{Event} Delicious Food Show was a must attend event for foodies! #DFS14

Websitehttp://www.deliciousfoodshow.com/
Address: Direct Energy Centre, Hall A, 100 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto ON
When I went: Fri. Oct 17th, 2014

It was the first year that I attended the Delicious Food Show and it was memorable! Before the show was opened to the public, a group of elite media members and I were given a tour by Chef Chuck Hughes in the kitchen who showed us where the “exclusive Chef series” would take place.

Check Chuck Hughes giving us a tour

Check Chuck Hughes giving us a tour

Next, we were given a tour of the event ground where we were treated to samples by many generous vendors like Von Doughnuts.  Before I digged into my breakfast sandwich, I already had a beer from Ted Reader’s Firetruck, a coffee from Parachute coffee, a campfire s’mores ice cream bar from Home of the Brave and hot sauce samples from No7 Mexican hot sauce. The breakfast of champions!

Ice cream bar from Home of the Brave

Ice cream bar from Home of the Brave

Before the press conference, we were treated to a delicious breakfast from Buca. I wish the plates were a tad bigger since I was only able to grab a few items. Everything looked amazing…I wanted to eat everything!

Buca breakfast

Buca breakfast

Abbey Sharp from Abbey’s Kitchen was on hand to explain her elaborate “Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium” pavilion. Inside the pavilion, top 8 Toronto chefs showcased 2 food items for $5 each. Attendees got to vote on their favourite dish, where the top 4 chefs got to battle live on stage on Sun. Oct. 19th. I was not there to see the live battle but heard that Chef Robbie Hojilla from Hudson Kitchen took the championship title. Congratulations!

Abbey from Abbey's Kitchen

Abbey from Abbey’s Kitchen

To end off the exciting morning, we had a press conference with celebrity chefs Tyler Florence (Tyler’s Ultimate, The Great Food Truck Race), Mario Batali (Iron Chef America, The Chew), Chuck Hughes (Chuck’s Day Off, Garde Manger) and Rob Gentile (Buca). The big announcement was that Food and Wine is coming to Toronto in 2015! I can’t wait for that big show.

Press conference

Press conference

I stuck around for most of the day to experience what the show had to offer and was impressed. Here are some highlights and why I recommend the Delicious Food Show for all food lovers!

  • There were over 200 exhibitors, so there was a LOT of food, products to buy and some drink booths…because you need some wine with all that good food.
Vendors at #DFS14

Vendors at #DFS14

  • The favourite food items I tried were the mussels and duck heart escabeche from Parts and Labour, balls from Menu Food Truck and lamb chops from the Peru booth.
  • There was free food! There were many vendors including Foodland Ontario, VG Farms and Tabule giving out samples!
  • The cooking demonstrations were amazing! The celebrity chefs including our very own talented Chefs, Mark McEwan and Chef Chuck Hughes cooked up a storm, with recipes and tricks you would want to try at home.
  • You get to meet your favourite celebrity chefs! I had the opportunity to meet Mario Batali and Tyler Florence during the book signing. What an honour!
Cooking demonstrat

Cooking demonstrat

Tyler Florence completely blew me away with his responses to questions, about his crowd sourced cookbook “Test Kitchen” (which I lucked out with a copy before it was released in Canada) and intellect. “Tyler’s Ultimate” cookbook is one of my favourites and I can’t wait to try out his new cookbook. He was able to figure out a way to cook a 16 pound turkey in 1.5 hours and still make the skin crispy and the meat moist. That’s what I call brilliant!

Chef Tyler Florence and I

Chef Tyler Florence and I

Friday was a great day! I would have liked to see Chef Roger Mooking again who was at the show on Sunday but hopefully there will be an opportunity soon.

There’s no doubt that I will return to the show. If you went to the show, how was your experience? What were your favourite things to see or eat?

 

Zomato, a restaurant review and search site launches in Canada! It’ll be the next big thing.

