Toronto Poutine Fest claps back at Smoke's Poutinerie
The poutine feud between one of Toronto's top french fry purveyors and a travelling food festival continues as we head into the weekend, with some new and shocking allegations from the latter.
Earlier this afternoon, a PR rep for Smoke's Poutinerie told us that organizers of the Toronto Poutine Fest had "bullied them away" from participating in their event at Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend.
"Smoke's Poutinerie has taken offence to being left out of a travelling Poutine Fest that has come to Toronto in a desperate attempting to take over their turf," wrote James Tessier of the PR agency Ireland + Hall.
Sharing a cease and desist letter that Tessier said was sent from the Poutine Fest to his client over use of the festival's logo, he noted that Smoke's was "fighting back to support independent local franchisees who are being hurt by being excluded from the event."
As it turns out, Smoke's had been invited to participate in the event multiple times, as per new information from Poutine Fest.
According to the travelling festival, Smoke's had even agreed to join the Toronto Poutine Fest back in February when first approached by organizer Jade Racicot.
A series of emails sent to blogTO by Poutine Fest show that Smoke's general Manager Jennifer Salazar had initially been keen on the idea of joining this weekend's festival.
"We absolutely would LOVE to be involved in Toronto. Send me all the details," she wrote in reply to Racicot's invitation. "If you need anything please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly."
But you didn’t want to come... we invited you... pic.twitter.com/1b9JJO6OSe— Poutine Tour (@PoutineTour) May 25, 2018
A few weeks later, after speaking to Salazar by phone, Racicot said she emailed Smoke's again to finalize the details.
"Hi Jenn," she wrote. "We have to submit our site plan with truck specs early next week. Can you confirm Smokes' attendance?"
Salazar appears to have replied a few days later, writing: "Thank you for reaching out to Smoke's Poutinerie. Unfortunately we're going to have to pass on this event at this time. Best of luck and I wish you a successful event."
That's where the story ended — at least until Smoke's appears to have used the Poutine Fest logo without authorization and solicited people at Yonge-Dundas square to boycott the Poutine Fest event.
"We don’t know why they did this to us," said Racicot on Friday evening.
"Toronto Poutine Fest is run by myself, Dennis Collette and Kevin Parent. We are three food vendors from Ottawa. We all run small businesses (food trucks) and attend poutine fests all over the place," she explained.
"To be clear, we are not profiting as a festival... We (organizers) all paid for our spots and put hundreds of hours into planning this festival. It has been a great success and we are so proud of what we’ve accomplished."
"We invited Smokes and even discussed potential naming rights to the festival or our poutine judging contest over the phone," Racicot continued. Smokes said they would 'LOVE' to come, but then went silent... I have no idea what happened between then and now."
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