Category Archives: Food Network Insider

The Dark Side of Trendy Superfoods (and What You Can Do to Help)

Superfoods are (typically) plant-based, nutrient-dense foods that contain antioxidants, healthy fats, fibre and a slew of other vitamins and minerals. The superfoods list is pretty expansive and ranges from blueberries and salmon to Greek yogurt, beans and whole grains. Basically they’re foods that max out on the nutritional benefits while minimizing overall caloric intake. So what’s the problem? Well as it turns out, there’s a pretty dark side to some of these superfoods and they can come with all kinds of surprising ethical, economic and cultural side effects. This is particularly noteworthy when superfoods become trendy (avocado toast anyone?), resulting in a large supply and demand. Let’s take a look.

Kale

Kale chips and salad may have decreased in popularity over the past few years, but the leafy green continues to top many superfood lists. If you continue to add it to your plate, then where you get it matters. A large amount of kale is grown on the United States’ West Coast and shipped to Canada via truck, which has a pretty significant environmental impact. Ecologists at Cornell University estimate that to grow, wash, package, transport and keep one pound of the greens chilled for that journey requires 4,600 calories of fossil fuel energy. That packs a pretty big environmental impact.

What you can do: Pay attention to where your greens come from and try to buy local. Kale is one of the easiest vegetables to grow during a Canadian summer, so you could also consider planting your own and eating it in season.

Avocado

Avocado toast, guacamole, sushi… there are so many delicious ways to enjoy this creamy green fruit, which is often referred to as nature’s mayonnaise. It’s no wonder that avocados have become a staple at produce sections across the country. At first, the farmers in Michoacán, Mexico — one of the only places on Earth where avocados can grow year-round — were fans of the growing trend. But then the cartels caught on, who have been extorting the farmers — as well as the sellers of fertilizer and pesticides — ever since. Some farmers who have been unwilling to cooperate have allegedly been attacked or killed.

What you can do: You can do your best to buy avocados that operate outside cartel influence. Alternatively, you can pay attention to the California growing schedule and buy avocados when they’re in season — typically from spring to summer.

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

Quinoa

Quinoa is high in protein and quite filling, which has made this grain a staple in vegetarian and vegan plates for years now. Unfortunately, quinoa’s growing popularity has spelled disaster for many farmers in South America where it hails — typically in Peru and Bolivia. There, farmers used to cycle their crops with the help of llamas and other animals. But in order to meet growing demand they have sold off their livestock and invested in farming equipment instead, which has resulted in decreased soil fertility. Also, as demand for quinoa grew worldwide, it tripled in price and became too expensive for the locals who have long relied on it as their main source of food. The situation has improved in recent years as countries like Australia, the United States and Canada have found ways to grow it locally.

What you can do: There is ongoing debate as to whether it is better: to buy local and help keep food costs down or to buy from the Andes and invest in the farmers there whose livelihoods depend on production. While there are points for each side, the main consensus seems to be that if you are going to indulge in a bowl of quinoa, ensure that it is certified fair trade.

Coconuts

Health experts still seem to be divided as to whether coconuts (including coconut oil, milk and water) is actually a superfood or a hidden source of fat. If you do incorporate coconuts into your diet though, you should consider how they’re sourced. There are many countries that train and use young pig-tailed macaque monkeys to pick coconuts for production, since the animals are able to harvest up to 1,600 coconuts daily — way more than humans ever could. As a result there have been many allegations of animal mistreatment and abuse in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

What you can do: Make sure to educate yourself on where your coconuts are coming from. PETA has a handy list of offenders, as well as companies that have severed ties with producers that use monkeys for their harvest.

Related: How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Cacao

Chocolate as a superfood? Um, yes please. Who doesn’t love knowing that a sweet treat could actually be good for them? Cacao — AKA the raw, unrefined pods that grow on cacao trees — is loaded with antioxidants, is the highest plant-based source of iron and is even a natural mood elevator. However, our love for all things chocolate (sweetened or otherwise) has led to some serious deforestation problems in countries like the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana, where producers are clearing forests to make room for new crops. Poverty for underpaid farmers is also an issue and they often turn to child labour or slavery as a result.

What you can do: Read the labels and do your research. Major chocolate brands have taken positive steps in the past few years to source ethical cacao. But in order to really ensure that you’re choosing with your heart, see if the company in question publishes an impact report on its website or if it uses third parties to certify any “ethical” trademarks. You can also advocate for change and take several other steps as outlined in this report.

Salmon

Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, salmon has long been linked to benefits like improved brain function and better neurological health. However there have been many reported problems over the years of unethically farmed fish being loaded up with potential chemicals, putting the “superfood” part of the fish in question. And as for the fresh stuff? Overfished waters are also a serious problem worldwide .

What you can do: Although some guidelines can be tricky to follow, try and stick to sustainably sourced salmon (and other fish and seafood) wherever possible in order to protect the species as a whole. And if you are consuming the farmed variety, the government of Canada recommends sticking to locally raised stocks from the Southern Coasts.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

Cheyenne Sundance of Sundance Harvest

How Food Injustice Inspired This 23-Year-Old to Start Her Own Farm, Plus Her Advice for You

Food is political and should be rooted in justice. That’s the message that’s at the core of the work of 23-year-old urban farmer Cheyenne Sundance.

Sundance Harvest, started by Cheyenne when she was just 21, was created based on a void she saw for farms operating in an ethical lens in the for-profit farming industry. “What farm would I want to see when I was younger? What farm would I want to work at and learn from? And I literally just created it from that,” she says of her Toronto-based urban farm.

Her farming career began after she turned 18 and worked on a socialist farm in Cuba. Working with many Afro-Indigenous and Black Cubans, she was introduced to the ideas of food justice and sovereignty. “Access to food is affected by someone’s health status, socioeconomic status. There’s data from U of T that correlates food insecurity and food injustice to Black and Indigenous people being the most systemically affected. So I started understanding those things and noticing these trends,” Cheyenne says.

Cheynne Sundance of Sundance Harvest holding up a box of greens

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

Can you tell us about how Sundance Harvest came about?

I could not find a farm that existed in Toronto with those same values, that also respected the workers, paid them a fair wage and was actually trying to further food justice.

I wasn’t really thinking so much about “Is this the most profitable farm?” because for Sundance Harvest, it’s my full-time job and has been for a year and a half, but I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just having a farm that exists in a vacuum. I want to have a farm that is planting the seeds and all these other small farms are grown from my farm and that’s why I started a program called Growing in the Margins as soon as I started Sundance Harvest.

I didn’t want to be a farm that relies on grants and I didn’t want Sundance Harvest to be a not-for-profit. I wanted to make sure my farm was profitable, so I have a CSA three seasons of the year and I also sell at farmers’ markets year-round.

Mentorship is at the core of your work. Can you tell us more about the farming education programs you’ve developed?

[On Growing in the Margins] It’s a free urban agriculture mentorship for youth who are BIPOC, queer, trans, two-spirit, non-binary and also youth with disabilities. Youth who are marginalized and low-income within the food system have the ability to take [the program] Growing in the Margins for free. They either want to start their own farm, have a career in urban agriculture or start their own food sovereignty movements and I teach them everything I know about the basics of starting a farm. Growing in the Margins is not for gardeners, because it’s primarily focused on mentorship.

