The Top Moments of SIAL Canada 2019

Just like that another SIAL Canada has come and gone. It was only last year in 2018 that I took part in my very first SIAL Canada trade show. I came back home last year feeling even more proud and patriotic than ever. There was no doubt that Canadian companies are now at the forefront of innovation in the food industry, and that was clearly evident by the quality of Canadian products being showcased at North America’s largest food-innovation trade show last year in Montreal.

Read a recap of my Montreal SIAL Canada 2018 experience here.

So when asked to become an official media partner at SIAL 2019 in Toronto, I jumped at the chance! For three days in May, Toronto was transformed into an agri-food industry hub not just for Canada but for the entire world! With a one-stop-shop concept, the Enercare Centre opened its doors to more than 1,100 food and beverage exhibitors from 60 different countries. Bring an empty stomach and comfortable shoes because when you’re walking through a 270,000 sq ft building with an endless supply of food and beverage samples, you’ll be exhausted and full….in the best way possible.

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If you recall my previous blog post, one of the main events and my personal favourite part of SIAL Canada is the SIAL Innovation Awards. Cash prizes with a value of $20,000 is handed out to the top three products that best embody innovation with criteria such as recipe, packaging, manufacturing, and positioning that gets judged by a panel of highly-esteemed industry professionals.

Read a recap of SIAL Canada’s unveiling of the Top 10 Finalists this year here.

During the first day of the trade show, the official SIAL Innovation Awards ceremony was held live at 10AM where Dana McCauley, SIAL Canada 2019 Innovation Ambassador, announced the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Hopeful prize winners. As all the finalists held their collective breath, the winners one by one were announced. Below are your 2019 SIAL Canada Innovation Winners!!

Gold - Unbun Keto Foods - Vegan Keto Buns (Ontario, Canada)
Silver - Yummy Doh - Raw Cookie Dough (Quebec, Canada)
Bronze - Lofbergs Canada Inc - ICE (Ontario, Canada).
Hopeful - Partake Brewing - Partake Pale Alt Craft Non-Alcoholic Beer (Alberta, Canada)

For the first time ever this year in SIAL Canada’s 16th year history, all levels of Canadian government (federal, provincial, municipal) were in attendance. This is a huge milestone for the Canadian food industry as its further affirmation that investment in our local companies is important to further develop food innovation and sustainability within the Great White North. During the official opening ceremonies, Canadian government officials made their opening remarks to ring in the start of all the various festivities. Among them were Mr. Jean-Claude Poissant (Parliamentary Secretary), Ernie Hardeman (OMAFRA’s Minister), and Michael Thompson (Deputy Mayor of the City of Toronto). A special presentation was also made by Italian dignitaries to celebrate Italy as the chosen country of Honour at this year’s trade show.

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Speaking of the various festivities, one of the crowd’s favourite at this year’s SIAL Canada was the inaugural Canadian Plate Competition. Four competing Canadian chefs pushed themselves to new culinary heights when they were tasked to create a dish that they felt truly represented Canada, using thirteen ingredients from each province and territory. The four competing chefs were Andrea Carlson (Burdock and Co - Vancouver, BC), Laura Maxwell (Le Select Bistro - Toronto, Ontario), Josh Crowe (Monkland Taverne - Montreal, Quebec), and Pierre Richard (Little Louis’s Oyster Bar - Moncton, New Brunswick). Throughout the challenge, the four competing chefs pushed themselves further than they ever have and each presented dishes representative of their immense talents and Canada’s diverse ingredients. Ultimately it was Pierre Richard who came out on top taking inspiration from his east coast roots creating a twist on the traditional chowder. From dried morel mushrooms hailing from the Yukon, to snow crab from Newfoundland and Labrador, Pierre kept an open mind and applied regionally-specific techniques to perfect his dish. The final presentation included a bannock-inspired tuile and a pour over ‘Ocean Nage’ intended to represent the coming tide of The Bay of Fundy. A truly Canadian plate. Oh Canada!

