Terroir Symposium 2014

6 May

Each year, Terroir Symposium attracts some of the world’s best chefs and thinkers to come to Canada and present their most brilliant ideas, and it puts our food culture on the map, by showing those international guests what we’ve got to offer right here.


The symposium is a one-day event in Toronto with demos, talks, debates, lots of eating and even more boozing. It’s followed by a rural retreat (where all the photos on this post were taken last year), where international and local speakers and selected media can learn more about regional specialties and partake in a collaborative cookout in the country.

Todd Perrin

Last year, star guests included: Rene Redzepi, executive chef of Noma in Denmark; Magnus Nilsson, exec chef of Faviken, in Sweden; Per-Anders and Lotte Jorgensen, editors of Fool Magazine and Trevor St John, CEO of St John, in London, UK. This year, attendees can learn from the likes of Alessandro Porcelli, founder of Cook It Raw; Chef Albert Adria from Tickets and 41º in Barcelona; and Chef David Chang, from Momofuko in NYC and Toronto.



Much of the networking happens over beers at an after-party at the Drake Hotel. Many chefs have gone on to work together later on creative projects, one-off dinners and special events in their own cities and countries, after getting to know one another at Terroir. Fittingly, the 2014 edition of Terroir is themed: Growing Ideas: Community Building and Creative Collaboration in the World of Gastronomy.

Here a few attendees from Terroir 2013 share their favourite memories—as you’ll see, Rene Redzepi really got around. Hope to see you there this year!

Jamie and Susan

“Never have I been to a food conference where the pool of talent was so thick. Two highlights for me were hearing Joshna Maharaj talk about changing the food-service system of a hospital, and chatting about preparing wild sea ducks with Rene Repzedi, then having him go through my iPhone hunting pictures.”
—Jesse Vergen, Season 4 Top Chef Canada semi-finalist, St John

Wine chocolate

“My favourite memories include: Sitting on a hay bale in Prince Edward County drinking Hinterland sparkling with Magnus Nilsson; driving through torrential rains with P.A. and Lotte from Fool Magazine squished in the back seat with food writer Joe Warwick from England; and feeding Rene Redzepi Acadian Sturgeon caviar, from New Brunswick, and watching his eyes light up.”
—Ivy Knight, Swallow Daily co-founder and Terroir 2014 content curator, Toronto

Ivy Knight

“As a wildcard speaker who does not work day-to-day in the food industry, I thought it was really fun to be surrounded by people who are so passionate about their craft. I continue to stay in touch with a few of the people I met, via social media, and it continues to inspire me to see what they do.”
—Ingrid Fetell, Aesthetics of Joy blog creator, author and 2013 Terroir speaker

“The biggest thing I got out of Terroir was lasting relationships with like-minded individuals passionate about food. We are coming out again this year with an even larger group of Calgary Chefs.”
—John Jackson, chef and co-owner, CHARCUT, Calgary, and 2013 Terroir presenter

More sausages

“My favourite Terroir memory from last year is skinning a pig head in 49 seconds at my demo.  I even surprised myself!”—Connie de Sousa, chef and co-owner, CHARCUT, Calgary, and winner of the Terroir 2013 Outstanding Chef Award


“It was inspiring to talk to all of these great Canadian and international chefs and realize how humble they are. I walked out of there with a renewed energy.”
Mayssam Samaha, Food blogger (willtravelforfood.com), Montreal

“Top Terroir moments for me were probably Rene Redzepi saying my empanadas & hot sauce were great then asking for more of both, and Magnus Nilsson coming by for his third serving.”
—Rossy Earle, Chef and founder of SupiCuci artisanal hot sauce company, Toronto


“I loved the eclecticism and the wide range of people I met at Terroir—the audience and the presenters. It was so great to have someone do a passionate presentation on challah bread moments before the founders of Fool magazine came up and talked about their gorgeous publication. And then there was Rene Redzepi telling the amazing story about when he lost his shit. That was flat-out astonishing. What a great way to get an in-depth look at some chefs you already know and love, and to make fab new discoveries as well!”
—Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor at Food & Wine magazine, New York

Humble Bread

Terroir Symposium takes place on May 12, 2014. Buy tickets here.

Rebecca Tucker





2 Responses to “Terroir Symposium 2014”

  1. Pat Anderson May 6th, 2014 at 1:17 AM #

    Wonderfully evocative piece, Val! I hope this year will be a touchstone to local collaboration.

    • Valerie Howes May 6th, 2014 at 1:20 AM #

      Thank, Pat. Me too!

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