[Event with Video] St. Lawrence Market, Evening at the Market 2016

Website: http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/
Address: St. Lawrence Market, South Building, 92-95 Front St. E, Toronto, ON
When I attended: Nov. 10th, 2016 7-10 pm

I guess the word got out on how amazing the event was last year (read about my 2015 experience), as the tickets sold out quickly and the St. Lawrence market, Evening At The Market was packed! My blogger friend Linda of Starving Foodie and I strategically picked vendors with shorter lines, and ate a ton as usual. The $75 ticket included all food and drinks from the 64 St. Lawrence Market merchants with the proceeds benefiting Second Harvest charity.

Caviar Direct

Caviar Direct

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Mike's seafood

Mike’s seafood

The vibe was buzzin’ with a jazz band and circus performers, as well as a cooking demo from Toronto Chef Claudio Aprile. Chef Aprile showed us how to make a Spanish style stuffed boneless turkey, with a homemade cranberry sauce. I love learning new recipes and techniques, so watching the demo was the highlight of my evening.

Chef Claudio Aprile

Chef Claudio Aprile

The  1 minute video showcases the vibe inside the historical building and more food porn. Thank you St. Lawrence Market for the invitation!

*Disclosure:   My pair of admission tickets were complimentary but the opinions in the post are my own.

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[Event with videos] Highlights of the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference 2016 #FBC2016

Website: http://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/
Location:
Delta Toronto Hotel, 75 Lower Simcoe St., Toronto, ON
Date Attended:
Oct. 21st to Oct. 23rd, 2016

I am a proud member of Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC); a community of Canadian food bloggers. I was excited for my first FBC Conference, and it was conveniently located in Toronto this year. I was particularly excited for “me time” without the kids, and seized the opportunity to network, eat a ton, and take notes during the workshops. FBC founders Melissa Hartfiel and Ethan Adeland did an incredible job at organizing the successful conference which capped the attendance to 150 food bloggers to maximize networking opportunities.

I could have written several posts to cover all the sessions I attended and the lessons learned, but I wanted to reflect the things that stood out to me most.

#FBC2016

#FBC2016

Here’s a snapshot of my 3 day weekend schedule:

Friday:  Farm and Food Care Farm Tour, cocktail reception and dinner with a keynote speaker
Saturday: Breakfast, 4 workshops, lunch, desserts with bloggers, dinner
Sunday: Breakfast and coffee break, speakers, network with brands, lunch

#FBC2016 Dinner day 1

#FBC2016 Dinner day 1

Here are the top 6 highlights of #FBC2016:

1. Farm and Food Care Farm Tour. There were about 20 of us that attended the early morning tour to 2 Ontario farms to Beverly Greenhouses and Summitholm Holsteins. The intimate setting allowed for great networking, and to learn a ton about cucumber and dairy farming. I recommend the farm tour to future attendees.

Check out the farm tour in the 1 minute video:

 

2. The food was amazing! Being a food bloggers conference, the food better be damn good! For the sponsored buffet breakfasts and lunches, I wish I had a bigger tummy to fit in everything. The best meal of the conference was the Canadian Lentils Dinner held at Montecito Restaurant.

See what we ate!

FBC Sponsors

FBC Sponsors

Dessert time at Montecito restaurant

Dessert time at Montecito restaurant

3. The connections! I did not meet everyone who attended, but I was able to strike many meaningful conversations during and after the conference with bloggers and sponsors, and have gained valuable resources. I also made new friends.

4. “Do the work” was the theme of the 2016 conference, and I couldn’t agree more. Big props to all the food bloggers out there! Food bloggers are writers, editors, photographers, food stylers, marketers, and content creators all in one. When you notice a blogger’s success, remember that hard work was put into it.

With the various workshops that I attended, Heather Travis’ “key messaging for bloggers” was most valuable for me at this time. Before I revamp my website, figuring out “why am I blogging, and what I want to cover” is important.

