Homegrown: Taste Canada at the Hudson’s Bay Company

Have you visited the top floor of the Hudson’s Bay Company on Queen Street West lately? Well let me tell you, it’s cloud nine for cooks; a gorgeous bright space with every kitchen gadget imaginable, a dreamworld with excited fianced couples running around with the registry gun and a whole lot of pretty dishware. They even have a Nescafe testing station with charismatic baristas permanently dolling out samples.

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It’s also the perfect place for a cookbook demo and signing, so Taste Canada and the Hudson’s Bay Company have teamed up to inspire cooking by showcasing Canadian cookbooks. Last night, Mairlyn Smith whipped up some of her favourite recipes from her latest cookbook, Homegrown.

This cookbook is all about the awesome stuff growing here in Canada, and seriously this massive country has so much to offer. It was only last year I found out Canada is the world’s biggest producer of lentils, a fact I’m still wowing people with at parties after my lentil tour last fall.

In addition to the demo, there was whiskey, and wine and chocolate to try oh my!

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Healthier options included Flow water and super tasty kale chips. To be honest, kale and I are more like acquaintances, meeting up every now and then to enjoy a kale Caesar salad, but the Say Cheeze! chips were pretty freaking tasty! Healthy Crunch artisanal kale foods are vegan and my fave flavour is actually made with nutritional yeast, which gives it the cheesy taste, who knew?

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Before the event, I didn’t know Mairlyn Smith is an alumnus of Second City, but it quickly became evident throughout her cooking demonstration, that woman is a hoot! She had the audience laughing the whole time, kicking her Converse in the air, snorting in the most endearing way and trying not to swear for the cameras (she was successful for the most part).

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Because the cookbook focuses on Canadian grown ingredients, her butter tart recipe substitutes maple syrup for corn syrup (way more delicious), and her dressing in the wheat berry lentil and apple salad is made with canola oil instead of EVOO. And, what’s better than watching a cooking demo? Getting to eat it all up afterwards, of course! It all tasted so good, and I am eager to dive into the book in my own kitchen.

Last week’s event featured Fidel Gastro’s Chef Matt Basile of Lisa Marie (who also happened to be circulating some pretty badass jerk chicken last night) and his cookbook Street Food Diaries. Next week showcases Derek Dammann and Chris John’s and their cookbook True North; you can check out more information about the series here on the Hudson’s Bay website.

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