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Canucks snubbed in new international top-chefs book

jessica wong
By Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

Members of Canada's culinary community are outraged that we've been left out of a forthcoming book about the world's best emerging chefs, billed as a guide to "the most exceptional talent in the international restaurant world."

Set for release in October, COCO: 100 Emerging Culinary Stars Chosen by 10 of the World's Greatest Chefs is the latest in publishing house Phaidon's series celebrating emerging artists in different fields, with previous instalments exploring contemporary art, architecture, photographer and graphic design.

The tome taps superstar chefs like Ferran Adria, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters and Alain Ducasse for its hot young chefs list, which appears skewed to the U.S., U.K., Hong Kong, Japan and Europe in general.

When Toronto writer and CBCNews.ca contributor Shaun Smith got wind of the upcoming project about a week ago, he was excited at first — until he was informed that no Canadians had made the cut.

Shaun Smith
Toronto writer and CBCNews.ca contributor Shaun Smith discovered the snub.

"We have this incredibly dynamic culinary industry here and this book positions itself on the international stage and completely snubs us. For what reason I'm not sure," he told me Friday afternoon.

Despite having utmost respect for the chefs behind the book ("Ferguson Henderson is just one of the greatest chefs alive," he raved), Smith doesn't understand leaving Canada out, nor the other major gaps in their culinary map.

"I don't doubt those young chefs from Australia are deserving, but surely they could have found one from Canada if they can find five from Australia," he said.

The list has just one chef for South America, one for the Middle East, no entries for Mexico nor the entire continent of Africa and "not a soul from India," he noted (Smith has the list of 99 here).

"Imagine if there was no French people in this book. The French would be rioting in the streets! We need to stir up some good, old Canadian indignation over this."

Email campaign for 100th spot

There's still hope. Smith's contacts at Phaidon told him that the 100th entry has yet to be confirmed.

Top chefs like Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, Marc Thuet, Anthony Walsh and Guy Rubino have signed a letter that will be sent to Phaidon next week asking that the final spot be filled by a Canadian.

"Imagine of there was no French people in this book. The French would be rioting in the streets! We need to stir up some good, old Canadian indignation over this." — Food writer Shaun Smith

Also supporting the initiative are members of the greater community, from cookbook authors like Anita Stewart and Jennifer McLagan to food writers like Lucy Waverman, James Chatto and Malcolm Jolley to other foodies and Canadian culinary champions.

On his website, Smith also lists two Phaidon contacts to whom he urges the public to write — whether to nominate a favourite Canuck chef or just to urge for a Canadian choice.

Among those who have already emailed in: Margaret Dickenson, a cookbook author who has written about eating and entertaining whilst travelling the world with her husband (former Canadian ambassador Lawrence Dickenson).

Though celebrity deaths have often shown just how quickly books can get fast-tracked to being published, "I don't hold out a lot of hope, but I think it's a battle that has to be fought to raise some sort of awareness," Smith said.

"While Canada may be best known as a place where you get poutine or some mac and cheese, there's a level of culinary artistry in the country that is, without question, functioning on a world class level."

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Comments

Stephen Harper

The French are better chefs

Posted July 24, 2009 08:56 PM

Marc Boudreau

For shame. Not to consider Susur Lee, or Normand Laprise or Michael Smith or Michael Standlander or Scott Vail, etc is an afront to all Canadians. Then there is Jonathan Gushue or Ray Bear or ......I believe we have tons of choices and in the context of the "world" we should have at least 3-5 Canadians included. Vive la cuisine canadienne !

Posted July 25, 2009 05:08 AM

Roland

Quit crying like a little school girl. So what if we got snubbed in a book that nobody will read.

Let the quality of Canadian chefs be noted by the eating public not some useless tome.

Your indignation over the so called snub embarasses Canada more than the lack of an entry into the book.

Posted July 25, 2009 12:19 PM

Richard Galibois

"Top chefs like Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, Marc Thuet, Anthony Walsh and Guy Rubino have signed a letter that will be sent to Phaidon next week asking that the final spot be filled by a Canadian".Rob Feenie? Is he not from White Spot? They are pretty much a fast food joint!If no Canadian madeit then just maybe the author did not think any were good enough.White Spot.....barf.

Posted July 25, 2009 01:11 PM

Anonymous

I don't really care. Living in Canada and having an occasional evening enriched by a great restaurant experience is all the satisfaction I need. Who needs the validation of a select few authors and chefs who wrote this book? Forget about it and quietly keep our great cuisine to those who choose to discover it!

Posted July 25, 2009 02:04 PM

Eatin Out Around The World

montreal

So the Canadian contingent is begging for the 100th position. Like having your mom call the popular kids mom to get you invited to the party when clearly noone wanted you there in the first place.
There is a reason there are no Canadaian chefs on the list. Because there are hardly any Canadian restaurants of note for them to work in for one. As there is a paucity of any real indigenous Canadian cultural scene of note. From the lack of a television business, music business, art business or real food business it is all quite sad really.
Oh and im sure that readers of this post will jump down my neck and present rare or more likely talentless examples to frame their arguements against my thoughts, the fact remains that compared with any of the countries listed the reality is exactly as presented in the article. There is a fundemental hatred of anything resembling overachievement and a tremendous resentment against anything resembling excellence the REALLY talented people leave this country to achieve greatness elsewhere. What is left are the mendicants and chickenshits. So post away.