Another big milestone event at this year’s SIAL was the very first International Cheese Competition. This was not only the first time it was held at SIAL, but in all of Canada as well. A jury of industry cheese professionals evaluated 230 cheeses from 9 countries across 23 different categories. Held in an open area at the Enercare Centre, visitors and exhibitors were able to watch the competition unfold right in front of their eyes along with the entire deliberation process. This competition aimed to highlight the innovation, know-how, and passion of cheese-makers on an international level, where awards like Best English Cheese prize, Best Italian Cheese prize, Dairy Farmers of Canada prize, Best New Cheese prize and Grand Champion Cheese were announced. As if the suspense wasn’t enough in waiting for the Grand Champion to be crowned, there was a deadlock between two cheeses by the jury on which cheese would be crowned victorious. After a tie-breaking vote, Quebec`s Fromagerie La Station’s Alfred le Fermier Grand Crucheese ultimately was selected as the big winner for its leading technical and aesthetic properties.

A personal favourite exhibitor booth I found at this year’s SIAL belonged to Davide Bazzali of Cuisine Opera who sang and cooked his heart out on the Italian Pavilion. Italy was in the spotlight at this year’s SIAL Canada as the country of honour with the very best of Italian cuisine being showcased along the many aisles of the building. Not only did Davide cook everyone a delectable plate of pasta, he also serenaded the crowd by singing Italian opera transporting everyone there to what felt like an authentic cultural experience in Italy. You just have to watch it to believe it!

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Overall SIAL Canada set a record attendance this year in Toronto compared to two years ago with a growth of 10%. Over 25,000 professional visitors from over 60 countries were present over these three days with 1,130 exhibitors and brands on hand.

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During my time at this year’s SIAL Canada I also had the pleasure of doing a sit down interview with Xavier Poncin, SIAL Canada’s Executive Director, as he talked about all the great things SIAL Canada 2019 was able to accomplish in Ontario and the milestone of having all levels of government involved in this year’s trade show.

“It’s just proof that our show is now anchored within the food industry in Canada. We first launched SIAL Canada in Montreal, so many people have always seen our show as more Quebecois than Ontarian, and even in the different contests we do like SIAL innovation for example, Quebec was number one. But the biggest growth that we have now been seeing with our exhibitors is now coming from Ontario. So having those three levels of government being involved in our show this year shows that SIAL CANADA is the top event for the agri-food sector not only in Ontario, but for all of Canada to be and participate in.”

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I want to extend my deepest thanks to the entire SIAL Canada team for inviting me to become a media partner at this year’s event. If you’ve missed it this year in Toronto, don’t you worry because SIAL Canada will be having its 17th edition in just under a year from now in Montreal at the Palais des Congres from April 15th to 17th, 2020. See you all there!

SIAL Canada Back With A Bang In Its 16th Edition

North America’s largest food innovation show is back bigger and better than ever, and for its 16th edition SIAL Canada will be held again in Toronto from April 30th to May 2nd at the Enercare Centre. Like the Rogers Cup, SIAL Canada is hosted in Montreal one year and then Toronto the year after that. I had so much fun last year in Montreal at my first SIAL Canada experience and was blown away at the enormous scale that it was. This is the trade show to be at if you are involved in any way within the food and beverage industry. A resounding 2018 success in Montreal, SIAL Canada last year welcomed 1,068 exhibitors and brands from 51 countries, where an astonishing 20,771 professional visitors made their way out to the 240,000 sq ft facility inside the Palais des Congres. It’s a must-attend event for anyone who wants to stay on top with the upcoming food trends.

For a full recap of my 2018 experience of SIAL Canada in Montreal, I’ve documented my experience in the blog post HERE.

This year I’ve been brought on as an official media sponsor for SIAL Canada and I cannot wait to show you all the new and innovative food products that will be coming out of it. One of my favourite aspects of this international food and beverage trade show is that it’s a “one-shop-stop.” It’s the only national trade show that offers a complete range of food products under one roof, whether it’s retail, catering, or food processing, you can find it all at SIAL Canada all under one roof. Even regional specialties from half way around the world you can find it here! SIAL Canada is not only key to the Canadian agrifood industry, but it’s also a priviledged entryway to the U.S. and international markets.

In fact, every year SIAL Canada honours one specific country during the trade show that has had and still has a large impact towards the Canadian food industry. This country will be featured heavily throughout the three days. Last year the country of honour was Spain. This year SIAL Canada names Italy as 2019’s Country of Honour. If you love Italian food like I do, this is the one year you do not want to miss!

