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Communal Table 2019
December 3, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Beginning June 13, 2019 The Bentway offered weekly communal dining opportunities for neighbours and community members. Featuring chefs, food offerings and conversation-starters as curated by Toronto restaurant and innovative “culinary talent showcase” The Depanneur. The weekly dinners explored Toronto’s diverse culinary traditions.
Roots to Table, Indigenous Relationships with Food
June 20, 2019
As part of the Indigenous Arts Festival, The Bentway and the Fort York partnered with Carolynne Crawley for Roots to Table, Indigenous Relationships with Food. The event gathered people together for meaningful conversation and traditional Indigenous foods, catered by Pow Wow Cafe. The event included entertainment by Linda Airut, throat singer, words from Crystal Sinclair, founder of Idle No More, words from Allan Colley, Aboriginal Eco Tours, and shopping at Indigenous market booths.
About Shawn Adler
Shawn Adler is a member of Lac des Mille Lacs First Nation. He grew up in small town Ontario with a Jewish father and an Anishinaabe mother. Shawn attended the Stratford Chefs School and graduated with honours in 2000. Following chefs school, Shawn attended Trent University where he graduated with a degree in what was then called Native Studies (Indigenous Studies). Since graduating from university Shawn has owned numerous restaurants and currently runs Pow Wow Cafe in Kensington Market, which specializes in Pow Wow-style and Indigenous-inspired cuisine. In addition, Shawn owns a small restaurant in Eugenia (2 hours north of Toronto) called the Flying Chestnut Kitchen which is a bistro style restaurant featuring a constantly changing menu.
Linda Airut, Throatsinger: I was born in Iqaluit, NWT at the time and raised in Nunavut (Igloolik) north of Baffin Island. I came to this city at the age of 19 for school in arts/media and received my diploma! I stayed in Toronto after graduating to teach inuktitut, the history of inuit communities and also to share my culture! I can read, speak, and write inuktitut and understand it fluently. I was taught the traditional ways of sewing, hunting, drum dancing, throat singing, ajaa jaa and how to survive in the Arctic circle.
Carolynne Crawley: Carolynne Crawley is a Mi’kmaw woman with mixed ancestry from the East Coast. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice and supporting Indigenous led community work related to food sovereignty and food security. Carolynne has worked with one of Canada’s largest food security organizations for the past decade. She was the Indigenous Food Access Manager. During her time as the IFA Manager, she worked with James Bay remote communities to increase access to affordable and healthy foods, developed a cross cultural youth program focusing upon the Indigenous way of being in relationship with land, and organized a province wide Indigenous Food Sovereignty Gathering that included ceremonies and networking opportunities.
Crystal Sinclair: Crystal Sinclair is a Nehiyaw (Cree) Woman from Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba. Crystal received her Bachelor of Social Work Degree from Ryerson University in 1999. Crystal is employed as a Mental Health and Addictions Coordinator who works with marginalized clients within the Gladue and Mental health courts at Old City Hall in Toronto.
Crystal is an Indigenous Rights Activist and is the Founder of Idle No More Toronto. Crystal also has deep roots in the Toronto Indigenous Activist and Indigenous Artist community. Crystal represents the OPSEU Indigenous Circle and has recently joined the OPSEU Indigenous Mobilizing Team. As part of her role with the Indigenous Mobilizing Team, Crystal worked with FoodShare Toronto to visit three Northern Reserves that are looking into setting up Northern Food Markets within their communities. Crystal is very involved with clean water campaigns and knows the impact of privatization firsthand. Crystal is a recipient of OPSEU 2016 Human Rights and Equity Award.
Alan Colley (Aboriginal Eco Tours): Alan Colley is of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry who was born and raised in Tkaronto. As the founder and owner of Toronto Aboriginal Eco Tours, Alan is passionate about teaching people about the land. TAET has been operating along the Humber for the past seven years. Participants learn about the history of the Humber along with some teachings about the relationships of the land. Alan also has more than 25 years fishing experience and has led fishing tours along various rivers and lakes across Tkaronto. Alan has experience living on the land. He has also learned teachings from Indigenous Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers from coast to coast. He is also a Sundancer and an active member in Tkaronto’s Indigenous community.
