I have to be honest. I used to “do brunch”, a lot. I brunched almost every weekend. Then I had kids and I became one of those people who say, “Who has time for brunch?” I sometimes reminisce about the old days when I wouldn’t question doing a 3-hour yoga class or sipping high tea at The Windsor Arms Hotel. Gosh, what did I do with all my time before my life became this constant juggling act called motherhood? Now that the kids are older I purposefully make time for the occasional brunch, so, I jumped at the invitation to host a Canola Growers‘ “Brunch In The City” at, for many, including me, the nostalgic Windsor Arms Hotel.

A brunch is best served with good company. With people like my co-host for this event, Registered Dietition, blogger, and food writer, Abbey Sharp, TV food personality, food writer, and comedian Marilyn Smith, and Windsor Arms Chef Maxime Roy, it was sure to be a wonderful day. All our foodie guests were properly greeted with @FresitaCanada, a stunning sparkling strawberry wine from the south of Chili. Then the guests meet the Canola Growers’ team including Ellen Pruden, who provided us with a wealth of information, educating us as we played The Canola Crush, introducing me to my very first “oil tasting” with a technique I was unaware existed but very similar to a wine tasting. We also got a surprising opportunity to sit and chat with Canola farmer, Tanya Pidsadowski.

The one and only Marilyn Smith, Ellen Pruden from Canola Eat Well and Me.

The one and only Marilyn Smith, Ellen Purden from Canola Eat Well and Me.

What did I know about Canola Oil? Well, I use it almost everyday. As a cook and food stylist, it is always in my kit or on my grocery list. Its versatility, low cost, and high smoke point (468°F) make it a must have for food styling. From providing a beautiful caramelized sear or to making food glisten, it is essential for food photography. As a cook, the neutral taste and light texture of canola oil really lets the true flavour of a recipe’s ingredients shine through. It can be used for frying, cooking, baking, and finishing. I love anything that makes my life a little easier. Canola, being local, so multi-purpose, and healthy, is a great all-in-one product.

What did I learn about Canola? It is very Canadian. The ‘Can’ comes from Canada and the ‘ola’ refers to oil. I learned about the 9000+ Manitoba Canola oil farmers, like Tanya, many of who live their lives working multi-generational farms. Their passion is for the land and taking care of it for the generations to come. The seeds, part of the cruciferous family (i.e. broccoli), are made up of 42-43% oil, look just like small mustard seeds and have a grassy taste. We all examined the seeds during our Canola Crush game. This game is actually a test used by all Canola farmers to examine the oil from the seeds before harvesting. Using a specially crafted gadget called a seed counter we gathered up seeds, pressed them to masking tape like Canola seed brail, and crushed them with a mini plastic roller. Voila, oil! We also tasted a few of your not so typical run of the mill supermarket varieties during the oil tasting like Pristine Gourmet’s golden colored Virgin Canola and Maison Orphée’s buttery flavored cold-pressed unrefined organic Canola oil.

 

Then bunch. Chef Maxime Roy, indulged us with an insanely good brunch menu that featured the true versatility of Canola Oil.

“Canola oil is amazing to me because I can infuse any flavour into it. I enjoy using it in a variety of different ways but especially when making mayonnaise and aioli, as well as when I’m marinating and frying meat.”  says Chef Roy.

I did, however, make our guests work for their food. Chef Roy’s perfect salad, I decided, was screaming for a DIY vinaigrette so I provided all the guests with the ingredients needed to dress their salads. Here are some photos of the four amazingly executed and delicious courses with stunning family style presentation. Chef Maxime Roy, I will be coming back and requesting your stuffed lobster with crispy scallop and king crab.

 

Thank you to all the fabulous guests we had at our Windsor Arms Brunch In The City. I’ll be back soon for high tea. If you would liek to know more about Canola oil click here. #EatWellCanolaOil