Taste Canada Awards – Hall of Fame
Sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Canada
The Culinary Landmarks Hall of Fame celebrates the personalities who have shaped Canadian culinary writing and made a lasting contribution to our culture through their influential and inspirational cookbooks. Collectively, these authors’ stellar books or bodies of work have had a durable impact on understanding the evolution of our unique Canadian cuisine.
The Culinary Landmarks Hall of Fame / Le Temple de la Renomée du Livre Culinaire Canadien award was created by Taste Canada: The Food Writing Awards in 2009 to honour the publication of Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks 1825–1949 by Elizabeth Driver, its first recipient.
Taste Canada celebrates Canada’s world-class culinary writers and food culture. The annual Food Writing Awards nurture an industry inspired by our vibrant culture, celebrates our stories, embraces our collective history and explores our family legacies through food. More than just the ingredients we consume, food is a symbol of our shared culture, varied traditions, unique history and heritage. Food is at the heart of the Canadian identity. It is ingrained in our culture, from coast to coast. It was founded as Cuisine Canada in 1997.
CHC sponsorship for the historical people posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame started in 2014, and the following year CHC also started to sponsor the current inductees too.
Stephen Yan was an ambassador of Chinese cooking. He was the first Chinese-Canadian chef to host a cooking show, CBC’s wildly popular “Wok with Yan” (1978 to 1995). From Hong Kong, Yan emigrated to Vancouver in 1967 at age 19, where he eventually opened restaurants and self-published many cookbooks. His syndicated show and cookbooks encouraged home cooks to experiment with Asian ingredients, techniques and equipment, especially the cleaver and the wok, his speciality. People young and old fondly remember the show and books. His delicious stir-fry recipes were simple, colourful and quick. Stephen Yan’s world-wide fans loved the puns emblazoned on his aprons: “Don’t wok the boat” and “Wokkey Night in Canada” are but two.
Posthumous Inductee Norene Gilletz (1940–2020)
“Canada’s queen of kosher cuisine,” Norene Gilletz, died in February 2020, age 79, still writing and blogging about Canadian food. Her first cookbook, Second Helpings, Please!, (1968), reprinted 17 times, is now subtitled The Iconic Jewish Cookbook. Her final cookbook, The Brain Boosting Diet, appeared last December. She wrote 10 others, plus many food columns and blog posts for the Canadian Jewish News. Her Facebook group boasted over 10,000 members, who happily called themselves “Noreners.” Gilletz was famous for her humour, culinary knowledge, and generous mentorship of food writers, teachers, and fundraisers. Her recipes are delicious and reliable; thousands still make her Sweet and Sour Meatballs and Carrot Cake. Gilletz’s books united communities as varied as Jewish women’s groups, food processor owners and thyroid cancer sufferers.
Jessie Read (1905–1940)
Photo Credit: Author photo from Three Meals a Day, 1934
Jessie Read was a home economist who wrote a column called “Three Meals a Day” for the Evening Telegram. These recipes were subsequently published as a series of books with the same title in 1934, 1935 and 1938. Read trained in dietetics and then worked for the Consumer’s Gas Company in Toronto. She became known for her cooking demos, weekly broadcast for the Radio Cooking School, and starring role in Canada’s first cooking school talking picture, Kitchen Talks. Intended for the average or aspiring home cook, Three Meals a Day was enormously successful. Read’s life was a mere three-and-a-half decades, but her influence was briefly bright. Read’s family has created a website to honour her memory.
Photo Credit: Larry D. Moore
Naomi Duguid is a prolific cookbook writer, culinary journalist, photographer, teacher and world traveller. