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Food Revolution Day 2012 at The Kitchen Studio (Toronto)

Leading up to Food Revolution Day on Saturday, May 19th, it was a big week for “passing it on” for me. First, I led a cooking class where 20 boys taught their parents how to cook a Jamie Oliver dish from scratch (with a LOT of help from friends and colleagues).

Then I had the great honour of being interviewed in my capacity as a Food Revolution Day Ambassador on the CBC drive time show, Here and Now. You can listen to the interview on Here and Now discussing Food Revolution Day and Les Petits Chefs here. (the file should open in a new window).

And finally, I was thrilled to host my public event for Food Revolution Day  – thanks to the generous support of The Kitchen Studio and The Cookbook Store here in Toronto, I offered a small, hands-on cooking class for parents and children where we prepared and enjoyed a simple from-scratch meal from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook.  Following Jamie’s premise of passing it on, both parents and children were actively involved in the food prep and received a copy of Jamie’s book so they, too can “pass it on” to others.  This was a free event, made possible by the generosity of Alison from The Cookbook Store and Tony from The Kitchen Studio, with great thanks to Harper Collins CanadaSobeys, Yorkshire Valley Farms and Mighty Juice for providing books for everyone (and one for a giveaway), food (and a $50 Sobeys gift card), chicken and juices for this event. Your support was SO appreciated!

The space at The Kitchen Studio is beautiful (if you are in Toronto and have a small event to host, I would highly recommend – you can call Tony on 416-515-7366 ext.22 to book) and I was excited to cook there. I welcomed six kids (ages 4-14) and their parents to the space and we got started preparing Jamie’s chicken tikka masala. I like this dish as a showcase for what kids can do and eat because it’s SO not what many people might imagine as being a “kid-friendly” dish.

I was actually a little nervous about cooking with kids I don’t know but as soon as we got started, it was just like working with Les Petits Chefs (but with some girls!).  What always amazes me about kids is that they just get in and do stuff. No fear, no preconceived ideas that something is “difficult”.

Thanks Deb who provided the gloves so we had no need for the eye bath!

Note: Separating cilantro leaves from their stalks is a fab job for younger chefs!


And at the end of about 90 minutes chopping, chatting and laughing, we all sat down to enjoy the meal we had prepared together.

And there were even leftovers!

This, for me, is what the Food Revolution is all about. People making connections over food. People learning together, sharing stories and having fun. People betting back to the real meaning of “real food” – meals cooked from scratch involving many members of the family.  My event may not have been the biggest event of all the Food Revolution Day events but as Jamie said on his Google + hangout on the night of the Day, it’s all about small changes, often, not huge changes infrequently.  I’d like to think from my one little event, a few of those participants will go away and teach someone THEY know to make chicken tikka masala from scratch. And if even one of those people this is passed onto passes it on to another person, then this was a success. Or heck, even if one person goes away having learned about a new ingredient, a new way of chopping an onion or with a new appreciation for Indian flavours, well this was a success too. Baby steps (yes, many of them!) are what’s needed to get the Revolution going, as people in 664 cities in 62 countries proved on May 19th through the over 1000 events that were organised.

I’m looking forward to continuing my work in this new role as an Ambassador for REAL FOOD. Because nothing is more important than “passing it on”.

Thanks for the generosity of Harper Collins Canada, I have one copy of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook to giveaway – again, to anyone, anywhere in the world (I’m covering the shipping).

To enter, leave me a comment and tell me how you are standing up for real food.

For a bonus entry, tweet the following message:

I want to win a copy of the @JamieOliver @FoodRev cookbook thanks to @HarperCollinsCA and @eatlivtravwrite http://bit.ly/Jm7dEv #realfood

Then come back to leave me a message telling me you did.  Contest closes on Tuesday May 29th at 9pm EST and the winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Wednesday May 30th.  Good luck!

* Congrats to Jen from Tartine and Apron Strings who won my Bonne Femme Cookbook giveaway.  Jen – I’ll be in touch soon to get your shipping details!

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37 Responses to Food Revolution Day 2012 at The Kitchen Studio (Toronto)

  1. Belinda @zomppa May 23, 2012 at 07:11 #

    How incredible!! Wish I was there in person – thanks for your leadership in making real food real!