[On Liberating Lawns] When COVID hit, the city of Toronto was not opening community gardens and I am part of a group that was trying to lobby to have them open them. If we hypothetically can’t get community gardens to open, what are ways that I can have people grow food? The easiest way is private land. Working with the city is like watching paint dry, so I decided to start Liberating Lawns, which basically matches up landholders with growers. My next intake is this fall, in September.

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

What are some of the challenges you faced with racism/sexism/ageism within the food system and how did you address them?

One is big corporate farms that operate on colonial and white supremacist ideals. There is a corporate farm in Toronto — also a couple of the non-profits — that is actively harming the food justice movement. It was so hard starting Sundance Harvest. Finding land and basically competing with corporate farms who have really wealthy investors and backers to help them get these large properties that I don’t have the privilege to because I don’t have those connections. I would also say corporate gentrification of urban farming in Toronto which exists and is happening very rapidly [and] is really scary because a lot of community land is turning into corporate farms, probably in the next couple years.

It makes it really hard for someone who’s in a position like I am, who does face intersectionality oppression. Because I have no wealthy parents, I have no investors, I don’t have a degree. I don’t really have anything to start my farm off of. What would really help in the future would be grants, subsidies and the city zoning for urban agriculture, because there’s currently no zoning for urban agriculture. One of the biggest hurdles was the total lack of support [from] the city. [Access to] land is also one of the biggest issues.

Sundance Harvest greenhouse

Related: Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

What advice can you offer to Canadians interested in growing their own food?

One of the easiest ways to start gardening is to do container growing. [It’s] super easy and you don’t have to worry about making sure you have the right soil and if it’s draining enough because that’s a whole other issue.

For people who are Black or Indigenous, the best thing I can say is to reach out to other people who are Black and Indigenous or both in your area who are doing the work already because they’ll know who to connect, who to talk to, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked. I’ve found that creating a community has really helped me in expanding Sundance so quickly. I started Sundance Harvest a year ago. I doubled the size of my greenhouse to a production that is 2,600 square feet and bought a 2.5-acre farm. I’ve done all that in a year. It’s really helped me connecting and getting tips, because farming while Black, it takes a lot of lived experience to do it right.

What other actions can non-farming Canadians take in their everyday life?

The first and most obvious one is purchasing your produce from a CSA. It’s a produce box you get each week. When someone buys a CSA, they usually buy it in the springtime and what that does is gives the farmer money upfront to buy seeds and equipment. If you can purchase a CSA, it’s great to buy one from a POC. Purchasing from a CSA helps small farms — and the more small farms we have, the more youth that can be trained on those small farms and they’ll get experience and start their own.

The second is to look into your neighbourhood (or town or city) and see what’s being done about urban agriculture. If you can, volunteer at a local non-profit that does urban agriculture and ask them, “What would you like to be seeing?” Once you know that from the people that are in the industry, write to your MPs or your city councillors and say that you value urban agriculture.

Cheyenne Sundance with her leafy greens

What are your favourite crops to grow and why? Do you have a favourite recipe you make from your produce?

I’m going to say the easiest one – kale. Kale is the easiest crop to grow, same with Swiss chard. I like making a kale Caesar salad. I swap out Romaine for kale because it’s way more nutritionally-dense. You can marinate it overnight and have it as a cool dinner party dish. With Swiss chard, I love substituting it for lettuce in sandwiches because it has a thicker crunch.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photos courtesy of Cheyenne Sundance

Ren Navarro in a diner

Ren Navarro on Diversity in the Beer Industry – and How Companies Can Improve

Ren Navarro loves beer. If you ask her to pin down one favourite, she can’t – there’s simply too many to choose from for a connoisseur such as herself. “That’s like seeing someone with multiple kids and asking them, ‘which is your favourite child?’,” she says with a laugh.

Like many people who enjoy a cold pint, the Kitchener, Ont. native prefers her beer options diverse – in flavour, appearance, aroma and mouthfeel. But she’s also at the forefront of change in the industry, pushing for more inclusion of diverse people in places where it’s lacking – mainly representation in breweries and in advertising. In an effort to kick start a larger national conversation, Navarro created Beer.Diversity. Launched in 2018, the company addresses the “lack of diversity in the Canadian beer industry” head-on while offering ways for the community to work together to make it more inclusive and approachable for people of colour, those in the LGBTQ+ community and beyond.

After a career as a sales rep for a renowned brewery, Navarro identified a sizeable gap in the industry and sought to fill it with people from a variety of backgrounds. She first co-founded the Toronto-based Society of Beer-Drinking Ladies (SOBDL), which was a smashing success, welcoming all female-identifying people who wanted to bond over brewskies (fun fact: it’s now the largest women-focused beer group in North America) before setting her sights on Beer.Diversity. We chatted with Navarro about her time working in the industry, the gradual changes in representation and how diversity of flavours can help the Canadian beer industry.

Photo: Racheal McCaig

Tell us a bit about your decision to place periods between “beer” and “diversity.”

“I talk about beer. Period. I talk about diversity. Period. I talk about the diversity in beer – all the different styles – and I talk about the diversity of beer, including all people and backgrounds [that are involved]. The name was dreamt up about two-and-a-half years ago, although the company is branching out – it’s not just beer anymore, but it’s too late to change the name and I have no idea what I’d change it to.” [laughs]

You’re on the frontline of change in this industry. What shifts have you seen so far with breweries regarding diversity – both the successes and challenges?

“I’ve been in the beer [industry] for seven-and-a-half years, which is why I’m so passionate about it. I don’t think you can be in beer for that long and be ‘meh’ about it. [When] I started there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me – there weren’t a lot of women, in general. Now we’re seeing more diversity – not just in terms of women or people of colour, but also those from different backgrounds such as Indigenous brewers, people with disabilities and older folks. I think we still have a far way to go, though, because it’s still only a small handful. You think about all the beer consumers and what they look like – we need to reflect that more within in the industry itself.”

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada 

How can Canadian breweries work towards the type of diversity you’re promoting and where do we go from here?

“I think it’s about education. We need to get to the point where we can show that it’s open to everyone. Representation always matters. Stop being so scared. There is this fear of the unknown or fear of being perceived as being fake. The more people you can welcome in, the better it’s going to do. Baby steps, but it’s happening.”

Ren Navarro in a diner

What changes are you seeing with representation for the LGBTQ+ community?

“There’s definitely more partnerships and community outreach – and it’s not just about Pride Month saying we should talk about this group of people. It’s become more about working together for a common goal. For a brewery, engaging more people means they will make more money, but it’s also about highlighting groups that don’t get the spotlight on a regular basis. Working with an LGBTQ+ community is win-win for everyone involved because people who didn’t think that they were welcome within the beer community learn that they are – and [in turn they] learn that they’ve got certain skills that are invaluable to the brewery [workforce].”

Related: LGBTQ+ Terms You Keep Hearing – and What They Mean

How can diversity help shape beer varieties and recipes?

“It happens when you start looking outside of the ‘norm.’ Think about all those fun beers that come out in the summer, like guava or pineapple-passion fruit. These are fruits that are known to certain groups. I’ve seen a passion fruit tree, but a lot of people haven’t. For me, that’s about being part of a Caribbean background – it’s about the acknowledgement that there are other flavours. It’s bridging that gap because a group of people that may not have thought they were welcome within the beer community are seeing things that they know as a regular, everyday [item]. I think seeing the diversity – and seeing that breweries are willing to make changes – leads to the inclusion of [even] more people.”

Related: What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus, What Canadians Can Do About It)

What’s your favourite Canadian craft beer or brewery?

