allow OCTA to showcase Ontario�s unique food and drink experiences abroad. The visit will focus on market-ready Ontario culinary tourism products from OCTA member destinations as the latest and most attractive facet of travel within Ontario. Held at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo on Oct. 12, OCTA�s presentation will target vital Japanese tourism media, travel trade, embassy staff, and consumers interested in food and drink tourism abroad. ?We�re thrilled to be working in partnership with the OTMPC to showcase the great tastes of Ontario,? says OCTA�s executive director, Rebecca LeHeup. ?Above all we�re looking forward to giving Japanese travellers another delicious reason to keep exploring Ontario and Canada.? OCTA and OTMPC are inviting attendees at this hallmark event, entitled ?Ontario � Discover What�s On Our Table?, to share in the stories of those working in our province�s agricultural, viticultural, and hospitality sectors. Artisan food and beverage products from Ontario producers will be made available for guests, allowing them to taste first-hand the distinctive flavours of our province. Giveaways, media packages, travel/tour information and regional destination marketing materials will also be made available to attendees. ?We are delighted to partner in promoting one of Ontario�s signature experiences to our largest Asian market,? says OTMPC President and CEO, Ronald Holgerson.A� ?Ontario offers a tempting menu of world class chefs, farm fresh food, and award-winning wines.A� We invite our Japanese friends to come and `Discover What�s on Our Table�. ? OCTA and OTMPC will be highlighting how Ontario�s culinary tourism experiences are unrivalled in their authenticity. By doing so, they will capture the attention of one of the most dynamic and discerning outbound tourism markets in the world, and further encourage key players in the Japanese tourism industry to promote Ontario. About the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance: The Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is an industry-driven organization that builds capacity for the culinary tourism in Ontario by connecting growers, producers, processors, tourism operators and others rooted in our agri-food and travel sectors. In partnership with over 30 member organizations, our work lies in developing relationships between growers and processors, chefs and restaurateurs, accommodation providers and distributors, government and industry organizations. Our mission?A� Commitment. Collaboration. Communications. OCTA strives to build and sustain regional identities by supporting sustainable agricultural and aquaculture resources, as well as food and beverage supplies. We accomplish this through our online and social media platforms, customized member services, strong media connections, timely communications and event programming. Above all, we act as the leading voice to share Ontario’s culinary tourism stories with passion and pride. In addition, OCTA is leading efforts in culinary tourism-related research, education and product development as outlined in the 2011-2015 Ontario Four-Year Culinary Tourism Strategy & Action Plan. Within this paradigm, OCTA has the goal of developing Ontario into the premier international culinary tourism destination. About Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation: Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation (OTMPC) is an agency of the government of Ontario.A� The OTMPC collaborates with tourism partners and colleagues at home and internationally to develop and deliver exciting, integrated, research-driven marketing programs that reinforce Ontario as a strong tourism economy and a premier, four-season travel destination. www.tourismpartners.com For more information and for media inquiries please contact: Rebecca LeHeup Executive Director, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance email@example.com (613) 471-0102
By Agatha PodgorskiIt’s not difficult to convince a foodie to eat second helpings of dessert.A� One can simply offer and it will be had.A� Last night at the Evergreen Bricks Works GE Cafe Chefs Series, Chef Brad Long and growing-guru Vicki Emlaw had us eating thirds!A� Despite the late hours, participants were indulging in warm chocolate chip cookies with late-harvest strawberry compote and fresh cream.A� It was a much needed teaser taster to the warm summer to come.