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There will also be two brand new sectors making its inauguration in Toronto: Beverages and Food Start Ups. As SIAL Canada understands the current market trends, it created a new space dedicated to beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and food start-ups where fifteen young dynamic companies will illustrate this new branch of the industry: Food Tech. Last but not least there will also be a brand new international cheese competition that aims to highlight the innovation, know-how, and passion of cheese-makers at an international level. You literally can get full at SIAL Canada just by going booth to booth trying all the cheese samples. Trust me, I’ve been there!

With all these new and exciting additions to this year’s show, my favourite part of SIAL Canada has to still be the SIAL Innovation Awards! It’s a unique international contest that rewards the best innovations in food and non-food related products such as packaging and containers. The contest is open to all SIAL Canada exhibitors where the contestants are judged on the four following criteria: packaging, manufacturing process, merchandising, and recipe.

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The unveiling of the SIAL Innovation 2019 finalists happened just this past week in Toronto at Second Floor Events. Dana McCauley, SIAL Canada 2019 Innovation Ambassador was on hand to kick things off to a room full of industry professionals. She re-iterates that one of the most important things the jury must do each year is to take time to think beyond their personal feelings about the products submitted for evaluation, and must assess whether the products have a clear and solid value proposition for their intended target market. Once all that is considered, the top 10 most innovative products are chosen and the official awards for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners will be handed out during the very first day of the show! Lots and lots of money will be at stake! $20,000 to be exact!

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Take a look below at the top 10 SIAL Innovation 2019 Finalists!

Vegan Tofu Dips - A&M Gourmet Foods Inc.

Booth #1221

Booth #1221

Seaweed Fed Lamb - Les Bergeries Du Margot

Booth #937

Booth #937

Instant Miso Soup - Abokichi Inc.

Booth #133

Booth #133

Partake Pale Ale - Craft Non-Alcoholic Beer - Partake Brewing

Booth #133

Booth #133

Todd’s Protein Crisps - Evova Foods Inc.

Booth #149

Booth #149

Vegan Keto Buns - Unbun Keto Foods.

Booth #1311

Booth #1311

Ice - Lofbergs Canada Inc.

Booth #905

Booth #905

Yellofruit

Booth #2145

Booth #2145

Naturalbliss Infusions

Booth #133

Booth #133

Raw Cookie Dough - Yummy Doh

Booth #949

Booth #949

Personally I cannot wait to check out all of these innovative products at this year’s show! If you’re unable to make it down in person to this year’s SIAL Canada, make sure you stay tuned right here as I will be writing a follow up blog post in the next few weeks to document everything that happened inside the Enercare Centre including which product will get crowned the winner at this year’s SIAL Innovation Awards! However if you’re able to come down in person (which I highly, highly recommend!), make sure you attend the most anticipated event of the show on April 30th at 10:30AM happening at Booth #625!

If you still have not registered for your visitor’s badge at this year’s SIAL Canada, make sure you do so HERE. What are you waiting for? I’ll see you all there!

The Most Insta-Worthy Rice Noodles You've Ever Seen!

Get your cameras ready! North America’s largest rice noodle chain brings something so Insta-worthy it’s worth lining up for! Yunshang Rice Noodle was founded in Toronto back in 2016, and with its huge success at its original location at the intersection of Warden and Steeles in Toronto, it has now grown to become the biggest Chinese rice noodle brand in North America with locations now in Vancouver, Montreal, and even in New York.

As I lived fairly closely to it’s first location in Toronto, I remember various weekends going to Yunshang Rice Noodle for lunch on many occasions. What drew my friends and I to this place back in 2016 was their flavourful soup broth, the affordable price, along with their promise of unlimited noodle refills! Yes, for people with large appetites like myself, having the option of refilling your bowl of noods for a second (or even third!) helping at absolutely no extra cost was incredible.

For those that may be unfamiliar as to what “Crossing The Bridge” Rice Noodles means, it has over a hundred years of history. According to a popular fable, it was invented by the wife of a scholar who had to cross a bridge to bring him lunch while he worked. To keep his soup from getting cold along the journey, the wife added a layer of oil at the top to insulate it, and carried other ingredients such as rice noodles, thinly sliced meats, and tofu skin separately so they wouldn’t get soggy. She would assemble everything upon arrival, and as the soup was steaming hot and the meats were so thinly sliced, everything cooked immediately in the soup. This Chinese fable was passed on by word of mouth and over time has come to symbolize affection, endearment, and admiration.