“That’s like the hardest question ever. [laughs] Oh man, I love a lot of beer. I really love the things that Left Field are doing; they’re in Toronto. Muddy York, who is also in Toronto and Dominion City Brewing, which is in Ottawa – I think all three of them make fantastic beers, but they are also community-driven. For me, a lot of it is about ‘what does the brewery do [about diversity]’? You can make the best beer, but if you don’t interact with the community, it doesn’t matter. I know you asked which one is my favourite beer, but I’ll say all three of those.” [laughs]

This interview has been edited and condensed.

First photo courtesy of Racheal McCaig; second photo courtesy of Chris Thiessen/Toque Ltd.

What is Food Insecurity? FoodShare’s Paul Taylor Explains (Plus What Canadians Can Do About It)

If you want to know what food insecurity is, Paul Taylor is the man to answer that question. He is the executive director of FoodShare, a Toronto-based non-profit that advocates that everyone have access to affordable, fresh and nutritious food. His personal experience has informed his life’s work: he was raised by a single mother on Ontario’s welfare system. He has worked as a teacher, in a Toronto homeless youth shelter and the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. We chatted with Paul about what food insecurity is, the link between racism and food insecurity and how Canadians can take action.

What is food insecurity? And what does FoodShare do to work toward making change?

Food insecurity is inconsistent or uncertain access to food due to financial constraints. There are 4.4 million people living in food insecure households in Canada. It’s a problem that is only getting worse. Since the 1980s, Canada’s default response to food insecurity has been food banking and food-based charity. Instead of dealing with this growing public health crisis, a number of politicians seem to prefer photo-ops of sorting food at food charities, instead of sorting the policies that allow households to experience food insecurity.

At FoodShare, we recognize that we can’t position our work as a solution to wicked problems like food insecurity or poverty. FoodShare’s work includes working with communities across the city of Toronto to co-create community-led food assets, such as urban farms and fresh produce markets, but our work cannot solve food insecurity. We publicly acknowledge that reality, while also recognizing the potential impact that public policy can have on food insecurity. Disappointed with the provincial government’s decision to roll back the planned increase to minimum wage, FoodShare openly challenged the Premier to live on $14/hour for the remainder of his term. More and more food charities recognize the limited role that we can play in challenging food insecurity, so we continue to advocate for a political commitment followed by a public policy approach to address this crisis.

Can you explain the link between racism and food insecurity?

The research that we conducted in partnership with PROOF, an interdisciplinary research group, looks at food insecurity in Canada. We found that anti-Black racism had much more of an impact on who gets to eat than we had imagined.

To be Black in Canada means that you’re 3.5 times more likely to live in a food insecure household than if you’re white. We also found that while 12% of white children live in food insecure households, that skyrockets to 36% for Black children.

We also looked at home ownership, which has generally been understood to correlate with lower levels of food insecurity. Unfortunately, this is only true for white households. The percentage of Black homeowners experiencing food insecurity (14.5%) is almost equal to the percentage of white renters who experience food insecurity (14.3%).

The ubiquity of anti-Black racism doesn’t end there. When it comes to immigration status, it doesn’t matter if Black people are born in Canada or abroad — the risk of food insecurity remains consistently high.

Aggregate food insecurity statistics suggest that single parent households are more likely to experience food insecurity, but for Black households it doesn’t matter how many parents are in the home, there remains a significantly higher probability of food insecurity.

Related: 10 Facts That Will Shock You About Racial Injustice in Canada

How has food insecurity been impacted by COVID?

Physical distancing and other restrictions brought on by the pandemic meant that people needed to take fewer trips to the grocery store and began to stockpile food and toilet paper. Doing this was near impossible for those who were already food insecure. As the pandemic went on, we saw unprecedented job losses. All of these people suddenly had to figure out how they were going to afford to pay for rent and food.

At FoodShare we immediately pivoted so that we could deliver free Emergency Good Food Boxes filled with fresh produce to households across the city. We provided a $4/hour increase and additional paid sick days to all of the FoodShare staff involved in our pandemic response. We quickly partnered with 80 community-based groups to help identify people that were especially vulnerable. The free Good Food Boxes are being delivered to undocumented workers, survival sex workers and other individuals made vulnerable by our current system. So far we’ve provided over 26,000 free Good Food Boxes.

What is the biggest misconception people often make about food insecurity in our country?

Food insecurity will not be solved by casseroles made in community kitchens, the repurposing of two-legged carrots, donated cranberry sauce or even the current government approach of hopes and prayers. Food insecurity is an income issue that requires income based interventions. 62% of Canadians living in food insecure households derive their income from paid employment, which means that their jobs don’t lift them out of food insecurity, but instead trap them in it.

How can Canadians take action? How can we help?

You can donate (www.foodshare.net), order a Good Food Box online (it’ll be delivered straight to your home) and get involved in $15 and Fairness. We need to remind our elected officials that we have the right to food in Canada — and that it’s long overdue for food insecurity to be something that we talk about in our history books.

Related: Ranking Canadian Retailers Offering Grocery Delivery Right Now, by Price

What is one of your favourite things you’ve cooked from your Good Food Box delivery?

I’ve signed up for a weekly subscription of the Good Food Box and I’ve added on the whole-wheat sourdough bread and the organic fair trade coffee that we sell. My breakfasts are usually 100% inspired by the Good Food Box. Most recently I’ve been enjoying my oven-roasted tofu sandwich. I marinate the tofu for 24 hours in some Frank’s Hot Sauce, olive oil and smoked paprika. I roast it for 20 minutes and then throw it on some sourdough bread with sliced cucumbers, mayo, a slice of tomato and then stuff it with the living pea shoots that came in this week’s box. On the side, I chop up fresh carrot sticks and celery.

Related: 35 Sweet and Savoury Tofu Recipes for Every Meal

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Photo of Paul Taylor courtesy of Daniel Neuhaus; remaining photos courtesy of FoodShare

Every Food Network Canada Show You Can Binge Watch Right Now

As we settle in for an extended period of time at home, we’re brainstorming fun activities we can do in the comfort of our own abodes. One great way to relax? Binge-watching all your favourite Food Network Canada shows, of course. From Buddy vs. Duff to Top Chef Canada here are all the shows you can watch either on Foodnetwork.ca, STACKTV with Amazon Prime Video Channels or the Global TV app. You can also check out Food Network Canada daily on TV with your cable package for delicious marathons that the whole family can enjoy.


And now, while Canadians are #HomeTogether, we’re inviting you to vote on your favourite binge-worthy series! Three fan-favourite series will compete for the #FanFavouriteFriday marathon spot each week. Check back each weekend and vote for your fave on @FoodNetworkCanada’s Twitter account. The winning series will air with back-to-back episodes the following Friday from 11AM to 7PM.

Vote all weekend and check back on Monday to see the winner. #FanFavouriteFriday runs on Food Network Canada until June 26.

Related: 20 Recipes to Master While Stuck Indoors, From Homemade Bread to Pickles

Watch Your Binge-Worthy Favourites on STACK TV or the Global TV App

Watch Food Network Canada Classics Online on Foodnetwork.ca

Related: Every HGTV Canada Show You Can Binge-Watch Right Now

 

Eddie Jackson's Pineapple Gochujang Short Ribs

Eddie Jackson’s Gochujang Short Ribs Are Your New All-Star Dish

Eddie Jackson’s sweet short ribs made with gochujang sauce and fresh pineapple make for easy entertaining, leaving you with more time to enjoy with your guests (and the big game!). Inspired by Koreatown tableside grilling, they are ready in a flash — and will be gone even faster!

