Sunday, November 20, 2011

Eat to the Beat - Celebrating female chefs and lending support for a good cause

Sunday, November 20, 2011
Eat to the Beat is a fabulous fundraiser for Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada - this was our second time attending. Over 60 female chefs hand out tasting samples from their restaurants while you listen to live music, participate in the silent auction, and enjoy the "corset art" being worn by women at the event (check the pictures, you'll see what we mean).


First time we went to this, we had to sit in the park beside Roy Thomson Hall until we felt less full before we could get into a moving vehicle to get home! It was THAT good and we were THAT full! I'll never forget it. Mark and I just sat there laughing at how indulgent the evening was, and we had so enjoyed ourselves. One of my favourite memories for sure!

Food-wise, it was incredible again this year. These ladies know what they're doing, and we'll list a few standout chefs/items at the end of this post. Only thing I'd say is that the layout keeps you bouncing from sweet to savoury if you do what we did to cover the most ground, which is taste table after table in a straight line rather than perusing each table and picking and choosing appetizers, then soups, then hearty dishes, then dessert. The latter method, for us anyway, takes too much time (there is no way you'll get around to tasting everything anyway - time nor stomache room will allow it!). Might've been more sensible to the palate to organize them by savoury, sweet, and maybe even have the beverage vendors separate so it's more intuitive as to where you can go to get what. All those suggestions are just that - suggestions - the set-up still worked for us and we got around to most of the chefs.


Some standouts:
  • Squash cheesecake from George
  • Woodbine Entertainment Group blew me away - I wasn't sure what I was expecting with their sweetbread and Berkshire pork stew with sundried cranberries and blueberries simmered in Colio Estates wine and served in a puff pastry voulovant, but I was BLOWN. AWAY. So delicious. Messy to eat, but a complete joy for my tastebuds!
  • Queen B Pastry's flourless/butterless chocolate walnut cookie served atop a little mini "shot glass" of milk - so clever and the cookie was delicious
  • East & Main Bistro's (Prince Edward County) braised Highland Beef and mushroom ravioli - The ravioli was good but the smoky tomato cream was the standout - it was unlike anything I'd tasted before and I had to say I liked the contrast of trying to make something as opposite as "cream" and "smoke" go together - it was cool and refreshing but very savoury and rich all at once
  • Khao San Road's Mae Hong Son Loong (Northern-style Thai meatballs served in a refreshingly-bright pomelo nest)
  • Our friend Vanessa Yeung did a "Chexican" (yes, Chinese Mexican!) take on little mini taco from Aphrodite Cooks
  • Our friend Preena Chauhan from Arvinda's did a healthier take on Indian street food Pav Bhaji

Also gotta love the array of crazy and amazing corsets on display! This is one of the best food fundraisers there is in Toronto, hands down. Always a good time for a good cause. I urge you guys to check it out one year.

Yours in food,