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Recipe for Change Chefs

Mark Ota, 416 Snack Bar

416 Snack Bar is a place that celebrates Toronto in all of its eclectic beauty.  Small plates as ethnically diverse as the city itself are enjoyed, cutlery free, in the dinner hour and until last call, seven days a week. Mark Ota is the Chef de Cuisine - after growing up in the mean streets of Vancouver, he moved to Toronto in 2004 and worked in such kitchens as Zucca, l'Unita, Cowbell, and eventually returned to British Columbia to work as a private chef at the Queen Charlotte Lodge. 

Joan Monfaredi, Annona at the Park Hyatt

With over 29 years of culinary experience, Executive Chef Joan Monfaredi entered the industry at a time when there were very few Canadian females to hold the title of Executive Chef in Toronto.  During her post in Toronto she has been a part of world acclaimed culinary events such as the Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel California, whereby she cooked alongside Eric Ripert, Bobby Flay, Gary Danko and Todd English.  Chef Monfaredi has received several awards in culinary competitions at both the provincial and international levels, including the Ontario Hostelry Institute Fellowship award. Recognized as a “Celebrity Chef” by the culinary institute at George Brown College, she has been named “One of Canada’s rising stars” in the hospitality industry by Hotelier Magazine. She was also named “Chef of the Year” for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts in 2001 and most recently in 2012. She is one of few Canadian female chefs to hold title of Executive Chef in Toronto. Monfaredi is responsible for the culinary operations for all Food and Beverage within the hotel, banquet facilities, Stillwater Spa and Annona Restaurant. Under her leadership, Annona has received the AAA/CAA four-diamond rating every year of its existence. She mentors young talent at George Brown College and is on the advisory board at Humber. For the past 16 years she has remained committed to Eat To The Beat; a fundraising initiative that supports those affected by Breast Cancer. Chef Joan Monfaredi has been at Park Hyatt Toronto for over 14 years.



Carol Belmonte, Belmonte Raw 

After graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honors Bachelor of Science, Carol left on an adventure of a lifetime. Finding herself in South Korea, Carol began to take traditional cooking classes, which ignited her interest in people’s relationship with food. After two years in the corporate world, she decided to follow her passion for travel and food, which lead her to small towns and villages of Southeast and Central Asia. It was here that the importance of fresh, locally grown produce and the vibrant energy of local markets became her inspiration and the turn-around point in her raw food journey. It was not until her last trip into India to study yoga, that her thoughts, ideas and inspirations became a reality and she began teaching and selling her raw food creations. After years of working, traveling, and studying in Asia, Carol decided to make Toronto her home again. It is here that she started Belmonte Raw, which delivers cleansing, healing, and detoxifying meal packages to corporations, homes, and health-minded diners in and around the GTA. In addition to savory foods, she also specializes in guilt-free decadent deserts that are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar- free and free of all animal products. Carol’s philosophy she uses in preparing her food stems from her belief that food is the best preventative medicine that the planet has to offer.

Eric Wood, The Beverly Hotel 


From a four star resort in the Rocky Mountains of B.C. , to a rustic organic gastro-brewery on St. John’s Harbor, Eric Wood’s culinary career has taken him coast to coast, and developed a unique perspective of the food and diverse cultures of his home country. His food style is uniquely Canadian, evoking both tradition and innovation with an understated flair. This cuisine has won rave reviews in both local and national press, as well as international awards. Chef Wood has a strong development background bringing culinary / restaurant projects from concept to operation. He has been responsible for the creation of such concepts as Hawthorne Food And Drink, FABARNAK, Yellowbelly Brewery, Eagle Ranch Resort and L’azia, all of which he served as Executive Chef, and has worked with such industry leaders as Oliver Bonacini, SIRCORP, CHiP Hospitality, and Walt Disney world Resorts. At the Beverley, Eric brings a new voice to downtown T.O. Drawing inspiration from Toronto’s food neighbourhoods and the land that surrounds us, Chef Wood has curated a concept that will captures the flavour of a city; bold, worldly, and adventurous, but conscious of its roots. Eric is passionate about all facets of food –from shaping culture, to the rise of “new radicals”, to being active in developing the next generation.



