Spring has arrived in Toronto and along with the birds and the bees, food events are multiplying at a ferocious rate. While only the strong will survive, this year's brood is looking especially strong, offering plenty of recreational eating opportunities in the form of festivals, street markets and charity galas.
Here are my picks for the top spring food events in Toronto for 2015.
Toronto Dumpling and Sake Fest
Nine chefs will compete for the Golden Chopsticks by creating original specialty dumplings at this culinary competition taking place at Propeller Coffee (50 Wade Ave.) on Thursday, April 9 from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are $55, and include a sample from chef and sake tastings. Participating chefs include Jesse Grasso (The Black Hoof), Noah Goldberg (Peter Pan Bistro) and Kazuhiro Kawamoto (Kingyo Izakaya) to name just a few.
The Toronto Food & Drink Marke t
Taking place from April 10 to 12 at The Direct Energy Centre, this show devoted to eating, drinking, shopping and learning is advertising master classes, a farmers market and a food truck alley featuring local favourites like Buster's Sea Cove, The Food Dudes, and Fidel Gastro. Single day admission is $12 online or $15 at the door, sampling tickets will be sold 20 at a time for $1 each.
Celebrate the Thai New Year with Songkran festivals hosted by Toronto's top Thai restaurants. Pai (18 Duncan St.) hosts a northern Thai food market and water fight on Sunday, April 12th, where Chef Nuit will create special dishes using rare imported ingredients. Cost of entry is $55 and includes four food tickets and a water gun. Nana (785 Queen St. West) also celebrates with a water fight and AYCE menu over four sessions on the same day and tickets are $40.
The Betrayer's Banquet
This theatrical dining event takes place on Friday, April 17 at an undisclosed location. Presented by the Classical Theatre Project and Original Content London, a banquet table will be set with exquisite dishes at one end, unpalatable dishes at the other, and a spectrum of dishes in between. Tickets are $190.
The 10th annual Washoku Matsuri Japanese Food Festival organized by the Japanese Restaurant Association of Canada takes place Monday, April the 20th at Kobayashi Hall at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (6 Garamond Ct.). The evening kicks off with demos and apps at 5:30pm followed by dinner. Tickets are $180 including signature dishes from a top calibre line up of restaurants including Cafe Michi, Sushi Kaji and Hiro Sushi.
2015 Almanac Dinner
Six Toronto chefs pair up with six local farmers and six Ontario beverage producers for this collaborative dinner presented by Pass The Table and Provisions. Participating chefs are Robbie Hojilla (The Harbord Room), Basilio Pesce (Porzia), Steve Gonzalez (Valdez), Scott Vivian (Beast), Kevin Castonguay (Provisions), Nate Middleton (Home of the Brave). Ticket are $110 including food, drink and a charitable donation to The Stop Community Food Centre.
The Sake Institute of Ontario hosts this celebration of sake on Thursday, May 28 at the historic fermenting cellar in the Distillery District. Tickets ($70 early bird) go on sale April 3 for this tasting event that promises 120 top sakes from Japan and North America plus international foods from 11 Toronto restaurants like Zakkushi, Kingyo Izakaya, and Guu.
The next food festival from Spotlight City Events (the same folks behind Yum Cha and Curryfest) is on Saturday, May 30. Challenging the status quo of your typical rotary club ribfest, this al fresco event will explore barbecue culture influenced by the USA and beyond. Tickets go on sale soon and will cost $10 covering admission.
This series of competitive cookoffs kicks off on Wednesday, April 15 at The Good Son (1096 Queen St. West). Doors open at 11pm for the midnight showdown that will see kitchens create the ultimate burger in a preliminary brawl followed by battle between two Toronto chefs. This first fight bills The Good Son vs. Lisa Marie, followed by a face off between Vittorio Colacitti and Matt Basile. Admission is $15.
This culinary fundraiser in support of Second Harvest food rescue programs takes place Sunday, June 7 from 6pm lakeside at Corus Quay. Tickets priced at $250 (tax receipts issued for $125) include food and drink created by 60 of Toronto's top chefs and beverage purveyors.
What did I miss? Add your most anticipated spring food event in the comments.
Photo for Toronto Taste 2014
by Liora Ipsum via blogTO