Ten years ago Canada’s culinary maven Anita Stewart had an idea to create a special day dedicated to celebrating all of the great things about Canadian food. Every summer since she has invited Canadians to join her in the nationwide food party she called Food Day Canada.

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Our Chef Jordan Lassaline met Anita Stewart a few years back when she attended the Winter Pork Party at Church Hill Farm in 2011. The feast Jordan cooked that evening using the farm’s heritage pork (which included some truly creative menu items such as ‘Fried Pigs Head and Apple Cider Pickled Tongue’) inspired Ms. Stewart to declare the experience as “one of those special winter evenings that will remain in my memory for years”.

So it came as no surprise when Jordan proposed a pork party of our own to commemorate The Local Community Food Centre’s first Food Day Canada event.

Every day is Food Day here at The Local! But we couldn’t do anything without the amazing commitment of our volunteers and community members, so we also took the opportunity to express our appreciation to all our volunteers by inviting them to be our guests for our Food Day Canada Perth County Pork BBQ on the evening of Saturday August 3 2013.

Everyone else in the community was also invited to join us for the celebration, as the word was spread all week over the CJCS radio waves. Anita herself posted our event and a write up about Jordan and The Local on her Food Day Canada blog. Some of Stratford’s best restaurants featured special menus on Saturday, including The Prune (last year Anita Stewart identified The Prune’s chef Bryan Steele as ‘a national treasure’), Bijou, and The Church. An article on Stratford’s participation in Food Day Canada entitled “Pride on the Plate” appeared in Saturday’s Beacon Herald:

“A lot of people mistakenly think that Canada doesn’t have much of a food culture,” said Steve Stacey, Director of the Local Community Food Centre in Stratford. “But when you do what Anita Stewart has done, which is to go from coast to coast and see all these different regions and what’s meaningful to them around food, you realize we do have a really rich culinary tradition, past and present, and that’s worth celebrating.”

And celebrate we did!

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Everyone enjoyed the smoky pulled pork Jordan and his team slow cooked in the wood fired oven we have on loan for the summer from the Stratford Chefs School.

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Fresh local corn and sides featuring beautiful veggies donated by Soiled Reputation farm made for a full plate – the best possible tribute to our local culinary abundance.

Dinner was heralded by a dignified bagpiper and….

Giant Chicken Bagpipes

A GIANT CHICKEN?!?

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Anita Stewart, if you’re looking for Food Day Canada’s version of the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus we might have found your icon!

We think that community food centres like ours can contribute something special to Canada’s food culture – the spirit of bringing everyone together around our country’s best food! As more and more food centres are created across the country by Community Food Centres Canada we should all have Food Day Canada parties!