By Lori Bosworth
Recipe for Change returned to the Temporary North Market of Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market on February 22, 2018 and Torontonicity was invited to attend. This annual food event hosted by FoodShare Toronto features a variety of dishes from Toronto chefs, with the proceeds going towards food literacy in schools and communities. There were over 30 vendor stations offering food, beer, wine and juice, as well as a silent auction.
When I arrived at 6:20 p.m., the temporary north market was packed. Food and drink stations were set up along the sides of the room and then in a U-shaped configuration in the centre of the room. There were a half a dozen tables to sit at, as well as tables for standing, although when I arrived, they were all taken.
I quickly checked my coat and then proceeded to the first station where Chef Donald Williams of Hawthorne Food and Drink had prepared a field green salad with house smoked chicken with a strawberry vinaigrette. This was a great dish to start the evening understated as it was. The fresh greens were beautifully complemented by the strawberry vinaigrette dressing, and with the smoked chicken created a pleasing bitter/sweet/smoky flavour profile.
Next, I proceeded to Loch & Quay Restaurant’s station where I enjoyed an Indian bowl prepared by Chef Devan Rajkumar of Loch & Quay Restaurant – curry sweet potato, chick peas, garlic spinach, cherry tomatoes, red grapes, cardamon raita with a tandoori vinaigrette on faro with crispy sev (chick pea noodles). This vegetarian appetizer was delicious with just enough heat and crunchy and soft textures. This was definitely one of my favourite dishes of the night!
After the curry, it was time for some seafood and I was pleased to see Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked offering Hokkaido Scallops on the Shell with aji amarillo. Hokkaido Scallops are noted for being sweet and firm and these did not disappoint. They were perfectly dressed with the yellow chili pepper sauce.
I strolled around a bit and saw these gorgeous platters of flowers and cone-shaped appetizers, which were, in fact, spring rolls from Chef Kim Vo of North Saigon Food. They were too pretty to eat, but I had to try one. The spring rolls, which contained shrimp, crab and taro, were sitting in the cones. Once removed, you dipped them in a green paprika lime dip. Can you say refreshing? This burst of citrus roused my taste buds.
There were several stations offering wine and beer, including High Park Brewery, Frogpond Farms Organic Winery, Southbrook Wines, Beau’s All Natural Brewery and Meldville Wines. I stopped to talk to the representative from Karlo Estates Winery . Guests could enjoy a glass of their 2016 Pinot Gris VQA. Karlo Estates is located in Wellington in Prince Edward County. They recently had a limited edition Cabernet Franc available at the LCBO; however, you’ll have to visit the gorgeous P.E. County to enjoy their other vintages.
When I saw that Bombay Street Food was at Recipe for Change, I had to stop at their food station. I love their restaurant at College and Bay Streets (you can read my review of Bombay Street food here). This evening, they were featuring Ragda Pattice, a potato patty topped with white peas curry, green chutney, tamarind date chutney, onion and coriander. What a delicious combination! The bland potato patty is the perfect base for the spicy chutneys.
As much as this evening is all about the wonderful dishes you get to taste, the second component is that the proceeds go to FoodShare Toronto, a non-profit organization that works with communities and schools to deliver healthy food and food education. Some of FoodShare’s worthwhile activities include delivering fruits and vegetables to schools at affordable prices; hosting a school farming project where students grow vegetables on school rooftops; offering Field to Table catering to the public; and preparing nutritional soups delivered to community organizations.
The Trinadadian curry shrimp caught my eye so I had to stop to try this dish from Marida and Narida Mohammed of Twice De Spice. The name says it all – this curried shrimp packed a lot of heat due to the “mild” hot sauce. As much as I loved this spicy dish, I was in need of a drink so I rushed over to Whole Foods Market and FoodShare’s station where they were serving fresh-pressed green and vegetable juices.
I have been to several culinary events for other non profits where they offer wine, beer and bottled water. I was delighted that fresh-pressed juice was available at Recipe for Change so I decided to try both of them. “Green Dream” was made with apple, cucumber, celery and kale, cilantro and lemon. I enjoyed this juice although it could have used a bit more apple. “The Changemaker” featured apple, carrot, ginger and lemon and was deliciously thirst-quenching. Both juices were watered down by a third with Perrier so they weren’t as dense, sweet and filling as pure fruit juices, which was a great idea when you want to save room to try a variety of dishes.
In between food stations, I stopped by the silent auction tables to see what was up for bid. There were a variety of items including hotel stays, a VIA Rail voucher, the wildly popular Instant Pot and an autographed jersey by Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner.
Recipe for Change 2018 was a great success! It was wonderful to get a chance to try dishes from chefs of popular Toronto restaurants. The evening raises money for such a wonderful cause. If you get a chance, check out Recipe for Change next year!