Scrumptious Peameal Bacon Banh Mi Sandwiches

The banh mi itself is an example of food fusion at it’s most satisfying; a French baguette is stuffed with a tasty array of Vietnamese flavours including pork, pickled daikon radish, carrots, cucumbers and heaps of fresh cilantro. We take it one step further with our banh mi recipe, in which Canadian and Vietnamese traditions are fused between two halves of baguette. The result? Tangy, sweet, salty, fresh and absolutely delicious.

Served warm or cold, this sandwich is casual enough for a picnic and elegant enough for a party.

Peameal Bacon Banh Mi

Peameal Bacon Banh Mi

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 4

1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup julienned carrot
1/2 cup julienned daikon radish
2 tsp vegetable oil
8 slices peameal bacon
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 demi French baguettes
2 baby cucumbers, thinly sliced in ribbons
1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1. In a medium bowl, mix together rice vinegar and sugar. Submerge julienned carrot and daikon in vinegar mixture. Set aside for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight.
2. Heat oil in a large pan to medium-high. Fry peameal bacon on one side until golden, about 30 seconds. Flip bacon and continue to cook the other side for 30 seconds. Lower heat to medium. Add hoisin sauce to pan and flip bacon slices to coat in sauce. Continue to cook until hoisin has become thick and sticky, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
3. Drain carrot and daikon from pickling liquid.
4. Cut baguettes in half lengthwise and spread mayonnaise on bottom halves. Divide cucumber ribbons over mayonnaise. Place 4 slices of peameal bacon on each baguette and top with the pickled carrot and daikon, and fresh cilantro.
5. Close each sandwich with top bun and slice in half.


John Catucci Predicts What You Gotta Eat Next

Food trends come and go, but no matter what the masses are noshing and Instagramming, you can guarantee You Gotta Eat Here! host John Catucci will be right there with them. We talked to the food star and sampling savant to find out which treats you’ll be lining up for this summer.


Artisanal Doughnuts
Fancy doughnuts aren’t new, but they’re not going anywhere either, says John.  One doughy fried treat in particular has convinced him that we’re still at the peak of doughnut popularity. “We went to this place called Cartems in Vancouver, that just did incredible doughnuts like an Earl Grey doughnut,” he says. “That floored me. It was a cake doughnut, and they used bergamot in the cake batter and in the glaze as well. It’s like you’re eating a doughnut and having a tea on the side.”

Get the recipe for The Porky Monkey Doughnut from Von Doughnuts.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken
Just like doughnuts, John thinks fried chicken will continue sticking to your ribs and the popularity charts. He says 2016 is the year of fried chicken, in every form. “Bone in or out, in a sandwich, on a plate, with waffles, or just by itself. That’s always going to be there.” John particularly enjoys the fried chicken sandwiches at Toronto’s The Combine Eatery.

Get the recipe for Fried Chicken from Wallflower Modern Diner.

steak and kidney pie

Posh Nosh
If you’re already a pie and a pint kind of person, prepare to start jostling for elbow room at your British local. Elevated English pub fare will be the next cuisine to capture Canadian palates, says John, citing Toronto’s The Borough as a leader in fancy pub food. He cites their Yorkie Burger, a beef patty served between two Yorkshire puddings, as an example of what’s to come. “It has the flavours of a roast beef dinner that you like, but smashed in a burger,” he enthuses.

Get the recipe for Steak and Kidney Pie from The Dam Pub.

Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad

What’s better than a light, fresh spring salad? A light, fresh spring salad with a ton of toasted bread soaked in dressing, obviously. The panzanella salad originates in Italy and is said to date back to the 16th century. I know nothing of history. But what I do know is that I love a good crouton salad.

This salad is composed of fresh spring veggies that you can find in farmers’ markets this time of year, and really showcases the vegetables. Be sure to buy local and organic when possible, but if you can’t, just be sure to find the best quality veggies near you. It really makes a world of a difference.


This salad is dressed really lightly with dill-mustard vinaigrette, which brightens and accents the asparagus, favas, grilled scallions and radishes perfectly. I’ve used pumpernickel bread in the recipe to add a deeper flavour to the salad, and pea shoots for a subtle earthy sweetness. You can always substitute those out for whatever bread and tender greens you can find — this dish is super refreshing and versatile.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 side servings or 2 large servings



For the croutons:
5 thick slices pumpernickel bread, about 1” thick
Olive oil

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

For the grilled scallions:
5-6 scallions
Olive oil

1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1 cup shelled fava beans, fresh is preferred
4 radishes, sliced thinly
1 cup pea shoots




For the croutons:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with tin foil for easy clean up.
2. Cut the pumpernickel slices into 1” thick cubes.
3. Place them in a large bowl and drizzle with a very, very generous amount of olive oil. You want it to completely cover the bread.
4. Transfer the bread onto a baking sheet and spread out in one layer.
5. Season with a bit of salt and bake for 12 minutes, tossing the croutons halfway through.

For the dressing:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dill, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt and fresh cracked pepper until combined.
2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Set aside.

For the grilled scallions:
1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.
2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the scallions and season with a bit of salt.
3. Grill for 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely charred and softened.
4. Cut the scallions into 1” long pieces.

For the asparagus:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a bowl.
2. Once the water is at a rolling boil, drop in the asparagus.
3. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, then immediately transfer them to the ice bath. They should still have some crunch to them.
4. Allow them to cool in the ice bath for 1 minute and then place onto a paper towel. Dab away any extra water. This will prevent the asparagus from getting waterlogged.
5. Cut the asparagus into 1” long pieces.


Dressing the salad:
1. In a large bowl, toss the croutons with 2 Tbsp of dressing and allow them to soak it up while dressing the remaining components.
2. In a separate bowl, toss the scallions, asparagus, fava beans, radish slices and pea shoots with 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp of dressing. Don’t drown the delicate veggies.
3. Transfer the veggies into the bowl with the croutons and toss gently to combine.
4. Plate and enjoy with extra dressing on the side.


