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Celebrating Canadian Cuisine

Chef Pierre plates food while his assistant looks on.

Food production and cooking styles are incredibly diverse and indeed plentiful across Canada. This makes pinning down a single dish that represents all of Canada a hot topic for kitchen table conversations, cooking competitions such as the Canadian Plate Challenge, and friendly public debates between poutine, lobster and maple syrup fans. Some say there are just too many ingredients and dishes to choose from to pick just one that unites the whole country. Yet, Canadians in home kitchens, at backyard barbeques, in community centers, and at restaurants are using ingredients in traditional and innovative ways to create plates of food that are distinctively Canadian. Showcasing this diversity is what Food Day Canada is all about. On August 3rd, we celebrate food and the Canadian families, farmers, fishers, and chefs and researchers that produce and ensure the quality of it.

Every day people taste a bit of Canada by using ingredients produced here and by trying our signature dishes. For some, this may be the perfect start to their weekend with a classic Canadian breakfast of maple syrup drizzled over pancakes and peameal bacon from southern Ontario. Others may prefer a fresh butter tart from their local bakery for a midday snack. And there are plenty of people holding out for dinner to enjoy the catch of the day from one of our three coasts or numerous lakes on top of greens from a vertical farm or lentils from the Prairies.

The Canadian Plate Challenge held at SIAL 2019 took the task of highlighting and elevating Canadian ingredients to a whole new level. Top chefs from across the country were challenged to create a healthy and sustainable plate with one ingredient sourced from each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories that also respected the cultural diversity of Canada and recognized that 90% of Canadian produce comes from family farms. At first glance this may seem nearly impossible, but all the chefs rose to the challenge, including Chef Josh Crowe, who emphasized that he, “always felt strongly about serving the best ingredients, and it just so happens that most of the best stuff comes from here.”

 

Chefs Josh Crowe, Andrea Carlson, Laura Maxwell and Pierre Richard competed in the Canadian Plate Challenge.

In preparation for the challenge, Chef Andrea Carlson built a plate with ingredients from her trusted network of farmers, growers and vintners that she is known for elevating through her earthy and vibrant style of cuisine. The sustainable aspect of the competition was where all Chefs excelled, particularly Chef Laura Maxwell. She practices this every day at Le Sélect Bistro, where the “menu focuses on locally sourced, naturally cultivated and sustainable ingredients”. Lastly, Chef Pierre Richard dug into his farming and forging roots to fulfill the creative component, bringing common and unique natural ingredients from Canada’s fields, marshes and forests. These Chefs, and many others, are showcasing Canadian food on a global stage by incorporating products ranging from arctic char caught in Nunavut to canola oil pressed in Saskatchewan to morels harvested in Yukon.

Discover more about the Canadian Plate Challenge.

On August 3rd, join us from coast to coast to coast in celebrating Canada’s Food Day. You may choose to do this by enjoying the long weekend with seared Angus steaks from an Albertan ranch or casting a line in Lake Erie hoping to bring back some fresh pickerel for an evening fry. Whichever way you decide to celebrate, we hope you take the time to enjoy your favourite Canadian ingredients and try out some new ones too.