By Rebecca MackenzieYesterday at the Premier�s Agri-Food Summit in Toronto, OCTA was in the crowd hearing the inspirational stories of Ontario farmers, growers, producers, and processors.A� Their innovations and achievements across the province did not go unnoticed. After a great breakfast of whole wheat bagels, soy butter, carrot and apple muffins, apple juice, organic milk, fresh apples, lassi yogurt smoothies and cereal � all from Ontario � the day got off to a prompt start with Premier Dalton McGuinty addressing summit guests to present his annual award. The recipients of the Premier�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence went to Willowgrove Farms in Perth, Ont. The inspiring story of the Hill family�s desire to produce the healthiest and freshest pork possible touched the audience. With tears in her eyes, Rosie accepted the award with her husband Paul and two young children. The Minister�s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence was given to the Duizer Family of Duizer Farms. The unique robotic milking system they use on the farm ensures farmer Arie Duizer can spend time away from the barn and with his family. Arie and his wife Lisa accepted the award from OMAFRA Minister Carol Mitchell with big smiles. The Ontario-theme continued during the day with a Foodland Ontario update presented by business development branch director George Borovilos, and a local food panel discussion featuring Burkhard Mausberg of the Greenbelt Foundation, Sandy Houston of the Metcalf Foundation, John Scott of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and Alison Blay-Palmer from Wilfred Laurier University. For lunch a spread of provincial goodies graced the plates of summit guests. Woolwich feta cheese, Ontario greenhouse veggies, Algoma apples, Quality Cheese brie, Silverstein ciabatta bread, Willowgrove pork, and Mapleton�s organic ice cream all made an appearance on the menu. In the afternoon two informative sessions � Growing Market Opportunities and Food Manufacturing/Sourcing Locally – captured particpants� attentions. It was great to see how much emphasis was put on supporting local growers and producers at the summit. A�Guests were engaged to think critically about ways to integrate Ontario products into their daily operations. A�Most of all, those in the room were witness to great discussions about the rewards, and challenges, of working with local items. At the end of the day guests, including Premier Dalton McGuinty, visited the Legislative Dining room for OCTA�s Taste of Ontario Reception. Overall, the day was a great success and one that surely cemented our province�s commitment to supporting those working in its agri-food industry.
By Rebecca MackenzieThe legacy continues… Excellence, passion, achievement and success continue to be the mandate of the Ontario Hostelry Institute. The 2011 OHI Gold Awards Dinner will again take place Thursday, April 14th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. As a result, the Ontario Hostelry Institute each year honours the celebrated achievements of our industry professionals, and raises critically needed funds for scholarships. Our Gold Awards recognize those top hospitality industry achievers whose commitment to excellence enhances the image of Ontario among thousands of diners, travellers and vacationers each year. The 2011 Ontario Hostelry Institute (OHI) Gold Awardees have been announced by J. Charles Grieco, OHI Chair and President. The Gold Award presentations will be made at the OHI’s Gala Gold Awards Dinner and Auction on Thursday, April 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, ON. Awardees are: The Chairman’s OHI Gold Award will be given to Kathleen Taylor, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Gold Award Chef Jamie Kennedy, owner of Gilead and recently names to the Order of Canada Gold Award – Foodservice Chain Operator Mark Pacinda, President and COO, Boston Pizza Gold Award – Independent Restaurateur Armando Mano, Owner and General Manager, Centro Restaurant, Lounge & Catering Gold Award – Hotelier Andy Loges, General Manager, Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites Gold Award – Educator Michael Olson, Chef Professor at Niagara Culinary Institute Gold Award – Media/Publishing Karen Gelbart, Food Television Gold Award – Chef Jonathan Gushue , Executive Chef, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa Gold Award – Supplier Fatos Pristine, owner the Cheese Boutique
By Rebecca Mackenzie
Savour Ottawa took home the Culinary Tourism Leadership Award while the Savour Stratford Perth County Festival took home the Culinary Tourism Experience Award.
Also of note are our runners up:
For Leadership – Savour Stratford Perth County
For Experience – Sensational Elora, The Blue Mountain Village Apple Pie Trail
Many thanks are again extended to our 2010 award judges: Suzanne Caskie of George Brown College, Barb Shopland of 2Gener8 Solutions Inc., Charles Grieco of the Ontario Hostelry Institute, and Suresh Doss of Spotlight Toronto.
We will be posting images and video from the awards celebration at Deerhurst, along with detailed information about our award winners over the next two weeks in a special Awards section on our website.
Stay tuned for more 2010 Ontario Culinary Tourism Award coverage.