Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338
December 12, 2001
Award-winning cookbook pays tribute to OAC research
For Canadian "culinary activist" Anita Stewart, the University of Guelph is a rich smorgasbord of food innovation and inspiration. And she gives the University due recognition for its contributions to Ontario's - and Canada's - food heritage in her latest book, Flavours of Canada: A Celebration of the Finest Regional Food.
The book recently won two awards in the fourth annual Cuisine Canada National Culinary Book Awards - a gold for its contribution to Canadian food culture and a bronze in the English-language cookbook category. The culmination of nearly two decades of Stewart's culinary travels, Flavours of Canada lovingly details unique regional specialties from coast to coast. Its 150 recipes are accompanied and enhanced by descriptions of each province's culinary character and history. Stewart tells the stories of the researchers, farmers, producers, artisans, chefs and winemakers who contribute to our collective gastronomic identity.
The Ontario chapter lauds the University's Ontario Agricultural College research programs for introducing strains of grains, fruits and vegetables that contribute to the province's food-and-drink mosaic, including the college's own beer from a famous strain of barley developed in 1910. Stewart's connection with the University dates back two decades, to the early 1980s when she took a course on the history of food with professor Jo Marie Powers, School of Hotel and Food Administration, who is now retired. Powers suggested they write a cookbook together about Ontario farmers' markets, and the two embarked on a friendship and creative relationship that has lasted for years.
Thirteen books later, Stewart is considered one of Canada's foremost food journalists. She is also the founder of Cuisine Canada, the only alliance of its kind linking people in the food industry from farmers and nutritionists to chefs and restaurateurs. Her passion and creative drive have also spawned other projects in celebration of the University's agricultural feats. Stewart worked with the Office of Research to publish the Food Inventory in 2000, which tells of Guelph researchers and their creations. She is now working with professors Michael Haywood and Joe Barth to develop a proposal to create a chair at Guelph that will focus on culinary tourism and regional economic development, a first in North America. She also crafts menus showcasing Guelph's agri-food research achievements for major events such as OAC's 125th-anniversary celebration, the opening of the Food Science Building and this year's President's Luncheon for University supporters.
"She's a wonderful champion for the University and the research we do here," said Rob McLaughlin, vice-president (alumni affairs and development) and former dean of OAC. He notes that Stewart's activism extends beyond promoting distinctly Canadian recipes to promoting the Canadian ingredients that make those recipes special. "It's a celebration of Canadian agri-food."
Most recently, Stewart has teamed up with the executive chef at Toronto's Royal York Hotel to incorporate U of G foods into the menu for chancellor Lincoln Alexander's 80th-birthday tribute dinner Dec. 13. Like all Stewart's other projects, the meal will celebrate distinctive and delicious food while honouring the people who have laboured to produce it. "The ingredients for this occasion have been grown and harvested from across Ontario for the express purpose of paying tribute to Lincoln Alexander," Stewart said. The dinner will include such delicacies as smoked "cyber-tomato" chutney with tomatoes grown from seeds that have orbited the Earth, OAC Millennium asparagus and beef tenderloin with OAC Gold beer sauce. These feasts "make the connection between what's on our plate and who's done it for us," she said.
Contact: Anita Stewart
For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 3338.