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That’s why when you come dine at a Yunshang Rice Noodle restaurant, the various toppings for the soup is provided to you separately. Once the steaming soup base is ready and served to you, then you will manually mix in the noodles and toppings one by one to ensure your bowl of noodles is as hot and as fresh as it can be. Each bowl of noodles comes with broth boiled for more than 12 hours to use on the same day with no MSG or other artificial flavours added.

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With its newest location that has now opened up in North York, Yunshang Rice Noodle is celebrating the launch with an exclusive “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle”, a never-before-seen rice noodle containing all kinds of premium seafood placed upon an actual wooden bridge! For only $19.99, each set of this “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle” comes with Canadian Atlantic lobster tail, fresh French Kiss oyster, sea scallop, shrimp, and crab sticks. Other accompanying ingredients include beef slices, fish cakes, ham, enokitake mushrooms, Chinese lettuce, egg tofu, and quail eggs. This all of course comes with a selection of their signature soup bases such as Signature Bone Soup, Tomato Soup, Coconut Curry Soup, or Spicy Pickled Pepper Soup. My go-to is always either the Tomato or Coconut Curry base. Can’t go wrong with either!

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This exclusive “Yunshang Bridge Rice Noodle” will be available now until March 31st, 2019, and only a limited quantity per day will be made available at their latest North York location (5285 Yonge Street). It’s first come first serve so if you don’t want to miss out make sure you come early starting at 6PM each night.

Whoever said noodles are boring eh?

Celebrating Lunar New Year with a Pork Spring Rolls Recipe using DuBreton

Celebrating Chinese New Year with my family is always a momentous occasion. We celebrate the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar marked with special gatherings with family and friends that's ALWAYS accompanied with lots and lots of delicious food!

With 2019 being the Year of the Pig, you just know that pork is going to be on the dinner table. One of the dishes that is always a hit in my family are Spring Rolls, so of course to mix it up this year I added pork as the special ingredient!

I partnered with DuBreton and used their Organic Pork products to make my "Pork Spring Rolls" truly stand out. They're a Canadian company that's at the forefront of the organic and Certified Humane pork production in North America, where their pigs are raised crate-free, fed a high-quality grain diet, with no antibiotics used whatsoever.

They offer a full range of organic pork products that include ground pork, sausages, bacon, and pork loin cutlets.

RECIPE:

500g DuBreton Pork Loin Cutlet, thinly sliced
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Red Onion, chopped
1 cup Cabbage, shredded
2 Medium Carrots, shredded
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1/4 cup Coriander, chopped
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
10 sheets Spring Roll Wrapper
Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

➡️ Mix pork, garlic, and onion into frying pan on medium heat until pork is cooked through.

➡️ Add in cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, coriander, and soy sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Place spring roll mixture in a bowl and let it cool.

➡️ Put mixture into center of the spring roll wrapper. Fold in the edges and roll into a rectangular parcel.

➡️ Heat 4 to 5cm of oil in a pot and fry spring rolls until golden brown. Serve with Sweet Chili dipping sauce.

Available at major grocery stores including T&T Supermarkets, Whole Foods, Longo's, and Metro. I hope everyone enjoys these Pork Spring Rolls and have a happy Lunar New Year!!

Going to Duck School at King Cole Ducks!

It’s that time of year again. The time where we reflect on the past 365 days of all our highs and lows as we ring in the new year. In what seems like a blink of an eye, 2018 has come and gone. For some it may be relief that a fresh start is on the horizon. For others it may be a year we don’t want to let go of with all the milestones and fond memories that were made. No matter what side you may fall on the spectrum, a new year can be a signal for new beginnings and new goals to achieve. Admittedly, my new year’s resolutions are not always achieved by the end of a year, but setting a few at the start is always something I aim to do. In fact, five years ago one of my new year’s resolution was to finally start up my food blog and Instagram account, which became the birth of the website and account The Everyday Foodie. Now with almost 30,000 followers I am beyond grateful that I followed through with that new year’s resolution, and kept it going five years later giving me this amazing platform and community that allows me to do what I love each day.

