Last night, the best Canadian cookbooks were honoured at the 15th annual Taste Canada Food Writing Awards at a gala event in Toronto. "Its crucial to recognize great talent in this beautiful field that we are in, cookbook writing," Christine Cushing, a chef and the evening's emcee said. "We are finally seeing an identity to Canadian cuisine."
The 2012 English language winners are:
CBC Books caught up with some of the night's big names to ask them "What cookbook should every Canadian have in their kitchen?" See what they had to say below!
Natalie MacLean, author of Unquenchable
"I love small regional cookbooks and small books that focus on particular wine regions. One in particular comes in mind, it was written about Prince Edward County wines and his search for the holy grail. It's written by Geoff Heinricks and he called it A Fool and Forty Acres. He was foolish enough to pursue his dreams. You need passionate fools to pursue that goal here in Canada. But when it comes in, when it's in the glass, in the bottle, or on the plate, there's nothing like it."
Ted Reader, former executive chef of President's Choice and author of On Fire in the Kitchen
"I have a large cookbook collection -- 1500, 1600 books -- and there are many different favourites. If I go old, old school, one is called The Horizon Cookbook by Hale William Harlan, which was very difficult to find. I have two copies of it. It really talks about the days of food and service from pre-Escoffier through the days of Carême through to the 1940s...My favourite Canadian cookbook at this moment is Au Pied de Cochon by Martin Picard. I love that and I love Sugar Shack [also by Picard] as well, and I think that those books have been extremely inspiring -- a little bit crazy, a little bit wacky, a little bit like myself, but full of flavour and full of essence of life. And that's what I like and that's what I look for in a book."
Christine Cushing, host of Fearless in the Kitchen
"Anita Stewart [author of 14 cookbooks, including The Flavours of Canada
], it goes without saying, is a champion of all things Canadian. Sometimes to be a champion is more difficult than people think. You may have to do the unpopular thing. You might have to say things that people don't want to hear. She's gone across the country, she's turned over every stone and brought those things together. People who don't know about her should really find out. Her books are stunning. They are spectacular and they really take a little piece of every part of the country."
Anita Stewart, author of Anita Stewart's Canada
"Kate Aitken's Canadian Cook Book because the recipes are good, approachable, and honest. I think it's a wonderful book."
What's your go-to cookbook? Leave your answer in the comments section below for a chance to win a complete set of the Taste of Canada 2012 English-language winners. The contest closes on Friday, November 23, at 11:59 pm ET. Only Canadian residents are eligible to win. The complete rules and regulations are here. Good luck!