  2. Cher May 23, 2012 at 08:05 #

    Mardi – Congratulations! It looks like everything came together for you in a big way. I look forward to catching up to your interview :-)

  3. Mr. Neil May 23, 2012 at 08:21 #

    Congrats on a MOST successful week!

  4. Paula May 23, 2012 at 08:51 #

    You are one amazing young woman. Not only are you following your passion but you are inspiring so many others to follow in your footsteps.

    Thank you so much for including the link to the interview. I enjoyed it very much. It is easy to tell in your voice and ease with which you spoke that you love this important work you are doing and enjoying inspiring others to do the same.

    Congratulations and much continued success.

  5. Cerys May 23, 2012 at 09:32 #

    Mardi, the pictures and write-up are fantastic! Looking at those pictures, I can taste that chicken tikki masala. It was so delicious. Liam and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and the other families. Thank you so much for your generosity of time, patience and thoughtfulness!

  6. Tiff May 23, 2012 at 11:02 #

    Mardi, you’re an inspiration. Great job teaching the kids about the awesomeness of cooking real food.

    How am I standing up for real food? Hmm…I think the fact that I’m giving away homemade or farmer’s market food as gifts is a testament to standing up for real food. I’m also big on potlucks where people MUST make their dishes – no buying.

    Thanks for the great inspiration. I’ll be sharing with my best friend who runs a cooking club at her school!

  7. Tiff May 23, 2012 at 11:04 #

    Also, I tweeted!

    https://twitter.com/tiffing/status/205312965149331458

  8. Dawn May 23, 2012 at 12:32 #

    Marti -
    I just came across one of your posts from 2009 — Boy have you come a long way! I’m so happy for you, your dedication is paying off! Great work!

  9. merry jennifer May 23, 2012 at 15:35 #

    What a fantastic interview, Mardi! Your message, and the way you delivered it, was just splendid!

  10. Geoff May 23, 2012 at 17:51 #

    Cautionary note from proud father: “Mardi, on the interview you’re beginning to sound Canadian. Where did I go wrong?”

    Seriously, congrats on great job all round.

  11. Winnie May 23, 2012 at 20:26 #

    Girl you are rocking it. Such amazing work you are doing!!!

  12. amelia from z tasty life May 23, 2012 at 20:44 #

    Mardi: you are an inspiration: I love your dedication and how you work with kids.
    Real food, real people, real connections… I think if we forget about the “processing” (whether that is from the ingredients or from our minds) then we get more “real”

  13. idiosyncratic eye May 24, 2012 at 01:46 #

    That is amazingly cool. What a great opportunity for those families. I think perceptions of what is ‘hard’, ‘complicated’ or ‘weird’ do hold us back as adult cooks. :)

  14. Barbara P. May 24, 2012 at 05:19 #

    Congrats on great job all round.
    How am I standing up for real food? Hmm.. I try to buy food at zero distance, ie it needs to do a short drive before arriving on my table.

  15. Chris May 24, 2012 at 06:43 #

    This was a great post and of course a great event you had going on for food revolution.
    I like to cook from scratch and try out many new things.

  16. Shalini May 24, 2012 at 10:09 #

    Nice post Mardi, and again, you did a wonderful job of organizing and running this event. We had a great time and I’m sure it made a lasting impression on the children! Beautiful photographs too.
    I’ve posted on noyaux about this too.

  17. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction May 24, 2012 at 16:26 #

    I already have a copy of the book, so you can count me out for the giveaway and pass it on to someone else :)

    But, I had to say that it sounds like your Food Revolution Day events turned out wonderfully. I am sure that you made such a huge impact on all of the families that were involved!

