So this would be my first review on a foodie event that I attended and as a foodie who love to explore new and different foods, what better way to discover the finest restaurants and rising chefs in Toronto then the first Taste of Toronto Food Festival.
Looking back on the first ever Taste of Toronto Food Festival was held last week on Thursday, July 24, 2014 lasting for four days until Sunday July 27, 2014 transforming the walls of Fort York into an outdoor foodie heaven for all foodies to enjoy a summer of eating featuring 16 of Toronto’s best & hottest restaurants, drinks, a producers market where you can sample and shop from boutique of food and drink market, celebrity chef book signing, live demos at the Electrolux Taste Theatre, cooking workshops with special guest chefs, and tasting classes at the Tasting Room as well as live music.
I was honored and excited to have attended the first Taste of Toronto on the Friday, July 25, 2014 during the evening session. Taste of Toronto operated with lunch and dinner sessions lasting over the four days that the festival ran with sessions running from 4-5 hours each giving the attendees time to choose the restaurant dishes that they would like to try, browse the artisans stalls and enjoy the many different activities and attractions that was being offered.
I enjoyed my first experience at the first Taste of Toronto where the outdoor atmosphere brought a delightful and warm evening where I sampled different restaurant dishes. I believe that they chose a great location to host this outdoor event surrounded by historic landmarks and background scenery of Toronto. Even though the weather predicted rain for the most of the weekend, the event lucked out and we got some beautiful sunny weather for this event. At Taste of Toronto, they decided to create their own dining currency called: Crowns where if you wish to purchase a dish from a restaurant or a drink from the bar that you would need to purchase Crowns. This means, $1 CAD = 1 Crown. When you purchase crowns either online or at the festival, it is in a form of a card called: Crown Card and you can swipe the card at any restaurant vendor you like to buy a dish or a drink from. Each dish was priced between six and 10 crowns.
I also got to browse through the food market area to sample and try different and new food and drinks particularly discovering new brand of ice tea called: Pure Leaf Tea, which was very refreshing. I really enjoyed that new ice tea. I also had time to sit and enjoy a live demo at the Electrolux Taste Theatre with chef – Damon Campbell who is the executive chef for Bosk, the signature restaurant of Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto.
Overall, a great first experience at Taste of Toronto where I sampled different restaurants dishes and browsed through the food market. There were 2 restaurants that really stood out for me from the rest of the restaurant dishes that I sampled, which are: The McEwan Group and Richmond Station. The McEwan Group, which features the celebrity chef – Mark McEwan definitely served one of my fave dish of the evening. Mark McEwan featured his 3 restaurants in his 3 dishes from his “North 44” restaurant to “Bymark” to his Italian restaurant, “Fabbrica”. I sampled 2 of his 3 dishes and my fave dish was Fabbrica’s Lamb Bolognese Crostini with Minted Ricotta Cheese. I loved it so much that I had it twice, that’s how good it was. Even though it was an appetizer dish, Mark’s concept for this dish was elevated to the next level and the Lamb Bolognese was classic authentic Italian cuisine and that Bolognese was one of the best I ever had. I also had his Bymark’s Lobster Poutine and loved that one too. I love the presentation for this one with part of the shell using it for decoration and the lobster was cooked perfectly. Despite enjoying his delicious foods, the best part was that I was honored and lucky to have been served by Mark McEwan himself and had the pleasure of meeting him as well that evening.
My 2nd fave restaurant was Richmond Station, which featured the Top Chef Canada Winner 2012 – Carl Heinrich. As a foodie of course I watched Top Chef Canada and Carl was one of my fave on the show and to finally sample his food at Richmond Station was an honor to do so. I sampled all 3 of Richmond Station’s dishes and my fave dish was of course a sweet dessert dish – Station Ice Cream Sundae. How could I resist a sweet dessert dish right?? It sounds simple an Ice Cream Sundae, but Carl brought the dessert to a new level for me ‘cause this dessert was all about the cherry sauce on it! It was a sweet cherry sauce that brought the ice cream all together for me, loved it so much!! I wish I had two lol!! I also loved his Station Burger with milk bun, cheese, and beet chutney. One of the best burgers I had in a long time, the meat itself was very tender and juicy. After sampling Richmond Station, I’m looking forward to finally going to the restaurant itself to enjoy Carl’s full menu at the restaurant where his cooking style is bringing farm to table cooking. Carl is inspired by quality ingredients and driven by classic and modern techniques.
If you are looking to explore Toronto’s top restaurants and be inspired by a world of first class chefs, the Taste of Toronto Food Festival is where you will want to be. A place for all foodies to delight in these delicious dishes to sample and explore their tastebuds. What I love about this event is that it is during the summer, what better way to enjoy the warm summer days than being outside enjoying delicious foods with family, friends, and other foodies.
So for those who missed this amazing food event, don’t miss it next summer 2015!
For more information and details, please visit the websites below.
For now, I hope that you enjoyed my first review on my first food event for this summer at the first Taste of Toronto. I’m looking forward to attending my next foodie event, but until then I’m off looking for my next sweet adventure…
Taste of Toronto – tasteoftoronto.com
Address: 1 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON
The McEwan Group
You can also follow celebrity chef: Mark McEwan on Twitter @Chef_MarkMcEwan
Address: 38 Karl Fraser Road, Toronto, ON M3C 1P8