Yes, we are assured spring is just around the corner. Really. Honest. No fooling …
Television celebrity chef Christine Cushing is the star attraction at this year’s Ottawa Travel and Vacation Show, at the convention centre.
MAR 26 14 – 11:15 AM — Gastronomes will have plenty to savour this Saturday, and again the following weekend, at two shows in the nation’s capital offering a cornucopia of good eats.
Next weekend, April 5 and 6 at the downtown Ottawa Convention Centre, Player Expositions rolls out its 20th edition of the Travel and Vacation Show, this time with decidedly Greek flavours as celebrity TV chef Christine Cushing of Christine Cushing Live on Food Network, and Fearless in the Kitchen on Oprah Winfrey Network, is the headline attraction for a cooking demonstration at 2 p.m. Saturday. Her Flavours of Greece presentation is barley and fennel pilaf with Assyrtiko wine and Greek saffron.
Also sponsored by the Greek National Tourism Organization are demonstrating chefs Three Greek Sisters – that’s Betty, Eleni and Samantha Bakopoulos — at 1 p.m. Sunday, and Toronto-based Greek culinarian and cookbook author Peter Minaki (noon Saturday).
Top, Three Greek Sisters and cookbook authors Betty, Eleni and Samantha Bakopoulos. Bottom left, chef and food writer Peter Minaki, who specializes in the cuisine of Greece. Right, executive chef Matt Boland of the Westin Hotel Aruba.
Returning this year is chef Matt Boland from the Westin Hotel Arbua, sponsored by Aruba Tourism Authority, presenting bright flavours from the Caribbean at 1 p.m. Saturday and again at noon Sunday.
I will be joining guest chefs as emcee for the cooking demonstrations.
“After such a long and hard winter I’m sure people can’t wait to come to the travel show — because we all want to go someplace,” says organizer Halina Player.
“As in previous years, food and cooking demonstrations continue to play a key part as they grow in popularity. People want to taste and sample — it’s part of the memories you take away when you travel.
“And people love watching chefs at work. It’s part of a growing public passion for food.”
Each year the popular travel show attracts over 17,000 visitors with some 200 booths, cooking demonstrations and seminars representing more than 50 countries from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Caribbean and South America spread over 6,000 square feet of convention floor space. This is the largest participation by Greece, which assumed the presidency of the European Union for six months beginning in January. “They’ll also be offering samples of baklava from time to time at their booth,” Player says.
The United States traditionally has a strong showing with exhibitors from New York, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida and Texas. Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are also primed to attend.
The Travel and Vacation Show is open both days 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission $10 (seniors 60+ free on Saturday; children 12 and under are free).
This Saturday, Mar. 29 at the EY Centre, Eat Drink Spring! festival will open from 1 to 9 p.m. where more than a dozen food trucks and carts are expected under a sprawling 4,000-square-foot tent to showcase their menus for the spring-summer noshing season. It is the first year for the show, which was announced at last fall’s annual Ottawa Wine and Food Festival by owner/organizer Joan Culliton.
“We’ll have food trucks, carts and barbecue rigs — about 15 in total — under the Big Top,” Culliton says.
“The idea is to celebrate spring, so you’ll be able to see and taste what food trucks in the nation’s capital will be serving this summer. We’ll also have microbreweries on hand to launch their new beers for the summer season.
“And, everyone who attends will be invited to sign a picnic table to welcome the season. Year after year the picnic tables will return so, as the event grows, you’ll be able to find your name from previous years.”
Admission to Eat Drink Spring is $20. Sampling tickets are 50 cents each (you’ll need three tickets or more to sample food and drink).