Are you reaching your ideal audience? Why not go back to basics? We can bring your guests to where all good food begins; the farm.

Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Since 2014, interactive culinary workshops and exclusive farm tours by Canola Eat Well have had chefs, foodies and influencers simply buzzing with Canola Oil-ed excitement.

“The programming that we’ve created with Branding & Buzzing allows us to bring the story of canola from the field into the kitchen as the star ingredient of the night. The value of our workshops is that we get to share the story of food and build trust in farmers while helping guests learn more about Canola Oil, a Canadian ingredient, and how it is an excellent choice for your kitchen,” explained Jennifer Dyck, Manager at Canola Eat Well.

(Jennifer Dyck) Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Each event has included eye-opening, savoury experiences including hands-on canola crush demonstrations, product sampling, food challenges and informative talks by special guest famers like Curtis McCrae (Manitoba), Will Bergmann (Manitoba), Tanya Pidsadowski (Alberta) and Jeannette Andrashewski (Alberta).

“Branding & Buzzing has the pulse of the local food environment from influencers, upcoming chefs and key media connections,” added Ellen Pruden, Director at Canola Eat Well. “Their experience in building and growing community is extremely valuable to Canola Eat Well. They work with you to achieve goals, drive results and grow a food community that has depth and substance. Through the collaboration on strategy, we have seen results. Both Sean and Marian bring a strong reputation to the industry and it has been a pleasure working with them and their team.”

(Ellen Pruden) Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Here are just some of our favourite Canola-inspired events in the past few years.

THE GREAT GRILLED CHEESE CHALLENGE

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan

Hosted at the gorgeous Luxe Appliance Studio, we invited Cheese Boutique Maitre Fromager Afrim Pristine to show some of Toronto’s favourite foodies Canola-based methods worth melting over.

“I love using Canola Oil for cooking because of the high smoke point and neutral flavor. Canola is light, delicate and healthy, it’s the perfect fat to cook with,” shared Pristine.

An Ambassador of Cheese, as designated by the Order of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage de France, Afrim is the youngest to have ever been inducted into the Guide Internationale Des Fromagers, a distinction only held by 50 individuals in the world.

Alongside Pristine, event host Joey Salmingo (Today’s Shopping Choice) plus our expert guest judges, Kevin Durkee (Culinary Adventure Co.) and Matt Basile (Fidel Gastro’s), it was time for our guests to get cheesy! After a live demonstration by Pristine on how he made his favourite recipe, a Beef Brisket And Boerenkaas Gouda Grilled Cheese, our attendees were paired up for their own grilled cheese challenge. Ingredients provided included spicy pulled pork, roast beef, various cheeses, poblano peppers and, of course, Canola.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Branding & Buzzing team during the GREAT GRILLED CHEESE CHALLENGE. They made it very easy, very fun and, most importantly, all of the guests had a great time. From the moment it started to when it ended, it was thought through very carefully. They also gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted which allowed me to be creative.” – Afrim Pristine.

Hungry for more about the Great Grilled Cheese Challenge? Have a look at Julie Miguel’s recap on Daily Tiramisu!

ABC FARM RETREAT: ASPARAGUS + BBQ + CANOLA

Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

May is celebrated as National Barbecue Month and there was no better time to board local street food master Matt Basile and some specially-selected chefs on a field trip straight to the farm!

This customized culinary retreat would serve as an opportunity for chefs to pick their own vegetables and inspire fresh additions to their own foodservice menus. Guests included Rory White (Top Chef), Rob Bragagnolo (CAMPO Food HallCarver), Stefan Gadit (W Montreal Hotel), Brent Maxwell (Estia), Nuit and Jeff Regular (Pai) and our host for the day, Matt Basile.

Known as the self-proclaimed rebel without a kitchen, Basile is the owning creator of Fidel Gastro’s, a popular Toronto gastropub, and Lisa Marie, its sister street food restaurant. In addition to his work behind the line and behind the wheel of his critically-acclaimed food truck, Priscilla, Basile has also hosted his own television show, Rebel Without A Kitchen, and bestselling cookbook alongside his partner, Kyla Zanardi, called “Street Food Diaries.” His food truck has been recognized as one of the top in the country by Sharp Magazine, Canadian Living Magazine and the Awestruck Ontario Street Food Awards.