Zomato (http://www.zomato.com/toronto) has launched in Canada and I want to tell you more about the new restaurant search and discovery service!

Source: Zomato Twitter site @zomato

Source: Zomato Twitter site @zomato

As a member of Urbanspoon and Yelp, I see  benefits and improvement areas for each site on the perspective of the reviewer, as well as the person reading reviews. I can’t comment at this time which restaurant search site is the best, but I can tell you some information and features that will make Zomato the next big thing in Toronto and Canada: 

  • Zomato was founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah. The company is present in over 100 cities across Canada, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, UAE, South Africa, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Turkey, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Qatar, and India.
  • Zomato has in-depth information for over 270,000 restaurants across 17 countries including menus (one of my favourite features), photos, and geocoded coordinates for restaurants.
  • Aside from being able to rate and review restaurants, users can create their own network of foodies.
  • Zomato currently serves over 30 million monthly visitors globally, who use the website and mobile apps to search for places to go out for a meal, get home delivery, catch up at a cafe, or enjoy the local nightlife.
  • A highly targeted platform makes it convenient for restaurateurs to interact effectively with customers searching for dining options.
  • Zomato covers over 11,000 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area and is available on web and mobile. 
  • Zomato’s award-winning mobile app allows users to discover restaurants around them based on their physical location, in addition to providing information for all restaurants in the city.
  • Zomato announced, last year, a US $37 million round of funding from Sequoia Capital and existing investors Info Edge. This has taken Zomato’s total funding to over USD 53 million. In Canada, Zomato has earmarked $10 million to expansion in Canada. 

* Source of stats from Zomato.

You will hear more about Zomato and I encourage you to use their mobile app and join the foodie network! I will announce my profile as I get more acquainted with the site.

Follow them on Twitter @zomato for news updates.

Zomato

Zomato

Support Mary Tang in her goal to raise a $2800+ for The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF)

On Oct 6th, 2014, I sent my first post about my fundraising efforts. With great success in my campaign thanks to wonderful sponsors like you, I was able to reach over 80% of my initial goal in just 2 weeks! That is incredible!!

I have increased my goal from $2500 to $2800 to help the CBCF (The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation). To-date, I have donated more than $500 to my fundraising efforts.

To recap, I am supporting the largest funder of breast cancer research in Canada (The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation) AND want to be part of the Kitchen Aid Cook for the Cure CULINARY SHOWDOWN on NOV. 29th, 2014 to have a chance to compete with top chefs.

The top 50 fundraisers over $2,500 will have a chance to  compete under the direction of a celebrity chef in an on-stage gourmet battle! Cooking is my passion and I would love to compete.

DONATE TO MY FUNDRAISING EFFORTS NOW !! I appreciate donations in ANY amount. My goal is to reach $2800 by Oct. 31st. 

CulinaryShowdown

Representing all the foodies and food bloggers out there!! Support me! Together, with food and fundraising, we can help create a future without breast cancer!

If having a chance to attend the Culinary Showdown or cooking with top chefs interest you, why don’t you join me? More info on the Culinary Showdown Website on how you can sign up!

Lots of love,

Mary Tang (aka Mary’s Happy Belly)

 

Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS), #feedtomorrow event overview

Website: http://tfss.ca/
Event type: Charity
Event date: Oct. 9th, 2014

As a food blogger, I feels nice to get away from my regular posts and share information on charities worth knowing about. The Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS), a registered charitable foundation of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) was a charity that resonated with me as they have programs that deal with child hunger and poverty.

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There are many studies that show that a hungry child has a direct impact on their grades and motivation. If a child is hungry, it is hard to focus and learn. 78% of secondary school students who eat breakfast on most days are on track for graduation. Did you that 3.9 million people in Canada do not know when they are going to eat next? The scary part is that 1.1 million of that number are children. More alarming stats on the #feedtomorrow fact sheet.

From Oct. 6th to 10th, the #feedtomorrow week was the largest awareness campaign of its kind for hunger and nutrition programs. As part of the campaign, I was invited by Mary Luz (@maryluzonfood) to participate in the #feedtomorrow events by seeing the nutrition programs in action!

