pamela cuthbert february 8 2015

Photo credit: Jo Dickins*

The food writer and journalist Pamela Cuthbert died suddenly last week in Toronto. On Tuesday, she was memorialized by her family and friends, including her husband and fellow journalist Paul French and young son, at the chapel at St. James Cemetery and at a reception at her beloved Grano afterwards. There was not a dry at either event, nor a seat left at St. James. Before a stroke ended her life far too soon, Pamela profoundly touched the lives of multitudes and her mourners are many and heavy with grief.

Pamela accomplished much. As both a founder of Slow Food Toronto (who have memorialized her here) and as a journalist who actively sought out stories about the local and sustainable food movements, she was a quiet (in so far as she did not seek credit), but powerful force who carried the good food revolution forward through her work.

At her memorial service, her family asked those who had congregated to come forward and share stories or thoughts about her. One who did was Arlene Stein, chair of the Terroir Symposium. She rose to remind us of Pamela’s contribution as program curator at the hospitality conference over the past few years; a role which she took on with relish but without fanfare. Mulling over Pamela’s contribution to the movement, Arlene later wrote to me:

Pamela Cuthbert was an outstanding journalist and a definitive expert and leader in the world of food systems and sustainability in Canada. She brought Slow Food to Toronto and left a legacy of connecting chefs to issues of local food procurement and championed food producers and farmers.

Jamie and I are proud that we managed to get our own Pamela Cuthbert piece posted at GFR (her 2012 article on Julia Child’s official biography here), and view her career as a point of inspiration for all of those trying to tell the story of the amazing social transformation that’s happening around food in Canada and beyond. As Terroir board members, we also know plans are being made to further, and publicly acknowledge Pamela’s contribution at the upcoming symposium.

May her work and spirit live on.

*Jo had this to say about the photo above: “I had the pleasure of visiting with and shooting Pamela just this past February 8th. I selected this shot because of her sweet yet penetrating gaze.  Pamela always struck me as a kind, engaging and elegant soul.  Something about her quiet independence made me admire her right from the start.  It was an honour to know her.  My heart goes out to her son, husband, family and friends.”

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.