Emerie Brine, Bernardin

Emerie Brine, Bernardin


For Chef Emerie Brine, the love of fresh food started as a young child. Growing up on a farm on the east coast, Emerie shared in the toils of his large family garden, and home canning was a yearly tradition. While Emerie’s roots are firmly planted in the country, he now enjoys the opportunities that urban life in Toronto provides. His own catering company specialized in dietary-needs menus, and after a proud 3-year service as chef for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Emerie has mastered the efficiencies that preserving can provide. As the chef for Bernardin, Emerie continues to experiment with new recipes for home canners. “As a child, my family picked, pickled and canned every possible fruit and vegetable that we grew. Now, with the abundance of herbs, spices and vinegars available, we can add some zip to traditional recipes, and create new taste combinations that will become family favourites”.  


Luis Valenzuela, Carmen

Luis Valenzuela, Torito Tapas


Luis Valenzuela was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He moved to Canada in 2001, beginning his career at North 44 restaurant under renowned chef Mark McEwan. Luis also worked under the distinguished Italian Chef Bruno Barrbieri in Verona, Italy. He also worked with Chef Adolfo Muñoz from Toledo, Spain. Luis became the Chef de Cuisine of Café Cinquecento in 2008, propelling himself to become the Chef from Torito Tapas Bar in Kensington Market in 2010. Last year Luis proudly opened his first restaurant with his business partner Veronica Laudes, named “ Carmen Cocina Española” located in trendy neighbourhood Queen West. 



Claudia Gaviria, Cruda Café

Claudia Gaviria, Cruda Café

Cruda Café

Claudia Gaviria owner and executive chef of Cruda Café, was raised in Colombia and Ecuador, two beautiful South American countries rich in fresh, seasonal foods. She refined her skills in the culinary arts from a proud grandmother that never wasted food and whose pharmacy was located in the pantry and fridge. Claudia used these fundamentals and combined them with the doctrines of Raw Cooking, Macrobiotics, Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga. She travelled around the world learning ancestral cooking, un-cooking methods and was able to create a physical and spiritual fusion of healing. In 1999, Claudia left a management position in a Boutique Hotel in South America and came to Canada with her nine year old son. After a long stay at an Ashram, Claudia started teaching Raw, Vegan healing cuisine and created Cruda Café a raw vegan Gluten and sugar free resto, located under the roof of St. Lawrence Market.  


 Culinary Students from Bendale Business and Technical Institute

Bendale Business and Technical Institute is a vibrant high school in the heart of Scarborough. Through a partnership with FoodShare, an urban farm on-site supplies seasonal produce and year-round kitchen herbs. The culinary arts program is a real field to table learning experience. Chef Darren Beer runs a tight operation as he leads his students in the preparation of daily meals for the school community and catering for events both at the school and around the city. Chef Beer first entered Memorial University of Newfoundland to study education. With encouragement from his family and fiancé chef he decided to follow his passion and soon found himself enrolled in a local culinary program. Wanting to further his repertoire Chef Beer moved to Toronto, attended George Brown College and not long after found himself working in Italy. Upon returning to Toronto, he worked as Sous Chef at the Chimo Hotel Markham before moving to Islington Golf Club. Having spent sixteen years plying his trade, Chef Beer took a teaching position at Bendale for three years. The last ten years he has taught special needs students at Maplewood High School, where on three occasions his students have competed provincially at the Skills Canada Competition in Kitchener/Waterloo. Chef Beer has now returned to Bendale where he hopes he can continue to inspire students in the culinary field to follow their passion for cooking.


