This is the illustrious list of Food Day Canada Judges for 2011- 2012. We have great chefs, great food communicators and great academics who will be overseeing the distribution of the Food Day Canada Awards.
Elizabeth Baird’s career spans nearly four decades. The contribution of her first cookbook, Classic Canadian Cooking, in 1974, started her on her career as one of the most powerful – if not fundamental – contributors to food writing in Canada. During her many years with Canadian Living magazine, Elizabeth broke so much new ground that it’s impossible to recount her full resume. Elizabeth believes that food, lovingly prepared and shared, encourages us to connect with each other and to nurture and sustain our Canadian rituals, traditions and heritage She has attended feasts, festivals and fall suppers across the country, has visited restaurants, family kitchens and schools, finding and sharing stories and recipes that feature the very best of Canadian cuisine. She cooks in both official languages.
Now “retired” from her position as Executive Food Editor of Canadian Living, she volunteers at Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto as an Historical Cook, and continues to mentor and support young culinarians with her work on the Board of the Stratford Chef School and writes a regular food column for Sun Media which is one of the most popular and sought-after in the chain.
Jud Simpson is Parliament Hill’s Executive Chef. Each day, Chef Simpson oversees the production of a staggering 1,500 to 2,000 meals. Committed to the ideals of Canadian cuisine, he develops relationships with independent producers to highlight and showcase food products from all regions of the country. Chef Simpson and his team also represented his hometown of Toronto at the World Culinary Olympics in Germany in 1988, winning gold. He returned home from the success of his first Olympics with a love of international culinary competition that would engage him for years to come. He competed in the Olympics three more times: in 1992, as Team Captain representing Toronto; in 2000, as Team Manager of Culinary Team Ontario; and in 2004 as Manager of Culinary Team Canada. All teams have won gold and ranked predominantly on the world stage. He is Past President and current Chairman of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CCFCC).
Chef Michael Smith is Canada’s best-known chef. For all his stardom, Michael Smith lives large in Canada and particularly on Prince Edward Island where he is that Province’s official food ambassador. Michael advocates simplicity and sustainability in his cooking, his broadcasting and in his award winning cookbooks. Now his fourth, The Best of Chef at Home, is a smash hit across Canada. This third new series is the highest rated Canadian series on Food Network. It features a behind the scenes peak at his real home kitchen and how he cooks for his family. Michael is internationally known for his dedication to the indigenous producers of Canada as well as his contemporary creative cuisine. In his spare time he’s an extreme windsurfer and map collector.
Dr Sinclair Philip is co-founder of Slow Food Canada. Holding a PhD Political Science, Sinclair Philip has made personal commitment to the understanding of Canada’s food culture. With his wife/partner, Frederique, Sinclair has inspired dozens and mentored more atSooke Harbour House, likely the most honoured inn of its size in the nation, if not on the continent. Frederique and Sinclair were honoured at Rideau Hall as the first recipients of the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table (Mentorship and Inspiration.) He is Slow Food Canada’s International Liaison and one of the founders of that organization in Canada.
James Chatto coordinates a pan-national panel for the Canadian Culinary Championship known also as Gold Medal Plates. He is a prolific writer and is on the Advisory Council for the Governor General’s Awards in Celebration of the Nation’s Table. He is the author of The Seducer’s Cookbook, A Kitchen in Corfu, and The Man Who ate Toronto, co-author of The Chef’s Table and (Canadian best-seller) A Matter of Taste, and has contributed to seven other cookbooks. The winner of many Canadian and American awards for his food and travel writing, he has been nominated three times for James Beard Foundation awards and three times by the World Food Media Awards, most recently as the world’s best restaurant critic. He has judged a broad spectrum of competitions from Canada’s Bocuse d’Or to Michael Stadtlander’s Eager Beaver fundraiser to the Food Network’s CheF*off!
Alison Bell is a food educator and chef at David Thompson Secondary School in Invermere, British Columbia. With a strong commitment to bolstering the local food system by working with local farmers, Alison’s passion for simply-prepared, delicious foods using the freshest ingredients has always guided her cooking and teaching practices. Canadian Regional cuisine takes a prominent place on the menus served at the Rocky Mountain Café, the school’s cafeteria, where the professional cooking students learn the art of fine food preparation while cooking for their peers. One of Alison’s most rewarding achievements was to work with a dedicated team of colleagues and the community to build the award-winning Groundswell Community Greenhouse, next to the school. Her students grow a wide variety of organic vegetables in the greenhouse for the school café and throughout cold Rocky Mountain winters, students feast on freshly picked winter greens, scallions, radishes, edible flowers and herbs.
Alison’s culinary training began in Toronto where she apprenticed in a variety of kitchens including the Windsor Arms Hotel and Scaramouche. After travelling the world working as a private chef, caterer and chef for three America’s Cup sailing teams, Alison returned to school and obtained a BA (Hons) and BEd from Queen’s University, followed by an MA in Gastronomy from the University of Adelaide, Australia. Alison is the founder of Slow Food Columbia Valley.
