ARCHIVED: Award in Celebration of the Nation's Table
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June 23, 2010
Governor General and Jean-Daniel Lafond present the first Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table
OTTAWA— Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, and Mr. Jean-Daniel Lafond presented earlier today, for the first time, the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table during a ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Proposed in 2006 by His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table recognizes and celebrates outstanding efforts in improving the quality, variety and sustainability of all elements and ingredients of our nation’s table.
The nomination and adjudication process is overseen by an advisory committee of experts from across the country. There are five award categories that recognize achievement in creativity and innovation, education and awareness, leadership, mentorship and inspiration, and stewardship and sustainability. A sixth category, youth, recognizes a young person with potential to inspire peers to become contributors to the nation’s table.
Creativity and Innovation
Recognizing those who have contributed original and distinct ideas, products, techniques or creations to the nation’s table that are imaginative and forward-thinking
When Christian Barthomeuf first got the idea in 1989 to use ice winemaking techniques to create the first ice cider in Quebec, his neighbours said he was an eccentric. Little did they know that, just 10 years later, this exceptional product would be one of the great agri-food success stories in Quebec and Canada, garnering worldwide recognition. Today, Mr. Barthomeuf is one of the pillars of this flourishing young industry. His work is based on simple production techniques and meticulous observation of natural cycles. In helping apple growers to produce high-quality ice cider, Mr. Barthomeuf has also helped to raise the profile of their challenging vocation, while yielding significant added value for their orchards. That assistance has saved many family businesses from certain financial ruin. This visionary has devoted considerable efforts to preserve heritage apple varieties, which he now grows organically in his Clos Saragnat vineyard, where he also produces straw wine and ice wine.
Alfred E. Slinkard
Alfred Slinkard is synonymous with the development of the Canadian pulse industry. Pulses, commonly known as lentils and peas, are an increasing part of the Canadian diet. They are low in fat, a good source of iron, protein, fibre, minerals, calcium and ‘B’ vitamins. Since 1972, Dr. Slinkard has worked tirelessly with researchers and industry leaders to promote the production and consumption of pulses. His innovative research at the Crop Development Centre of the University of Saskatchewan included the creation and development of the Laird and Eston lentil varieties. His work has helped lead the way for Canada to become a major exporter of peas and lentils, with Canadian farmers producing over 7.5-million acres of pulses in 2009. As professor emeritus, Dr. Slinkard continues his food research developing spice crops. In honouring Dr. Slinkard, we acknowledge the enormous value of plant researchers in Canada over the last 100 years. Their work, like that of Dr. Slinkard, has changed not only what our farmers produce, but also what we eat.
Education and Awareness
Recognizing those who have raised awareness and increased our collective knowledge of the nation’s table to the enrichment of all
Vancouver, British Columbia
John Bishop opened Bishop’s Restaurant in 1985 with a commitment to organic, local produce. He was a pioneer on 4th Avenue in Vancouver long before it became the West Side’s hippest food corridor. There is a kind of lyrical sensibility in his approach to both life and his influence in the culinary arts. It’s an unspoken eloquence, a touch of risk-taking tempered by poetic license and an unwavering belief that it’s the simple things that deliver the most memorable moments in life. This award-winning author, chef, veteran maître d’ and restaurateur is a model for hospitality, and a pioneer of local ingredient sourcing and menu development doctrine—a doctrine that has become conventional wisdom in Canada. With a natural ability to select, educate and transform up-and-coming chefs and budding hospitality students to become culinary leaders, Mr. Bishop’s influence can be traced from British Columbia’s most renowned restaurants, through to a culinary institute in California, and all the way to an exclusive hotel in Borneo. John Bishop has improved the quality of Canada’s gastronomy by transforming our food culture with an infusion of new flavours and techniques that ceaselessly highlight and promote the worth and potential of Canada’s backyard.
With good humour, Robert McLaughlin has dedicated his life to actively promoting the growth and study of our distinctly Canadian food culture. In his tenure as dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, he managed three colleges and a number of research stations. As inaugural chair of the Guelph Food Council, Dr. McLaughlin pioneered the linking of agricultural production to ingredients. This concept laid the foundation for the creation of the Guelph Food Technology Centre and the Guelph Food Inventory, institutions that have greatly enhanced the work of students and educators. As vice-president of Alumni Affairs and Development, he managed the successful Science of Life, Art of Living campaign. During his tenure as president and chair of the board of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, he ensured the longevity of the Canadian Culinary Book Awards. He is past board chair of the George Morris Centre, Canada’s agricultural think tank; of the Ontario Agricultural Experience Inc.; and of the Ontario Agricultural Leadership Trust. He is a born educator.
Recognizing those who have led their peers, colleagues and fellow citizens to build stronger communities connected to the nation’s table in all its aspects
James and Linda Gourlay
Bedford, Nova Scotia
James and Linda Gourlay are innovators, catalysts and creative doers who have inspired Canadians and raised awareness of the intricate connection of farm to table. With the creation of their monthly magazine, Saltscapes, they showed Canadians the role the table plays as a cultural forum for exchanging and sharing culinary and other ideas. They put the spotlight on creative, “outside-the-box” food and wine initiatives in Atlantic Canada and promoted them at the national level. Mr. and Mrs. Gourlay are the driving force behind Atlantic Canada’s most popular fair, Saltscapes East Coast Expo. Attended by thousands of Canadians each year, the Expo features culinary demonstrations, tastings and innovative shows that highlight the wealth of Atlantic flavours and the newest ways to prepare food. It provides a platform for producers and artisans from throughout the region to demonstrate their work in the food, wine, interior decorating, travel and gardening industries. With the Saltscapes brand, Mr. and Mrs. Gourlay have led Canadians to think differently when they purchase and consume food and drink. Their passion for superior quality regional products has allowed them to promote and institute new trends and ideas that continue to strengthen Canada’s farm-to-table connection.