Culinary Students from Eastdale Collegiate Institute

Eastdale Collegiate is a small inner city school with a strong sense of community and a focus on providing students with workplace skills. The school is also home to the new School Grown Rooftop, a partnership with FoodShare's Field to Table Schools program. The rooftop space is part education centre, part market garden and part event space - providing countless ways for the school community to engage with growing, cooking & eating good food. The culinary programme at Eastdale provides an ideal opportunity to develop essential life skills as the students prepare food for the cafeteria, catered events and the community. Jan Main, professional home economist, is the hospitality teacher at Eastdale Collegiate. She has a life-long history in the food industry as a teacher, product developer, media-person and food writer. She has published four cookbooks. Above all, she loves to inspire students with her love of food and finds great pleasure developing the student’s skills and confidence.


Nettie Cronish, Fairtrade Canada

Nettie Cronish is a natural and organic foods chef, culinary instructor and cookbook writer. She is the author of three vegetarian cookbooks: Nettie’s Vegetarian Kitchen, New Vegetarian Basics and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian in Canada. Her most recent book, Everyday Flexitarian: Recipes for Vegetarians & Meat Lovers Alike, is a delectable guide for unwavering meat lovers and committed vegetarians alike. She is currently in the process of editing her 5th cookbook Flex Appeal (Whitecap Books Canada), about serving a healthy and delicious dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. For the past 25 years, Nettie has been a culinary instructor teaching cooking classes at gourmet food stores, supermarkets, kitchen supply stores, community colleges, and health food stores throughout Toronto and Ontario. Nettie also teaches corporate cooking classes and works with dieticians. Nettie also develops and test recipes for companies and has written articles that have appeared in Chatelaine Magazine, Canadian Living, Food & Drink, Homemakers, Natural Health, Alive Magazine, The Globe & Mail and Toronto Star. Nettie’s cooking philosophy is that “delicious is a pre-requisite for healthy”. As a busy mother of three, she has extensive experience getting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. Nettie Cronish is the Chair of the Women’s Culinary Network, and a board member at Taste Canada and Fairtrade Canada.


Matt Basile,Fidel Gastro/Lisa Marie

Matt Basile, Fidel Gastro

Fidel Gastro

Fidel Gastro's is a Toronto based street-food experience company specializing in food truck events and weddings, supper clubs and popup caterings, and recently launched a Queen West Cicchetti bar, Lisa Marie. It's creator is also the host of the Travel + Escape show, Rebel Without A Kitchen, currently in production for it's second season. Fidel Gastro's strives to create fun food while aiming to always be different. 


Jesus Gomez, FoodShare Toronto

Jesus Gomez, FoodShare Toronto

FoodShare Toronto

Trained at the George Brown culinary school, Jesus works from a rich and complex palette influenced by his mother's Colombian cooking. He is a master of spicing who creatively composes eclectic flavours to delight every palate, but always says that his secret ingredient is at least 3 ½ cups of care and love which goes into the preparation of any meal. Jesus is a proud member of FoodShare's award winning kitchen team (Toronto Star Golden Whisk Award 2009, Bhayana Foundation Team Achievement Award 2009.) Currently, Jesus is leading the team that is responsible for the great success story known as the Good Food Café.  Daily, he creates outstanding cafeteria menus that are setting new standards of excellence in school food. Students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 are enjoying the delicious, healthy meals that Jesus and his team serve every day.


Alannah Santos-Mata, FoodShare Toronto

FoodShare Toronto
Hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Alannah Santos-Mata's cooking flavours are influenced by her family's roots in the Norway House Cree Nation and El Salvador. A graduate of FoodShare's Focus on Food Youth Program, Alannah trained under Chef Coordinator Jesus Gomez learning to make creative dishes from all cultures, and has also worked in the Aboriginal Community Kitchen program where she enjoys teaching others how food can be used to support health. It is a joy for Alannah to now be a mentor to new interns working at FoodShare, and she shares her talents and enthusiasm as a member of FoodShare's Field to Table Catering program. 


Tony Metatawabin, FoodShare Toronto

FoodShare Toronto

Tony Metatawabin began his cooking career as an intern in FoodShare's "Focus on Food" youth Program.  While in the program, under the mentorship of chef-coordinator Jesus Gomez, Tony won second prize in the "So You Think You Can Cook - Canada" competition at The Royal Winter Fair.  Tony currently works as a sous chef at "The Good Food Cafe" where he prepares delicious, healthy meals daily for two French School Board cafeterias.



