Despite the hustle and bustle of Toronto, there are those little hidden gems you come across that still can feel tranquil and secret.  Enter The Rectory Cafe, which although has been around for a long time, I just recently discovered.


Found on Ward’s Island and just a short (but beautiful!) ferry or water taxi ride away, The Rectory Cafe sits on a garden-like setting and offers incredibly relaxing views of the lake, warm summer breezes and the friendliest atmosphere.

I had the opportunity to visit a few weeks ago, as they kicked off patio season with a lovely cocktail party held in support of Second Harvest.  We had the opportunity to chat with island residents, enjoy some delicious bites from their new summer menu and of course, take in some amazing views.




The Rectory Cafe will be open all summer long, so if you are looking for a nice little day trip this weekend, consider spending the day at Ward’s Island, walking, biking or sitting by the water and then dropping in for a glass (or two) of wine with some tasty food.


(Mini Grilled Halloumi Cheese Sandwiches)


(Labneh, Roasted Garlic and Pita)


(Coconut Vegetable Curry)


(Artist Gary Smith doing a live sketch of the evening)

Rectory Cafe1


Rectory Cafe


Due to flooding on the island, several areas are closed off to visitors.  However, you can still visit Ward’s Island and The Rectory Cafe, simply inform ferry personnel of your purpose, or you can also take a little water taxi ride.  I highly recommend Tiki Taxi as a fun way to enjoy the views and get to the other side of the city.

A huge thank you to the staff at The Rectory Cafe for their hospitality and for supporting the work of Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization!

Happy weekend friends!!! xo

Photo credit: Love Eva

Friends, as you may have seen on my social media, I have been sharing details (and a giveaway) to Second Harvest’s signature culinary fundraiser, Toronto Taste, coming up on Sunday, June 4th at the beauuutiful Corus Quay, lakeside. Second Harvest is Canada’s largest food rescue organization, collecting fresh, surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and delivering it to over 225 social service agencies in Toronto.  From children in after-school programs, to women in shelters escaping domestic abuse and seniors on fixed income, more than 130,000 people in Toronto receive food from Second Harvest each month.

27612858821_ceefba92b5_o Marking its 27th year, Toronto Taste is bringing together over 60 of the city’s top restaurants and beverage purveyors, all of whom are donating their time, energy, creativity and tasty dishes in support of Second Harvest’s food rescue programs.  With the support of incredible sponsors, chef ambassadors, guests, donors and volunteers, last year’s event raised over $850,000 allowing Second Harvest to provide 1.5 MILLION meals to people experiencing hunger in Toronto.




Toronto Taste 27586810582_7b421182c3_k Guests have an opportunity to give back to the community in a delicious way, enjoy great entertainment, interact with some pretty cool culinary masters like Chef Michael Smith, Mark McEwan, Bob Blumer, bid on unique prizes, fine wines and one-of-a-kind experiences (like a food tour of New Orleans with Roger Mooking or a dinner experience for you and five of your friends prepared by Chef Michael Hunter from Antler Kitchen & Bar) and so much more! Toronto Taste1 For a list of restaurant and beverage participants, go here and here and be sure to follow Second Harvest on social media here, here and here for regular updates.

Friends, Toronto Taste is not just another amazing summer event (although it is totally an AMAZING summer event!), but rather a hugely important component of Second Harvest’s “no waste, no hunger” vision.

I hope to see you there on June 4th! xo

Photos via.

Did you know that in Canada over $31 billion worth of food goes to waste each year?  This of course, while thousands of men, women and children go hungry.  YES, you read that right…BILLION.  I was completely stunned when I learned this fact.  Over the last year and a half (since I joined Second Harvest , Canada’s largest food rescue organization – first as a volunteer and now in Corporate Partnerships), I have been learning more and more about the issue of food waste.

On March 1st, Brock Shepherd of Kensington Brewing Co. brought together local chefs, brewers, distillers, artists and innovators for Trashed & Wasted – a unique, one-night culinary and art event to shed light on the issue of food waste and to offer a new way to look at those things we often throw away without a second thought.


Held at Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto, and with all proceeds in support of Second Harvest, it was truly an inspiring evening.  What a treat to meet and chat with so many awesome people who were genuinely interested in learning more about the impact of food waste on society and the environment, and who are looking for ways to get involved and make a difference.  Interesting fact: last year alone, Second Harvest was able to rescue 9.5 million lbs. of perfectly good, fresh food that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill!  Instead, this food was delivered to thousands of people in need across the city!  Pretty amazing, right?

Have look at some of the treats that were served at Trashed & Wasted.  SO many creative dishes made from ingredients that would normally be thrown away…and SO delicious!



Probably my favorite dish of the night…these little tasty parcels from Oliver & Bonacini, were made with cheese foam made from shaved parmesan rinds, fried hand-shaved prosciutto (the pieces that could not be sliced) and stems from various types of mushrooms.  The magic touch was truffle oil to give it an earthy flavour.  SO. GOOD!


Cauliflower stalks, toasted crumbly bits of hazelnuts from the bottom of a bag, tiny leftover pieces of bannock and voila! (Also from O&B)



A play on the “Vesper” from the James Bond books and movie Casino Royale, this perfect cocktail from Yongehurst Distillery Co. was created using vodka entirely made from otherwise wasted whey, in collaboration with Monforte Dairy and Escarpment Labs.


actinolite_TL “The kohlrabi was pickled in a nuka bed—a Japanese method, and one of our preservation techniques at the restaurant—with spent grains from Burdock brewery,” says Actinolite Restaurant chef-owner Justin Cournoyer. “We smoked and dried beef hearts, then mixed the beef purge liquid that came from it with egg white to create beef miso—when you press that, you get tamari. Our currant farmer Gerrard was going to burn blackcurrant wood, but I saved it to get blackcurrant wood oil. I also collected the excess cherry juice from a bakery to get cherry vinegar, which I used to preserve various pickles: wild fennel seeds, pineapple weed, grand elder stems and parsley seeds.” (via Toronto Life).



This moisturizing soap is made from rendered lamb kidney fat, spent coffee grinds and essential oils.


HUGE shout-outs and high-fives to these creative culinary experts for their out-of-the-box thinking and for helping us rethink food waste!

If you would like to learn more about food waste and food rescue in Toronto be sure to visit Second Harvest and follow Trashed & Wasted here.

Thanks for stopping by, and as you enjoy your lunch today or prepare your dinner, take a moment to rethink those often wasted little bits and pieces of food that are still perfectly good and can perhaps be repurposed into a delicious snack or treat.  Let me know if you come up with any ideas!

Wishing you a lovely week! xo

Photo credits: Giordano Campini (Toronto Life)