Notes and Shortcuts:
– Use whatever vegetables are fresh and in season — get creative!
– The veggies and croutons can be made and prepped ahead of time, then dressed before serving. This is super helpful when you have guests coming or if you would like to take this salad as a work lunch.
– Change it up: grill the asparagus and change out the scallions for thinly sliced red onions. And if you can find ramps, it’s your lucky day. Definitely use them.
– Substitute the pea shoots for pea tendrils, micro greens or even sorrel — whatever you can find!


How to Make Cute Canadian Moose Cupcakes

These fun cupcakes pay homage to one of Canada’s iconic animals: the moose. Made with peanut butter, salty pretzels, chocolate fudge and maple, it’s a deadly combination that will be hard to resist. There’s one more sneaky treat layered into these adorable desserts; maple cookies! When flipped upside down, the classic Canadian snacks make perfect moose faces. Who knew?

Moose Cupcakes

Moose Cupcakes

Prep time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Makes: 24 cupcakes

1 box chocolate cake mix (15.25 oz)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 -1/4 cup water

For the Moose:
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 Tbsp heavy cream
24 maple leaf cookies, store-bought or homemade
48 pretzel twists
48 mini white chocolate chips
24 chocolate covered raisins or peanuts
1/2 tsp blue or green sprinkles

For the Buttercream Icing:
3/4cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper cupcake liners in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix with oil, eggs, water and peanut butter on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour batter into liners until 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

3. While cupcakes are baking, combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water to form a double boiler. Stir chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula until fully melted, about 5 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. 4. Dip one face of the maple leaf cookie into chocolate and allow any excess chocolate to drip off. Repeat with remaining cookies. Set dipped cookies aside on a cookie sheet until chocolate has set slightly, about 10 minutes.

5. While chocolate is still soft, build the face of the moose. Form the antlers by gently pressing the bottom of two pretzels into the bottom two corners of each maple leaf cookie. Press two mini white chocolate chips, points facing down, side by side, in the centre of each cookie to form the moose’s eyes. Press one chocolate covered raisin or peanut into the top point of each maple leaf cookie to form the nose of the moose. Carefully place a blue or green sprinkle on the tip of your finger and press into the white chocolate chip to finish the eyes of the moose. Continue with remaining moose. Set cookies aside in a cool place for chocolate to fully set, about 30 minutes.

6. To make the chocolate peanut butter buttercream, place butter, peanut butter and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar until fully combined.

7. Once cupcakes are cool, place buttercream in a piping bag with preferred tip and pipe onto cupcakes or you can simply smear buttercream over cupcakes using a palette knife. Place one moose cookie face on each cupcake until complete.

Looking for more Canadian desserts? Try these 9 Cool Canadian Cakes.

Food Network Star: Celeb Chefs Offer Advice to Finalists

With the 12th season of Food Network Star underway, culinary icons Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are busy trying to discover the next food television star. As hopefuls are put through the ringer with tasks that test their kitchen skills and on-camera chops, our current star chefs have a few words of wisdom to share.

Bobby Flay says: “Be original.”

The host of Beat Bobby Flay and one of the judge-mentors on Food Network Star says competitors need to be unique. Trying to mimic someone who is already on the network won’t get you very far.

Giada De Laurentiis says: “Don’t over rehearse.”

Having hosted an array of shows including Giada Entertains and Giada in Italy, this star knows a thing or two about communicating on camera. “If you’re going to over rehearse what you’re going to do and say, you tend to come off as cold and inaccessible,” she says, adding that it’s more genuine when someone’s not trying to be perfect all the time.

Guy Fieri says: “Don’t burn tape.”

As host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for 24 seasons now, Guy learned early on that a star must always live in the moment — especially on camera. If you make a mistake, Guy says, just keep rolling and keep going.

Rachael Ray says: “It’s not all about the food.”

The chef and host of shows like 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day says it’s important to hone your storytelling skills. The more you connect with the audience, the more excited they’ll be to share that experience with their families. “Every time they tune in, they’re going to be entertained and they want to share time with you. It can’t just be about the food, because mostly everyone knows how to cook a piece of chicken.”

Geoffrey Zakarian says: “Own who you are!”

Host of the new series Cooks vs. Cons, and probably the swankiest talent on our roster, Geoffrey explains that as long as you’ve got self-confidence, any mistake you make on camera isn’t that important. “It’s how you come across, how you hide it,” he says.

Robert Irvine says: “Picture your mom in the audience.”

The host of Restaurant Impossible understands that a bunch of cameras can be intimidating for a newcomer. Robert says picturing someone special to you, like your mom or boyfriend, can help dialogue sound more natural.

Catch all new episodes of Food Network Star Sundays at 9 E/P.

11 Super Quick Recipes for Gourmet Condiments

Summer commands big, bold flavour with minimal effort. Who wants to be slaving in the kitchen when the pool is shimmering and the lawn chairs are vacant?  Enter: super-condiments!  A few quick flavour-boosters amp up the contents of your jars and squeeze bottles, turning them into magical, mouth-watering delights.

Here’s how you can elevate your everyday condiments quickly, so you can get right back to the pool!


Miso-Mayonnaise: Stir 2 Tbsp of miso into 1/2 cup of mayonnaise for a salty umami boost.

Avocado-Corn Salsa: Doctor up 1 cup of store-bought salsa with a chopped ripe avocado and 1/2 cup of frozen corn.  

5-Spice Ketchup: Add 1 tsp of 5-spice powder, 1 tsp finely grated ginger, and a Tbsp of soy sauce to 1/2 cup of ketchup for a Chinese twist.

Not-So-Secret Sauce: Stir 2 Tbsp each of ketchup and relish into 1 cup of mayonnaise, along with a tsp each of onion powder and garlic powder.

Currynnaise: Stir 1 tsp of curry powder, Indian curry paste, or garam masala into 1/2 cup jarred mayonnaise, then add about 1-2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon and 1 Tbsp of minced chives.  

Zesty Horseradish Mustard: Stir 1 Tbsp (or more, if you’re brave) of the pungent root into 1/2 cup prepared mustard to take your sausages to the next level.

