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Law and Politics

Ambassador of Cheese


Last August an email arrived in my inbox that invited me to participate in a programme that the Dairy Farmers of Canada are running. Over a year-long stretch that started in September 2013 they are going to send cheese to bloggers who will then post “action shots” of Canadian cheese on Instagram and other social media channels.

For participating I get a selection of cheese each month this winter and have agreed to post an Instagram photo once a week during that period.

You’ll be able to find my photos under the hashtags #CDNCheese and #simplepleasures. This is all part of the Simple Pleasures campaign that also includes this short YouTube video. DFC posted a profile of the three bloggers and are collecting our photos on this page. (more…)

Chef Lynn Crawford, iögo, and Community Food Centres Canada Partnership

Packing vegetable pasta salad to go at the Stop's Community kitchen.

Cooking in a group can be a distracting experience — conversation and making sure that you’re keeping pace with everyone else are strong, if slightly unsafe, reasons to take your eyes off the cutting board. But, put a pro like celebrity chef Lynn Crawford at the station one to your left and suddenly things become a lot more intense. That’s where I found myself a couple weeks ago when I got the chance to visit The Stop‘s community kitchen on Davenport Road in Toronto.

Nick Saul, Gerry Doutre, Chef Lynn Crawford, Rachel Gray

Nick Saul, Gerry Doutre, Chef Lynn Crawford, Rachel Gray

The group of fellow bloggers and food writers had been gathered together to learn more about the partnership that has been struck between Ultima Foods (through their Iögo yogurt brand) and community kitchens. The have partnered with specific community kitchens near their production facilities, the larger Community Food Centres Canada, and with Chef Crawford. (more…)

Back to the Polls

Photo: Benson Kua

Torontonians have dealt with our municipal election and that means four years of Rob Ford but it also means that our next election is the provincial one on October 6, 2011.  There were some bright moments for food policy in the municipal election: farmers’ market organiser Mary-Margaret McMahon soundly defeated Sandra Bussin and Joe Pantalone–he of the wrong-headed attack on bistros who want liquor licenses–didn’t come anywhere near to winning.  I hope that food policy gets more attention during the provincial round of campaigning and I’m going to start right here with this post.

To fully cover the political issues that interest me and are relevant to this space I’m also going to include alcohol policy.  They’re sometimes very distant from each other but the two realms of policy do come together in our important restaurant industry but also cross when you consider how closely they’re both affected by a government’s willingness to play an active role in affecting consumer choice. (more…)

Stop, Burger Police

An unidentified medium burger

An unidentified medium burger

Is there a burger law in Toronto?  Recently I returned to The Burger Bar for my third visit in eight days–I had a free burger coupon that was going to expire–and asked that my burger be cooked medium.  My good-natured server said that she wasn’t sure this was allowed but checked with the kitchen and they said that health code requires ground meat be cooked to 71 degrees celsius, “a little bit past medium”.  This is actually quite far past medium (63ºC) but quibbling with Kensington’s burger joint is not the point of this venture. I am wondering if there is a Burger Law in Toronto?  Would a restaurant actually be violating a mandatory requirement if they served a hamburger cooked to a temperature below 71ºC?

Two things are clear to me: 1. Some restaurants will intentionally serve a hamburger (especially if requested) medium or medium-rare; and 2. The City has guidelines which at least recommend that all ground meat be cooked to well-done.  The point which I wanted to clarify is: Are the restaurants who refuse a patron’s request just timid; and conversely are the restaurants willing to serve a medium-rare burger breaking the law?