Off on a yellow school bus with a group of Toronto VIPs (nutrition program donors, politicians and passionate advocates for TFSS), we first visited the Nelson Mandela Park Public school where we were welcomed by principle Jason Kandankery to introduce the nutrition program staff and the students.  The program includes asking parents to voluntarily pay $0.25/day to provide a healthy breakfast for their childre to ensure they will be well nourished and ready to learn.

Breakfast

Breakfast

At the school, The Breakfast Club of Canada generously donated $658,000 to TFSS to support the nutrition program. That was incredible!

Cheque presented to TFSS by The Breakfast Clubs of Canada

Cheque presented to TFSS by The Breakfast Clubs of Canada

The next stop was at Sprucecourt Public school in Cabbagetown where we met with principle Matthew Reid who talked about their school’s nutrition program and described the positive impact it had on the kids. At the event, Glenn Hadden from the Hadden Family Foundation discussed his vision of having children globally getting equal access to nutrition programs, as well as why he supports the initiatives of TFSS.  At the school, he presented a generous cheque of $150,000.

Cheque from the Hadden Family Foundation to TFSS

Cheque from the Hadden Family Foundation to TFSS

As part of understanding the nutrition program, each of the attendees got a chance to bring snacks to the classrooms. I got to spend time in a Jr. Kintergarden class where seeing the enthusiastic kids really touched my heart.

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Dropping snacks to a kindergarten class

Dropping snacks to a kindergarten class

After the tour, we had a reception hosted by the St. Lawrence Market store owners and had a “Sushi Making for the Soul” workshop led by Chef/restaurateur Sang Kim. As we were taught how to make delicious sushi rolls, he addressed important issues and facts related to hunger and poverty. Sang Kim has a big heart and really gives back. This year, he conducted the world’s largest sushi making class via the internet and helped teach food literacy for children.

Reception

Reception

Sang Kim teaching us how to make sushi rolls

Sang Kim teaching us how to make sushi rolls

My maki rolls

My maki rolls

The nutrition program was an example of one of the TFSS programs that have made a difference! The TFSS “Beyond 3:30″ program provides kids access to after-school programs operated right in the school. The Jr. Chef program has been a hit and a great and safe learning environment.

According to the TFSS website “TFSS operates independently from the TDSB. However, thanks to support provided by the TDSB, there is no administration fee for funds donated to School-based Nutrition Programs and the Emergency Fund, enabling a full 100% of all donations to go directly to these programs.” That is amazing!

What an incredible event seeing donation dollars and programs in action. The nutrition programs do make a difference and can’t happen without all the volunteers and sponsors like you. TFSS is worth donating to, more information on how HERE!

Also, thank you to all the sponsors at the St. Lawrence Market!

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* Although the meals were complimentary, the post was not sponsored by the TFSS and the opinions in the post are my own.

Mario Batali will be at the Delicious Food Show 2014 #DFS14

What is the Delicious Food Show? In one building, you can experience delicious food from over 200 exhibitors, more than 50 live cooking demonstrations and you can meet an all-star line up of celebrity chefs ! You could even attend an “exclusive chef series” where you can have an intimate cooking workshop with your favourite chefs.

Did I mention that Mario Batali will be there, how much more do you need?

I am happy to announce that I will be going as a “media” member and will be reporting back on my experience. Look out for my Instagram (@themary_tang) photos!

This is the event of the year with awesome chefs including Mario Batali, Chuck Hughes, Tyler Florence, Mark McEwan, Roger Mooking, Dominique Ansel, Nadia G, and Lucinda Scala Quinn! 

Location: Direct Energy Centre, Hall A, 100 Princes’ Blvd, Toronto ON

Show Dates and Hours: Fri. Oct 17th, 2014 from 10am to 9pm, Sat. Oct. 18th, 2014 from 10am to 8pm, and Sun. Oct. 19th,2014 from 10am to 6pm.

