Last summer, I put up a quick post I called On the Menu, with a rundown of some cool upcoming food-related events I felt were worth highlighting. At the time, I mentioned that we’d occasionally run more posts listing events food lovers could look forward to. Well, here’s the second On the Menu post. Please excuse that it’s coming almost a year after the first one… but there are a few great annual events coming up in Toronto that food lovers should know about.
Lunch Money Day
Tomorrow is Lunch Money Day, an annual one-day initiative held by Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization. Their mission is to collect donated excess food from manufacturers, retailers and restaurants that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing that food to community organizations across Toronto that are focused on reducing hunger. Lunch Money Day is one of their three major annual events aimed at raising the funds needed for this great organization to operate. On Thursday, February 16, pack yourself a lunch and donate the money you would have otherwise spent on lunch to Second Harvest. Every $10 donated allows Second Harvest to provide 20 meals worth of food to Toronto’s hungry. If you’re around Yonge-Dundas Square at lunch time tomorrow, you can support Second Harvest by buying your lunch from a great lineup of chefs and restaurants that will be selling meals in the square. There are other great ways to donate to Lunch Money Day, too – check them out here.
Viva Italia! Cucina
Tuesday, February 21 to Friday, February 24
Each year, students in George Brown College’s Italian Culinary Arts program spend four months in Italy, where they have the opportunity to learn new techniques from some great Italian chefs. The week-long Viva Italia! Cucina festival at George Brown College gives the students an opportunity to share what they learned by cooking prix fixe lunches and dinners for diners at the Chef’s House restaurant. The festival also features a one-night-only multicourse dinner cooked by the students alongside a visiting chef from Italy. And the Viva Italia! Gala Tasting Reception brings together a number of great chefs from around Ontario (Rob Gentile from Buca and Fabio Bondi from Local Kitchen, to name just two), who will each present a unique Italian dish they’ve created for attendees to sample alongside a great selection of Italian wines, beers, cheeses and other treats. Jenny and I were at this event last year, and it was definitely a great night (The photo above is of one of our favorite dishes sampled, cooked by Torito’s Luis Valenzuela). If the great Italian food on offer isn’t reason enough to attend, you’ll also be supporting George Brown culinary students, as proceeds from the week’s events go to fund scholarships for the Italian Culinary Arts students. Check out the link above for more info and to buy tickets.
Terroir Symposium 2012
One of my food-related highlights of 2011 was attending the Terroir Symposium, an annual gathering of chefs, food writers, food and wine experts, and others who are passionate about influencing what we eat and how we eat. As a food blogger and relative outsider to the food industry itself, I was reluctant to go, thinking that I might feel out of my element. Turns out those fears were totally unfounded. The energy throughout the day was amazing, and the ideas shared at the seminars, tasting events and the indulgent breakfast and lunch were really inspiring. I’m planning on being there again this year, when the theme will be The New Radicals – a celebration of some of the people who are doing things that are really shaking up how we think about food. Even if you’re like me – not a chef, restaurateur or even a fulltime food writer, just someone passionate about food – this is an event worth attending, both for the lineup of great sessions planned and for the lunch, where chefs from 13 Toronto restaurants (and one from Newfoundland!) will present their interpretations of Chinese dishes.
(The photo above is from a shoot that took place recently, where several of the chefs who will participate gathered to promote the event).