World-class Canadian culinary books and blogs honoured at Taste Canada Awards Gala

Press release

Celebrating its 20th year, Taste Canada Awards / Les Lauréats des Saveurs du Canada has announced the winners of Canada’s only culinary writing awards. In total, 24 Gold and Silver awards were handed out to authors of culinary books and food blogs at the Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel hosted by Food Network Canada’s Noah Cappe.

Gold winners included James Walt, for his book, Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm-Fresh Recipes; and Naomi Duguid for her book, Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan. Angela Liddon won a gold for her book Oh She Glows Every Day: Quick and Simply Satisfying Plant-Based Recipes, and another award for her blog, The complete list of winners can be seen at

Taste Canada Awards celebrates food and diverse food culture as told by Canada’s world-class culinary writers. This year, 147 books and blogs in both English and French were entered in the competition. A shortlist of 54 books and blogs was announced in July.

For 20 years, Taste Canada Awards has shined a spotlight on Canadian culinary writers and the Canadian publishing industry. Over its 20 year-history, Taste Canada Awards has awarded 234 Canadian-authored books and blogs that have covered an array of topics related to food in both official languages, such as Canada’s culinary history, regional and local food stories, ingredients, food trends, nutrition, and everyday recipes. The Awards, originally named the Canadian Culinary Books Awards, were founded by Jo Marie Powers, who taught at Guelph University’s School of Hotel and Food Administration (now Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management).

“From my experience with Canadian cookbooks, I found that they are among the best in the world, but few even knew our cookbook authors and I wanted to change that oversight,” said Ms. Powers, who is now retired from teaching, but continues to serve on the Taste Canada Awards board of directors.

The 2017 Gala was a one-of-a-kind gastronomic celebration with chef-led food stations, such as a chocolate station by Cacao Barry featuring their ambassador Chef Jason Bangerter (Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa); and gourmet offerings by Chef Tawfik Shehata (The International Centre), Chef Robert Mills (EPIC, Fairmont Royal York Hotel); Chef Matt Basile (Fidel Gastro’s); Chef Dan Craig (Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel); Chef Vanessa Yeung (Aphrodite Cooks), and Chef Jonathan Gushue (The Berlin), among others.

At the Gala, Taste Canada Awards also named this year’s Hall of Fame Award inductees sponsored by The Culinary Historians of Canada, Bunny Barss (current) and Edna Staebler (posthumous).  Ms. Barss is a Calgary-based food history writer and cookbook author whose nine books preserve and celebrate the rich heritage of ranching and pioneer experiences in the Canadian West. Her lively scholarship – rich with anecdotes, interviews with surviving settlers, archival photographs – garnered her an enthusiastic readership among prairie home cooks, making her a best-selling author.

Edna Staebler (1906–2006) was an award-winning literary journalist and author of twenty-one books. These included the Schmecks series of cookbooks: Food That Really Schmecks (1968), More Food That Really Schmecks (1979) and Schmecks Appeal (1987). Her cookbooks were full of wonderful descriptions, colourful anecdotes and flavourful dialect, as we peek into the cooking pots of her friends and family. Ms. Staebler was also among the very first cookbook authors to celebrate regional cooking and as a result, was primarily responsible for bringing the Waterloo region with its good food and drink to the attention of the rest of Canada.

The winner of Cooks the Books, a student chef competition, was also announced at the Gala.

Cooks the Books was held at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto on October 29.  Cooks the Books is a cooking competition that invites Canadian culinary students from across the nation to compete for the title of Canada’s Best New Student Chefs. Taste Canada Cooks the Books is presented in partnership with the Alberta Canola Producers Commission and sponsored by Summer Fresh and RICARDO Cuisine.

In 2016, the total units sold in Canada for books in the “Cooking” subject category amounted to 1.3 million for a total value of $43 million, according to BookNet Canada.

Award Categories

  • General Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Générale
  • Single-Subject Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Sujet Unique
  • Regional/Cultural Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Régionale et Culturelle
  • Culinary Narratives / Narrations Culinaires
  • Health and Special Diet Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Santé et Diète Particulière
  • Food Blogs: General
  • Food Blogs: Health and Special Diet

About Taste Canada Awards

We celebrate Canada’s world-class culinary writers.

In 2017, Taste Canada Awards celebrates 20 years as the only organization in Canada that recognizes this nation’s abundance of outstanding culinary writers (books and blogs). Drawn from Canadian academic, publishing, creative and institutional fields, the independent panel of judges reviews submissions across seven categories.

Taste Canada Awards would like to thank our partners who support our mission to celebrate Canada’s world-class culinary writers including the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, the Government of Canada, Food Network Canada, Toronto Star, Summer Fresh, Canada’s 100 Best, Egg Farmers of Canada, RICARDO Cuisine, Ritz-Carlton Toronto Hotel, Hudson’s Bay Company, Crave Public Relations, and Rees & Stager. For more information, please visit