Wow, what a weekend. I spent most of my weekend eating amazing food and judging it at Taste Canada Cooks the Books 2014. I was at the Judges Table tasting dishes made by culinary students from across Canada, with recipes pulled from some of the top cookbooks written in Canada this year.
Taste Canada Cooks the Book is a culinary competition pitting teams from 10 top Canadian culinary schools against each other. Each team is randomly paired with a Canadian cookbook and its author who will mentor and guide them in preparation. The author is also on stage with them as they prepare their dish for presentation to the judges.
If you think cooking dinner for your mom is pressure, imagine cooking a recipe and answering questions about it when the recipe’s author is standing right beside you.
There were 10 schools, 10 cookbooks and 10 authors (actually more than 10 since some of the books were co-written), here’s how they were paired.
Authors, Teams and Dishes in Taste Canada Cooks the Books 2014
prepared Herbed Ling Cod Cakes with Crisp Potato Rosti & Caper Remouladefrom Alison Malone Eathorne, Hilary Malone & Lorna Malone’s Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley
prepared Moroccan Chicken Stew with Couscous and Homemade Harissafrom Carol Greenwood, Daphna Rabinovich & Joanna Gryfe’s Mindfull: Over 100 Delicious Recipes for Better Brain Health
Liaison College Oakville
prepared Veal Cutlet Roll-ups in Tomato Wine Sauce from Fina Scroppo’s The Healthy Italian: Cooking for the Love of Food and Family
prepared Rabbit and Chourico from Carla Azevedo’s Pimentos and Piri Piri: Portuguese Comfort Cooking
(yes, you read that right, a high school competed and showed well against post-secondary culinary schools)
Liaison College Downtown
prepared Lamb Burgers with Tomato Relish from Betty Bakopoulos, Eleni Bakopoulos & Samantha Bakopoulos’ Three Sisters Back to the Beginning: Timeless Greek Recipes Made Simple
p repared Bibimbap from Jennifer Bain’s Toronto Star Cookbook: More than 150 Diverse and Delicious Recipes Celebrating Ontario
prepared Fred & Ethel Fish Sliders from James Cunningham’s Eat Street: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks
prepared Japanese Curry from Lucy Waverman & Beppi Crosariol’s The Flavour Principle
St. Pius Culinary
prepared Wild Fried Chicken from David Ort’s The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook (Sorry David, it was the only good shot of the team in the kitchen)
Stratford Chefs School
prepared Malaysian Lobster Coconut Curry from Jason Lynch’s Straight from the Line: Recipes and Reflections from a Chef at Work
I was honoured and delighted to be included in this year’s judges along with Signe Langford, Konrad Ejbich, and Chef John Placko.
Taste Canada Cooks the Book 2014 Winners
Congratulations to all the student Chefs and culinary schools participating in this competition, it was a strong showing.
Third Place: Assinibione Community College
Second Place: St. Pius X Culinary Institute
Canada’s Best New Student Chefs: Stratford Chefs School