5. The motivation!  There were many inspirational stories from speakers including Chef Dennis Prescott, Deb Perelman, Neolle Chorney and Claire Tansey. I couldn’t retain all the information from the entire weekend, but the motivation will get me off my feet.

Founders of Food Bloggers of Canada, Melissa and Ethan

Founders of Food Bloggers of Canada, Melissa and Ethan

6. “This is your journey!”  I love this quote. It’s easy to get bogged down on what other bloggers are doing. I will define my success, rather than to benchmark it based on another person’s journey. I will continue to do what feels right to me.

I was asked recently, “so what’s the end goal for you? Do you want to write a cook book, teach, or become a full-time writer?” I am not sure, but I don’t want this blogging journey to end.

If you attended this year or previous years, what did you enjoy the most about the conference? If you are thinking of attending next year, do you have any questions? Comment below. I would love to hear from you!

Next year, it will be the 5th annual FBC Conference and Canada’s 150th birthday, so it is appropriately held in Ottawa. I can’t wait for #FBC2017!

Thank you for the fabulous swag bag!

Thank you for the fabulous swag bag! #FBC2016

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Introducing The Taste Box, featuring chef-inspired ingredients

Launched in the fall of 2016, The Taste Box, is a monthly subscription food box that features Chef-inspired ingredients. Each month, there is a new theme to keep things interesting. In October, the theme was Pasta is Love and November was Sugar and Spice. 

I received the November box and was thoroughly impressed with the packaging and the quality of the items. Each quality item was selected by owners Matt and Jenni (read more about them). I am currently taking a baking course at George Brown College so this box came at a great time. The card in the box provides details of each items including the suggested retail price, as well as suggested recipes utilizing the ingredients. I truly believe it’s a great value.

As an example of the quality, according to the card description, the ‘Chatsworth Summer Floral Honey’ never goes bad and is 100% natural. The Saigon Cinnamon is considered the variety that has superior flavour and aroma due to more essential oils.

The Taste Box

The Taste Box

The Sugar and Spice Taste Box

The Sugar and Spice Taste Box

The November 2016 Taste Box included:

  • Chatsworth Summer Floral Honey
  • Spice Trader Baking Spice
  • Spice Trader Saigon Cinnamon
  • Mexican Whole Vanilla Bean
  • Whole Nutmeg

The boxes are perfect for food lovers who want to try out new ingredients each month, or perfect for a gift.

HOW TO ORDER?

There are only a limited amount each of the Taste Boxes each month. The individual boxes are $34.95 (no subscription required) plus a $5 flat shipping fee http://buff.ly/2fy8b4x. The monthly subscription price is a only $29.95 and subscribers can skip any of the boxes or cancel anytime.

I have already placed my order! For more information, visit http://www.thetastebox.co/

Periodically, they have flash sales where the first box is 50% off. Follow them on https://www.instagram.com/thetastebox/ for updates

*Disclosure: I received the November box from The Taste Box complimentary but the opinions in the post are my own.

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[Contest Closed] Win an Italpasta Mac & Cheese Prize Pack

Until this month, I had no idea that Italpasta made macaroni and cheese. I haven’t had boxed mac and cheese for at least 10 years, but I was happy to try out the samples I had received.

The curiosity in me had to compare the Italpasta version to the Kraft dinner. For both brands, the type of macaroni they used were identical for their original flavour, and the instructions were similar.

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Italpasta’s Original flavour came out lighter in colour with a milder taste than KDs.

Ital Pasta's Original Mac & Cheese

Ital Pasta’s Original Mac & Cheese

I want you to try Italpasta’s new mac and cheese for yourself! Italpasta’s flavours include original, extra creamy, and white chedder. There are no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, and is made with 100% Canadian wheat and real Canadian chedder. It is available at Freshco, Loblaws, Zehrs, Valumart and Your Independent Grocer.