Jeff Dueck, FRANK at the AGO

Jeff Dueck, FRANK at the AGO

FRANK at the AGO

Jeff Dueck has been Executive Sous Chef at Art Gallery of Ontario since 2008, collaborating with Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich overseeing a kitchen brigade of over 30 chefs. With thirty years experience in Fine Dining, Jeff has worked at some of the finest restaurants in the city, including Canoe, Bistro 990, Scaramouche and The Windsor Arms. In addition to his work at fine dining restaurants, Jeff brings over 10 years experience in Event Catering to the AGO. He has organized and executed such prestigious events as the gala openings of Luminato, Innovators Ball, Tennis Canada, Toronto Jazz Festival, and Toronto Film Festival. Chef Dueck’s passion and enthusiasm for all things food and wine, marks him as one of the most dedicated and creative chefs in the city, representing thee AGO at numerous culinary events throughout the year such as Sip and Savour, PicNic at the Brickworks, Toronto Taste and Recipe for Change.




José Hadad, Frida Restaurant and Bar

  Frida Restaurant and Bar

José Hadad, a native of Mexico City, came to Canada in 2001 to follow his culinary dreams. Hadad, the executive chef/co-owner of Frida Restaurant & Bar, aspires to elevate the Mexican food culture in Toronto.  He makes his mark with refined Mexican dishes, loaded with authentic flavours and artistic presentations. Hadad cultivated his talents in the kitchens of Bymark, The Grand Hotel, and at Michael Stadtländer farm for the “Heaven on Earth” project. He has received community and food critics’ praise, has been the invited chef for various corporate or government events, and had the honour to serve the Mexican Ambassador.  



John Higgins, George Brown Chef School

Chef Higgins has over 30 years of international culinary experience as Executive Chef for five-star hotels around the world; he also worked for several years as Royal Cook at Buckingham Palace, where he cooked for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Family, many heads of state, and was the Private Chef to the Queen Mother. In addition, Chef Higgins has won dozens of gold medals in competitions and has several awards, such as Worldwide Winner of Uncle Ben’s Olympic Challenge; as Captain of Canada’s Olympic Culinary Team, he was Winner of the Culinary World Champions in his former hometown of Glasgow. Chef Higgins commands international acclaim, and now, super Chef John Higgins is finding a new kind of satisfaction: he is the Director and Corporate Chef at George Brown Chef School. Chef Higgins is a graduate of Motherwell College in Scotland.



Therese DeGrace, Good Earth Food and Wine Co

Theresa de Grace


Good Earth Food and Wine Co Executive Chef Therese DeGrace embodies the next generation of cuisine with menus showcasing a diverse blend of ethnic, eclectic and healthy cuisine. Therese teaches part time at Niagara College and the LCBO. In addition to Executive Chef, Food Writer and Restaurant Consultant she has been featured on CTV, National Post, Entertainment Tonight, Breakfast Television and was host/reporter for Toronto Living, Toronto Dining and Home Cookin’.

Her relationship with food has taken her to the five-star Kildare Club in Ireland, and The Hillcrest (sister spa to St. Anne's) and recent history includes Chef Consultant with Kitchen Culture and previous Executive Chef/Owner of Lola's Commissary. Therese's various awards include: winner of The Pressure Cooker, and she was named as one of L’Oreal’s Mille Femme Magnifique. She was also a member of  President's Choice Blue Menu Panel. 




Kristin and Dan Donovan, Hooked

Kristin & Dan Donovan met while studying at the Stratford Chef School.  After years of cooking and working within the Toronto culinary industry, Kristin & Dan set out to create a different kind of fish shop in Hooked. By supporting small boats, small scale fisheries, maintaining direct relationships with the fishers, processors and farmers, Hooked has been providing thoughtfully selected and responsibly harvested seafood for almost 2 years. By hiring only professional cooks, Hooked offers a knowledgeable and passionate staff to ensure customers have a great shopping AND cooking experience. Hooked also offers cooking classes, a selection of smoked fish, prepared foods, sauces and marinades, all made by the team at the shops. Hooked is located at 888 Queen St. E. in Leslieville and 206 Baldwin St. in Kensington Market.