Caramelized Onion Butter: Mix equal parts caramelized onions (let your slow cooker do the work) and softened butter, whipped together in a small blender or food processor.  

Sriracha Mayo: Add a bit of the hot sauce to mayo a squirt at a time to reach your desired spiciness.

Herb and Garlic Butter: Stir a clove of minced garlic and 2 Tbsp of minced fresh herbs of your choice (tarragon, rosemary, basil, chives or oregano) into 1/2 cup of softened butter.  

Spicy Chipotle Ketchup: Boost 1/2 cup of ordinary ketchup with 1-2 tsp of dried chipotle powder or the adobo sauce that comes in canned chipotles. Taste and add more for a greater kick!

Tarragon Cream Mustard: Mix 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard into 1/2 cup sour cream, and stir in 1 Tbsp minced fresh tarragon.  

Looking for something to put these sauces on? Try one of our Our 50 Most Popular Burger Recipes.

10 Fun Facts About Kids BBQ Championship Host Camila Alves

On the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship, eight talented young grill masters will be battling for the chance to win a $20,000 cash prize and the coveted title of champion. Mentoring and judging them through all the challenges will be winner of Food Network Star season 11 Eddie Jackson and newcomer Camila Alves.

Here are 10 fun facts about our newest Food Network star.

1. Camila was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil. She first came to America when she was 15 years old. After falling in love with Los Angeles, she decided to stay permanently.

2. Food Network star Rachael Ray helped Camila cook her first fish. Camila says she’d often watch Rachael on the channel, and go to the bookstore and look through her cookbooks to get recipe ideas.

Getty Images

Getty Images
Getty Images

3. She’s the wife of Academy-Award winner Matthew McConaughey. They met in 2007 before getting married in 2012. They have three children together: Levi, Vida and Livingston.

4. Her and her family live in Austin, Texas, home to countless barbecue joints every smoked-meat and grill-loving person on the planet needs to eat at! It’s no wonder they called her up to co-host a show like Kids BBQ Championship.

5. The one food item she absolutely cannot live without is a juicy rib-eye steak. “My body literally craves it,” she tells Food Network.

6. Move over Goop, Camila has launched her own lifestyle and DIY website, Women Of Today. It’s chock full of tips, kid-friendly recipes, crafts and beauty posts for busy moms and women around the globe.

7. This is not her first rodeo. Camila, a former model, has hosted other programs including Shear Genius, a hair-styling competition show that ran in 2007.

8. Even better, Camila has already experience judging kids. Ted Allen invited her to be a guest judge on an episode of Chopped Junior, where the young chefs were tasked with creating a dish using cereal and meat.

9. Camila is crafty! Her and her mother started making handbags, and eventually launched Muxo, a collection of handmade bags designed by the duo themselves.

10.  She loves to give back. Her and her husband Matthew co-founded the Just Keep Living Foundation, dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices. Right now, JKL is featured in 24 schools across the U.S.

Catch the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship Sunday, May 29 at 8 E/P.

How to Pack a Cooler Like a Pro

People who claim that travelling is more about the journey than the destination have one thing in common: they’re not hangry. Enjoy your travels with fewer stops using these tips for packing the perfect road trip cooler — the one that helps you stave off snack attacks so you can enjoy a delicious trip.

Watermelon Lemonade

Tip: Freeze water bottles and juice boxes for drinks that double as ice packs.

Once the frozen drinks thaw a little, you’ll have refreshing treats worth their weight in cooling energy. For maximum savings and nutrition, pack reusable water bottles with your favourite smoothie recipe and freeze it the night before your trip.

Whether you pack store-bought drinks or make your own lemonade, juice or smoothies, be sure to leave a few unfrozen — ideally grouped to one side of the cooler — so your car crew can hydrate whenever they need.

Frozen treats can work as snacks, too. Toss your favourite frozen fruits into a container full of yogurt for a quick and refreshing dairy treat that will keep all day in the cooler.

Get the recipe for Watermelon Lemonade.


Tip: Pack frozen drinks and heavy freezer packs on the bottom, and toss a few light frozen gel packs on the top.

Pack your cooler like this: heavy stuff on the bottom, sturdily packaged items like jars and plastic containers in the middle, and anything that shouldn’t be squished or bruised (bread, sandwiches, fruits and veggies) on top. Toss a few light gel packs on top of it all, and maintain the cooler’s temperature by opening it as little as possible.

Foods that bruise easily fare best at the top, but more importantly, you’ll have the healthiest option at first reach whenever you search the cooler for a quick snack.


 Tip: Jarred salads are perfectly portable and make delicious travel meals.

You’ll likely want to pull over to enjoy your salads safely, but layered mason jar salads rival the flavours at any roadside fast food chain or gas station diner. Whatever you put in your jars, pack the dressing first, then add in order of weight, with the heaviest ingredients at the bottom: pasta or grains first, then proteins, then chopped veggies and lettuces or sprouts. Shake to mix when you’re ready to eat.

Get the recipe for Stacked Salad Niçoise.


Tip: Keep your cooler within reach during the drive.

As long as you’ve got a passenger capable of reaching in to dole out treats, you can fend off hanger without having to stop. If you’ve got little ones in the back with the cooler, and don’t trust them to keep it closed, consider putting them in charge of a secondary bag filled with non-perishables treats like granola bars, crackers, energy balls and sturdier, whole fruits like bananas and apples.

Get the recipe for Anna Olson’s Granola Bars.

Tip: Don’t forget utensils and napkins. 

Hand sanitizer, wet wipes or a wet washcloth packed in a plastic baggie will ensure clean hands before and after meals. Keep these items in or near the cooler and store utensils in a separate bag. If you’re including a knife or scissors in your kit, wrap them in a tea towel and secure with elastic bands to prevent unwanted pokings.

Looking for car snack ideas? Try one of our 18 Best Foods to Pack for a Road Trip.

What to Binge-Watch This Victoria Day Long Weekend

Who needs a cottage by the lake when you can curl up on the couch and watch your favourite Food Network shows back-to-back! Starting Saturday, May 21, fan favourites like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Chopped will have marathons running all weekend long.