Syrian Home Cooking with Newcomer Kitchen
June 27 & July 25, 2019
In early 2016, hundreds of Syrian refugee families arrived in Toronto, and while their complicated paperwork was processed, many found themselves stuck in remote hotels for months with no kitchens. The Depanneur, a small Toronto food venue, reached out with an invitation to use their kitchen, and from that small gesture of hospitality Newcomer Kitchen was born. It quickly grew into weekly pop-up producing 50 meals of traditional Syrian home cooking for pickup and delivery. The 3-year pop-up pilot, along with a social enterprise catering project, working with nearly 80 Syrian families, has served over 10,000 meals and earned more than $150,000 to date. Perhaps more importantly, it has found an exciting new way to create social and economic opportunity for talented newcomer women while enriching the culinary landscape of our city. Syria is renowned throughout the Middle East for its diverse culinary traditions, many of them reaching back thousands of years. The Communal Table menu featured a selection of traditional Syrian dishes, including regional specialties like Muhammara dip from Aleppo, as well as popular Middle Eastern favourites.
This dinner was accompanied by traditional Syrian music w/ Rahaf Al Akbani & Esmaeel Aboufakher.
About Newcomer Kitchen
Newcomer Kitchen is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating economic and social opportunities for Syrian refugee women in Toronto. Inviting Syrian refugee women to prepare and sell meals in local restaurants is an exciting new pop-up food concept that turns newcomer talent into delicious food, economic opportunity, meaningful work and a bridge between cultures. Even more exciting is the potential of a new model of equitable participation that could work with any newcomer community, in any kitchen, in any city in the world.
Spanish Paella Fiesta with José Arato
July 4 & August 01, 2019
Paella is the quintessential Spanish food of celebrations. Originating in Valencia, but with countless regional variations, this classic rice dish has five key ingredients: Spanish short-grain “Bomba” rice, saffron, pimentón (Spanish paprika), olive oil and the paellera, the wide, shallow, purpose-built pan from which the dish gets its name. José Arato, owner and Head Chef of Pimentón, built and elegant Spanish meal around this signature dish.
The starter was a grilled vegetable salad called Escalivada, whose name comes from the Catalan word escalivar, meaning “to roast over ashes or embers,” as it is traditional to cook the peppers, eggplant, zucchini, etc. over a flame. The dish is then dressed with lots of garlic, parsley, lemon & olive oil.
The centerpiece of the meal was be a spectacular, giant Chicken & Seafood Paella for 50, prepared on site in a huge 2m-wide Spanish paellera. There will also be a Vegetarian Paella available with seasonal vegetables and lima beans.
Crema Catalana is a Spanish dessert similar to creme brûlée, but cooked on the stove instead of the oven. Crema catalana uses citrus peel and sometimes cinnamon to flavor the custard, and the crisp sugar crust is traditionally caramelized using a special small round hot iron.
This meal was be accompanied by Flamenco guitar & dance w/ Shirlita La Pili.
About José Arato
Chef José Arato is the owner and Head Chef at Pimenton, a Toronto catering and gourmet food project specializing in Spanish and Mediterranean fine food. Along with paella, tapas and moroccan cooking classes, Pimentón has a stand at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers Market where you can experience Jose’s Mediterranean flavours every weekend.
Filipino Kamayan with Erwin Joaquin/Big E Grinds
July 11 & August 08, 2019
Kamayan is a Tagalog word that translates to “by hand” and refers to a traditional Filipino style of eating—communally, and without plates or utensils. A typical kamayan meal features a table covered in banana leaves which is then artfully arranged with a variety of traditional Filipino dishes served rice, condiments and garnishes.
About Erwin Joaquin
Erwin Joaquin is a passionate chef who brings the flavours of the Pacific Rim together in his catering company Big E Hawaiian Grinds. Erwin began his journey cooking Filipino cuisine beside his mother at an early age for big family parties and holiday celebrations. His palate expanded beyond the Philippines and grew into falling in love with Polynesia, in particular, Hawaiian culture where a high volume of Filipinos reside. Erwin loves to bring together food, music and culture in everything he does, in particular, family meals he hosts once a week as an open door policy at his home to family and friends. Erwin is also active in the community serving up at festivals and events around the city while catering public and private clients.
