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Fabulous Toronto Taste 2003 for Second Harvest (June 3, 2003)


It's back, and more sumptuous than ever! Toronto Taste 2003 is this Sunday, June 8th, at Exhibition Place, Heritage Court, and tickets are still available – call 416-408-2594 right now. You may also order from the web site at

Clearly, it's Toronto's best and most exciting culinary event of the year. The food and wine are extraordinary, as is the beneficiary, Second Harvest, Canada's largest fresh food recovery program. Every day, 11,000 meals are provided from the donated food picked up and delivered by Second Harvest's four refrigerated trucks. This is fresh food that would otherwise go to waste from caterers, restaurants, grocery stores and food suppliers.

Too many are hungry these days; it's harder and harder for more and more people of all ages to simply make ends meet. Second Harvest relies on Toronto Taste to provide 1/3 of its annual budget, so the underlying reason for attending this fabulous affair is even more compelling!

Now, really, when was the last time you could ask Susur, Anne, Hart or Albino for seconds, or Dufflet for another slice of dessert? Roberta and Michael are here too, and oh, look... yoohoo, Donald, I'd love some of your Icewine!

The great news is that not only do you get a fabulous few hours of sheer culinary extravagance and pleasure from more than a hundred chefs, wineries and beverage suppliers, you'll also be helping to put otherwise lost food in front of those who need it most.

Icing on this cake? You just might win the Great Escapes or Williams-Sonoma Shopping Spree, and of course you'll take home some fabulous products and services from the silent auction.

Toronto Taste at Heritage Court is waiting for you, and right now there are just a few tickets left. They cost $175 per person (with a generous tax receipt) – an unbelievable bargain for such a feast! Don't miss out this year; you know you have to be there. Neal, nobody does foie gras like you do, may I please have another? And Tony, what wine should I try?

Come join us! Call 416-408-2594 for tickets, or visit

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (94 KB)


Rack of Lamb with Pecan Honey Mustard Crust and Green Onion Mint Pesto

Oh, Mark, you've done it again... may I please have another little chop? From North 44 and Chef Mark McEwan comes this fabulous combination that will dazzle you and your guests. McEwan's high-resolution focus and standards have created one of North America's top restaurants; the service is perfect, the food glorious. This lamb dish is typical – McEwan told us, "I don't like food that is overspun; if I serve lamb, I want it to taste of lamb." And we can tell you he has succeeded handsomely.

Serves 4

  • 2 racks of lamb, about 1¼ lb. each
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped toasted pecan
  • 1 cup fresh sourdough breadcrumbs, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
    Green onion mint pesto
  • 6 green onions, trimmed
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp fine chopped jalapeño pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle lamb with 1 Tbsp oil and rub with thyme.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes. Place skillet in oven and roast lamb for 10 minute.

Stir together honey, mustard, salt and pepper in small bowl.

Combine pecans and breadcrumbs in separate bowl.

Spread lamb with honey mixture, then coat with breadcrumb mixture, letting excess fall into skillet. Drizzle with melted butter. Return to oven and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until desired doneness. Let rest, covered for about 5 minutes.

Puree green onions, mint, vinegar, pine nuts, sugar, lemon rind, jalapeño and salt in food processor. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Slice lamb between bones. Serve with pesto.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
The classic match for lamb is red Bordeaux, but the crusting suggests a New World Merlot or Cab with a touch of sweetness in the fruit. Try a BC Merlot or Ontario Cabernet Franc.


Scallop Boudin

From Jov Bistro come these marvelous plump little scallop sausages. Bursting with flavour and served atop a colourful arugula salad, this is a smart little meal to serve friends or visiting royalty! Chef Owen Steinberg knows his stuff – he trained under master Didier Leroy. It shows, too: there is a classical precision beneath the imaginative conception of his dishes that has already made him one of the city's brightest rising stars.

Serves 6

  • 1 lb. scallops
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 feet sausage casings
    Arugula salad
  • 1 bunch arugula, trimmed
  • 1½ cup carrot strings (cut with a mandoline or food processor)
  • 1½ cup cucumber strings
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 Tbsp chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup red wine vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Red wine vinaigrette
Whisk together 1 Tbsp dry red wine, 2 tsp red wine vinegar, ¼ tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ cup olive oil and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Curry cream
Stir 1 tsp curry powder in small skillet on medium-high heat until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 cup whipping cream; cook until reduced by half or until sauce coats back of spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Chop scallops in food processor until chunky. Add egg white, whipping cream, salt and pepper and puree. Stir in chives. Fill pastry bag (fitted with plain tip) with mixture and stuff casings. Tie off ends at 5-inch intervals and separate to make six sausages. (Alternate method below.*)

Place sausages in large saucepan of cold water and bring just to light simmer. Cook very gently until solid to touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.

Toss arugula, carrot, cucumber, coriander, green onions and shallot in large bowl.

Cook sausages gently in non-stick skillet on low heat until golden and heated through.

Toss salad with vinaigrette. Divide salad among 6 plates, place boudin on top and drizzle with curry cream.

*Alternate method: Roll the scallop mixture into three sausages using plastic wrap to encase them. Tie the ends with twist ties and cook in simmering water for 20 minutes or until firm. Cool, unwrap, cut into slices and cook briefly in a little olive oil in a non-stick pan.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A whole lot of taste sensations to contend with here; go with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc: Canadian Sauvignon Blanc or Sancerre (Loire).


White Chocolate and Raspberry Tart

This is Tony Aspler's favourite dessert in the world, and it surely is one of ours. Created by Robert Martella and his wife Lucia Ruggiero-Martella, owners of wonderful, much-loved Grano, this white chocolate truffle mixture studded with raspberries and encased in a pastry shell will leave you quivering with pleasure. Surly a second small slice wouldn't be tooooo sinful?

Serves 10 to 12

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (500 mL)
  • ¾ cup butter, cubed (175 mL)
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar (15 mL)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp water (15 mL)
  • 1 lb. good quality white chocolate, chopped (500 g)
  • 5 Tbsp butter (70 mL)
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream (150 mL)
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries (500 mL)

Place flour, ¾ cup (175 mL) butter and sugar in food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form. Add egg and water. Pulse again until ball of dough forms.

Roll out dough and place in an 11-inch (28 cm) flan pan. Chill for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cover dough with sheet of foil and weight with dried beans or pastry weights. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is lightly browned. Remove foil and beans and bake for 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Melt chocolate and 5 Tbs. (70 mL) butter in double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Stir in cream; remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Arrange raspberries over bottom of pastry shell and cover with chocolate mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
A rich white wine with sweetness and acidity is the right choice for this amazing dessert. Try Canadian Riesling Icewine, Recioto di Soave (Veneto) or Pedro Ximenez Sherry.

Recipes and photographs courtesy Random House Canada, publishers of The Chef's Table, by Lucy Waverman, James Chatto and Tony Aspler . Photographs courtesy Vince Noguchi.

The Chef's Table is a glorious celebration of the unique gastronomic event that is Toronto Taste, with recipes from many of the great chefs who participate in this importnat fund-raising event. Our own Tony Aspler contributed the matching wine information for each of the fabulous recipes.

Proceeds from sales of The Chef's Table will go to support the extraordinary organization, Second Harvest.

For information on Toronto Taste 2003 visit


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (94 KB)




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