Grab some breakfast and travel across America with Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It all starts Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m. E/P with Guy taking a bite out of Los Angeles’ best pub grub. See the schedule here.


Let food-obsessed funnyman John Catucci show you all the comfort food our country has to offer with a You Gotta Eat Here! marathon starting Saturday, May 21 at 6 E/P. First, he keeps it simple with great barbecue in Edmonton, then it’s off to Ottawa for some Italian-style pizza. See the schedule here.

Make it a Sunday Funday with Ree Drummond in a three-hour marathon of The Pioneer Woman. Sassy farm girl, Ree will show you how to whip up dishes like Strawberry Granola Pancakes and Chicken Tortilla Casserole. The culinary tutorials begin Sunday, May 22 at 11 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here.

Things heat up Sunday, May 22 at 2 E/P with a special marathon of Chopped Grill Masters. Hosted by Ted Allen, this competition pits a group of barbecue experts against one another for a chance to win a $50,000 grand prize. See the schedule here.

The long weekend wouldn’t be complete without an all-day Chopped Canada marathon. From Redemption: Return to Victory to Cooking with Courage, catch the best episodes of season three, hosted by Brad Smith starting Monday, May 23 at 11 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here.

Guy and Buddy

Food, Family and Fun: Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation and Buddy’s Family Vacation

Pack your bags because Diners, Drive-ins and Dives star Guy Fieri and Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss fame are taking us on two amazing  family adventures this summer.

Father and son, Guy and Hunter Fieri, are embarking on the ultimate food-filled adventure, travelling through Europe searching for unique culinary experiences on Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation.

Guy is giving his eldest son, Hunter, a high school grad trip of a lifetime — a culinary vacation to 13 different cities in seven European countries, to fully discover a new continent of cuisine. For one month, they’ll visit cities like Paris and Venice to experience the age-old traditions behind international foods we’ve come to love.

The journey kicks off in Athens where they learn the secrets to making the perfect gyro, and check out an old-school rotisserie restaurant.

Catch a special sneak peak of Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation on Friday, May 20 at 10 E/P.  The series premieres Thursday, June 2 at 10:30 E/P. Get the schedule here

Buddy Valastro is taking a break from his bakeries to take the ultimate roadtrip with his wife Lisa and four kids in Buddy’s  Family Vacation. The Valastros will be driving across America in an RV in search of fantastic food and family adventures.

Whether it’s feeding alligators and eating spicy Étouffée in New Orleans, preparing seafood in Savannah or stopping off in Graceland, the Valastros know how to have fun on the road!

The adventure begins at home in New Jersey, where Buddy and Lisa come up with the rules of the road to keep them on track. Then the gang packs up to go South for their first destination: Charleston, South Carolina.

Catch a special sneak peak of Buddy’s Family Vacation on Friday, May 27 at 10 E/P.  The series premieres Thursday, June 2 at 10 E/P. Get the schedule here. 

6 Cool Canadian Urban Wineries

Spending a weekend in wine country stirs romantic images of long drives, lush vineyards, and bed and breakfasts. Although we’ll never grow tired of swirling wine in the rural regions that grow the grapes, it couldn’t hurt to have them closer to home.

Enter: the urban winery. More and more vintners are setting up shop in the city, bringing the wine production process downtown. By outsourcing and importing grapes from the finest vineyards across the globe, wine producers are able to set up the fermenting, crushing and aging process at facilities far from the fields. These urban wineries are popping up all over the United States, and the trend is starting to spread in Canada.

From virtual vineyard tours and workshops, to delicious tastings and food pairings, wine aficionados can visit these wineries and have an authentic winery experience, without leaving the city. Check out these six wineries in Canadian cities that are making a splash in the wonderful world of wine.

Macedo Winery (Toronto, ON)
With grapes taken off vines from Italy, Portugal, Argentina and Canada, Macedo Winery produces their Evolution Wines. This family-run winery in the heart of Toronto is dedicated to sharing their vast knowledge in helping you find the perfect wine.

Courtesy of Noble Grape

Courtesy of Noble Grape

Noble Grape (Dartmouth, NS)
With seven locations across Nova Scotia and one in New Brunswick, Noble Grape is an “in-store winery” that allows customers to create their very own blend. Customers choose their ingredients and add the yeast to start the fermentation process, and Noble Grape takes it from there. In four to eight weeks, you can be sipping on your very own personalized wine.

Courtesy of Pacific Breeze Winery

Courtesy of Pacific Breeze Winery

Pacific Breeze Winery (New Westminster, BC)
From grape to bottle, hand-crafted and small lot wines are produced at this “Garagiste” (Garage Winery). The first of its kind in Canada, Pacific Breeze Winery has won over 50 international awards. Try one of their wines made with carefully selected grapes from British Columbia, Washington and California, without having to endure the long commute to wine country.

Sandhill Wines (Kelowna, BC)
Located in downtown Kelowna, Sandhill Wines offers virtual vineyard tours, a wine lounge and a Small Lots barrel cellar. Visitors can sit in on educational seminars, followed by a toast at the Tasting Bar. Head winemaker Howard Soon has won multiple awards for his wines, all of which are made with the best grapes from the Okanagan.

Courtesy of Vancouver Urban Winery

Courtesy of Vancouver Urban Winery

Vancouver Urban Winery (Vancouver, BC)
Vancouver Urban Winery is a unique culinary and wine experience. In addition to producing their own wines under their namesake, they also have a wine-on-tap program where visitors can try 36 different varieties, most of which are from British Columbia. The rustic-chic winery also hosts a variety of wine education programs such as their Sunday School, where flights of wine are served blind.

Versay (Montréal, QC)
Founded four years ago by Jean-François Bieler, Versay is the only urban winery in Québec. They believe that good wine doesn’t need to involve a bottle or cork, selling wine in kegs and serves it on tap. This eco-conscious winery is all about minimizing their carbon footprint. Each keg eliminates the need for 26 glass bottles, not to mention the possibility of breakage when shipping. Who wouldn’t want wine on tap?

