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Anyone going to Toronto Taste 2009?

It's in Yorkville this year. Anyone going?

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  1. I'll be working it again this year as usual... always a great event.

    I'm very interested to see how they use the space in Yorkville...

    And it's nice to have it downtown once again.

    1. What is Toronto Taste exactly... is it worth going?

      2 Replies
      1. re: AJMC791

        June 14th, over 30 of Toronto's most inventive chefs, an unforgettable evening of cuisine in support of Second Harvest in the Village of Yorkville Park for $225 a ticket (tax receipt issued for $125).


        I've never been but received the info in the mail since I donate to Second Harvest. Not sure if I'm going or not.

        1. re: AJMC791

          I've been the last two years and it has always been a treat. Lots of great food stations, wine and craft beer tasting, silent auction of nice foodie gear and a gift bag at the end. We always left stuffed and enjoyed the opportunity to chat with the chefs who are quite personable. All for a good cause too. Sad to miss it this year.

        2. Just ordered our tickets today, haven't missed it in 7 years. Glad to see it's finally downtown, much easier to get to. We've been to several foodie events and favour this one because of the great variety and all the chefs really seem to be enjoying themselves as well. We'd probably never meet them in their own restaurants and it's fun to have that one-on-one with some of the city's top chefs. Not to mention that we think Second Harvest does amazing work in recovering perishable food for the needy and we're always happy to support them. And you leave with a souvenir cookbook that has recipes for lots of the stuff you sampled. Already looking forward to next weekend!

          1. I"m going to volunteer again. SO was going to take me there for my bday but then we decided it was still too hefty a price tag (going to kaji instead!!).. even though you get a tax refund (but really it doesn't do much for us because we don't even earn enough yet) and i get that it's for charity and all but still.. think i am definitely going in the future when I won't feel like i'm giving away an arm and leg. in the meantime i'll just volunteer and enjoy the atmosphere!

            i worked the evian booth one year and did notice that a lot of people were very thirsty. seems a lot of the food was too salty/sweet.

            9 Replies
            1. re: hippotatomus

              Do you get to sample the food even as a volunteer?

              1. re: merlot143

                No. They have strict rules that the volunteers are not allowed to try the food from the booths. I'm not sure if this applied to the Co-Chairs and other higher-up volunteers that wore dress-casual clothing, but the army of volunteers in black tshirts were fed processed food.

                I volunteered 2 years ago, and the volunteers were fed cold cuts (unappetizing cold cuts), chips, and cookies. I had started a fairly strict health-focused diet about 2 days before, and there was nothing served that a health-conscious volunteer could eat. Nothing for vegetarians apart from the cookies and chips. Pop or coffee to drink. No fruit, no vegetables that I can remember (there might have been veggies and dip, which I avoid when doubledipping is a concern), even though the fruit would have been cheaper than the processed food that was on the volunteer buffet table. Interestingly, it appeared most of the volunteers enjoyed the processed food that was being offered.

                I was famished by the time I got home after the event wrapped up, after what was a very long shift, over 8 hours IIRC. Hopefully, the food served to the volunteers this year will be much higher quality.

                1. re: phoenikia

                  Sounds like they don't do much for their volunteers.

                  1. re: merlot143

                    from what i know of the foodie events around toronto, the volunteers seem to be treated best at the brickworks picnic.

                    1. re: merlot143

                      i've volunteered for a few years as well and felt the same as phoenikia. sometimes if you are lucky, there are extras at some booths at the end of the night that you might be able to try, although i'm not sure if that's even technically allowed. considering the amount of work that goes into bussing tables (or worse, cleaning/washing all the glasses and plates) and the attitudes of some of the attendees, you really have to volunteer because you want to, without any expectations of getting any good food whatsoever. (hopefully this doesn't come across as a huge gripe, and the attitude of attendees isn't that bad, i'm sure there's always a few who treat 'the help' poorly, at any event). it's always appeared to be a nice event to attend.

                      1. re: auberginegal

                        I'd much rather pay to be an attendee (or just give Second Harvest food or money) than spend my time as a volunteer at this event. As a volunteer at a silent auction table, I had to deal with some fairly difficult attendees (and at least one dishonest one), and left feeling stressed out rather than feeling like I had done anything charitable.

                        I've volunteered at film festivals and other events, and this is the only one that made me feel like I should consider donating more, and volunteering less ;-)

                      2. re: merlot143

                        it actually sounds like they don't want volunteers to come back a second time. They should think about how much they need volunteers and how successful would the event be if there were NO volunteers. Then maybe the organisers would see the value of the volunteers.

                        1. re: foodyDudey

                          Hey, just wanted to let you know that the feedback about the quality of the volunteer food was taken to heart. I helped prep and cook the volunteer meal last year with a team of cooks. The organizers do care and made sure that some of the best chefs and cooks prepared a delicious meal for helpers in 2008.

                          1. re: Zengarden

                            I'm glad to hear that the food was better last year.

                2. i'm going to Sip and Savour a smaller scale but similar even t- smaller price tag too


                  1. My BF volunteers on the planning committee so I know that Second Harvest holds its volunteers in the highest esteem. I have some insider info that this year there will be hot meals for the volunteers. Sodexo is donating all of the food and based on what I've tasted at other SH events where food was donated by Sodexo, it will all be very tasty and healthy, not processed.

                    p.s. to LemonLaurel - Sip & Savour is also donating some of its proceeds to Second Harvest.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: cuterscooter

                      good to know! i can't splurge for the full taste ticket but am taking the SO to sip for his bday...

                      1. re: LemonLauren

                        I've worked a major event and I know that by far one of the most important things for volunteers is how well they're fed.

                        For past volunteers, is it recommended not to bring valuables - purse, etc? And any other tips?