  18. amy marantino May 25, 2012 at 06:36 #

    i enjoyed this post. great job

  19. amy marantino May 25, 2012 at 06:37 #

    i tweeted

  20. Alice May 25, 2012 at 17:33 #

    how neat! and generous! I only buy local products at every possible chance and spend a lot of my time at farmers markets, if I’m not already growing these things in my own garden! :)

  21. Stacey (Tasting Toronto) May 25, 2012 at 21:31 #

    Great contest, Mardi! I agree with Jamie – it’s all about small changes often, not huge changes infrequently. I’m standing up for real food by always asking myself “Can I make this from scratch myself?” before I buy ANYTHING. Then I pick things here and there to attempt from scratch. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself trying to do everything at once – Rome wasn’t built in a day :)

    I’ve also made simplified home version “takes” on ideas I’ve gotten from restaurant meals, with the goal of making them healthier since they are from scratch and I can control how much salt, butter, etc. ends up in them. And I know there are no preservatives in them. Long live real food!

  22. Michelle May 25, 2012 at 22:04 #

    What a fabulous week Mardi! Its amazing to cook together and even better to eat it. Kathryn from Get Cooking Edmonton and I did a fresh pasta class with a group of 16 year old girls, and the wonder when they saw how easy it was to make pasta and sauces from scratch was just too cool.

    Growing up in India meant that almost everything we cooked was from scratch and ‘real food’. I hope to pass on that philosophy to my daughter and hopefully to others!

  23. Michelle May 25, 2012 at 22:05 #

    Oh, I retweeted too.

  24. Krista May 25, 2012 at 23:35 #

    Amazing! It is because of people like you that future generations will be eating real food. It’s so important to teach kids how to cook meals made with fresh, wholesome ingredients – the tools for a healthy body. Good on you!

  25. Gina May 26, 2012 at 22:32 #

    What a wonderful event! I dream of a day where we don’t need these events because families across the world are cooking with their kids, food mfrs are selling only healthy real food, and school food is something we’re all proud of!

  26. Jamie May 27, 2012 at 13:18 #

    Mardi, I have long been amazed at what you are accomplishing and I think everything you do is so good for so many people. I love that you teach kids how to cook and am always thrilled at the reception you get from them and how happy they are to cook. We all do what we can to teach, share and inform and you do it in so many ways!

  27. Jacinta May 28, 2012 at 15:43 #

    Yay for a chance to win a cookbook! Thanks!

    How do I stand up for real food? I go to the Farmer’s Market at least once a week, cook things in season, support local business, and plan a week’s menu, all of which is mostly made from scratch. I also love trying new recipes.

  28. Jacinta May 28, 2012 at 15:43 #

    I also tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/jpalud

  29. Tami May 28, 2012 at 16:24 #

    I stand up for real food by having maintained an organic and chemical free diet and skin care regime for the past eight years. My philosophy on life changed after working on an organic sheep and chicken farm in the USA followed by a cancer diagnosis.

    My real food pursuit continues by being an active member of Permaculture Caboolture thus enabling me to pass the real food tag onto the wider community.

  30. Tami May 28, 2012 at 16:32 #

    I tweeted!!

  31. Liz May 28, 2012 at 19:22 #

    I used to always have cake and brownie mixes in my cupboard…but no longer!!

    Wonderful event…you’re a natural with cooking kids!

  32. Kieran S May 28, 2012 at 21:34 #

    Stand up to real food by passing it on:)

  33. RJ May 29, 2012 at 08:49 #

    Standing up for real food: last night my mom made pasta sauce with just cherry tomatoes, lemon juice and garlic. It was way better than the jar we used to use.

  34. Brittany May 29, 2012 at 13:06 #

    Standing up for real food by cutting frozen meals out of my diet! I am taking time every night to prepare a real meal and have been feeling great! I know exactly whats going into my body and I am happier for that. It also makes me happy having an activity at night that doesn’t revolve watching TV and sitting around, being in the kitchen is so fun!

  35. Brittany May 29, 2012 at 13:08 #

    I also have stopped buying salad dressings even and making my own from simple ingredients! It’s awesome!

  36. TK May 29, 2012 at 18:15 #

    Real food = less fast food and instant stuff, more homemade and natural food

  37. cat May 30, 2012 at 00:49 #

    loved hearing you on the CBC show – great to put the pictures with the radio program. i try very hard not to put packaged products in my eldest daughter’s school lunch. snacks can be challenging because of the lack of refrigeration/cooling packs, but lunch is considerably easier. we are also making a concerted effort to cook meals from scratch as often as possible – something made much simpler now that the farmer’s markets are bustling once again!

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