Emma Chopped Canada

How Chopped Canada Champions Spent Their Winnings

We’ve had a talented batch of Canadian chefs competing on this season of Chopped Canada. From executive chefs on the west coast to sous chefs out east, all 76 competitors brought their A-game to the kitchen.

We couldn’t be prouder of the talent in our country, so we caught up with four notable winners to see what’s been cooking for them since they were on the show — and how they’ve spent their winnings.

You may recall Emma Beqaj in the episode “Sauce on the Side,” where she impressed the judges with her scrumptious Rotisserie Chicken Waffles with Chermoula Maple Syrup, and her mouthwatering Ground Cherry Crumble with Coffee Bean Caramel.

Winning has its perks and Emma can thank her family for that.

“The day [I auditioned] my brother and sister were there to give me the biggest pep talk, which I think helped me secure a spot,” she says.

As chef and owner of Emma’s Eatery Catering, the Chopped Canada champion used her $10,000 prize to secure her own commercial kitchen. “I was very happy to put the money towards exactly what I told the judges it would be for.”

Josh Karbelnik had a heartwarming reason for auditioning and ultimately winning in the episode “Cooking With Courage.”

“My mom needed a wheelchair ramp and I thought if I go on this show and win, I would buy it for her. She encouraged me to sign up because she watches the show and believes in me,” he says.

The 26-year-old chef de partie at Truffles Fine Foods in New Westminster, B.C. brought a well-honed fine dining background to the competition, delivering a creative menu that impressed judges Anne Yarymowich, Antonio Park and Lynn Crawford.

Since winning, Josh was able to help his mother and is currently living in Toronto, Ont. where he is planning his wedding in the new year.

Pam Fanjoy, the winner of the episode “Shell Shocked,” initially planned to spend her prize money on a trip to Thailand, but, as she explains, her business took priority.

“I took the money and put it towards a new restaurant,” she says, adding the $10,000 helped with a down payment on a new location for The Friendly Chef Adventures in Erin, Ont.

“We’re going from a little, tiny 14-seat cafe inside a boutique to a 40-seat restaurant with a full-service store attached to it. We open May 29th!”

Once her episode aired, Pam says her restaurant has never been busier. “We have a lot more customers coming in for lunch and understanding we also have a retail store. Prior to the show, a lot of people didn’t know the caliber of our food.  We’ve really become a destination restaurant as tourists come in on the weekends specifically to come here and eat.”

Sebastien Laframboise first appeared in the second season’s episode “In a Pig’s Ear” and got chopped for second-guessing a temperature setting. Fortunately for him, he returned to the kitchen for the ultimate vindication in “Redemption: Road to Victory,” where, alas, he cooked his way to $10,000.  With the money, the executive chef at Auberge La Goéliche in Québec City went on a well-deserved vacation.

“I went to Finland with one of my chefs. I really like Nordic cuisine. In Québec, we have exactly the same weather and products but they use it differently. It was interesting to see what they do over on their continent,” he says. “I had fun. That’s the main thing.”

Catch the season finale of Chopped Canada Saturday, May 14th at 9 E/P.

Three Simple Ways to Cook Bannock

By Colleen Fisher Tully

While its origin may never be known for sure, no one can deny that bannock is deeply entrenched in Canada’s culinary history. Take this recipe from an elder of Tofino, B.C.’s Nuu-chah-nulth tribe, then decide your cooking method. Here’s how to bake a loaf of bannock in the oven, barbecue it in a skillet until golden and cook it over a campfire wrapped around a stick.

Bannock 3 ways - Step 1

Basic Bannock
6 cups (1.5 L) flour
6 tbsp (90 mL) baking powder
3½ cups (875 mL) milk, warmed
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil

In large bowl, mix together flour and baking powder; stir in milk and oil. Stir just until dough comes together (do not overmix).

Bannock 3 ways- Step 2

1. Bake It
Place dough in greased ovenproof loaf pan or casserole dish. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, about 30 minutes.

Bannock 3 ways- Step 3

2. Barbecue It
Place dough in well-oiled cast-iron skillet. Cook on grill at 400°F (200°C) over indirect heat for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. If you want a nice crust all over, turn bannock and cook for a few more minutes.

For individual biscuits, separate dough into fist-sized balls and arrange close together in skillet. Cook as above.

Bannock 3 ways- Step 4

3. Fire It Up
Find a solid stick thick enough to hold the bannock but not too heavy. Remove the inner and outer bark at one end where the bannock will go. Hold that end over the fire until it’s hot but not burnt. That will help the bannock cook from the inside out, and eliminate any germs.

Slice off a piece of dough and roll it between your hands to form a long rope-like shape. Wrap it around the de-barked end of the stick.

Hold the bannock over coals, turning until golden, about 10 minutes.

Bannock 3 ways- Slide 5

Bannock is best hot and fresh. Enjoy with lots of Canadian butter.

Click to print, save or share this Traditional Bannock recipe.


Rob Rossi’s Tips for Cooking with Cheap Cuts of Meat

Rob Rossi is a Food Network Canada favourite: he was the runner-up in the inaugural season of Top Chef Canada and he was a star chef on Chef in Your Ear. He’s also a celebrated Toronto restaurateur and meat savant, known across the city as the culinary brains behind Bestellen, a meat-centric restaurant where diners with the foresight to place an advance order can enjoy an entire roasted suckling pig, family style.

Despite all the attention, Rossi’s approach is actually quite simple; focusing on quality ingredients and time-tested techniques. Here he gives his advice for choosing inexpensive meats, as well as the cheap cuts home cooks can prepare without sacrificing flavour.

Think low and slow.
When in doubt, search for recipes that call for braising, stewing, or ‘low and slow’ cooking. “Any cut that can’t just be grilled or seared is usually pretty cheap,” says Rossi. “Tougher cuts are often the cheaper ones.”

Season, season and season some more.
I think a lot of the time people are really scared of salt and pepper,” says Rossi. “They’re really scared of fresh herbs, or they use them too sparsely.” But when cooking with cheaper cuts — which Rossi says are often more flavourful — seasoning can mean the difference between adequate and great.