Serve at your next gathering with other crowd-pleasing favourites from Game-Day Eats: 100 Recipes for Homegating Like a Pro.

Eddie Jackson's Pineapple Gochujang Short Ribs from Game Day Eats

Pineapple-Gochujang Short Ribs

Prep time: 5 minutes (plus 5 hours marinating and resting time)
Cook time: 5 minutes
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients: 

1 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 oz (about 115 g) fresh pineapple, roughly chopped
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 kiwi, peeled and roughly chopped
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 (1-inch/2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled
1 tablespoon gochujang
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 lbs flanken-style short ribs
Thinly sliced scallion, for serving

Directions: 

1. In a food processor, combine the soy sauce, pineapple, sugar, shallot, kiwi, garlic, ginger, gochujang, sesame oil, and black pepper. Pulse until the ingredients are combined and no large chunks remain.
2. Put the ribs into a large resealable plastic bag or large nonre­active bowl with an airtight lid. Pour the marinade over the ribs and massage it into the meat. Seal (or cover) and refrig­erate for at least 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature about 1 hour before grilling.
3. When ready to grill, prepare a grill for direct cooking (or set a grill pan over medium-high heat).
4. Grill the ribs until the meat is browned through, 2 to 3 min­utes per side, turning frequently. Top with the scallions and serve immediately.

Tip: Shake off any excess marinade before you grill the meat to prevent any flare-ups. Any leftover marinade can be brought to a boil until it reduces slightly and used as extra sauce for the ribs, if desired.

From the book GAME-DAY EATS: 100 Recipes for Homegating Like a Pro by Eddie Jackson. Copyright © 2019 by Eddie Jackson. Published on September 24, 2019 by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

Marcus Samuelsson Talks His Foray Into the Montreal Food Scene

In terms of chefs with real world experience, it’s hard to beat Marcus Samuelsson. The Food Network personality has been a favourite with Canadian audiences for years thanks to his participation on series like Top Chef Canada, Chopped and Chopped Jr., and of course there was his win on the second season of Top Chef Masters, when he bested Canada’s own Susur Lee.

So we were all giddy when he learned last fall that Samuelsson was prepping to open his first-ever Canadian eatery, Marcus Restaurant + Terrace, which officially launched this past May at the Four Seasons in Montreal alongside Marcus Lounge + Bar.

“I love the Montreal food scene, everything from Joe Beef to the immigrant scene in the smaller restaurants, the mom and pop shops,” he tells us. “It took me a long time to decide where in Canada, but my only goal was to be able to add something to the great food scene in Montreal.”

Considering Samuelsson’s background as an Ethiopian Swedish chef (one with an impeccable and beautifully coloured wardrobe), he could have gone in any direction with the menu at Marcus. But when he sat down to actually conceptualize it he knew that he had to have a clear and focused direction, one that would encompass the great fresh ingredients readily available to him in La Belle Province.

That meant seafood, fresh ingredients, and a comprehensive raw bar.

See more: Try Marcus Samuelsson’s Shrimp Piri Piri

“It took me a lot of time to study the community, what was there before, and then not just to create another restaurant like Montreal already had,” he explains. “It’s all Canadian ingredients; we’re using a lot of seafood. In order to stand out in a city like that you really have to have a point of view. I decided to do something around the grill and seafood and really take a stab at it that way.”

The result is a menu that includes everything from elevated gourmet hot dogs and stackable seafood towers to hand-crafted cocktails and salacious brunch items. It’s a constantly evolving thing, Samuelsson says, and for at least two years following launch he considers the brasserie a growing spot that will require him to visit quit often.

“I go back a lot,” he says. “I’m super excited about it and every time I go to Montreal we evolve and I learn more. It’s a brand new restaurant for at least two more years, because there’s stuff we want to add to it.”

Considering all of Samuelsson’s other interests, including restaurants in London, Bermuda, Chicago, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and in New York, where Red Rooster only one of several eateries he’s concurrently operating, it’s impressive that he’s able to go back as often as he does.

He maintains he chose his first Canadian location well—it’s only an hour away from New York, after all—but he was also originally optioning Vancouver and the 6ix, where he used to visit relatives in Scarborough. So does that mean he’s open to opening a resto in Toronto or some other part of Canada in the near future?

“Ask me in a year from now,” he sighs and then laughs.

 

Introducing STACKTV: All of Your Favourite Networks Available Through Amazon Prime Video Channels

Canadian Amazon Prime members better clear their schedules; in partnership with Corus Entertainment, newly launched STACKTV features 12 top tier networks, live and on-demand, on Prime Video Channels. (Hello, stay-cation itinerary!)

Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, Slice, Global, HISTORY®, W Network, Adult Swim, Showcase, National Geographic, Teletoon, Treehouse, and YTV are now available for Prime members in Canada. Now it’s even easier to watch your favourite Food Network Canada shows, like Top Chef Canada and Chopped, and the newly premiered Big Food Bucket List.

Prime Video Channels can be accessed through the existing Prime Video app, making it easy to watch your favourite Food Network Canada shows anytime, and anywhere, on smart TVs, iOS and Android mobile devices.

STACKTV will be available to Amazon Prime members in Canada for an additional $12.99 per month.

For more information on STACKTV, visit www.primevideo.com/stacktv.

Food Network Canada spring schedule

8 Reasons You Need to Watch Food Network Canada This Spring

Winter is finally behind us, which means it’s time to trade in the hearty soups and casseroles for crisp salads and grilled fare. It’s been a long haul, but we’ve officially made it through the ice storms and sub-zero temperatures, and now we can’t wait to get out there and celebrate all the delicious things spring has to offer.

That includes some downright delectable selections coming up on Food Network Canada. The spring lineup is jam-packed with new and returning personalities, a few fun new competition series, and the return of Top Chef Canada, to name a few. Read on for all the reasons you’ll want to tune in to watch Food Network Canada this spring.

Buddy-Valastro-and-Duff-Goldman

Buddy vs. Duff

Premieres: March 10

Who’s your favourite pastry chef, Buddy Valastro or Duff Goldman? Both guys have been hitting us with their insider baking knowledge for years, but for the first time ever they’re going head-to-head in the kitchen for what might be the greatest feud in baking history.

Over the course of six pastry-filled episodes, Buddy and Duff compete in an intense selection of themed bake-offs that tackle everything from carnival treats and beautiful pies to plated desserts and doughnuts.

Along the way, they’ll also participate in six “cake-offs,” in which the chefs and their hand-selected teams try to outdo one another in a bid for bragging rights.

It all culminates in a massive showdown at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, where the chefs help execute two decadent wedding proposals before crafting special space-themed cakes that put all of their skills on the line.

Spring Baking Championship season 5 with Clinton Kelly

Spring Baking Championship

Premieres: March 18

Get those convection ovens ready because the fifth season of this seasonal baking competition is back, baby! Ten new bakers are ready to mix, whisk and purée their way to a big $25,000 win, and they’re willing to pull out all of their best baking tricks in order to nail this thing.

The competition kicks off with celebratory challenges, in which the competitors invoke their inner artists to create animal-themed doughnuts and, later on, watercolour cakes featuring all of spring’s best fruits and veggies. Decorative pies, marshmallow treats, and nutty desserts are also in store throughout the rest of the season.

