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Celebrating Food Day Canada 2021: One-on-on with Chef Paul Stewart

This year’s Food Day Canada theme is ‘gratitude’ – appropriate for a year marked by uncertainty and turbulence. As restaurants begin the road to recovery, it’s important to take this day to be thankful for the hard work of those that helped sustain us through the worst of the pandemic. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate the Canadian food industry, our stunning terroir, and the variety of dishes and ingredients we have access to.

On July 31st, participate in Food Day Canada, and join us in shining a light on Canadian food. This year, you can visit and add your name, pledging your support for Food Day Canada and letting the world know that you too, will be shining a light at 9:00 p.m.

However, that’s not the only way you can participate in Food Day Canada. Looking to dine ‘like a Canadian’ on July 31st? Explore this map to find chefs and restaurants participating in Food Day Canada. Or, simply choose to shop Canadian and utilize locally produced ingredients. Food Day Canada has even put together a collection of recipes available on their website from across Canada.

Food Day Canada’s founder, Anita Stewart’s motto was ‘Canada IS food and the world is richer for it’. Proving that this celebration far reaches beyond our borders; letting the entire word experience what we have to offer. This year is especially important as we remember the legacy Anita Stewart left behind. At this year’s RC Show 2021, Anita was awarded the Restaurants Canada Legacy Award for her incredible dedication to the industry and promotion of local.

This year, we’re thrilled to continue to carry on Anita’s work and honoured to speak with three incredible Canadian chefs who are taking part in this year’s festivities. First up, MENU is speaking with Paul Stewart (also Anita’s son), Head Chef at the Victoria Cool-Aid Society.

Chef Paul Stewart is originally from Elora, Ontario and graduated from the Stratford chefs school in 1997. He started his apprenticeship at 17 and received his red seal certification at 23. “I focused primarily on fine dining and bistro style restaurants and after almost 20 years, I decided to redefine my career and entered the government healthcare space,” explains Paul.

Currently, Paul is head chef at Victoria Cool-Aid Society, where they offer life-changing services to adults who are impacted by poverty, colonization, stigma and homelessness. These services include permanent housing, emergency shelter, food services, health and dental care, employment assistance, and social and recreational opportunities. “Our menus are created to be balanced, seasonal and nutritious,” says Paul.

One-on-one with Chef Paul Stewart

What is one of your favourite Canadian ingredients to use and why?

Wild Pacific Salmon; it’s so versatile, delicious and rooted in Canadian history. It also needs to be preserved for future generations.

Do you have a favourite locally-made beverage or food product?

Haltwhistle Cheese

What is the dish you’ve created that you’re proudest of?

Dungeness crab-stuffed halibut with roasted heirloom tomatoes, grilled lemon risotto and basil beurre blanc.

What is “Canadian food” to you?

Smoked salmon, Saskatoon berries, Montreal smoked meat and butter tarts.

What makes you proud of the Canadian terroir?

How varied it is from coast to coast, with great wines, wild game and seafood, amazing agricultural and growing regions.

Why is it important to participate in Food Day Canada?

To shine a light on Canadian farmers, growers, chefs and food producers. I also would like to help bring more attention to food insecurity in Canada and those impacted by it.

This Food Day Canada, what are you grateful for?

My mother, Anita Stewart, she is an inspiration and a Canadian hero to me.

Want to learn more about Food Day Canada? Check out profiles from last year’s celebration or our chef profiles from 2019.


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