Spend your meat savings on wine.
Quality is important when braising, a common technique for turning tough cuts tender. Use an excellent veal, beef or chicken stock, and avoid high-sodium boxed brands. Even the low-sodium versions are too salty, says Rossi. If you prefer to braise your meats with wine — a solid choice for darker meats like oxtail, venison and beef — Rossi suggests choosing one that’s good enough to drink. “It’s probably not a good opportunity to dump in some crappy wine,” he says, “because that taste is really going to stay there. You certainly don’t want to open up a $20 bottle, but I would say if you’re going to drink some of it, that’s a good measure there. Would you have a glass of it? Okay, that’s good enough.”

Ready to get cooking? Here are some cheaper cuts Chef Rossi loves to make:

Roasting the shinbone of a cow yields a decadent marrow, perfect for spreading on brioche toasts or potatoes. “There’s no real meat on the outside of them,” says Chef Rossi, “so that’s why they’re cost effective.  It’s just the marrow on the inside, which is basically just really rich and fatty.”

Roasted Bone Marrow

Try Rob Rossi’s Roasted Bone Marrow with Ox Tail, Parsley Salad and Toasted Brioche

Ground Meat
“Ground meat is definitely cheap, so you can always do meatballs or Bolognese sauce,” says Chef Rossi. “Even burgers — generally they’re not very expensive.”

Although Rossi says most Canadians are liable to pick beef, it’s not his top choice. “I like ground pork a lot,” he says. “I think that it doesn’t really get enough attention. I think as Canadians we’re usually fairly conservative when it comes to food, and ground beef is one of those things we always gravitate towards. But ground pork is awesome — it’s a little bit fattier and it has a lot more flavour.”

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Use ground pork (and ground beef and veal) in Rob Rossi’s Spaghetti & Meatballs and Olive Oil Ice Cream

“Sausages are always cost effective,” says Rossi . “Again, it goes back to that ground meat.” Whether you enjoy them in their original shape, or disassemble them for the ground meat inside, they’re a relatively inexpensive way to add meaty flavour to many dishes.

Chorizo Sloppy Joe

Try Rob Rossi’s Chorizo Sloppy Joe with Manchego Cheese

“Pork’s an easy one,” says Chef Rossi. “Most pork cuts are very cheap: even the prime cuts, which would be pork chops, we know they’re cheap.” He suggests pork tenderloin if you’re cooking for a group. “Pork tenderloin is always really good for a family,” he says. “Super tender, super cheap and easy to find.”

Flatiron Steak
Despite their relatively low cost, flatiron steaks provide the same feeling as having a very good cut of meat, says Rossi. “You can cook it medium rare, you can slice it like a steak.” However, don’t expect to find them easily at a grocery store. “That is something you would definitely buy at a butcher shop,” he advises.

Whatever cuts you end up choosing, have fun with them! “Chefs always make mistakes, we always have failures, and it’s certainly not something you should be scared of or say, ‘Oh I tried that once and it didn’t work,’” says Chef Rossi. “You know, it’s just food. At the end of the day, you’ll get it, and it will turn out eventually the way you want it to.”

How to Pound Out and Bread a Schnitzel

By Colleen Fisher Tully

Having served up schnitzel for breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than 50 years, few places can boast a better schnitzel than The Original Angie’s Since 1962 in Waterloo, Ont. Second-generation owner Teresa Huegle shares the recipe and instructions for quick and easy cooking.

You’ll need:
• 4 boneless pork loin pieces or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
• plastic wrap
• tenderizing mallet
• 1 cup (250 mL) flour with salt and pepper to taste
• 3 shallow pans
• 2 eggs
• splash milk
• 4 cups (1 L) bread crumbs with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
• tongs for handling meat
• extra-virgin olive oil for frying
• paper towels
• lemon wedges and applesauce for serving

1. Wrap It Up
Place each pork loin between sheets of plastic wrap. The wrap helps prevent splattering all over the counter and yourself.

2. Pound It Out
Using meat tenderizer, gently pound each loin until thin and even. If the plastic wrap tears, you’re hitting it too hard.

3. Flour Power
Ensure that flour and seasoning are well mixed; add seasoned flour to shallow pan. Whisk together eggs and milk; pour into second pan. Ensure that bread crumbs and seasoning are well mixed; add seasoned bread crumbs to third pan. Using tongs, dredge each loin in flour until well coated.


4. Egg and Crumb
After loins are coated in flour, dredge each in egg mixture, then in bread crumb mixture. Pat lightly to remove excess crumbs. Set aside.


5. Fry ’Em Up
In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry each schnitzel until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Remove to platter with lemon wedges. Serve with fresh applesauce on the side.

Learn more about Huegle’s diner and get the full recipe.

The Giant Maple Doughnut Cake of Your Dreams

Maple is made for more than just pancakes. Mixed into vanilla cake batter and sweet buttercream, it adds that tasty punch of Canadiana to your favourite dessert. This fun, doughnut-inspired maple cake is certainly a unique treat for any party — just finish with sprinkles and enjoy!


Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes (plus cooling time)
Serves: 8


For the cake:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp maple extract
¾ cup milk

For the icing:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup sprinkles


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. With a hand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in maple extract.
4. With mixer on low speed, beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 of milk. Continue adding flour and milk, ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
5. Pour 1/2 of batter into prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. Clean pan, grease and bake remaining batter until cake is golden brown and cake tester comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cakes cool completely.
6. While cakes are cooling, make the icing. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low to start and then on high for an additional 2 minutes after each addition. Beat in maple syrup.
7. On a cake plate, turn one cake upside-down so the flat bottom is facing up. Spread half of icing on cake. Top with other cake layer, right side up. Spread remaining icing on top of cake. Top with sprinkles.

Marvellous Mother’s Day Menu

If ever there was a day to treat the most important woman in your life, it’s Mother’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to celebrate with Mom, treat her to an indulgent meal she’ll remember all year long. Say ‘thank you’ for all her love and hard work with a heavenly menu that starts with bubbly cocktails, and ends with ooey-gooey chocolate lava cakes. After all, she deserves it.