Joining returning judges Duff Goldman, Lorraine Pascale and Nancy Fuller is new host Clinton Kelly, of What Not To Wear fame. We have faith that the lifestyle expert will be just as deft at handling these new hosting duties as he is the latest fashions.

Family Food Showdown

Premieres: March 21

There’s nothing quite like the act of cooking to bring families together, whether it’s through a secret family recipe, weeknight dinners at the table, or even a Sunday afternoon bake-session with the kids. But in this new competition series hosted by Valerie Bertinelli, we’re about to meet a series of families for whom food is everything.

In each episode, two foodie families (think restauranteurs, food truck operators, competition cooks and relatives) face off in a series of challenges that are designed to put their cooking, communication, and creativity to the test for a weekly $10,000 prize.

“With these contestants it’s not just about the money,” Bertinelli says. “There was a lot of pride involved, and so that’s when you’d see the fires really start to happen on the grills and in their personalities. So I would get close to them immediately, and it was really hard to watch the ones that didn’t get to go through. You start to fall in love with these contestants.”

Fire-Masters

Fire Masters

Premieres: March 21

The kitchen is about to get lit with the debut of this brand new Canadian competition show, which ditches the traditional oven in favour of all things grilled, charred and ‘cued. In 10 fire-fuelled episodes chefs from across North America come together in a sizzling, three-part cook-off for a rotating panel of established judges.

In the first round, three chefs must present an impressive signature dish to stay alive in the Napoleon grill arena. In the second round, the two remaining chefs go head-to-head by incorporating one of two featured ingredients into their dish. And then in the last round, the “Feast of Fire,” the last man or woman standing will take on one of the Fire Master judges.

Considering this year’s roster of experts includes former Top Chef Canada competitors and some of the greatest pitmasters around, we’d say the contestants have their work cut out for them. Canadian chef Dylan Benoit hosts the fireocious new series.

Burgers-Brew-and-Que

Burgers, Brew & ‘Que

Premieres: March 21

What’s better than a perfectly grilled burger and a fresh pint to go with it? Not much, according to Iron Chef Michael Symon. The chef and personality is back for a fourth season of his grilled-meats-based travel show, and we can’t wait to see what he’s going to uncover next.

Follow along as Symon searches high and low for the best barbecue and burgers in America, from elaborate cheeseburgers and perfectly smoked brisket, to fall-off-the-bone ribs and ridiculous roasts. Of course, he’ll also need some hoppy local brews and bevvys to wash it all down with, giving us some serious barbecue envy. In fact, a few episodes in, and you’ll probably want to start crafting your own food-based road trip, too.

Top Chef Canada Season 7

Top Chef Canada

Premieres: April 1

This is not a drill — Canada’s most prestigious culinary competition is back, and this season the “steaks” are higher than ever. Join 12 up-and-coming chefs, each representing the coming-of-age in the Canadian food scene, as they battle in some of the most intense Quickfires and fiercest Elimination Challenges to-date. On the line? A $100,000 cash prize from Interac, a design-inspired Café kitchen, a culinary tour of Italy for two from Air Transat, $5,000 worth of Cuisinart products, and the title of Top Chef Canada.

The action kicks off in the premiere episode with an “In-Cook” twist, when the 11 named competitors are asked to judge dishes from the three chefs vying for the last spot in the competition.

That inaugural challenge certainly sets the tone for the season to come, and we can’t wait to dig in. Host Eden Grinshpan is back to helm all the action; she’s joined by returning head judge Mark McEwan and resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak and Janet Zuccarini.

Restaurant Impossible

Premieres: April 23

We have a soft spot for the owners of failing restaurants… after all, who doesn’t appreciate a foodie who is trying to put his or her dreams into action? So we’re all in when the 14th season of Robert Irvines restaurant-saving series returns in April following a two-and-a-half-year hiatus. After all, who doesn’t want to watch a new slew of restaurant owners that just need a little help in turning things around?

With a mere $10,000 and only two days to do it, it’s all hands on deck as Irvine attempts to muscle his way through the overhauls, teaching these owners the dos and don’ts of the industry so that their eateries can ultimately survive.

It’s a tall order, but if anyone has proven his salt over the years it’s gotta be chef Irvine.

Best Baker in America

Premieres: May 19

Sure, you can do better than store-bought goodies for the bake sale, and you’ve been known to roll out the fondant on occasion. But do you have what it takes to be classified as the best baker in the country? That’s the question this series poses when it returns for a hefty third season of elevated buttercream frostings, airy meringues, and modern takes on some tried-and-true classics.

Follow along as a brand new batch of contestants prove they have the baking skills needed to impress the all-star judges — and each other — in their rise to the top.

Toronto Taste Chef Challenge

Enter for a Chance to Win VIP Passes to Toronto Taste

Toronto Taste, the city’s renowned culinary fundraiser, returns June 3rd for another enticing evening in support of Second Harvest. We’re thrilled to be giving away a VIP prize pack to one Food Network Canada fan!

Mark McEwan at Toronto Taste 2017

Set at Corus Quay, located on Toronto’s scenic waterfront, this year’s event features delectable dishes and delightful drinks from over 60 restaurants and 30 beverage purveyors. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet some of your favourite Food Network Canada stars including Mark McEwan, Michael Smith, and Top Chef Canada contestants Elia Herrera, Ivana Raca and Carl Heinrich.

Toronto Taste 2017

The evening is filled with exquisite eats, auctions and entertainment, including the action-packed annual Chef Challenge, co-hosted by Noah Cappe. Food Network Canada and Global News will also be hosting a lounge where guests can sit back and savour the entire experience.

Since 1991, Toronto Taste has raised over $13 million to support Second Harvest’s food rescue program. Every ticket sold enables Second Harvest to provide meals for adults, children and seniors in need. Last year, the event raised a record-breaking $925,000 — enough to rescue and deliver 1.8 million nutritious meals across the city.

For more information and to purchase tickets for Toronto Taste on June 3rd visit torontotaste.ca.

We’re giving away one (1) VIP prize pack to Toronto Taste (including 2 VIP tickets, an overnight stay at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, and a $50 Uber gift card).

To enter, comment below and tell us, “Who is your favourite Food Network Canada Chef?” For your chance to win, you must comment by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2018.

No purchase necessary. Limit one (1) entry per person per day. One (1) Prize available to be won. Approximate retail value of Prize CDN$1,200.00. Must be a legal resident of the province of Ontario who is age of majority or older at time of entry.  Contest runs from May 18, 2018 to May 22, 2018. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 22, 2018. Skill testing question must be correctly answered to claim Prize. Odds of being selected depend on number of eligible entries received. For full set of rules visit here.

 

10 Reasons You’ll Love to Watch Food Network Canada this Fall

Indulge your sweet and savoury side with Food Network Canada’s fall schedule stocked with down-home comfort, sugar highs, thrilling competitions and the best recipes for winning breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here are ten delicious reasons you’ll love to watch us this fall:

1. The Great Food Truck Race, Y’all!
The-Great-Food-Truck-Race-Tyler-Florence
Tyler Florence heads to the American South – the land of po’ boys, decadent seafood and of course, southern fried chicken. The race kicks off in New Orleans with seven teams of food truck novices vying to make it to the finale in Savannah, Georgia and win the $50,000 grand prize.

The Great Food Truck Race premieres Sunday, August 20 at 9 E/P.

