Learning from @stemsandforks

Had the opportunity to meet the kind & super talented Betty of @stemsandforks. She was hosting a Food Styling & Photography workshop and I volunteered to document the day. I’ve attended and hosted workshops myself and what I love about hers was that it was so personal. She not only opened her home but also her tools. She provided assistance, sharing her own process, but ultimately the workshop was about giving the group the resources they need to explore their own creativity.

Host: @stemsandforks
Sponsors: @producemadesimple @hippiesnacksorganic @libbyluewho


Own the Kitchen at Dish Cooking Studio

Now this is my kind of media event! Last week I was part of a group that "owned the kitchen" at Dish Cooking Studio. We learned how to poach, smoke and pickle. I know what you're thinking: I went to culinary school so the lesson should've been easy. Not exactly. I may have learned these methods but I definitely haven't practiced them. When it comes to cooking, it's all about the hands-on experience and getting right into the action!

Daniel of @dothedaniel rolling up his sleeves as Chef Erin (@cinammongirl6) gives him the lowdown. 

@thejennandthecity making some fresh pasta!

@mellyeatsworld obviously owning the mixer... :P

Such perfectly piped meringues! 

On the Menu:

Welcome Drink - Walter's Caesar with Smoked Paprika Rim & Pickled Bean
Smoked Salmon Salad with Quick Pickle Vegetable, Frisee, & Caper Aioli
Handmade Linguine with Smoked Ricotta, Basil, Prosciutto, & Poached Egg
Red Wine Poached Pear Pavlova, with Mascarpone Cream & Pickled Dried Cherry

I love that we all prepared each course together. The class was also at a slower pace than culinary school (and I didn't have to be graded after, hah!). At the end of it, the goal was to celebrate the fact that we prepared our meal together. In a way, it reminded me of The Creative Pantry: it brought people together by getting creative in the kitchen. 

Thank you so much to Chef Erin and everyone at @dishcookingstudio for such a fun evening! At the end of it, food is an experience and you guys made it a memorable one. <3

Spring Fling at Momofuku Daisho

Selection of pastries to start!

...and a little buzz!

The lovely girl behind @my.miao.

Food's out, cameras out!

The one that stole the show IMO. 

Chef Paula Navarrete

Thank you to everyone at Momofuku Toronto for having us! To Bianca and Jordana for the invite, and most of all to Chef Paula for that delicious spreadd! Congrats on the new spring menu, and couldn't have asked for a better experience than feastin' family-style with fellow creatives and foodies!

PayPal Canada Sunrise Breakfast

PayPal Canada's New HQ at MaRs Discovery District!

But first, HONEY! Tasting with Nude Bee Honey Co. while waiting for the breakfast bar

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Amazing set-up of a breakfast buffet bar!

Jay from Rooster Coffee House making some magic (aka coffee)!

Daniel doing the Daniel ;) 

More coffee with Java Works!

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Build your own bouquet bar with Wild North Flowers!

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Congrats PayPal for the awesome new space, and special thanks to the Edelman team for the invite!

Estrella Damm #TapasJourney with MELSAYS

Incase you haven't seen on Instagram already, Estrella Damm's Tapas Journey returns this year featuring 35 of Toronto's top restaurants. This culinary tour allows local foodies to immerse themselves in different food experiences with some of the best tapas in the city. For $20, you get to enjoy three carefully crafted tapas with an Estrella Damm beer. I was lucky enough to embark on an all-girls foodie night last weekend hosted by one of my favourite bloggers Mel Offner. And when MELSAYS go, you just can't say no. ;)


Scaramouche was our first stop of the evening and Chef/owner Keith Froggett curated a sophisticated and delectable trio for us: Gambas Al Ajillo (shrimp with garlic, marcona almonds, fresh chili & coriander), Crispy Pressed Potatoes (served with Scott’s chorizo & smoked paprika aioli) and Warm Queso Fresco (served with macerated heirloom tomato & black olives).