THE CONTEST IS CLOSED. THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS VICKIE (@Kiki_BFF). CONGRATULATIONS! 

ENTER HERE

TO WIN THE ITALPASTA MAC AND CHEESE PRIZE PACK!

The prize pack includes a pair of cozy socks, a cheese plush, a cozy blanket, and two packages of mac and cheese.

Ital Pasta mac and cheese

Ital Pasta mac and cheese

Contest Rules: 

  • The contest will run from Monday Nov. 21st to  Fri. Nov. 25th , 2016  11:59 PM EST
  • There is only 1 winner and the prize is not transferable.
  • All winners must be willing to provide their full name, e-mail address and a mailing address.
  • The contest is opened to Canadian residents only.
  • The prize pack may not look identical to the box shown in the blog post.
  • The prize winner will be announced on my blog (First name and initial of last name only, with Twitter handle if applicable).
  •  The winner will be chosen randomly using  https://www.random.org/. Mary’s Happy Belly will conduct quality checks.
  • I will contact the winner by direct message on Twitter, e-mail or Facebook.
  •  The winner will be notified by November 27th, 2016 and must respond before the end of the day. Failure to respond in a timely manner means that another prize winner will be chosen. The winner will eventually be announced on the blog.

Good luck!

* Disclosure: I did receive samples to try out the Italpasta mac and cheese and collaborated with a PR company for the giveaway. The opinions regarding the mac and cheese are my own.

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[Recipe] Chef Chuck Hughes Easy Tomato Pie

Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes recently partnered with LG Canada with a #LGChuckBites campaign to showcase his recipes using LG appliances.

In November 2016, a few food writers and I were invited to a small cooking studio downtown Toronto to watch Chuck in action in the kitchen whipping up a delicious tomato pie. We were able to chat, get a tour of the kitchen, and taste the pie. Being a huge Chuck fan, this intimate and engaging experience surpasses my previous encounters (read about my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time meeting Chuck Hughes). I can’t wait to add our picture to my signed memorabilia collection from Chuck.

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The tomato pie recipe that Chuck adapted from his mom was easy to make and tasty! The assembling really takes about 5 minutes once all the ingredients are gathered. The pie had 2 layers of tomatoes and cheese and a sauce made with egg and mayo to bind the ingredients together, on top of a flaky phyllo crust. We had a light arugula salad with fresh herbs on the side. If you can’t find phyllo pastry, store-bought pie crust is a great substitute.

Chuck's tomato pie us ready for the oven

Chuck’s tomato pie us ready for the oven

CHEF CHUCK HUGHES TOMATO PIE WITH HERB SALAD RECIPE (Courtesy of LG Canada). 

chuckhughestomatopie

 

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Chef Chuck Hughes

Chef Chuck Hughes

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The pie was baked in the LG electric range with a ProBake Convection™ System. The heating element in the oven is at the back, instead of the bottom which promotes even cooking and a breeze to clean.

The LG French 3 door fridge in the kitchen was not only the coolest and nicest fridge I have ever seen, it is functional with lots of storage space inside as well. When you knock on the right door of the fridge, the window lights up and the contents in the fridge can be seen. Read the specs of the LFXS30796D model.

Picture courtesy of LG Canada

Picture courtesy of LG Canada

lfxs30796d model. :icture courtesy of LG Canada

lfxs30796d model. Picture courtesy of LG Canada

I look forward to using Chef Hughes brand of products that he is proud to produce and put his name on. The all-natural hot sauce and extra virgin olive oil will taste great with the tomato pie!

Chef Chuck Hughes products

Chef Chuck Hughes products

*Disclosure: I was invited to the cooking studio with all food, drinks and swag bag complimentary. All opinions in the post are my own.

