Community Update

My Female Food Heroes

It was our honour to mentioned by Kim Antonius, Owner of The Pitchfork Company – Shop & School, Manager of The Fairmount Farmers Market, in her elegant blog about Female Food Heroes.  With Kim’s permission you can find the article reproduced here:

August 5th: My Female Food Heroes


A couple of days ago, I had a visit from Cheryl Appleton, the founder of Canadian Women in Food. I had a chance to learn about this wonderful organization, to revisit the incredible strength the community of women in food has and yes, some of the challenges that are still faced. After this meeting, I took some time to reflect on the incredibly dedicated, passionate, talented and hard working women in food that I am lucky enough to have met, to know and to learn from. From farmers’ to producers and photographers and writers the extent of talent in our community is stupendous.Many of these talented ladies have left established careers to pursue the local food platform, to support our local food shed and educate our local food community. Take Seema Pabari from Tiffinday, Christine Manning from Manning Canning, Dina Rock from Mighty Fine Brine, Christy Conte from Bix Bakery and Evis Chowira from Mnandi Pies, Rebekka from Alchemy Pickle Co. and Jennifer Johnston from Fisherfolk – these ladies all took a leap of faith into the local food movement and we are lucky to have to them and so many many more!

The gals who are farming are incredibly full of strength and resilience. Some exploring agriculture as a new career while others are carrying on a family legacy and inspiring more women to step into the fields. Just a few of the many women who come to mind; Cindy Hope from Crosswind Farm, Arlene Hazzan Green from Backyard Urban Farm Co., Carrie Nicols from Garlic Girl, Pina Demeria from Albion Hills Farm, Syvlia Stoddard from Stoddart Farms, Mimi Bizjak from Bizjak Farms, Blythe Weber from Spade and Spoon and Mélisanne Loiselle-Gascon from Canopy Educational Gardens.

There are the women who have founded and supported local farmers’ markets; one of the most important venues for local food in the city. I am proud to have been mentored, inspired and educated by many of the women including Anne Freeman, Elizabeth Harris, Corry Ouelette, Mary Margaret MacMahon, Janiki Hadida, Katie Hortobyagi and Susana Molinolo.

And then there are the women that educate, communicate and visually archive the local food movement. They capture our attention when it comes to local food issues, tell the story of farmers and producers, teach us how to extend the value of our food, inspire us to shop locally, educate us on local food issues and promote a new generation of women in food. Mélissane from Canopy Education has dedicated her farming practice to teaching others, primarily women, about agriculture practices and will be sure to launch some of our most successful new female farmers. Gail Gordon Oliver who has dedicated her career to local food through her brilliant publication Edible Toronto. Sarah Elton, author of Localvore, Consumed and Starting from Scratch and CBC journalist focusing on local food producers. Lisa Kates, photographer and writer who visually captures our local food scene and tells the stories of local food producers so well. Lorainne Johnston, author of City Farmer,  who writes about urban agriculture and farming. Sarah B Hood, author of We Sure Can, culinary journalism teacher, culinary historian and avid photographer and so many more who have dedicated their talents to the local food movement.

The success of these women hasn’t and doesn’t come without hurdles. As I spoke with one farmer friend this week, she contemplated going back to the office. “Most of us” she said, ” are having to piece together a living, it’s a struggle –– many of us are underemployed.” Cheryl from Canadian Women in Food shared that out of 1 Million food industry jobs in Canada 600,000 of those are held by women. Yet we are still underrepresented in the media. Anytime women in food are featured in the media it’s a win because it helps us build more sustainable and viable food businesses in Canada.

Sometimes, I have –- you will -– we all will –– take for granted the dedication and effort these women put forth to grow, prepare, and fight for local food in our province.

So this week at the market, stop by say hi to and shop with our stellar, stupendous, super-hero line-up of female food producers!

If you want to learn more about women in food or food security check out these fabulous organizations:
Food Forward
Building Roots
Cater Toronto
Canadian Women in Food
Toronto Food Policy Council
Toronto Youth Food Policy

What You Need To Know About HACCP

CWIF Member Alice Chapman, Co-Owner of Douglas Chapman & Associates Inc., is an incredible source of knowledge.  Ask a simple question about food, and you will always get a superb answer from Alice.  For entrepreneurs who are not already HACCP, we’ve reproduced an edited version on the topic so that it might help guide people to resources that can assist:

As you probably know at this point, HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.  It is a quality control system used in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere which assures food safety.  It consists of a series of procedures to measure potential physical, chemical and biological hazards in the product at specific points in the manufacturing process, set limits for same, and institute corrective measures when limits are exceeded. HACCP has been around for a long time and has been the standard.  There are more recent and sophisticated quality control plans such as ISO and BRC.

HACCP plans can vary depending on which part of the food chain you are addressing (e.g. growing/harvesting vs. processing vs. retailing/foodservice) and also the nature of the product (e.g. dairy vs. meat vs. bakery, etc.).  Most commercial food processing operations are HACCP certified. For most manufacturers, designing and implementing a HACCP plan requires either hiring a trained individual  or engaging an outside company who specializes in putting together a customized plan for your specific situation.  Whomever you hire will explain where, what, and how you should measure to keep your product safe and what you have to do to satisfy the requirements for HACCP certification.