Dr. Rene Van Acker is a Professor and Associate Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. His research interests include weed biology and ecology, robust cropping systems, multifunctional agriculture and the coexistence of GM and non-GM crops. Rene grew up on a farm in southwest Ontario. He holds BSc and MSc degrees in agricultural science from the University of Guelph and a PhD in agricultural ecology from the University of Reading in the UK. Rene and his wife Susie have three children and live in Guelph.
Don Genova is an British Columbia-based award-winning freelance journalist specializing in food and travel. He also teaches cooking classes, and courses in food and travel writing and sustainable gastronomy. His stories on radio, television, in print and on the web share the fascinating backgrounds of farmers and food artisans passionate about what they raise, grow and produce. Don is best known for his CBC Radio columns ‘Pacific Palate’, which ran on the Vancouver morning show, and ‘Food For Thought’, which aired on CBC radio stations across Canada and celebrated all aspects of food in Canada and around the world. Don’s latest column with CBC Radio Victoria is called ‘Island Artisans’, in which small food and beverage producers from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are introduced to a provincial audience.
Don has written regular columns on the food and restaurant scene for such publications as BC Restaurant News, Shared Vision, Aqua, Foodtv.ca and Small Farm Canada. His food and travel articles have been published by the Globe and Mail, National Post, enRoute, the Georgia Straight, BC Business Magazine and others. Don won two awards in 2005 from the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation: Gold for Monthly Press Reporting; Bronze for Press Feature. Don has also been nominated for four James Beard Foundation Media Awards, twice for ‘Food For Thought’, once for his podcast, ‘All You Can Eat’, and this year for a 2010 CBC Radio network special called ‘The Canadian Table’. He earned a Masters of Food Culture from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy in 2007.
Throughout her career, Melanie Kwong has been drawn to organizations that represent and promote the best of Canada. She began her career in public affairs with the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum, later joining Export Development Canada and serving as press secretary to Jim Watson during his first term as Mayor of Ottawa.
Working for Governors General Adrienne Clarkson and Michaëlle Jean gave Melanie her first opportunity to marry her love of food to her love of Canada. Rideau Hall proudly presents the Nation’s Table and Melanie contributed to several projects that promote Canadian food and wine.
Melanie is now with Parks Canada, the federal agency that ensures the presentation and protection of our country’s cultural and natural treasures.
Dr Tanya MacLaurin is a professor at University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Before joining the faculty of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in 1991, Dr. MacLaurin focused on a successful practitioner career in the dietetic, sensory evaluation and foodservice industries. Coming from an internationally rich background, her contribution in judging the menu awards will be invaluable.
Michael Allemeier CCC, is a both a culinary arts instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (S.A.I.T.) and a culinary consultant. His time spent in the kitchens of Canada has been rich. From the Delta Hotels in Winnipeg he headed west to Vancouver to Bishops where he was promoted to Executive Chef in 1993. It was this restaurant’s monumentally high standards and commitment to using local, seasonal ingredients that really defined Allemeier’s style as a chef!
From Bishops he became the Restaurant Chef at the Fairmont Whistler’s Wildflower Restaurant then on to become Executive Chef at Calgary’s Teatro where he helped define that city’s rapidly evolving culinary landscape. Whenever there was a food event, he was in the middle of it.
Then in 2003, Allemeier’s passion for food and wine pairing was realized with the call to man the stoves at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley. There he launched the Terrace Restaurant, created a culinary school, private dining program, retail line of preserves, designed and built Canada’s first Varietal Kitchen Garden. Of his raft of awards and accolades the most notable occurred while he was Winery Chef at Mission Hill Family Estate, when he was awarded the honour of leading one of the “Top Five Winery Restaurants in the World” by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
Michael Alleimeir’s food voice is strong, whether it’s in the S.A.I.T. classroom, in the kitchen, as an author (He co-authored the book Bishop’s – The Cookbook and has contributed recipes to several cookbooks such as: Anita Stewart’s Canada, Pacific Northwest – Wining and Dining, Cooking with BC Wines, Barbecue Secret Deluxe, Planking Secrets, On Cooking, Vancouver Cooks, High Plains – The Joy of Alberta Cuisine, Cook Like a Chef, Food and Wine – annual cookbook 2005 and Fresh Canadian Bistro) or as a television star ( he was one of the principle hosts of 20 episodes of Food Network’s – Cook Like a Chef.)
Food Day Canada Panelist Emeritus : Judy Creighton has had a long and lustrous career in journalism. She is a consummate reporter. Tenacious, determined, focused; she has covered the Canadian culinary scene with the thoroughness that few can muster. She is a strident and an honest observer of Canada. Her by-line has become of the most well-recognized in Canadian food journalism.
While she will not be judging Food Day Canada entries for 2011, we want to honour her commitment and thank her for all her help in 2011.