Rudy Boquila, Lamesa Filipino Kitchen

Chef Rudy is a passionate guy. He truly loves music and he definitely loves food. As a producer/musician/DJ Rudy has worked with some of TO’s best. He’s produced some classic Toronto tracks and held it down on the radio for years. If you saw his record collection you would understand. This man loves music. As a chef he started at the Bamboo and went on to work at Oyster Boy and the Gladstone Hotel. He also spent some time cooking on tour with Live Nation for groups like U2, Bon Jovi, AC DC, Aerosmith, and the list goes on. He is now applying his creativity to Filipino food. He leads a team of young and talented chefs that are doing their best to expose Filipino cuisine to the mainstream. Rudy has always maintained that the kitchen here at Lamesa would always be open to other chefs who are passionate about Filipino food. It’s all about building a community. This is a labour of love and it shows.


Albert Ponzo, Le Sélect Bistro


Albert Ponzo is the executive Chef of Toronto’s uber successful Le Sélect Bistro. Wearing the French toque for seven years he is the creative force behind the restaurant’s contemporary rendition of classic French cuisine. He is a strong supporter of SlowFood Toronto and a large advocator of nose to tail eating with a passion for ingredients which are produced in an ethical and sustainable manner. 

Ruth Klahsen, Monforte Dairy

Ruth Klahsen

 Monforte Dairy

Monforte's owner/lead cheesemaker, is a veteran chef whose cuisine is well-known to patrons of Stratford's stellar restaurants Rundles and the Old Prune. Ruth is past chef at the Stratford Festival's Green Room restaurant, simultaneously teaching at the Chefs School. Of Mennonite descent herself, Ruth is the mother of three sons, Ben, Christian and Daniel. Ruth was honoured at the Stratford Optimism Place 10th Annual Women of the Year Awards. She won the 2008 Women in Agriculture Award and the presenter said that Ruth shows a "deep love of her craft, one which is especially suited to women," and that "she has shaken our notion of what great cheese is." In accepting the award, Ruth left the crowd laughing when she said of the lofty introduction that preceded her: "I found it difficult to listen to. In fact, I'm just an old broad who had a mid-life crisis!


Bashir Munye, My Little Dumplings

Chef Bashir Munye

My Little Dumplings

Chef Bashir Munye is part of a new generation of Toronto chefs who are inspired by global cuisine while creating the future of local and organic food ideas. A true global child, Bashir’s experience of food embraces many geographical and cultural boundaries. Born in Somalia, Bashir grew up in Italy before moving to the United States and eventually Toronto. His family often travelled through France, Spain, and Switzerland, where he first experienced paté and croissants and, later in Tunisia, couscous, merguez, and harissa. Now Bashir brings his global interpretation of the simple dumpling to Toronto with My Little Dumplings.


Steffan Howard, Palais Royale - Pegasus Group

Steffan Howard, Palais Royale

Palais Royale

Steffan Howard has enjoyed cooking in Paris, Montreal and Toronto. He was part of Canada’s first CAA 5 diamond restaurant cooking team at Truffles in the Four Seasons Hotel. Steffan also enjoyed being Sous chef at both Jov Bistro and the Art Gallery of Ontario. A Pioneer in the Local and Organic Food Scene in Toronto and now as corporate chef of the Pegasus Hospitality Group it is very important for Steffan to avail his staff to the virtues of seeking out trusted local and organic suppliers, and to promote this ideology as much as possible. Steffan enjoys cooking in the ethnic diversity that Toronto has to offer, while at the same time staying true to his French Canadian roots.



