Beaver meat just one of the 2011 Toronto Tastes
Toronto Taste held another hugely successful foodie extravaganza bringing top chefs and top eaters together for an evening of food and fundraising. The pricey tickets, $250 a piece, will provide 250 meals in the GTA through Second Harvest with more money raised by the live and silent auction. Running strong for 21 years, the event was hosted by Bob Blumer at the ROM and featured over sixty chefs including Mark McEwan, Michael Smith, Roger Mooking and current Top Chef Canada contestants, Dustin Gallagher and Andrea Nicholson.
Chef Mark Thuet boldly served beaver meat on a slice of fresh pumpernickel with a hint of sweet jam. The beaver meat was, thankfully perhaps, not terribly distinguishable but paired nicely with the artisan bread.
Churchill Cellars were prepared with light chardonnay to go with neighboring french onion soup dumplings from Forte Bistro & Hiro Sushi.
In another feat of offbeat parings that worked, Harvest Kitchen's offered up Braised rabbit marshmallow with chocolate dipped bacon.
On the miss side, the lobster salad in strawberry rhubarb soup from Tundra looked beautiful but, as my food companion described, was "sweet, savory and awful".
The folks at Victoria Gin were tucked away in a corner behind the silent auction but many, including myself, hung around the back seeking a second helping of their dirty martinis.
Rodney's Oyster House was kept busy shucking fresh Atalantic oysters all evening.
Famed chef Mark McEwan served a crispy battered fried smelt and lemon caper aioli with a fennel orange salad. McEwan could be found discussing his dish with guests and scouring the other stands later in the evening with beer in hand.
The Chefs House hollowed out eggs for a unique presentation of their lobster and quinoa salad with a foie gras custard.
The live auction was highlighted by the purchase of a barrel of chardonnay from Tawse Winery for a mear $13,500 while the silent aucion star was a bottle of Romanee St Vivant 1991 for $3200
After an evening of glutenous indulgence, I finished things off with a perfectly light, melt-in-your-mouth meringue from Baker Street Bakery. Chefs and guests alike stayed past night fall sipping wines and nibbling on the last bits of food from the evening.
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