Posted July 25, 2009 02:11 PM

Jadran

Honestly, is there any Canadian own recipes that have been claimed in last 10 years? So what new chiefs can learn, innovate learning from rest of World that copy other country's famous chiefs?

Posted July 26, 2009 04:47 AM

CM

Canada

Canada host some the top chefs in the world, The people writing this book should look at any member of The last 2 National Culinary Teams of Canada, or any regional team that has competed in the past 10 years. Also I hope the book has looked at culinary team members form other countries as the last culinary olympics in Germany hosted over 3000 chefs from around the world to show case thier culinary arts.

Posted July 26, 2009 05:42 PM

shawn

montreal

Well,I hope there is no american in the top chefs, because I can tell you it's the worst country in the world for food ! In Montreal we have fisrt class soof and anyone who knows about class and food will tell you ! Ask anyone in europe if montreal rocks.
I guess the judeges were american and a bunch of pork rib chefs are in the top !

Posted July 26, 2009 05:52 PM

Rick Baartman

"Top chefs like Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, Marc Thuet, Anthony Walsh and Guy Rubino have signed a letter that will be sent to Phaidon next week asking that the final spot be filled by a Canadian."

We want to beg for the 100th spot? I've a better idea: let's just not buy the book.

Posted July 26, 2009 06:14 PM

Everett

Calgary

Poutine was invented in Canada along with a host of other odd-ball creations (like clamato juice and ah can't think). The book is for up and coming worldly chefs...you know they kind of chefs that create dishes that don't fill you up and cost $100.

No big loss.

Posted July 27, 2009 03:05 PM

Andrew

Australia

Get over it!
I suggest you write your own compilation and publish it if you are really so indignant.
Canadians are not known for being shamelessly self-promoting, but that is indeed what will get you noticed in this or any other arena. Were you hoping to be contacted for your personal suggestions? Git!

Posted July 27, 2009 08:26 PM

Scott Thibodeau

Winnipeg

Aren't the Quebecois famous for our Vachon cakes, sugar pie and poutine? How about our Newfoundland brethren and delicacies like flipper pie and cod tongues. Surely these must be worth something. :) I wouldn't worry about it, it's only a book with an opinion and nothing more.

Posted July 28, 2009 12:57 AM

Lyne

Ottawa

Give me a break, running to the school teacher because the cool kids don't want to play with you....don't embarass our country!

Posted July 28, 2009 06:39 AM

Rikke

Richard Galibois stated;

"Rob Feenie? Is he not from White Spot? They are pretty much a fast food joint!If no Canadian madeit then just maybe the author did not think any were good enough.White Spot.....barf."

Actually, Rob Feenie is from Feenie and Lumiere fame, and is currently a consultant with Cactus Club. He also won on Iron Chef America and was invited to cook at James Beard House for Canada Day 2004. And yes, he did some work with White Spot, but so has Umberto Menghi, John Bishop and Melissa Craig.

It's quite unfortunate that Canada isn't on the list. There's many incredibly talented chefs across the land, including those I've mentioned above. I don't think it's being a poor sport by writing a letter to the author/publisher. It is quite the oversight...

Posted July 28, 2009 01:10 PM

Karen Guy

I can't remember the name of the chef's themselves,but I know of 2 restaurants in Vancouver that are quite famous that are worth mentioning:Vij's(East Indian) and Tojo's(Japanese).
On Vancouver Island there is the Sooke Harbour house, where they use food that is grown on site and animals that are farm raised for the restaurant. Edible flowers are used too and there is little waste.

We have excellent chefs in this country and they deserve to be in the top 100.

Posted July 28, 2009 09:36 PM

Patty

Ontario

We don't need our MANY great chefs listed in that book, as it obviously does not have enough room to list them all. We know who they are. The writer of the book has a limited vision of the culinary skilled in this world. Me thinks that the book will not be worth the paper it is written on. Too bad, so sad.

Posted August 7, 2009 08:55 AM

Chef Ray Bear

Halifax

I have worked with some of the best chefs in North America, Canada and the USA. I can tell you that Susur, Anthony and Stadlander have inspired me more then most American Chefs. Yes I am a fan of many in the top 100, but I am also confident in Canadian Chefs nation wide, and the food culture we have! Two of the top meals I ever have experienced were at #1 Susur's and #2 Lumiere! Canoe is always impressive! Much better than some of the meals I have had in Michelin star restaurants in France, for sure! I think it would only be a realistic list if atleast 1 of our great chefs break the top 100. Hell Stadlander should be in the top 20. If its a list of the next generation, can we really put ourselves with the top Spanish chefs? can anyone at this point?

Posted August 17, 2009 11:52 PM

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