Meanwhile, in the country, Andrews’ Scenic Acres Owner/Farmer Bert Andrews guided our guests through the how-to’s of harvesting followed by a hands-on experience of vegetable picking in the fresh rhubarb fields. It was then time for a stop at Harvest Goodies for a lesson in the Canola Crush, the process of extracting Canola Oil from the seeds, plus a mid-day treat of Estrella Damm and Red Snapper Ceviche. This rural adventure was then wrapped up with a surprise wine tasting, compliments of Scotch Block Winery’s Matt Setzkorn, and a barbecue meal among the apple fields, featuring Chef Basile’s Shaved Asparagus Spring Salad.

See more of our fun Farm Retreat with this photo diary by Suzie Durigon of Just Crumbs!

SWEET & SAVOURY: FUSING FLAVOURS

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan

With Instagram being today’s top digital tool for sharing memories and influential inspiration for generations older and newer, we decided to invite some of the city’s most high-profile foodie Instagrammers back to Luxe Appliance Studios for a sweet and savoury lesson in flavour fusion, hosted by none other than DaiLo Chef/Owner Nick Liu.

Voted among the Top 100 Chefs by Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and listed in Vogue Magazine’s “11 Reasons Foodies Should Be Flocking to Toronto” for his work at his New Asian cuisine hotspot, DaiLo, this family-orientated Scarborough native couldn’t wait to teach our attendees how to recreate his famous Crispy Hakka Wontons. What made FUSING FLAVOURS extra special was that these creations were inspired by a personal recipe passed down by Liu’s own grandmother.

This soon sparked a conversation among the group about how they as individuals could actively pass important knowledge on good food and farm-grown ingredients to new generations, including members of their own families.

Fill your screen with more of the Fusing Flavours experience with a visual recap by Alexandra Fernando

MAMMA MIA!

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Chan

In celebration of National Pizza Month, on a beautiful October day, we heated the ovens and excitement of local parenting bloggers by hosting a special pizza pie day with TV host/producer Michelle Jobin and our distinguished culinary guest, Chef Victor Barry.

Chef-Owner of Toronto’s Piano Piano Restaurant, Barry has dedicated his career to engaging guests in his offerings of traditional Italian dishes including his highly-acclaimed wood-fired pizzas. Chef Barry has also been recognized with the top culinary designation of making the Canada’s 100 Best list for his accomplishments at his former Italian establishment, Splendido. Since then, Barry has not only opened and operated Piano Piano but has also launched Cafe Cancan, a contemporary take on traditional French bistros in Toronto’s Harbord neighbourhood.

Hosted at Bowmanville’s Link Greenhouse with location owner Lisa Mulders, Mamma Mia showcased for our guests an inside perspective on the efforts and processes behind growing fresh produce items including lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. This created a deeper appreciation and understanding among the group toward the complex transitions of food from the farms, gardens and fields to their dinner tables.

This refreshing experience was topped off with a special Canola-made pizza lunch prepared by Chef Barry. We’re grateful for our YEMMies (Young, Educated Millennial Mothers) for taking time away from their families to join ours on such a farm-to-table adventure!

Learn more fun facts about the Mamma Mia tour and Canadian Canola with Michelle Jobin here.

HOLIDAY BAKING

Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

Nothing has said Canola Christmas quite like the farm-to-table festivities we have celebrated with our Canola Workshops. In 2016, we invited local cookbook author and professional home economist Emily Richards to lead our hands-on workshop.

With a Bachelor of Science in her field and a University of Western Ontario-granted Specialization in Food and Nutrition, Emily has built her name upon her ever-growing experience in recipe development and cookbook writing, all in the name of good food. She has also contributed to the industry as a media spokesperson, food stylist, content producer and television host, having appeared on Canadian Living Test Kitchen and the Food Network.

For HOLIDAY BAKING, Emily donned an apron alongside our beloved foodie guests, ready to bake some of the family recipes found in her latest cookbook, Per La Famiglia. These dishes were classic Italian-inspired and multi-generational, including Charcuterie-Stuffed Panzerotti, Potato Donuts and Bomboloni di Nutella, all made with fresh Canola Oil.

Warming hearts before departure, Emily also shared ideas on not only eating as a family but also the fun and connection behind cooking as one.

For even more on Holiday Baking, plus an additional recipe, visit the Friendly Food Snobs.

