by Malcolm Jolley
Eataly in Toronto?
Oscar Farinetti was in Toronto May 12 to promote Fontanafredda, the famed Barolo producer of which he is the majority share holder (more on the wine in upcoming GFRs). But Farinetti’s other clain to fame is as CEO and founder of Eataly, the Slow Food inspired retail celebration of Italian foodways. Eataly began in Turin in 2006 as a consequence of the first Slow food Terra Madre conference and Salon del Gusto. The concept has since spread to locations in Bologna and Rome and three more in Japan. This summer, Farinetti will open North America’s first Eataly in Manhattan at the junction of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, with American partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, of the Babbo fame. At a media lunch at the AGO’s FRANK restaurant, hosted by Grano’s Roberto Martella, Farinetti hinted that Toronto might be the next Eataly location and said he planned to look around at buildings and neighbourhoods, insisting that Eataly stores could only be housed in structures “with soul”.
Local Food Plus has launched ‘Buy To Vote‘, a campaign to convince at least 10,000 people in Ontario to pledge to buy at least $10 of local food a week. The result, explains Founder and President Lori Stohlbrand, would have a dual effect on both ecology and economy: “It would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the road (forever) and creating 100 new local jobs.” LFP intends to engage with shoppers throughout the summer, explains Director of Operations Chris Alward, asking them to “vote” by making the pledge to shift to local foods. Consumer can also pledge at a special micro-site: localfoodplus.ca/buy-to-vote.
Susan Puff has taken her experience producing wine and food shows to her new position as Executive Director of the Danforth Business Improvement Area. Puff has convinced area merchants to promote local food at the first Spring Chef’s Farmers Market from 11:00 AM to 2 PM, Saturday, May 15. The event will include local growers and producers, like Cumbrae and Mazak Farms and chefs from the Danforth strip like Kevin McKenna form Globe Bistro and Jason Becker form The Auld Spot Pub as well as a special appearance by Lynn Crawford. Puff sees a link between food shopping along the strip of Danforth that stretches from Broadview to Hampton Avenue and creating more foot traffic and better business for all: “I’m able to work with local chefs and business owners to create some amazing experiences for them and for consumers – it is incredibly exciting!”
Canadian francophile Laura Calder won a James Beard Award for her TV show French Food at Home.
The Greenbelt Foundation has launched a new website, greenbeltfresh.ca, to help link local producers with consumers and trade (more coverage to come).
It’s official: chefs Scott and Rachel Vivian are leaving The Wine Bar to open Beast, June 1, in what was until recently Amuse Bouche, at 90 Tecumseh (more coverage to come).