2. Family, Food and Fun on Guy’s Family Road Trip
Guys-Family-Road-Trip
Guy is packing up the RV and taking his wife, Lori,  and two sons, Ryder and Hunter, on the road from California to Florida with stops along the way for off-the-hook delicious eats and family fun at iconic locations and roadside attractions.

Guy’s Family Road Trip premieres Friday, September 1 at 9 E/P.
Want more Guy? Catch him in Guy’s Grocery Games: Superstars Tournament beginning August 27.

3. Hannah Hart in I Hart Food
Hannah-Hart
You might know her from her YouTube series Drunk Kitchen. (She does have over 2 million followers).  Now Hannah is taking her love of food and puns on the road, finding the most incredible eats from Maine to New Mexico to North Carolina.  Tune in and get to know Hannah. You’re going to heart her.

I Hart Food premieres Friday, September 1 at 11 E/P.

4. Food Network All-Stars Step Into the Ring to Beat Bobby Flay
Beat-Bobby-Flay-All-Star-Takeover
It’s an All Star takeover on Beat Bobby Flay! Alton Brown, Michael Symon and Ted Allen judge which culinary stars like Marcus Samuelsson, Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell and Damaris Phillips could beat Bobby at his own culinary game.

Beat Bobby Flay: All Star Takeover premieres Thursday, August 31 at 10 E/P.

5. Learn to Cook Like a Pro with the Barefoot Contessa
Barefoot-Contessa-Cook-like-a-Pro
Ina Garten is known for her easy, elegant recipes and sage hosting advice. In this new season, she shares her best cooking secrets and techniques along with her foolproof recipes so you can make your best meals ever.

Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro premieres Sunday, September 10 at 10am ET. You’ll be able to find all of Ina’s signature recipes from the series on her recipes page.

6.  Celebrity Dish-asters Become Kitchen Masters on Worst Cooks in America
Worst-Cooks-in-America-Celebrity-Edition-S11
Fellow kitchen disasters SNL alum Nora Dunn, gossip blogger Perez Hilton, style expert Carson Kressley and actress Vivica A. Fox go through an intense culinary bootcamp led by Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray. After eight weeks of spills and thrills, one of them will rise to be a kitchen master and earn $25,000 for the charity of their choice.

Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition premieres Wednesday, August 30 at 10 E/P.

7. The Most Amazing Cakes on Texas Cake House
Texas-Cake-House
Texan cake artist Natalie Sideserf creates some of the most-intricate cake sculptures in the world. Her husband, Dave, quit his day job to help her realize her delicious dreams. Watch these two sweethearts create some of the most amazing cakes you’ll ever see.

Texas Cake House premieres Monday, August 28 at 10 E/P.

8. Ninja Tips and Deliciously Healthy Recipes so You (and Your Kids) Can Love Your Lunch!
Love-Your-Lunch
Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh (the culinary duo behind Sweet Potato Chronicles) are not your average lunch ladies. They’re Love Your Lunch ladies! From genius tips on getting more veggies in your mid-day meal to fun ways to snack pack your lunch, Ceri and Laura will share their tips and recipes for tasty, healthy lunches you and your kids will love to eat.

Love Your Lunch videos and recipes will be available here on August 25.

9. No One Does Easy, Down Home Cooking Like The Pioneer Woman
The-Pioneer-Woman
Ree Drummond is back with more recipes your family will love. In each new episode, she’ll share her best meal short cuts, how to work ahead and of course, deliciously easy recipes – all from her gorgeous ranch kitchen.

The Pioneer Woman premieres Saturday, September 9 at 12pm ET. You’ll be able to find all of Ree’s new recipes from the series on her recipes page.

10. Dessert Games: a Sweeter Take on Guy’s Grocery Games
Dessert-Games-Duff-Goldman-Guy-Fieri

Guy Fieri hands over the keys to Flavortown Market to dessert master Duff Goldman. In Duff’s newly dubbed “Sweet City,” four dessert chefs will shop for and create amazing confections, vying for the sweetest finish – a shopping spree worth up to $10,000 for the last chef standing.

Dessert Games premieres Monday, August 28 at 9 E/P.

For complete listings, check out our schedule page here.

fnc-stars-summer

Food Network Canada Stars’ Favourite Vacation Eats

Sure, sure—it may be summer and some of our favourite chefs are taking a bit of a breather during these supposed “dog days.” But that doesn’t mean these foodies aren’t whipping up inspiring dishes and eating at some pretty incredible places during their hiatuses. In fact, summer seems to be a time for food creativity to develop and palates to blossom.

From Ree Drummond and Eden Grinshpan to Michael Smith and Alton Brown, here’s what our culinary superstars have been enjoying this summer. Bon appetit!

Anna Olson
When in Montreal, Anna Olson tends to stop by Patrice Patissier for some mouthwatering (and eye-catching) desserts. Just check out this rhubarb concoction she enjoyed recently. This artful offering might actually be the definition of summer on a plate.

Eden Grinshpan
While travelling in Tel Aviv this summer with her family, Eden Grinshpan seemed to be all about the Mediterranean food. And why not? Between the pitas, hummus, fresh veggies, fish and garlicky dips, it’s nice, light and perfect for summer. Mmm, pita.

https://instagram.com/p/BWFZtvjnRVk/

Alton Brown
Who says you can’t have rice for breakfast? When one is searching for a hearty meal in Los Angeles to kick off the day, Sqirlla seems to be a top choice for Alton Brown. We wonder how long it took him to polish off this crispy rice with the works… Probably not long at all.

Giada DeLaurentiis
Speaking of hearty breakfasts, it looks like Giada is getting her energy this summer from this riff on eggs Benedict–which is also a riff on classic crab cakes. Introducing Salmon Cake Benedict, a brunch item at DeLaurentiis’s Nevada eatery, Vegas. The salmon cakes are elevated with wilted spinach, piquillo peppers and prosecco hollandaise sauce, and are served with some classic toast and poached eggs. Sign us up.

Salmon cake benny! @giadavegas #vegasuncorkd

A post shared by Giada DeLaurentiis (@giadadelaurentiis) on

Michael Smith
Some people stop and smell the summer flowers, other people devour them as culinary masterpieces. Michael Smith definitely falls into the latter category if this beautiful skillet he recently enjoyed is any indication. These mulled strawberries in haskap berry syrup with nutmeg biscuits and flower petal confetti are basically summer in a pan, and we just want to dive right in.

Ree Drummond
Ree Drummond has been busy pioneering her new cookbook this summer, and judging by some of the recipes she’s sharing it’s going to be epic. Fall, winter, spring or summer, we’re always down for bread and cheese. And when you pack melty cheese into a wheel of bread and serve it with some marinara sauce for dipping? Well that’s a recipe that just inspired us to host an end-of-summer potluck.

Mark McEwan
Sure, you could go for a pint and a platter of nachos after work, but that seems a little heavy on the tummy during these warmer summer months. That’s why we want to go the Mark McEwan route, and munch on these crispy rice cup crackers topped with tuna tartare, yuzu kosho and lime coconut instead. This Bymark appie isn’t just light and summery, but you also feel super artsy just eating it.

Chuck Hughes
There are rice bowls, and then there are rice bowls a la Chuck Hughes. We knew the chef was obsessed with fresh seafood, but this dish he showcased recently at his Le Bremner restaurant in Montreal is basically any lobster-lover’s dream. Huge chunks of lobster, fresh pops of peas and a buttery sauce on rice? Um, yes please.