Now that it’s 2019 it’s time to pick another new year’s resolution! As a food blogger I often get asked if I’m also a good cook. The brutally honest truth is…. not at all! I’m a superstar when it comes to eating. I’m pretty good at taking pictures of it too. But when it comes to cooking that’s a whole different story. Cooking for me has always posed a challenge. I’ve always wanted to learn new recipes and sharpen some cooking techniques, yet year after year it’s something I’ve put on the side. But not this year. Not in 2019!

I decided this is the year for me to turn it around, and what better way to make sure this new year’s resolution gets off to a good start then by enrolling in a cooking class! Located in Stouffville, Ontario King Cole Ducks has almost 70 years of experience in producing duck products spanning four generations in a family run farm. With customers all around the world, King Cole Ducks is the brand of choice with chefs across the globe and of course with chefs here locally as well.

With so many well-established chefs that trust and use their products, King Cole Ducks offer a cooking class called “Duck School.”It’s a night full of food and fun where you get to learn how to cook duck like a pro from a roster of talented local chefs right on the duck farm itself!

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The class I enrolled in was led by Chef Forrest Liu, the Executive Chef at Terre Rouge located in downtown Markham. Born and raised in Shanghai, Forrest began his career at a young age, interning at Three on the Bund by Jean Georges, becoming the first ever intern hired at the Shanghai Flagship. He then decided to move to Canada to complete the Culinary Management program at George Brown College, where he then landed jobs at some of the most renowned kitchens in Toronto including One Restaurant, Canoe, George, Lee Restaurant, Carmen’s Steak House, and Toca at the Ritz Carlton. With his experience and expertise there was no better person then Chef Forrest Liu to teach me how to cook in my very first cooking class experience!

Below you will get to see the three duck dishes he taught and made for the class, which included a soup, appetizer, and entree. I also included a few duck recipes that I’ve learned from Chef Forrest Liu that will surely be useful to have in anyone’s recipe arsenal at home. Recipes that I myself will attempt to re-create at home as part of my 2019 new year’s resolution!

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King Cole Farms Duck Soup  - Braised Duck, Taro, Vermicelli, Baby Bok Choy

King Cole Farms Duck Soup - Braised Duck, Taro, Vermicelli, Baby Bok Choy

King Cole Farms House Smoked Duck Breast Salad  - Baby Beets, Persimmon, Blue Cheese, Arugula, Quinoa & Lemon Parmesan Dressing

King Cole Farms House Smoked Duck Breast Salad - Baby Beets, Persimmon, Blue Cheese, Arugula, Quinoa & Lemon Parmesan Dressing

King Cole Farms Seared Duck Breast  - Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Acorn Squash, Grapes, Swiss Chard, Verjus & Rosemary Powder

King Cole Farms Seared Duck Breast - Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Acorn Squash, Grapes, Swiss Chard, Verjus & Rosemary Powder

Braised Duck Soup

Ingredients:

1 Whole Duck
15L Water
50g Ginger, peeled
1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
3pc Garlic
2pc Bay Leaves
100g Cooking Wine
10g Goji Berries
300g Baby Bok Choy
200g Vermicelli
1pc Taro, cut into 1” cubes
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Put duck into stock pot and add 15L water. Bring to a boil and skim the stock until it is clear.

  2. Add ginger, green onions, garlic, goji berries, bay leaves into stock pot and simmer at medium heat for 4 hours.

  3. Check the duck (the meat should be falling off the bones). Add the taro and simmer for 15 minutes

  4. Add baby bok choy and vermicelli for another 5 minutes

  5. Season to taste

Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

400g Potato
150g Cream
50g Duck Fat
50g Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1” cubes as much as possible into stock pot.

  2. Add water and salt into stock pot. Bring the water to a boil. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes or until soft.

  3. Strain the water and put the potato in the potato ricer. As you rice each round, add a small amount of butter and duck fat so everything can be mixed well together

  4. Add cream to finish and season with salt and pepper.

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Duck School is a two hour class. The evening includes the lesson, a full dinner, and a duck goodie bag to take home for only $75. These are going to be skills and recipes you can keep and use forever! If you are also looking to brush up on your cooking skills this 2019 as your new year’s resolution, or just something you want to check out later on in the year visit HERE to book your spot at their next class! They do fill up fast so be sure to reserve your spot before it’s too late.

Have an amazing 2019 year everyone! Looking forward to what’s ahead!