There are many companies which provide HACCP certification.  One of the best known is the Guelph Food Technology Centre and also Carol Finlan of Final Food Design Another is The Allergen Control Group where they specialize in gluten-free certification.”

To reach Alice Chapman, please visit

It’s A Good Time To Cultivate A Food Business

CWIF Member Jo-Ann McArthur, President of Nourish Food Marketing, is leading a Brand Development seminar for food entrepreneurs on June 17th on behalf of the Toronto Business Food Incubator at The North York Civic Centre from 9 am – 1 pm.  “Building Your Food Business and Developing Your Brand” will cover what you-need-to-know about the challenges facing new products and businesses today, offer solutions on how to differentiate your brand, and help you understand the consumer market – those most interested in buying what you’re selling.

May 15th Food Revolution Day is Coming!

CWIF Member, Elementary School Teacher, and Toronto Ambassador, Mardi Michels can’t wait to participate in her 4th Food Revolution Day, because the focus – fighting for food education – is something she has been passionate about for years.

Michels is a full-time French teacher and the author of the blog eat. live. travel. write. and for her, the Food Revolution Day is a natural extension of the after-school cooking club for boys, Les Petit Chefs, which she began in 2010, after hearing Jamie Oliver speak about the importance of passing on our food knowledge to the next generation.

Learn more about how you can get involved with an Ambassador in your local area and be a champion for educating children and inspiring more families to cook!

Mar 22, 2015

Barrie Event Menu.

Host Elizabeth Clow of White Hat Kitchen has planned an amazing menu for the upcoming Canadian Women In Food – Barrie Networking Event on March 31st:

Mini Yorkshire Puddings stuffed with shaved beef tenderloin, light horseradish mayo.
Piri Piri grilled shrimp with cilantro, lime crème fraiche.
Rosemary roasted turkey and cranberry salad in a crispy wonton.
Black-eyed pea cowboy caviar with roasted corn and Cajun chive aioli.
Apricot habanero and honey glazed pork tenderloin.
St. Jean Baptiste Jamaican pattie hand pies.
Zucchini rounds with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes.
Caprese antipasticks with balsamic drizzle. Skewered Greek style salad.
White cheddar cheese ball pretzel pops.
Fresh vegetable spring rolls with carrot ginger dipping sauce.
Prosciutto parmesan and truffled mushroom puff pastry straws.
White & Red Wine selection (by Cottonwood Wine Agency)
Dessert: Mini cupcakes
Flavours: Red Velvet, Cinnamon Sugar, Cookie Dough, Rolo, Orange Creamsicle, Gentleman’s Whisky, Birthday Cake.
Tea and coffee.
Come for the networking – stay for the food!  Tickets available $30 Non-Members. 

Mar 15, 2015

Food Trends TV.              

Savvy trendsetters in food now have the opportunity to subscribe to Dana McCauley’s YouTube channel “Food Trends TV”. We love the short, snackable format, and it’s a great way to take a few moments on a weekly basis to stay updated on an expert opinion of what’s happening in food:

Feb 22, 2015

Organic Alchemy.

An age-old fermented beverage, “Kombucha” is believed to cleanse the liver and act as an anti-stress and fatigue fighter, tastes more or less like a cross between a cider and a fizzy fruit juice. However, with less than 50 calories per bottle, the raw, organic, and naturally sparkling qualities of the product have now launched Kombucha into mainstream grocery stores.

We love that another Canadian Woman In Food, Zoey Shamai, owner of Tonica Kombucha, was mentioned in the article, and you can learn more about her business here:

We first met Zoey several years ago at a Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) event in Toronto and it is such a delight to see her business take flight!

Feb 16, 2015

Make Mine a Bone Broth.           

If you live long enough, just about everything comes back into fashion, or at least that’s what culinary historians suggest is at the heart of the bone broth beverage trend taking hold. No longer just a simple base for soup, “beef tea” is news again in part because of greater consumer attention to Paleo diets and in part because it may be warm comfort food and is believed by some to act as a way to stave off the flu. What’s next? Scurvy sippers?

Jill Weaver, owner of The Stock Exchange in Kitchener believes bone broth is serious business and regularly gives “Stock Talks” to teach people how to make their own. We had the opportunity to meet Jill at the CWIF Networking Event at Relish Cooking Studio in Waterloo on February 5th. We encourage you to follow Jill on Facebook as she works to establish a commercial location:!/stockexchangewaterloo?pnref=lhc

Feb 10, 2015

Ladies of the 80’s.          

If you find yourself wearing leg warmers in Georgetown on February 21st, then join CWIF Member Cindy Grant, owner of CIN-HER-Chi Energy & Wellness, along with the Cornerstone Women’s Network for a “Ladies of the 80’s Nite” in support of the Georgetown Hospital Foundation.

National Cupcake Day. 

On February 23rd, buy a cupcake or twenty, and help raise funds for the SPCA and local Humane Societies. CWIF Member Charmian Christie, author of The Messy Baker, has been helping to promote the event and answer baking questions.