LOVE YOUR HEART

(Alexandra Feswick) Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

With February the month of all things love and hearts, we gathered some of the city’s most beloved dieticians and health professionals for an intimate night of nutrient-based meal inspo and Canola-made cuisine. Our special guest for this event was none other than fresh food expert and Chef Alexandra Feswick.

Having worked in a kitchen since the age of 15, Alexandra enrolled in George Brown College to further her culinary career and worked at various locations across the city before taking on the position of Chef du Cuisine at the infamous Drake Hotel and joining the ranks of Toronto’s Food Runners club. A lover of meals enjoyed in the fields from which the ingredients came, Alexandra brings the Drake fresh ideas on taking more local and homemade approaches to its already in-demand cuisine and, for that, we could not be more thankful for her presence at our culinary workshop.

Our guests were soon treated to healthy helpings of freshly-made appetizers including Pommes Anna with Anchovy Chili & Cured Yolk and Marinated Zucchini with Fresh Ricotta. They were also provided servings of Alexandra’s heart-healthy Green Goddess Power Bowls, comprised of brussels sprouts, beets, avocados, sweet potatoes, black beans and more.

“The combination of veggies is endless!” – Chef Alexandra.

Bring the taste of Love Your Heart to your kitchen with a recap, and a copy of Alexandra’s recipe, with Nutrition by Nazima.

CANADIAN-MADE BBQ

Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

With everyone across the country BBQing in celebration of Canada’s 150 in the summer of 2017, we couldn’t resist throwing a Canadian-themed party of our own for some of our food loving friends. Of course, no BBQ-themed event of this nature would have been complete without bringing back our meat master, Matt Basile!

“Over the past 5 years, I’ve had the privilege of working with Branding & Buzzing on a number of amazing food-related events. They bring organization and creativity to every single event and trust in me to deliver memorable food. No matter what we’ve worked on, it has always felt collaborative and I know they care about the final product which is why I continue to work with them year after year.” – Matt Basile.

Our menu, curated by Basile himself, included Hot Honey-Smoked Wings, PEI Mussels in Cippolini Broth, Bison Rib-Eye with Mint, Pea & Asparagus and Heirloom Tomato Salad. This Canola-licious meal was complimented with Sauvignon Blanc, compliments of Two Sisters Vineyards.

After partaking in a salad dressing demonstration and a Canola-inspired sauce-making challenge, Matt encouraged our guests to find their own individualized ways of being “locavores” for Canada.

“Local means different things to different people. To me, it means supporting the Canadian farmers, but it also means buying supplies from the shops in our neighbourhood. If you can’t get to the prairies, at least get to your local purveyor. Canadians supporting Canadians is what the next 150 is all about.”

Endless thanks to our guests for making our Canada 150 so special, and to Joanna Sable, Consultant to gourmet food garnish company Sable & Rosenfeld, for allowing us to host at her beautiful home, contributing further to such a family BBQ feeling.

Continue the celebration with a colourful replay by Hip Mommies‘ Jennifer Myers Chua. 

TAPAS INTO THE PINXTOS CHALLENGE

Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

With the chill of winter on its merry way, there was no better concept for finish off the 2017 season than one of warm, delicious comfort food with a special, challenging twist.

Fresh octopus on-hand, CAMPO Food Hall’s Chef Rob Bragagnolo guided our group of knowledge-hungry food writers through blanching the mollusc with a brief history of tapas and emphasis on the use of local ingredients. Our guests were soon divided into groups to invent their own dish invention using pintxos ingredients, including Canola Oil!

“Canola is a great oil to use for infusions,” explained Chef Rob, “it doesn’t have an overpowering flavour which really allows it to take on the characteristics of the herbs and spices you put in it. I use Canola for all of my oil infusions.”

Ending the TAPAS INTO THE PINXTOS CHALLENGE on a savory note, everyone sat down for a Mediterranean-inspired meal of Chef’s Chicken Empanadas with Aioli.

Tap into more Pinxtos Challenge deliciousness with Carmyy‘s event recap and recipe!


One unified goal and accomplishment through these interactive events has been our undeniable undertaking and success in bridging the gap between rural and urban, producer and consumer, family farmers and city creators.

“The conversations we have together create a personal connection between family farm and food community. This ability to bring a real story of a family farm from Two Hills, Alberta to Toronto has given insight to those that may have never even met a farmer.” – Jeannette Andrashewski.

(Jeanette Adrashewski) Photo Credit: Josh Tenn-Yuk

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