RiceBowL☑

A post shared by Chuck Hughes (@chefchuckhughes) on

Bobby Flay
Speaking of lobster, the delicacy may just be the seafood of the summer. Bobby Flay also enjoyed it recently at his Bobby Flay Steak restaurant in Atlantic City, via this elevated take on surf-and-turf. Grilled to perfection and topped with honey mustard horseradish and mint, these skewers make barbecues everywhere jealous.

Nigella Lawson
Simpler is always better, at least when it comes to wholesome cooking. Nigella Lawson continually proves this, especially with this summery take on old-fashioned tomato salad with homemade dressing. Now how refreshing does this look?

Geoffrey Zakarian
What do Chopped judges do for lunch when they have a break from filming during the lazy summer months? If they’re Geoffrey Zakarian they go for a chopped salad, of course. This one comes loaded with all of our faves, from blanched green beans to avocado, and it’s making our veggie-loving tummies grumble. Please excuse us while we go and chop one up ourselves.

Lunchtime. A different meaning for #chopped @foodnetwork

A post shared by Geoffrey Zakarian (@gzchef) on

Ina and Jeffrey

Ina Garten and Jeffrey’s Love Story

Ina Rosenberg was only 20 when she married Jeffrey Garten, and as a new bride, was happy spending her days at home, cooking for the love of her life. But Jeffrey says that the day he came home and found her watching a sitcom at 11 in the morning, he suggested a change. “I just said to her, ‘You have to do something. You won’t be happy if you don’t.'”

Now Ina jokes that Jeffrey was the first feminist, and it’s true that since then, he’s supported her, whether she was whipping up gourmet meals on a camp stove in Europe, working as a nuclear policy analyst for President Jimmy Carter, or buying the first plank in the Barefoot Contessa empire; the small specialty food shop she opened in Westhampton Beach, New York in 1978.

Ina Garten and Jeffrey

Twenty years later, when she put her own money into the inaugural run of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Jeffrey was there, and nearly twenty years after that, he’s still there, cheering her on at every turn.

But Jeffrey downplays the inspirational role he plays in Ina’s life and stardom. “It was such a natural thing for her to do,” he told People magazine. “I certainly supported her, but it was really all her. I was so proud of her. Not everybody finds something that they’re so passionate about, but she clearly had.”

For her part, Ina has accepted that Jeffrey’s work has often taken him far away. In the 80s he was relocated to Tokyo, where Ina carefully arranged his living space to look exactly like their apartment in New York, so Jeffrey would feel at home, even when she was far away. And although many couples break under the strains of a long distance relationship, it hasn’t seemed to affect Ina and Jeffrey. “No matter where he is, I always know that there’s nothing more important than me in his life,” Ina told People. “We give each other enormous freedom to do what we want to do, but we’re still the anchor.”

Ina Garten and Jeffrey

It doesn’t hurt that Jeffrey “seems to like everything I make,” writes Ina in the introduction to her latest cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey. “And that’s exactly why I love to cook!”

After nearly 50 years of marriage, these still-smitten lovebirds hardly need proof that theirs is a special kind of romance, but we still think it’s deliciously romantic that the couple have inspired a line of Valentine’s Day cards, cementing their status as a couple for the ages. So if you’re looking for a sweet nothing to whisper to your beloved foodie this year, you can’t wrong with the words on the card: You’re the Jeffrey to my Ina.

Catch new episodes of the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics premiering March 5 at 12pm ET. Check back on the show site here to watch full episodes online plus get Ina’s recipes featured in the show.

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Must-See Specials

‘Tis the season to sit cozy up by the fire, sip on some eggnog and enjoy your favourite holiday shows! This winter, Food Network Canada sees the return of festive favourites and the launch of new specials that’ll whet your appetite for the season.

Put on your favourite ugly Christmas sweater and get merry with the return of Cake: Wars: Christmas, premiering Monday, November 14th at 9 E/P. Host Jonathan Bennett, and judges Charles Phoenix and Sherry Yard are back to find the most over-the-top holiday cake display.

A new set of pastry chefs are throwing on their aprons and getting their hands in the dough on a brand new season of Holiday Baking Championship beginning Sunday, November 6th at 9 E/P. Hosted by Bobby Deen, this baking competition is the sweetest way to celebrate this holiday season.

Get ready for the most adorable four-way cook-off ever! Cameron Mathison hosts the new series Clash of the Grandmas, premiering Wednesday, November 16th at 10 E/P. Each week, four grandmothers will battle in a series of holiday-themed challenges. But these ladies aren’t your average grannies; Fiercely competitive with undeniable cooking chops, these ladies use old-school tricks to impress the judges in the kitchen!

Celebrate all things sweet and delicious with a brand new season of Sugar Showdown . Hosted by Josh Elkin,  four holiday episodes kick-off Wednesday, December 7th at 9 E/P. 

For the first time in Chopped Canada history, some of Canada’s most humble grandmothers, bravest firefighters, most-loved celebrities and revered judges battle it out in a special series. The 4-week stunt begins Saturday, November 26th at 9 E/P with judges Susur Lee, Michael Smith, Mark McEwan and Anne Yarymowich competing for charity. The kitchen has never been hotter!

We’ve been waiting patiently all year for this! A brand new season of Top Chef premieres Thursday, December 1st at 10 E/P.  Season 14 finds new and returning chefs in a high-stakes competition set in Charleston, South Carolina. Cooks vs. Cons judge Graham Elliot joins the judges table this season, alongside veterans Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

Inspired With Anna, Food Network Star Kids, and More Coming This Fall

As we say goodbye to another beautiful summer, we say hello to an action-packed fall line-up on Food Network Canada. We’re kicking off September with exciting new shows and brand new episodes of your returning favourites.

Chopped Canada returns with more high-stakes, heart-pumping competition Saturday, September 3rd at 9 pm E/P. Brad Smith and all your faovurite judges are back to critique appetizers, entrées and desserts from talented Canadian chefs.

Get a double-dose of Bobby Flay this fall as Beat Bobby Flay returns with new episodes Thursday, September 1st at 10 pm E/P. The grill-master and breakfast pro will also debut a brand new show, Brunch @ Bobby’s, premiering Saturday, September 10th at 10 am E/P. With the launch of this appetizing new series, we’re giving away three copies of his cookbook, Brunch @ Bobby’s, which features 140 sweet and savoury recipes. Enter the contest now.

On the new series Inspired with Anna, acclaimed chef Anna Olson takes a break from baking to travel Southeast Asia for an unforgettable culinary journey. From Singapore to Hong Kong, Anna discovers unique ingredients in the markets, and learns original techniques from local cooks and distinguished chefs. Inspired with Anna premieres Sunday, September 4th at 10 am E/P  with two back-to-back episodes.

The Man in Plaid is back! John Catucci is hilarious, but when kids across Canada invite him into their favourite restaurant kitchens, things get downright silly. On a special edition of You Gotta Eat Here!, a new generation of foodies show John that their taste in cuisine goes beyond chicken fingers and fries. You Gotta Eat Here!: Kids Edition begins Friday, September 2nd at 8 pm E/P and regular episodes resume Friday, September 30th at 9 pm E/P.

Speaking of kids, Tia Mowry and Donal Skehan host the pint-sized competition, Food Network Star Kids, where 10 wildly talented young chefs battle their way through a variety of culinary challenges to become the next Food Network Star Kid. The adventure begins Sunday, September 4th at 8 pm E/P.