Jamie Kennedy and Michael Stadtländer
Toronto, Ontario and Singhampton, Ontario
Jamie Kennedy and Michael Stadtländer—two individuals—two careers—two lives—separate, yet inseparable—in our eyes and perhaps even in theirs. Toronto-born Kennedy traveled to Europe for a classical chef’s education, where he apprenticed with German-born Stadtländer. They became friends and colleagues, moving to Toronto and forming the opening team at Scaramouche—unimaginably young, but leaders from the start. The sheer number of young apprentices that have emerged from their kitchens and gone on to fulfilling and important careers in growing, preparing, preserving and serving food is extraordinary. They were the original locavores and Toronto’s first celebrity chefs. Over two decades ago, the two chefs founded Knives and Forks, an organization that brought farmers and cooks together to discuss and initiate important changes to our food supply line. They understood then that they must change the infrastructure before they could change what is on the plate if their vision was to endure. In the last 30 years, chefs Kennedy and Stadtländer have never waivered from their beliefs. It is impossible to articulate the impact these two men have had on the culinary arts in Canada. They are chefs, artists, environmentalists and activists. Their food is sublime and they are leaders in the field.
Mentorship and Inspiration
Recognizing role models and those who inspire their peers and fellow Canadians about the ways in which we think about, appreciate and participate in the nation’s table
City of Québec, Quebec
As the co-owner of the Le Saint-Amour restaurant in Old Québec City for over 30 years, Jean-Luc Boulay has drawn on his training and experience in France to create a distinctively Canadian and Quebec gastronomy. He was one of the first chefs to promote local food, both in Canada and in other countries, using local ingredients to showcase regional producers and to help them improve their products and grow their businesses. On the leading edge of the latest technologies in his field, Mr. Boulay has always placed great importance on his role as a chef mentor, taking fledgling cooks under his wing. He trains them with passion and patience to take part in numerous high-profile competitions, and organizes internships in prestigious establishments to hone their know-how and versatility, while strengthening their love for their vocation. Mr. Boulay is a favourite as a judge in culinary competitions, conducts specialized training throughout Quebec, and is involved in various associations that support emerging practitioners of the culinary arts. His exceptional career has made him one of the few Canadians ever to be awarded France’s National Order of Agricultural Merit.
Sinclair and Frédérique Philip
Sooke, British Columbia
Over the last 30 years, Sinclair and Frédérique Philip have painstakingly created and maintained an incubator for regional and sustainable food philosophies. With the inexhaustible food knowledge of Sinclair and the artistic eye of Frédérique, Sooke Harbour House has mentored and produced some of this country’s most respected chefs. With its network of local fishers, foragers and artisanal food producers, this dynamic couple have created one of the most internationally recognized and acclaimed inns in this country. By working their own extensive gardens and building strong relationships with local growers, Mr. and Mrs. Philip are an unsurpassed testament to quality and commitment to a regional economy. Never willing to rest, they are now both incredibly active in the international Slow Food movement.
Stewardship and Sustainability
Recognizing the fundamental role of the gatekeepers and caretakers of the nation’s table in safeguarding our environment, food security and health
Avataq Cultural Institute
Founded in 1980 by the Nunavik Inuit Elders’ Conference, the Avataq Cultural Institute is dedicated to protecting and promoting the rich language and culture of Inuit in Canada and throughout the world, by supporting a wide variety of projects. One of them, the creation of five Northern Delights herbal teas, helps not only to fund numerous activities for this northern community, but also to preserve ancestral knowledge of medicinal plants of the tundra and how they were used by previous generations. It also helps to forge precious ties between elders and youth, by keeping that traditional knowledge alive. The Northern Delights herbal teas project also provides jobs to those in the community who need them most. All the plants are gathered in accordance with strict organic rules that ensure the sustainability of this fragile resource. Thanks to the Northern Delights herbal teas project, Inuit communities in Nunavik can draw on their regional plant resources to market and sell a highly symbolic product that reflects their unique culture.
Award was accepted by Charles Arngak, President of the Avataq Cultural Institute
David Cohlmeyer came to Canada from the United States in 1972 and quickly became a gentle but powerful alternative voice, as chef and restaurateur at Beggar’s Banquet, as food and agriculture columnist of The Globe and Mail, and as the founder of the Toronto Culinary Guild. But he is best known as a farmer. He founded Cookstown Greens in 1988, a farm supplying our leading chefs with fantastically inspiring produce—everything from edible flowers to heritage vegetables to obscure herbs and perfect asparagus. A tireless advocate for locally grown foods, a generous contributor to innumerable causes and events, he is a pioneer, a leader and the environmental conscience of everyone who knows him.
Recognizing young Canadians who have shown immense potential to improve the quality, variety, awareness and sustainability of the nation’s table through creativity, innovation, inspiration, leadership and stewardship
Ricky Sze Ho Lam
Ricky Sze Ho Lam is one of the new generation of outstanding food researchers in Canada. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph, he received an Undergraduate Student Research Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Scholarship to start his research interests in the physical properties of edible oils and fats. In his master’s studies at the University of Saskatchewan, under the direction of Dr. Michael Rogers, he continues to focus on the food applications of edible oils and fats using the Canadian Light Source (CLS). He has published two peer-reviewed articles on his research and has demonstrated significant potential as a food researcher. He plans to continue his studies at the doctoral level, where he is sure to inspire others and lead by his enthusiastic and dynamic example.
For further information on the Governor General’s Award in Celebration of the Nation’s Table, visit the Web site www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=187&lan=eng.
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Rideau Hall Press Office