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Bacon Everything at The Ex 2012

There is a distinctly porky slant to the food items that will grab the most attention at this year’s CNE. Last year was the year of doughnut burgers and deep-fried Cok…er cola and in 2010 Twitter was filled with pictures of deep-fried butter. The three early candidates to take the crown this year are the Bacon Explosion from Bacon Nation, pulled pork on red velvet pancakes from Pull’d, and the bacon fudge from Northwest Fudge. (more…)

Almost Famous Canadian Winner

For the second year running I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian regional finals for the S. Pellegrino Amost Famous Chef Competition. My view from the audience this year was more relaxed than last year as part of the judging panel. All the same, I really enjoyed tasting what six of Canada’s top culinary students had to offer.

The panel of eight judges (including Toronto blogger Alexa Clark) chose Daniela “Danger” Molettieri as their favourite. Daniela will represent Canada at the North American finals in March in Napa Valley. She’ll have to recreate her Filet of Veal stuffed with wild mushrooms for a room of 150 guests.

Daniela Molettieri accepts her prize as the winner of Canadian regional finals for the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous chef competition.

Daniela Molettieri accepts her prize as the winner of Canadian regional finals for the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous chef competition.

Based on their exuberant reactions after her win it was obvious that Daniela, who studies at the Institut de tourisme et d’hotellerie du ¬†Quebec, had found a place in the heart of some of the panel’s judges.¬† (more…)

Almost Famous and $150 giveaway for Lee

This time last year I had the pleasure of judging the Canadian regional for the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition. They’ve generously given me another opportunity (like last year) to give away a gift certificate to a Toronto restaurant. You can find details on that at the bottom of the post.

As well, they connected me with Cole Nicholson, one of the George Brown culinary students who is competing this year. It was obvious from our discussion that Cole is taking his entry seriously and putting in the time at six a.m. practice. Between that and the support he gets from his coaches and other instructors at George Brown I wouldn’t be surprised if he matches Jean-Francois Daigle’s success from last year and repeats for GB. (more…)

2011 Toronto Christmas Market at Distillery

The giant Christmas Tree at the Lowes' Toronto Christmas Market.

Last Saturday we went down to the Distillery District to check out the food offerings at the 2011 Toronto Christmas Market.

The menu from Cheesewerks featuring their grilled cheese sandwiches.

The menu from Cheesewerks featuring their grilled cheese sandwiches.

Cheesewerks, the not-yet-opened grilled cheese emporium had a booth where they were previewing their menu. The original sandwich with various Balderson cheddars, on fancy bread and with roasted garlic, red repper ketchup goes for seven bucks. (more…)

New Loblaws, Bulk Barn, and Matt Kantor at Longo’s

Maple Leaf Gardens restored awning and the lineup for the new Loblaws.

Yesterday grocery stores were front page news in Toronto. Loblaws has bought Maple Leaf Gardens and turned it into a massive store with wide aisles and separate wall-sized displays of cheese, prosciutto and other goods.

Mural of Leafs heroes at new Loblaws.

Mural of Leafs heroes at new Loblaws.

I joined the lineup under the restored, retro awning on Carlton to get into the Gardens and only scalpers shouting “who’s buying, who’s selling” could have made that more nostalgic. There are some touches like the large mural pictured above, tables topped with posting posters from when Ali was still Clay, and the art installation made from old blue seats above the escalator that are definite nod to the building that was the setting for millions of hours of frost-bitten boyhood fantasies. (more…)