Tibetan Momos Banquet with Tsewang Chodron
July 18 & August 15, 2019
Momos — hearty dumplings of simple dough wrapped around delectable fillings, served steamed or fried with spicy sauce — are probably Tibet’s best known culinary export. In fact, momos are well-loved in many of the countries around the Himalayas, with countless variations in ingredients, appearance and names. But especially in Tibet, momos are not just food; they are also symbols of festivity and celebration. They are served during important social occasions like marriages, New Years and other special family gatherings. Tsewang Chodon of TC’s Tibetan Momo, offered a taste of traditional Tibetan fare, all made with local, organic ingredients sourced directly from the Ontario farmers they work alongside at several of Toronto’s farmers’ markets.
About Tsewang Chodon
From a young age, Tsewang Chodon has enjoyed cooking a varied selection of delicious dishes and serving yummy food to her family and friends. Now TC is sharing traditional Tibetan/Himalayan cuisine by offering her own handmade momos sourced from local ingredients. TC has been selling her products at local farmers’ markets, the Evergreen Brickworks and at other local events under the banner of TC’s Tibetan Momo.
Farm to Table/Caribbean Fusion with Greg Couillard
August 22, 2019
Despite being an incredible food city in so many ways, Toronto does not have much in the way of its own unique, signature dishes. Chef Greg Couillard’s Jump Up Soup would be as credible a contender as any. For a time this was probably Toronto’s most famous dish, inspired by the first Caribana Parade in 1967 – a riot of colour, music and tropical heat that crashed through the stolid grey of downtown Toronto much like Greg’s cooking would do to the restaurant scene in the decades that followed.
Chef Greg became renowned for his flair for bold flavours and spices — so much so, he was once christened “The Spicemeister” by food critic Joanne Kates. His iconoclastic palate and sensibility transformed the then-conservative world of fine dining in 80’s Toronto with an eclectic mix of Latin, Caribbean, Asian and Indian flavours and ingredients.
Greg forged a reputation as a fearless culinary innovator, a kind of supercollider of food ideas, smashing them together with incredible force, producing novel and exotic new dishes for a few lucky diners to marvel at. Chef Greg’s 30+ year culinary legacy has left an indelible impression on fine dining in Toronto, opening eyes, minds and palates to the incredible culinary diversity of our city.
About Greg Couilliard
Greg Couillard built an international reputation on his flair for combining the diverse flavours of Toronto in unique and spectacular ways. Through his many groundbreaking restaurants like The Parrot, Stelle, Avec, Sarkis, The Spice Room and others, his prescient embrace of this city’s multicultural influences and ingredients foreshadowed the kind of eclectic, international menus we can now take for granted. It would not be hyperbole to suggest that Greg Couillard is one of the most influential chefs in Toronto’s culinary history.
Farm to Table with Jamie Kennedy
August 29, 2019
The finale of The Bentway’s Communal Table series was a special Farm to Table meal prepared by chef Jamie Kennedy. One of Canada’s most widely respected Chefs, Jamie Kennedy helped ignite Canada’s farm-to-table food movement, and craft a sense of the true flavour of the unique, abundant place where we live. The elegant menu, inspired by traditional French and Italian cuisines was built on seasonal, local ingredients, many grown or foraged by the Chef himself on his farm in Prince Edward County. The meal was accompanied by Gypsy Jazz music with Nathan Beja.
About The Depanneur
The Depanneur is intimate & interactive food venue aimed at showcasing the incredible diversity of culinary talent we have in Toronto. We invite guest cooks, both amateur and professional, to host hundreds of unique food events from Cooking Classes, Drop-In Dinners and Supper Clubs, to Table Talks, Brunch and Private Events. The Dep is also the birthplace of Newcomer Kitchen, a non-profit social enterprise that creates social and economic opportunities for Syrian refugee women through food-based projects. To date, Newcomer Kitchen has sold over 10,000 meals and paid over $150,000 into the Syrian community since its inception in 2016.