Rocco Agostino, Pizzeria Libretto

Pizzeria Libretto/Enoteca Sociale

Rocco Agostino, Executive Chef and Partner for Pizzeria Libretto and Partner for Enoteca Sociale, graduated from Stratford Chef’s School before becoming the Chef and Owner of Silver Spoon Restaurant. His knowledge and experience in the culinary world includes Chef at Ferro Bar Café and studies abroad in Rome, Italy for several years. In 2008, Rocco joined forces with Max Rimaldi to open Pizzeria Libretto to showcase certified Neapolitan pizza. With a location in Toronto’s west end and another in the east end, Pizzeria Libretto looks to bring a menu focused on simple, natural, honest, region-specific Italian cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients to the Toronto community. His philosophy is one of simplicity, flavour and passion.


 Derek Valleau, Pukka


The heat of restaurant kitchens has warmed Derek's heart for nearly three decades. His career has spanned the gamut from busboy to owner and all posts in between. Derek's passion for good food and wine fuelled his livelihood, leading him to become a Certified Sommelier. As a husband and father, Derek's excitement for restaurants is only surpassed by his devotion to his family. Along with his wife and daughter, Derek has travelled to numerous countries and exotic locales. On a trip to India, Derek fell in love with the people, the flavours and the wholesome foods of the region. He is excited to bring these tastes home and showcase them in this new venture.



Paola Solorzano, Santo Pecado

Chef Paola is the co-founder of  Santo Pecado, a Mexican catering company specialized in recreating the best Mexican culinary experiences. With Santo Pecado, chef Paola has taken her guests from the Mexican Cantinas experience, to the most sophisticated and enigmatic culinary regions of Mexico. 



David Castellan and Cynthia Leung, SOMA Chocolatemaker

A stint at David Castellan's mother's bakery led to a 20 year career as a pastry chef in many of Toronto’s great restaurants. After an inspiring chocolate course at California’s Richardson Researchers where he made his first batch of chocolate, he got bitten by the cacao bug and now explores the world of chocolate making in depth.  A love of mechanical devices and processes helped this occur.

Cynthia Leung is a Graduate of Ryerson School of Architecture. Coming from an architecture and design background as well as a family of artists, she has a natural affinity for identity and packaging design.  Cynthia‘s love of food and design collided with SOMA and she has her hands in everything from concept to finished product. Her original watercolors grace the labels of many of our products.



John Sinopoli,Table 17/Ascari Enoteca

John Sinopoli, Table 17/Ascari Enoteca

Table 17/Ascari Enoteca

After completing an honours degree at McGill and a year in Japan, John attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to work at La Caravelle. He moved on to Craft, Tom Collichio's then new flagship where he learned the successful business practices and incessant demand for high quality. Upon John’s return to Toronto he joined the acclaimed Splendido where under Chef/Owner David Lee he helped to develop sophisticated tasting menus. In 2005 Sinopoli joined Izakaya and his team developed a style of Japanese food that spoke to his experience in Japan as well a demand for quality products and precise execution. June of 2008 saw a shift back to John’s European roots with the opening of Table 17 where John leads the kitchen in creating an ingredient driven menu where European tradition and modern American sensibility are apparent. John and Erik’s latest venture is Ascari Enoteca, an Italian wine and pasta bar where hand made pasta and inventive shared dishes rule the menu.

Bertrand Alépée, The Tempered Chef 

Renowned for his classical French techniques and pastry strengths, Bertrand Alépée trained under Master Chefs such as Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse. Bertrand was the co-owner and co-executive Chef of the acclaimed "Amuse-Bouche Restaurant" for 5 successful years. He is currently the executive chef and owner of "The Tempered Chef" catering and consulting and is also one of the co-founder and member of "The Group of Seven Chefs".


Alvaro Valencia, T.O. Ceviche Bar

T.O. Ceviche Bar is a Toronto-based pop-up restaurant. Housed inside Voulez-Vous Café, it specializes in ceviche and seafood with a Peruvian and Canadian twist. The founders of T.O. Ceviche Bar are Mr. Alvaro Valencia from Lima, Peru and Mr. Sean Lacey from Toronto, Canada. Both share the passion for cooking, seafood (especially ceviche) and making sure that people always have a great time. Alvaro and Sean met in late 2011 through a common friend from Albania, kept in touch and in the summer of 2012 decided to get serious with their plans of starting a new restaurant in Toronto, using the existing infrastructure of the Voulez-Vous Café. They identified the need for a place specialized in seafood at an affordable price, with a more contemporary menu but still paying tribute to the tradition of Peruvian ‘cevicherias’ and Canadian sophistication and techniques.