Feb 1, 2015

Valentine’s Specials From Vanessa Yeung, of Aphrodite Cooks.

If you are looking for something special, for someone special this year, may we suggest:

1. A Beer & Food Couple’s Cooking Class in The Historic St. Lawrence Kitchen

2. A Romantic Italian Style Couple’s Cooking Class

Sweet Treats from Vanessa Chiaravalloti, of Holy Cannoli.

If you have kittens, like we do, then flowers are simply out of the question! Instead, try a $40 Sweet Treat Box of “the best Cannoli I’ve ever tasted” and hand selected chocolates.

Jan 25, 2015

Tea Terrific.

If you’re passionate about tea, then come hear Certified Tea Sommelier, Raelene Gannon share her insights on “How To Use Tea In Cooking…Sweet or Savoury” as part of the Toronto Tea Festival on Saturday January 31st, 2 – 3 pm, in the Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library.

An expert in all things tea, including countries of origin, ceremonies, manufacturing, tea menus, food pairings and merchandising – Raelene is also launching her cookbook tea: from cup to plate at the festival.  Visit for more details.

Naked Cakes Capturing Imaginations.

Christina Tosi, chef, owner, and founder of Milk Bar, a bakery-inspired branch of the Momofuku restaurant group is credited with having inspired a new trend of cakes, that are deliberately rustic looking and made without fondant so that each delicious layer is nakedly visible to the appreciative eye.  We love to hear that sales of naked cakes have been reported as steadily climbing since 2013 and are now on target for double-digit growth in 2015.

(CWIF Member!) Charmian Christie, author of The Messy Baker, More Than 75 Delicious Recipes from a Real Kitchen, offers a four-tiered naked chocolate cake based on her mom Wynne Christie’s family birthday cake recipe.  Visit for more details.

Jan 18, 2015

Russian Cuisine Cookbook to launch in 2015.

Through the words of native Muscovite, Maria Depenweiller, who was born and raised in Moscow before immigrating to Canada, discover the fascinating details of Russian history, culture and eating habits and enjoy the the evolution and development of traditional Russian dishes.   Soon to be released by Chapters Indigo

Maria Depenweiller is a Nutritionist and Professional Home Economist, creator of The Wooden Spoon educational services, board director and newsletter editor for THEA (Toronto Home Economist Association), and an active member of OHEIB (Ontario Home Economists in Business), and also OHEA (Ontario Home Economist Association).

Commercial Kitchen Space Now Available to Rent in Barrie.

Elizabeth Clow established White Hat Kitchen to offer an affordable commercial kitchen space that is available for rent by the hour. The kitchen is well suited for teaching cooking classes, preparing products for retail sale, use as a test kitchen or creating meals for catered events or for delivery to customers.  To learn more visit

Jan 1, 2015

Left Field Brewery set to open in New Year.

Mandie and Mark Murphy can’t believe that it’s finally happening.  The new baseball-themed craft brewery will be housed in a 100 year old former brick factory at 36 Wagstaff Drive., and will include a retail store and tap room for consumers to sample the different beers.  Let’s hope they have another open house soon!

Rebel Women In Food Featured in Festive Feast

The edition billed as “a hedonistic reverie of hand-crafted, artisanal, drop-dead-delicious holiday treats” [Dec 2014 Toronto Life – Food & Drink] features 20 “must try” products for any festive feast.  We couldn’t help but notice so many rebel women in food, such as Laura Slack of Maisonette’s Chocolates, known for her beautiful and unconventional creations (skull chocolates anyone?), Amanda Somerville’s vegan Through Being Cool Doughnuts, and Jennifer Bundock’s vegan Apiecalypse Now cookies and baked treats.  Who knew something that sounds so “bad” could also be so “good”!

Oct 13, 2014

Chocolate Factory Coming to Leslieville.
Even Real Estate Agents are tweeting about this one as artisanal chocolate bar producer Marigold’s Finest is soon to open at Gerrard & Greenwood Avenues. Aside from the velvety goodness, small batch, single origin chocolate products free from preservatives, additives, or substitutes, people are hoping the presence of Marigold’s will lead to a resurgence in gentrification.

A Sprinkle of Wisdom & Inspiration.
If you’re looking for something beyond a cookbook, try “An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace”, by Tamara Alder. What’s beautiful about the book is that it’s not about recipes (although there are several), but it is about how to approach cooking as a continuous process that evolves from meal to meal. It’s evident from her writing that Tamara champions the home cook and builds upon the idea that cooking well means nothing goes to waste. Her prose is clear-eyed and thoughtful in the way that she sprinkles wisdom and inspiration throughout. And her philosophy reveals what we eat and how we eat it is linked to our sense of happiness. I’m obliged to say this book is one of my personal favourites, and because of it I discovered the secret delights of “frond”.

Retro Cool.
Now in its 84th year of operation, The Senator Restaurant still remains one of the few gems in Toronto where you really feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you step through the doors. And we love the modern touches on their website where they proudly show their methods of “Giving Back” and their commitment to quality under “What Makes Us Different”? It goes to show that even venerable institutions like The Senator don’t rest on their laurels.

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