As a culinary student, I was blown away with my plate. I don't know about the other girls but with each bite, I was on a journey in their kitchen: I imagined how each ingredient came together to produce all those flavours. If that was just at our first stop, then I knew the rest of the night would only get better.

Next on our route was Fat Pasha. As always, Chef Anthony Rose didn't disappoint in transporting me to the Middle East with his colorful and flavourful dishes. On the table we had Matjes Herring on Rye Toast (lightly pickeld with labneh and sumac onions), Falafel (served with red caraway cabbage and green tahini), and Chopped Liver á la Sammie's Roumanian (served with caramelized onions, crispy chicken skins, radish and hard egg on challah). 

We finished our journey at Bar Reyna located in the heart of Yorkville. Chef Omar Ma has designed a Mediterranean itinerary with three signature tapas: Eggplant Byaldi Pinxtos (features pomegranate, pine nuts & parsley on locally made, artisanal bread), Sea Bass Ceviche (made with sweet potato, red onion, leche de tiger, avocado espuma, radish, mint & jalapeno) and Chargrilled Octopus Skewer (prepared with romesco sauce, fried shishito peppers & fried capers). 

They say life is a journey, not a destination. But food is life thus food is a journey. If you are looking for a mini adventure before the summer ends, the culinary tour runs until tomorrow (August 21st). Grab those passports and let Estrella Damm take you on a Tapas Journey. :)

For more info and list of participating restaurants/menu, please visit:  

#CanolaConnect Workshop Series: Fusing Flavours with Chef Nick Liu

Last week I had the opportunity to join a few of my fellow Toronto foodies and bloggers at Luxe Appliance Studio for an evening learning all about canola oil and cooking with it! Organized by Canola Eat Well, Chef Nick Liu of DaiLo inspired us with his stories in the kitchen as a kid to one of Toronto's top chefs. He shared with us a family-inspired Crispy Hakka Wonton recipe and got our hands dirty—more like oily!—by making our own dumplings.

Wine courtesy of our friends at Trail Estate Winery 
(Photo Credit Jeffrey Chan, Courtesy of Canola Eat Well)

Fellow Filipino Joey Salmingo hosting the workshop!

@melsays and @meghanyuriyoung filling the studio with excitement!

"Think outside of the box; build recipes on top of recipes." - Chef Nick Liu

@meghanyuriyoung volunteering as tribute to mix our wonton filling

Mise en place for Crispy Hakka Wontons  (Find the recipe here.)


Look, ma! It's me! I'm folding wontons! 
(Photo Credit Jeffrey Chan, Courtesy of Canola Eat Well)

#CookFamous before you @eatfamous

Our Crispy Hakka Wontons cooked in canola oil!

SUCCESS! And what a collaborative effort!

After the interactive culinary workshop, we got to meet some of the people working behind Canada's canola. They taught us how the seed is harvested, differentiating the good from the bad, and then processed. Through this workshop, we not only got to connect where our food comes from but who produces it. Did you know that only 2% of Canadians are farmers? They plant on average 20 million acres of canola each spring.  Many of our farmers come from multi-generational farms and continually educate themselves on the best farm practices.

@joeysalmingo giving @paychen some love for her amazing job in taking over @CanolaEatWell's social media :)

Chef Nick Liu prepping our family dinner!

Money shot of that deep fried trout about to happen!

(Photo Credit Jeffrey Chan, Courtesy of Canola Eat Well)

The night ended at the long table with a delicious spread cooked by Chef Nick Liu and wine from Trail Estate Winery. Food has the ability to bring people together but most importantly, it has the power to start a conversation. And it's simple: great ingredients make great food. By choosing canola oil, we are also choosing local, health and flavour.  

 (Photo Credit Jeffrey Chan, Courtesy of Canola Eat Well)

For more information about canola oil and ways to cook with it, please visit Canola Eat Well.

All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.