How to Become a Culinary Expert In Your City

“My favourite hobbies are breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
– Mireille Guiliano, former CEO of Veuve Cliquot and author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat

There are many of us who would agree. The foodies, the epicures, the gourmands, the gastromes, the connoiseurs…

The terms may differ but the definition remains the same:

a person who takes particular pleasure in food and drink.

The so called ‘foodie culture’ that typically dominates large urban cities is rich with chefs and restaurants to please a variety of palates.

We are fortunate to live in Toronto – a city where on a daily basis there are launches of new restaurants, chef dinners, food festivals, new food trucks or culinary events. And just like with fashion and art, an epicure’s taste differs with personal style and preferences.

We all have our own inclinations to please while trying to stay on top of culinary trends. Just like knowing what’s in on the hottest fashion scene, the culinary landscape is vibrantly filled with movement. So, what’s the best way to stay in the know?

  1. Find your influencers and connect with them.
    Are you a raw foodist with a taste for vegan cuisine? Or do you prefer a seafood menu surely to make a pescatarian’s palate jump with excitement? Or, are you a more of a traditionalist who is a steak connoisseur? Whatever your taste buds prefer, there is a chef and food critic who caters strictly to you. It’s a three-step process: pick your style; find your favourite chefs and critics in the space; connect with them and follow along for the latest and the greatest. As a start, these are three high profile epicures in the city who are worth a follow: (The Star food critic); (Globe & Mail restaurant critic).; (Macleans).


Bosk Chef

  1. Two words: Food Festivals.
    Every summer, the obsession with outdoor festivals resurfaces and the food world is no different. The inimitable part of food festivals is the variety that comes with them. Let’s face it – there are countless restaurants and chefs in the city that you’re always curious to try and wish you had more than 24 hours in a day. Food festivals allow intermix of not only chefs and restaurants but also offers exclusive dishes not available anywhere else. Yet again, there are many festivals that cater to various taste buds and styles from vegan to steak eaters. From previous experiences, one of the best food festivals in the city is Taste of Toronto. The Toronto festival had its North America début last year making a gourmand’s dream come true. There are only 20 exclusive Taste Festivals around the world, getting its start inLondon, England in 2004 and growing into a global phenomenon now held in 20 cities around the world including London, Sydney, Cape Town, Milan, Dubai and Moscow. Some of the notable chef names you will see include Damon Campbell (Bosk), Mark McEwan (McEwan Group), David Chang (Momofuku).
  1. Get a credit card that enhances your lifestyle.
    Today your credit card should not only compliment your lifestyle but also elevate it to the next level. A great choice for those into the culinary scene is the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege* (TD VIP) Card. Recently, I was able to attend an invite only exclusive dinner catered strictly to TD VIP Cardholders. One word: WOW.


Marina from Affluence Avenue at TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite Privilege dinner.

Marina from Affluence Avenue at TD Visa Aeroplan Infinite Privilege dinner.

This was the first year, TD VIP was a presenting sponsor of The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation program. The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation is a culinary arts non-profit created to recognize and inspire young Canadian chefs, whilst promoting professionalism and culinary excellence within the hospitality industry. Through its national annual competition, the scholarship program provides a platform for talented young chefs to get a head start with an unparalleled opportunity to work in the country’s leading restaurants. The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation Dining Series includes five one-night-only dinners that will see some of Canada’s most established Chefs create multi-course collaborative menus that showcase the best of Canadian produce and cooking techniques. Fine dining for a cause – it’s a win/win.

An incredible initiative meant to celebrate the young culinary talent of Toronto and support the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation. First stop was an exclusive dinner hosted by Executive Chef Damon Campbell of Bosk, the signature restaurant inside the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto.

Bosk DInner

The evening breathed an exclusive feel to it made special for TD VIP and included a Canadian culinary A list and crème de la crème of gastronomy scene: Damon Campbell – Bosk Restaurant, Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto; David Hawksworth – Hawksworth, Vancouver; Kristian Eligh –  Hawksworth, Vancouver; Mark Moffatt – Sommelier/Wine Director, Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto and Jacob Richler – Food Journalist and Author, Toronto.

Bosk Dinner
The evening started with a glass of Pommery Cuvée Louise 2002 Reims, mingling and the finest canapés. Recognized as one of the top restaurants in the city, Bosk never fails to leave the crowd in awe and this was yet again confirmed overhearing conversations of impressed guests. Shortly after we were all shown into the dining area with assigned seating where the emcee, Jacob Richler, welcomed the crowd to dinner and prepared us for a five courses pairing with exceptional wines and the best seasonal local ingredients.

Bosk Dinner

To say that TD VIP spoiled the culinary enthusiasts would be an understatement! The evening consisted of Hamachi tartare paired with Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Clos du Roy 2013 Loire; scallop and sweetbread served with Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2011 Cumbrae farms lamb paired with Domaine J.L. Chave Farconnet 2007; beef striploin paired with Castello Di Verduno 2003 and Rhubarb Monte Cristo paired with  Southbrook Cabernet Franc Icewine 2012. Enough said.

Bosk DInner Shangri La

A culinary experience like this is just one of the many offered exclusively to TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Cardholders. The TD VIP card was launched on January 1, 2014 to fill a niche for the luxury travelers who also desire exclusive access to once in a lifetime experiences. Some of the past events accessible only by TD VIP Cardholders include the Italiano Feast with Mario Batali (culinary event in cooperation with Rob Gentile at Buca Restaurant); 2014 Feature Art Fair (VIP cocktail reception, private curated art tour and multi course dinner, prepared by Chef Anthony Walsh, Mark McEwan and Lynn Crawford) and 2015 JUNOs (VIP cocktail reception, featuring meet and greet with 2015 JUNO award winner, MAGIC! and premium seats for Live Broadcast).

Bosk DInner
As the Preferred Credit Card of the Canadian Opera Company (COC), TD VIP Cardholders also enjoy special privileges, such as complimentary coat check and refreshments during all COC performances. To learn more about the TD VIP Card click here.

Now, who’s ready for some feasting?


This article was sponsored by TD Visa Aeroplan Infinite Privilege.

Founder of - Toronto's First Luxury Lifestyle Guide focusing on travel, food & drink, arts, culture, fashion and business & career advice.

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