An all-new, star-studded cast of recruits joins the new season of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition hosted by Anne Burnell and Rachael Ray. Upcoming episodes feature Oktoberfest-themed beer and sausage challenges, a Halloween Bloody Mary battle, and the return of the trivia game, Family Food. Guest judges include lasy season’s winner, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, and runner-up, Kendra Wilkinson. The competition heats up Wednesday, September 14th at 9 pm E/P.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

Bobby Flay

The One Place Bobby Flay Won’t Open a Restaurant

Here in Canada, we can’t get enough of Food Network star and chef Bobby Flay, whether we’re slapping one of his signature BBQ recipes on the grill, or creeping his cat’s Instagram account (we see you @nachoflay). But when we asked Chef Flay if he plans to open a restaurant north of the border, the American star was unequivocal: No. Not here, not now, not ever.

Thankfully it’s not because he doesn’t love Canada. In fact, Chef Flay is especially fond of Toronto, where he recently collaborated with long-time friend and former Iron Chef competitor Susur Lee. The culinary duo cooked up a special dinner at Lee’s restaurant Frings; the menu featured chorizo crepinette with apricot mostarda and braised octopus, where several lucky locals, including Drake, were in attendance.

Susur Lee and Bobby FlayFlay talked up the Toronto food scene while explaining why he’s not in a hurry to open a Canadian outpost: “In a town like Toronto, where there’s such a great culinary culture, I believe that the people of Toronto should be supporting the local chefs, and they do,” he said. Then he tempered his answer with a downright Canadian-sounding dose of humility: “Without mentioning names, there have been countless American chefs that have tried this town and they haven’t done very well. So I don’t think I’m better than them.”

Not even his pal Susur Lee could convince him. “But you know, Chef Bobby, I’ll tell you — your flavours would really suit in this town,” said Chef Lee. “Your big flavours!”

Susur Lee and Bobby Flay in Toronto

Still, the answer was — and is — no.

“When I roll out of my bed in New York, I can walk into my restaurant and cook,” he explained. “Even though Toronto is only an hour away, you still have to go the airport and get on a plane — it’s a whole event.”

Bobby Flay loves flying in and wowing Canadian diners, or cooking for them when they visit one of his US restaurants, but he doesn’t want to be anybody’s American fling. Falling in love with a Bobby Flay restaurant is a long-term affair, and that’s just how he likes it.

“You have to get people to buy in for a long period of time, not just once or twice,” he said, noting that his famed Mesa Grill ran 20 years before closing, and that three of his current restaurants have been open for more than ten years. “That’s what it takes to have success in the restaurant industry. It’s not a get rich quick proposal.”

It might not be the answer we want, but it’s an honest one. So in the mean time, we’ll be saving up for a trip to Flay’s Gato in New York City, and consoling ourselves with these awesome Bobby Flay recipes.

Can’t get enough Bobby? His new show Brunch at Bobby’s premieres Saturday, September 10 at 10 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here

Chef’s Battle: Toronto’s Tastiest Dish Is…

The debate is over and the winner is undeniably delicious.

A stunning trio of flame-seared sushi set inside an empty lobster tail, topped with Wagyu beef, foie gras, butter-poached lobster and truffles has been named Toronto’s Tastiest Dish.

Chef Kazuki Uchigoshi of Miku snapped up the coveted prize at the inaugural Taste of Toronto Chef’s Battle on that saw four of the city’s best chefs steam, torch and sear their way through a kitchen stadium-like contest at George Brown College.

taste-of-toronto-chefs-battle

Taste of Toronto Chef’s Battle

Chefs Elia Herrera of Los Colibris, Cora James of Mamakas Taverna, Hayden Johnston of Richmond Station and Uchigoshi each presented their vision for a dish that best captures Toronto. It’s no easy feat, considering the very question sparks debates among foodies and even divide friendships. Award-winning food journalists and judges Amy Rosen, Lucy Waverman and Mike Ward took their roles seriously, picking a dish that represents the best of Toronto.

From flame-seared sushi to Coca Cola-doused duck tamales to a braised rib-stuffed burger and a sophisticated take on a Greek classic, this year’s contenders prove that Toronto’s food scene is as diverse as it is enticing.

Sarjoun Faour for Taste of Toronto

Chef Kazuki Uchigoshi, Miku Toronto

Chef Kazuki Uchigoshi, Miku Toronto
Embodying the Aburi rule of “zekkei,” Uchigoshi’s winning creation is as beautiful as delicious. The stunning lobster dish pairs a trio of the restaurant’s signature flamed-seared Temari and Nigiri sushi, topped with butter-poached lobster, Wagyu beef and foie gras. Set inside of an empty lobster shell, each bite is topped with sliced truffle, micro greens and chopped ginger.

Sarjoun Faour for Taste of Toronto

Elia Herrera, Los Colibris and El Cabillito Tequila y Tacos

Elia Herrera, Los Colibris and El Cabillito Tequila y Tacos
Duck Carnitas Tamale is a labour of love that starts with the duck bathing in milk and Coca Cola to tenderize and caramelize. After baking for two hours, it is wrapped in corn meal and a banana leaf pocket, and steamed until tender. The final dish is topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, salsa verde, salty cotija cheese and a dollop of creme.

Cora James, Mamakas
Pastry chef Cora James serves up a delicate and sophisticated Greek-inspired dish that starts with a katafi pastry base, topped with white chocolate, custard and whipped cream. A touch of Ontario strawberry jam is layered with lemon cream and a wisp of oregano.

Sarjoun Faour for Taste of Toronto

Hayden Johnston, Richmond Station

Hayden Johnston, Richmond Station
Hailed as one of the city’s best, the famed Stn. Burger earned its spot for a reason. Made with a house-cranked ground beef patty that’s stuffed with braised and shredded ribs, it’s then seared in a smoking hot cast iron pan to keep all those juices basting. The burger is enveloped in house-made buttered buns, garlic mayonnaise, pickled onions, beer relish and aged cheddar.

Eager foodies will have a chance to try Chef Uchigoshi’s winning sushi dinner at this year’s Taste of Toronto at Garrison Common at Fort York June 23-26.

Want free tickets to this year’s food fest? Learn how here.

All photos courtesy of Sarjoun Faour for Taste of Toronto.

Mark-McEwan-Toronto-Taste-2015-feature

Meet Michael Smith, Mark McEwan and Carl Heinrich at Toronto Taste!

Mark McEwan Toronto Taste 2015

Mark McEwan at Toronto Taste 2015

Toronto’s culinary fundraiser, Toronto Taste, is back on June 12th to tempt your taste buds and help support Second Harvest’s commitment to providing food to people in need.

Set at Corus Quay, a gorgeous waterfront space overlooking Lake Ontario, the event will feature delicious dishes and drinks from over 90 restaurants and beverage purveyors. Look forward to an evening packed with tasty eats, silent auctions and entertainment, including the annual Chef Challenge between three renowned chefs tasked with creating a winning dish using mystery ingredients.

Toronto Taste 2015

Toronto Taste 2015

You’ll also get a chance to meet some of your favourite Food Network Canada stars and culinary greats, including Michael Smith, Mark McEwan and Carl Heinrich. It’ll be a fun-filled day you won’t want to miss.

Since 1991, Toronto Taste has raised over $11 million to support Second Harvest’s food rescue program. Every ticket sold enables Second Harvest to provide meals for adults, children and seniors in need.

For more information and to get tickets for Toronto Taste on June 12th visit torontotaste.ca.

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.

YGEHmarathon

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. 

Just another msblogs site