Out and About
Pan American Food Festival in Toronto August 13-14, 2016
The exciting fourth annual Pan American Food Festival returns to Toronto, August 13-14, 2016 for the first time at Yonge-Dundas Square, in downtown Toronto. This year’s festival — Toronto’s only festival celebrating the cuisine and culture of North, South, Central America and the Caribbean – features a roster of impressive international chefs, fun food competitions, colourful music and dance performances, and entertainment for the whole family.
Launching with a ticketed Opening Reception on Friday, August 12, the Festival will again be entirely free to the public on Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14, presenting food demonstrations by international chefs, two exciting and delicious food competitions, an outdoor musical stage with live performances, kids’ activities, and Pan American food vendors and food trucks offering tasty international foods from across the Americas.
“We’re thrilled to invite the public to sample the continent’s delicious flavours and enjoy its fantastic music at the largest Pan American festival in Canada,” says Daniel Garcia-Herreros, Festival Director. “This year we feature undiscovered Bolivian food and culture, with a special guest chef and the largest presentation of the fabulous Bolivian Carnaval ever seen in Canada. Our guests can sample fantastic food from numerous countries and participate in food competitions pitting international chefs against each other with traditional and innovative local delicacies. Our musical highlights will get everyone dancing, with Fito Blanko and Chantel Collado, both young and internationally known recording artists bringing flavour and fun.”
The Festival’s Culinary Curator, Mary Luz Mejía, has put together a line-up of culinary talents bringing the best Pan American tastes to Toronto. Among the most popular events at the festival are the international food competitions, and this year two exciting contests will take place. On Saturday at 6 pm, Arepa-mania will feature six chefs each preparing the ubiquitous corn pancake in the style of their home country. On Sunday at 3 pm, Ceviche Smackdown will feature six national variations of this classic, refreshing seafood dish. A $10 ticket entitles guests to sample all six dishes and a voting ballot to pick their top contenders.
Two international guest chefs will showcase delicious and diverse cuisine from the Andean region. In all, 20 countries will be represented at the Festival, including St. Lucia and Trinidad, both for the first time.
Mejía says, “We’re putting the spotlight on the ancient and at the same time, very “in vogue” culinary ingredients of the Andes. You’ll see quinoa, kiwicha (a type of amaranth grain), dried potatoes and spirits of the Andes turned into mouth-watering dishes by renowned Chef Marko Bonifaz. Chef Federico Trujillo Uribe from Colombia explores Andean food ways and ingredients stretching from Colombia to Ecuador and beyond. We’ve also got Toronto’s own author and seasoned food writer Signe Langford proudly representing Canada in a live demo. It’s going to bemuy rico!”
This year’s Host Country, Bolivia, generously sponsoring the festival’s Opening Reception on Friday, August 12 at Daniel’s Spectrum, where five Bolivian chefs, Bolivian music and entertainers will captivate the crowd. Tickets ($50) are available at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/vip-gala-opening-reception-tickets-26444552368
A highlight of the festival will take place on Saturday at 5:00 pm at Yonge-Dundas Square when the glittering Carnaval of Bolivia will bring all the colour, energy and excitement of the country’s carnival traditions to Toronto. Dancers, revelers and mythical creatures in spectacular costumes will parade through the square in a vivid celebration of one of the world’s liveliest carnival celebrations.
As part of the Pan American Food Festival, a lively music and dance program sponsored by TD Bank will entertain festival goers on the outdoor stage all weekend long, featuring Mariachi, Samba and Tango among other popular Latin musical styles , with free Latin dance classes for audience members. North America’s first Marinera Flash Mob, (based on the Peruvian traditional dance) will spice up Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday at 1 pm.
Two featured performers will offer free concerts both nights of the festival starting with Latin Grammy nominee Fito Blanco (Panama), on Saturday at 9:30 pm, and Chantel Collado, “the Princess of Bachata”, on stage Sunday night at 7 pm. Other musical performers, folkloric dancers and DJs will entertain the public both days of the Festival. Festival hours are: Saturday 11am to 11pm; Sunday from 11am to 8pm.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.