Champagne Cocktail

Champagne Cocktails

If ever there was a person deserving of a champagne toast, it’s Mom. Pop the bubbly and start the meal with a batch of these light and refreshing cocktails.

Blini with Smoked Salmon

Blini with Smoked Salmon

Similar to crêpes, these light and thin little pancakes make the perfect base for a one-bite appetizer. They take a few extra minutes to make from scratch, but one bite of the smoked salmon and crème fraiche, and Mom will appreciate your extra effort.

Strawberry Arugula Salad

Strawberry Arugula Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese

Mom will adore this sweet, light salad that’s quick to prepare and packs tons of perfectly balanced flavour. Fresh, luscious strawberries give sweet contrast to the crunchy walnuts, sharp goat cheese and bitter arugula. Top with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to really bring out the strawberries’ flavour. 

Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb

Mothership Sunday Roast Lamb

Jamie Oliver’s lamb is unlike any other. The bone-in shoulder is smothered with a fragrant marinade of fresh garlic, rosemary and olive oil, then surrounded by onions and cooked low and slow. The result is tender, sweet lamb that falls off the bone that’s served with fresh spring potatoes and delectable gravy.

Butter Tart Cheesecake

The Best Butter Tart Cheesecake

If you’re looking to score major points with Mom, the ultimate butter tart cheesecake will surely spoil her. The sweet and salty dessert is covered in maple caramel sauce, and sprinkled with lots of toasted pecans. Feel free to add raisins if your Mom likes her butter tarts nut-free.

Luscious Lava Cake

Luscious Lava Cakes

It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without chocolate, and these decadent cakes pack a double dose of chocolatey goodness. The molten chocolate insides are made of truffles, and the entire dessert is served with a luscious blueberry compote. Be sure to make extra so Mom has one or two to take home and enjoy later.

Looking for more delicious ways to honour Mom? Try our 50 Best Brunch Recipes for Mother’s Day.

Mennonite Favourites Made With Love (Fleisch Perishky and Roll Kuchen!)

Trish Mayor grew up in Martensville, a community outside Saskatoon with a strong Mennonite presence, where she was raised with love, tolerance and an appreciation for butter. She has fond memories of eating her mum and omi’s roll kuchen (cookies) and fleisch perishky (meat dumplings) on Sundays.

“The town I grew up in had a very generous environment among a family-oriented community of people. Kind and loving and accepting,” says Trish. “That, for me, is the definition of Canadian — how we try to be as caring and accepting of others as possible.”

“I believe roll kuchen and fleisch perishky are very old recipes. Like with many Mennonite recipes, they’re made with whatever’s in the cupboard; you throw them together with leftovers. I fondly remember visiting with my grandparents and eating both dishes for Sunday brunch. My grandparents would make them ahead of time and serve them cold.”

Related: Sweet and Savoury Saskatoon Berry Recipes

“My mum often made roll kuchen to have with soup, but you can have them with jam or syrup, too—it’s a wonderfully diverse recipe. My mother said that many Prairie towns have fundraisers where they sell watermelon slices with roll kuchen — so it does go with sweet — but most often, we eat them with savoury soup. Roll kuchen is something I make when I don’t want a biscuit, plus they’re quicker and easier to make than buns!”


“These days, fleisch perishky aren’t so much a staple as they are a treat. When we do make these meat-filled dumplings, we make a large batch to freeze so we have some on hand.”

“I’m expecting my first child this summer and I’m looking forward to cooking with him. I want to teach him to understand the benefits of eating ‘real’ food (as local as possible), that food is not just about eating what you like, that it’s also about nourishing your body — and to eat his vegetables! One of my favourite things to do now is cook with my partner, who is also a very good cook. We turn on music and enjoy ourselves in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to having our child as part of this happy picture.”

“I think my love of food and cooking came from growing up and not being worried about small things, such as too much butter in my food. Food was more like, ‘This is good, and we’re sitting together and enjoying this together.’ I do think that food is love. And when it is prepared with love, it can be something very special.”

Omi’s Fleisch Perishky

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (includes rising time)
Servings: 24 to 36 dumplings


1 ½ packages yeast
2 tsp  + ¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
½ cup melted shortening or butter
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
4 to 5 cups flour
2 egg yolks

1 lb ground beef or leftover roast that has gone through meat grinder
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 cups mashed potatoes (enough to bind meat) (optional)


1. Dissolve yeast and 1/4 tsp sugar in warm water; cover and set aside until light and fluffy, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in milk, shortening, remaining sugar salt and eggs; mix until well combined.

3. Add flour, a bit at a time, mixing until it comes away from bowl. Knead until elastic, about 8 minutes.

4. Place dough in greased bowl; cover and let rise, turning once, for 1 hour.

1. In skillet, cook beef and onion until beef is no longer pink inside and onion is softened; season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Add mashed potatoes, if using, to form paste.

1. Pinch dough into about 24 to 36 pieces.

2. Flatten each to form oval; add about 1 tsp (5 mL) filling to centre. Wrap and close dough around edges to seal. Repeat with remaining dough, placing each dumpling on greased baking sheet to rise for about 30 minutes, until doubled in size.

3. Mix egg yolks with equal amount of water. Brush dumplings with egg yolk mixture.

4. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Serve hot or cold.

Related: A Saskatoon Musician’s Easy Saskatoon Berry Jam Recipe

Roll Kuchen

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 32 cookies


2 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
Oil for frying


1. Into bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well; add cream and eggs, mixing well. Add a bit more flour if dough is too soft.

2. On floured surface, roll out dough to about 16 x 16 inches (40 x 40 cm). Dough should be springy and no thicker than a pencil.

3. Cut dough into strips about 4 x 2 inches (10 x 5 cm). Cut lengthwise slit in centre of each strip; pull half of the strip through it.