For more exciting updates, make sure to follow my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/maryshappybelly/

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Contest Closed: Win tickets for the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo and see Mary Tang & Chef Yoshimi live on stage courtesy of The Chef & The Dish

Website: http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/sitepages/, #GFWE, http://www.thechefandthedish.com/
Address: Metro Toronto Conventrion Centre, 255 Front St. W, Toronto, ON
Event Dates: Nov. 17th to Nov. 20th, 2016

The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is a must attend event and has a special place in my heart. Writing about the expo was one of my first posts when I started my blog (read about my 2013 and 2015 GFWE experience). I remember telling Chef Roger Mooking that I was going to start a food blog, and he asked me a bunch of questions on what I would write about. At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure. Fast forward to today, I don’t just get to write about an awesome event, I get to be part of it.

gfwepic
On Friday November 18th, 2016 at 8:00pm, watch me cook ON STAGE where I will get step-by-step coaching by Chef Yoshimi who will be joining us LIVE FROM JAPAN, via Skype. Chef Yoshimi owns and teaches at one of the most popular cooking schools in Tokyo, Japan.

Together, we will be making authentic Japanese dishes. I can’t wait to connect with Chef Yoshimi for the first time, to cook, learn and to find out what we will be cooking.

chefyoshimiandi

About The Chef & The Dish 

The Chef & The Dish is a global, online kitchen to kitchen cooking experience owned by Jenn Nicken who has an impressive experience in the tech industry. Through her travels, Jenn had an opportunity to immerse herself in the food and culture of various regions. The start-up combines her life long passion for food with her technology experience.

With The Chef & The Dish, food lovers can learn from top chefs from around the world in the comfort of their home with a personal cooking classes live via Skype.

Clients get step-by-step coaching, cooking tips, learn about the chef’s culture, and of course – together they cook a series of iconic dishes – all with a chef that’s based where the dish originated. How cool is that?

During the expo, four chefs from The Chef & The Dish – based in Japan, Italy, New Orleans and Charlotte – will Skype in to the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo where they will be coaching a person on stage to make an authentic dish from their region (schedule each day). Each demonstration includes an interactive cooking lesson and the audience will get to taste the dishes.

Connect with The Chef & The Dish and Chef Yoshimi:

Chef & The Dish’s website, Instagram @TheChefandthedish and Facebook.
Chef Yoshimi’s bio, Instagram @tokyo_kitchen & Facebook 

I want you to experience the spectacular expo for yourself by winning yourself a pair of tickets to the expo, and come see me in action!gfwe

THE CONTEST IS CLOSED FOR A PAIR OF TICKETS TO THE GOURMET FOOD AND WINE EXPO

THE WINNERS ARE Jassy @jassy__m, Alice @fortheloveoftastyfood, and Christina O. Congratulations!!

Each pair is worth $50+ and there are 3 pairs to be won!

CONTEST RULES:

  • There are 3 pairs to give-away valid for any day or evening session during the expo dates (Thurs Nov. 17th to Sunday Nov. 20th).
  • The winner will receive a pair of tickets through e-mail.
  • Attendees of the expo must be 19+.
  • The prize is not transferable.
  • The contest will run from Monday Nov. 7th to  Nov. 11th, 2016  11:59 PM EST
  • All winners must be willing to provide their full name and e-mail address.
  • The contest is opened to Canadian residents only.
  • I will also be running a contest on my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/maryshappybelly/. The contestants from the Instagram contest will be combined with entries from my blog.
  •  The winner will be chosen randomly using https://www.random.org/. Mary’s Happy Belly will conduct quality checks.
  • I will contact the winner by direct message on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.
  •  The winner will be notified by November 13th, 2016 and must respond before the end of the day. Failure to respond in a timely manner means that another prize winner will be chosen. The winner will eventually be announced on the blog

Good luck!

Head to The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo’s website for more information http://www.foodandwineexpo.ca/ and also follow them on Twitter for updates (@GFWE).

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS!

*Disclosure: I have partnered up with the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo for the give-away.

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