This passed weekend we had the 20th annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo at the Metro Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. It's the food and drink event of the year! I went with the beautiful MasterChef Canada twins, Narida & Marida Mohammed and their equally beautiful friend Thalia (lucky me). The GFWE is a convention that exhibits the works of caterers, purveyors, restaurants, wine, beer and spirit makers with thousands of samples to try along with live entertainment, cooking demos and even wine tutoring classes. Thousands of people show up for the event every year. If you are 19 or over and are ever in Toronto during the month of November you should look into getting tickets to experience it for yourself. Not only do you get to eat and drink to your heart's content but you actually get to meet and talk with the business owners and really get a feel of the product you're trying.
Between the four of us we tried so many fantastic foodie treats. I'm sure I'm missing things but we sampled chicken paella from El Paella (a local caterer), fresh oysters from Rodney's Oyster House (a must), miso beef tacos, Japanese inspired salmon tartar, samosas, pakoras, creamy shrimp pasta, grilled salmon with apple slaw, almond bars, cannoli, hot sauces... It was all delicious. We got to sample a few wines, beers, ciders, cocktails and a really nice sangria. It was such a fun night.
|Marida & Narida with the Zaza guys|
It's funny, we all meant to take so many more pictures than we actually did. Unfortunately I don't have much to show in the visual department. I've been to the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo once before (in 2011) and remember having an incredible time then too.
We also got to catch a couple of celebrity chefs and sit in during their cooking demos. We saw David Rocco prepare a braised beef and wine dish as well as a cured pork stuffed calamari. David is the host of David Rocco's Dolce Vita, a show shot on location all over Italy showcasing the culinary fares and wines of the area. David is a Toronto born Italian who is very passionate about Italian food. David not only hosts the show but produces it along with his wife Nina. David is also the author of three cookbooks.
Finally, and one of my favourite experiences from the entire night, was that we got to meet chef Lynn Crawford. She was doing a cooking demo but unfortunately we only caught the very end of it. Lynn Crawford has a very inspiring set of accomplishments as a chef. She is the owner of the critically acclaimed Toronto restaurant Ruby Watchco. She has published two cookbooks. She's made several appearances on the Food Network's Restaurant Makeover, Chopped Canada and she competed in last year's Top Chef Masters. She is the former executive chef of both the Toronto and New York Four Seasons and she's the third Canadian to have ever competed on Iron Chef America. Talk about an impressive resumé! Narida and Marida got a photo with her and I got one with her as well. I posted it to Twitter yesterday and she retweeted it (@CHEF_LYNN). So that was a special honour. It just goes to show you, you never know whose paths you may cross when you follow your passion of doing what you love.
|Lynn Crawford and myself|
Stay tuned because there is lots in store for the blog before the new year. In the meantime, keep cooking and eating well!