For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the Delicious Food Show website.

DFS2014

DFS2014

 

Picture courtesy of Delicious Food Show 2014

Picture courtesy of Delicious Food Show 2014

Delectable offerings at Bywoods, Restaurant and Bar on St. Clair Ave. West

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Bywoods
Address: 760 St. Clair W., Toronto ON
When I visited: Oct.1st, 2014, dinner

Being close to The Stockyards (one of my favourite burger joints), it was not hard to find Bywoods located on the busy and ultra vibrant St. Clair W. Organized by the wonderful Vicky (@momwhoruns), an intimate group of food bloggers and I got to taste the delightful offerings of owner Tony Cappello and Chef Craig Dehne’s Italian/Mediterranean cuisine.

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The decor is simple and modern, yet it provides a warm atmosphere. There is a wall separating the restaurant which allows for more privacy for large parties. We were spoiled that evening and got to sample an arrangement of starters, sides and mains. Here is what I sampled:

To start, I had The Bywoods cocktail with gin, lemon juice, sugar and club soda and organic rosemary. I like my drinks strong and this was a great way to start the meal. The fragrant rosemary provided a nice hint and was not overpowering as I originally thought it would be.

For the meal, we had two kinds of pizza/flatbreads including the proscuitto pizza with fig, gorgonzola and dressed arugula, as well as the vegetarian pizza with goat cheese, red pepper, grilled artichoke, tomato, red onion, black olive and fresh marjoram. I would definitely come back to order these pizzas; the restaurant was generous with the toppings and every ingredient made for a delicious bite.

Bywoods Pizza

Bywoods Pizza

Bywoods Veggie Pizza

Bywoods Veggie Pizza

Next, I had the beet salad with goat cheese, charred red onion and arugula with walnut dressing. I liked that it was a substantial salad with a leafy component, rather than just beets. I love beets and I couldn’t get enough of this salad.

Beet salad

Beet salad

The Mediterranean salad with vine tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, black olives, feta cheese and marjoram dressing and a coriander yogurt sauce. The presentation was more rustic. I thought the salad was less memorable for me but definitely it would be a great side to order with my mains.

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I am a sucker for a good scallop and picky when it comes to the execution. The restaurant nailed it with the nice sear while the centre was tender. Having the smaller cut chorizo at the bottom of the scallop meant that I had to play “jenga” with my food; my scallop had to be toppled over first before I cut into it.

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The linguine with shrimp with spiced light cream sauce and spinach was delicious. It was light, yet well seasoned and the shrimps were big! Compared to similar pastas I have eaten, I enjoyed that this dish was not drenched in olive oil.

Linguine with shrimp

Linguine with shrimp

…wait there’s more!

My favourite dish of the evening went to the pan roasted lamb sirloin done medium rare with a apricot, potato puree with smoked paprika and sautéed spinach, moroccan spiced jus. I love a good lamb and this one was tender.

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I also tasted grilled flank steak with arugula, mushroom, cured tomato salad, salasa verde and jus. My favourite part of the dish was the appetizing salsa verde which brightened up the dish.

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The end the meal, I tried the flourless chocolate cake. I enjoyed that the presentation was cute and simple, and that it was not very sweet.

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Overall:

The prices are reasonable for the quality of food that you get, as the flatbreads range from $13 to $15, and the mains were about $22 to $28 a dish. I would recommend Bywoods for delicious fare where classic dishes are done well. As part of the evening, our parting gift included a loaf of bread, tomato jam and a $50 gift card to the restaurant. The bread and sweet and spicy tomato jam was incredible and as for the gift card, it’s mine (sorry, no give-away)! I am coming back with my family since I enjoyed the meal very much! Thank you Bywoods!

Follow Bywoods for more information www.facebook.com/bywoods, @bywoods760 (Instagram and Twitter)

* The meal was complimentary but as always the opinions in the post are my own.

Bywoods on Urbanspoon