Daniel Holloway and Marie Fitrion, Urban Acorn and the Depanneur

With over 14 years in the industry, Executive Chef, Daniel Holloway believes great food is achieved by harnessing bold flavours from humble ingredients. His signature style is refined comfort food a blend of rustic Canadian cuisine with fine French techniques. Chef Holloway completed his Culinary Management studies at Humber College, and began a four-year apprenticeship under Chef Tobias Pohl-Weary, of Red Canoe Bistro in Burlington. He worked his way up from a sous chef, to a pastry chef, then an executive chef and finally branching out on his own as a private chef in 2008.Looking to bridge the social gap between vegans and omnivores, Chef Holloway joined forces with Haitian partner Marie Fitrion in 2012, to create Urban Acorn Catering. This Toronto-based sustainable food company focused on connecting food and community by specializing in Flexitarian cuisine (mostly plant-based with some meat). By collaborating with local entrepreneurs such as Len Senater owner of The Depanneur, a place where interesting food things happen, Urban Acorn creates monthly drop-in food events and supper clubs meant to get people excited about the local food movement. Their philosophy is simple… food should unite and not divide people.

 Steve Gonzalez, Valdez 

Located on King St. West, Valdez delivers classics of Latin American culture in both food and drink, with a global twist. Relax by the comfortable bar and lounge to quench your thirst with signature cocktails and cervezas, or enjoy a meal prepared by Top Chef Canada’s fan favorite – Steve Gonzalez – who’s fresh ingredients and creative style, come together to offer a one of a kind Latino street food experience. From its unique design, to the friendly and knowledgeable staff and one of a kind menu, Valdez delivers the experience of a lifetime. There is something here for everyone. El Jefe and proprietor Steve Gonzalez travels back to his own Colombian roots to introduce Toronto to the passions of his Latino upbringing and all that encompasses it. The design, the vibe, the food and the drinks make Valdez the only original Latino Street Food Fiesta in town.


Sang Kim, Windup Bird Café

Sang Kim is an award-winning writer, restaurateur and activist. His upcoming third book, WOODY ALLEN ATE MY KIMCHI, retells the behind-the-scenes shenanigans at some of Ontario's top hotels and restaurants. He is the co-owner of Yakitori Bar, Seoul Food Co., and Windup Bird Cafe. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Gloria Vanderbilt Prize for fiction and gave a TEDx talk on Food Literacy for Children. Yumiko Kobayashi is the executive chef and co-owner of Windup Bird Cafe. An award-winning textile artist, she gave up her love of the plastic arts for the greater love of the culinary arts. She ran a successful whole pastry company before turning her hand to the restaurant. At Windup Bird Cafe, she integrates locally-sourced ingredients to create healthy internationally-inspired dishes.

Upcoming Events

Does Toronto need a bold food strategy? Big Ideas live chat with Debbie Field and Rachel Gray
September 2, 2014

Join FoodShare Executive Director Debbie Field, and The Stop Community Food Centre Executive Director Rachel Gray as they participate in a Toronto Star Big Ideas live chat moderated by Christopher Hume.

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FoodShare Growing Food Possibilities Bus Tour - SAY YES to Markets and Market Gardens
September 17, 2014

FoodShare is inviting you to get on the bus! Come see great food possibilities on the ground. Hear from leaders about the impact the initiatives have, and our vision for the future together. Be inspired, challenged and ready to SAY YES!

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FoodShare Talks fall book club meeting: Free For All - fixing school food in America
November 5, 2014

Join our fall book club meeting featuring Janet Poppendieck's Free For All: Fixing School Food in America.

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