4. Fry, turning once, until golden brown.

How to Make Perfect Butter Tart Pastry

By Colleen Fisher Tully

When people steal your butter tarts off a party tray and hide them in napkins, you know you’ve got a great recipe. This is what happens when Peggy Nagle brings her tarts to a gathering, a recipe she learned from her mother-in-law, a local legend known as the “Queen of Tarts.”

Here is Nagle’s modernized method for perfect pastry—which met her mother-in-law’s approval.

You’ll need:
• 5½ cups (1.375 L) all-purpose flour
• 2 tsp (10 mL) salt
• 1 lb (450 g) chilled lard, cut in chunks
• 1 egg
• 1 tbsp (15 mL) vinegar
• plastic wrap
• rolling pin
• muffin pans

1. Mix Just Until Dough Holds Together
In large bowl, combine flour and salt. Pour flour mixture into food processor; add lard. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pea-sized pieces.

In glass measure, using fork, beat egg with vinegar. Add enough very cold water to make 1 cup (250 mL). Drizzle into flour mixture, a bit at a time, mixing with fork until dough looks evenly moistened and holds together when gently pressed between fingers, as shown. (You might not need all of the liquid.)


2. Divide, Wrap and Chill
Divide dough equally into 6 balls; wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 3 hours. Prepared dough can be stored for 2 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.


3. Don’t Overwork the Dough
On lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to scant ?-inch (3 mm) thickness. If dough cracks while rolling, allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pliable enough to roll without breaking. The secret to flaky pastry is to handle the dough as little as possible. The more you handle it, the tougher it gets.


4. Cut into Circles
Using jar lid, cookie cutter or large glass, cut circles of right size for your muffin pans.


5. Fill ’Em Up
To avoid messy last-minute baking, make dough and fill muffin pans the night before, then add raisins and filling and bake right before serving. Butter tarts are best served fresh, and even better served warm.

Get the full butter tart recipe and read more about Waterloo, Ont.’s butter tart dynasty.

Heartwarming Mother’s Day Memories from our Stars

Our star chefs weren’t born ready to share delicious food with the world — they were raised that way, largely thanks to their loving mothers. Here, they share their favourite Mother’s Day memories.

Find out whose mom raised eight children, whose mom decorated cakes with ballerinas, and whose mom’s cooking was a cautionary example.

Noah Cappe's mom enjoying a birthday cake; Noah as a kid. Instagram, @noahcappe.

Noah Cappe’s mom enjoying a birthday cake; Noah as a kid. Instagram, @noahcappe.
Instagram, @noahcappe

“My mom raised EIGHT kids,” says Carnival Eats host Noah Cappe. “She dedicated a huge part of her life to making all of ours better, so Mother’s Day is super special for lots of reasons.” Now that Noah and his siblings are grown up, the dinner table is crowded — these days, it sits close to twenty people including all the spouses and grandchildren, says Noah. “But the moments during those nights, when there are five different conversations at once, and dishes are being passed around in fluid rotation from years of practice, and we couldn’t hear the doorbell if it rang, from the noise in the room — that’s when she’s the happiest, and those are my favourite memories of Mother’s Day.”

Josh Elkin, then and now. Childhood picture courtesy Instagram, @thejoshelkin.

Josh Elkin, then and now. Childhood picture courtesy Instagram, @thejoshelkin.
Instagram, @thejoshelkin

Cooks vs. Cons judge and Sugar Showdown host Josh Elkin never forgets to give his mom flowers and a sweet card for Mother’s Day, although he always forgets what he wrote on the card. “I give my mom the card, thinking that I wrote the most unique message, and she responds saying, ‘I love it Josh, you’re so sweet,’” he explains. “Little do I realize, year after year, I write the same thing on the card.” This year Josh plans to step it up with — what else? — a sugary treat. “I’ll be baking my mom some sweets, maybe even write some niceties on a cake using some icing. That way, it’ll for sure be unique.”

Susur Lee with his mom. Instagram, @susurlee.

Susur Lee with his mom. Instagram, @susurlee.
Instagram, @susurlee

Susur Lee credits his parents for working hard to provide for his family. “I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without my mother and father,” says the Chopped Canada judge. “I know it sounds predictable, but because she was always working, she didn’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I was either eating her terrible food or going out for dim sum with my dad.” But all that time suffering through bad meals or eating delicious restaurant dinners inadvertently shaped the budding chef. “Together, without really knowing it, they shaped the way I would eat and interact with food for the rest of my life.”

Anna Olson then and now. Childhood photo courtesy Instagram, @chefannaolson.

Anna Olson then and now. Childhood photo courtesy Instagram, @chefannaolson.
Instagram, @chefannaolson

“My mom and I have a special bond around Mother’s Day,” says Bake with Anna Olson star Anna Olson. It’s not just that she loves her mom, but Anna’s birthday is around the same time as Mother’s Day, too. “We’ve always made a super girly thing of it,” she says. Anna and her mom exchange gifts like scarves and perfumes, and doll up each other’s desserts. “When I think of Mother’s Day, I think of birthday cake. As a kid, my Mom used to always top my cake or cupcakes with these plastic ballerinas that I thought were the most glamorous thing ever. Thanks, Mom!”

Need a cupcake to decorate, with ballerinas or anything else? Try Anna Olson’s Lemon Coconut Cupcakes.

Michael Smith, his wife Chazz, his kids Gabe, Camille and Ariella and a prime PEI lobster. Photos courtesy Instagram, @chefmichaelsmith, @thechazzsmith.

Michael Smith, his wife Chazz, his kids Gabe, Camille and Ariella and a prime PEI lobster. Photos courtesy Instagram, @chefmichaelsmith, @thechazzsmith.

Chopped Canada judge Michael Smith is a proud Prince Edward Islander, so it should come as no surprise that his Mother’s Day memories feature the island province’s famous lobsters. “On Prince Edward Island, Mother’s Day is traditionally celebrated with a giant feed of lobsters,” he says. “Our fishing season starts at the beginning of May, so lots of moms get their first taste of our famous lobsters on their special day. Even though they should have the day off, I suspect many moms willingly stay in the kitchen just to keep an eye on things!”