                        1. re: eatsmart

                          In the email they sent out to all the volunteers, it mentioned that there will be a room where you can drop off you bag and coat but suggested that you keep your valuables in your pocket as there will be no bag or coat check.

                          1. re: chef223

                            I don't think it has anything to do with cost. And Chef Jamie Meireles of Oliver Bonacini will be at the event--I think they have partnered up with Toronto Board of Trade, so that's why they are maybe not individually listed? They will also be at Luminato's 1000 Tastes on Sunday too. Wha I did find interesting is Mark McEwan having been the 'face' of Toronto Taste this year--I wonder how many feathers that ruffled in the the chefdom!

                            1. re: Greekfood Koukla

                              Probably not many.. McEwan likes his publicity and his restaurant is right there in Yorkville so I am sure he is helping out quite a bit and probably is filming it for his TV show which will bring extra publicity to the event in the future... Most chefs I know respect McEwan as a Toronto Celebrity Chef so it makes sense he is the poster boy...

                              1. re: OnDaGo

                                McEwan may like *his* publicity, but I'm sure other chefs would rather have *their* faces on there. Just thought it was interesting since they usually don't publicize one chef like that. Then again, I think McEwan was one of the originators of Toronto Taste with Second Harvest, unless I'm wrong? So he probably should get a little extra PR.

                              2. re: Greekfood Koukla

                                Who cares? I've had better meals at McEwan's restaurants (North44 and Bymark, not One) than at most other restaurants in the city. I wish the chefs at most places would step up to the same standards of the no-name chefs working in McEwan's kitchens. I've been mostly incredible pleased with my meals at his restaurants; the food is good, the quality of the ingredients used is high, and he knows what he's doing. I wish most of the other restaurants in the city would take a hint from McEwan!

                                1. re: tjr

                                  As I said above, I think there will be some chefs that *do* care. I am a fan of McEwan's so you don't need to convert me--I like his style and his food.

                      2. if what was served at toronto taste was representative of emerging trends in the toronto food scene, i can tell you that arctic char, lamb ribs, wagyu burgers, cured salmon, and seared tuna are soooo.... in! i'm seriously surprised that they didn't try to coordinate a little beforehand... there were so many similar dishes.

                        the volunteers were wicked! i liked the t-shirts emphasizing how much they contribute to the success in the event.

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          So we're in for a rehash of 5 years ago then? Haha...

                          1. re: tjr

                            Massimo at Mistura has been serving a wicked lamb rib appetizer for a couple of years now. It is excellent, and not to be missed whenever we go.

                            1. re: millygirl

                              I like that dish; but arctic char, wagyu burgers, seared tuna? Oh man...

                          2. re: pinstripeprincess

                            When you have to make 1,200 portions in a tent you stick to stuff that is easy and foolproof..

                            Did you try the pulled pork Icecream with the beer shooter?

                            1. re: OnDaGo

                              Damn, I missed working my 5th Taste due to some serious sickness...


                              1. re: OnDaGo

                                i was for the most part kidding. there definitely was a lot of overlap in concepts and ingredients but i understand that for an event of this type where chefs will rarely communicate their dishes beforehand and need to do items that will assemble without issue on site that many of them can go similar directions.

                                but for the record, i have organized an event called eat to the beat with a similar number of chefs (really more but they're all female and so we tend to go heavier on sweets than preferred) with very little overlap and i really do appreciate that extra bit of creativity they try to put in.

                                the ice cream and beer shooter was ok... didn't taste any porkiness just lots of smoke!

                              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                Agree there was lots of overlap. There were also some great unique dishes - the whitefish sandwich from EPIC was excellent with fish tasting right out of the lake. The mini black cod eggs beni from Didier was yummy too, as was the lobster BLT from Sassafraz and the citrus tequila mousse from Wanda's.

                                In terms of misses - the two worst of the evening for me were the meatloaf from Sotto Sotto - cold and bizarre, and the equally cold Farro with wild mushrooms and veal sausage from Grano.

                                The volunteers were absolutely amazing and kept everything running smoothly all night. Really, a well organized event.

                                Next year I would love to see a few more wineries with a higher caliber of offerings, though.

                                1. re: Cat123

                                  the fish sandwich was nice but completely overpowered by the dense and large brioche. the pancetta wasn't easy to bite through and considering how supple fish is it made it a little difficult to eat. half of it was enough for me.

                                  i thought didier was using quail eggs? was the black cod egg hiding somewhere underneath?

                                  and am i crazy or is badoit available in shoppers or other stores? the guy manning the booth was trying to tell me that it's available in canada in september and we were getting a sneak preview... i voiced that i recognize the label quite a bit but he scoffed it off as if i were a frequent visitor to france, which i am not. perhaps there's another similar beverage with a similar label.

                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                    I have bought Badoit at Metro within the last few months, albeit with slightly different packaging. I have not seen it lately though. I was initially suprised because I buy it all the time when I am in France but hadn't seen it here until this past winter.

                                    I thought there was a bit of black cod (the fish, not the egg) actually on the benny but could be mistaken.

                                    1. re: Cat123

                                      ah... i read that as "mini black cod eggs" beni. rather than mini "black cod" eggs beni. i barely noticed it so can't say either way.

                                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                        i read it the same way, hehe, i was thinking, wow, i've never heard of black cod eggs before! :)

                                  2. re: Cat123

                                    I liked the caviar on the noodles but that was because of the spicy noodles.. it kind off drowned out the caviar.. did not like the asparagus shooter... and was surprised that there were not more beverage choices... beer and wine are fine but beside that there was only one water booth and the tea emporium..

                                    Been thinking about it and now feel like they should have had the chefs on the sidewalks and the guests on the road.... would have been easier to navigate..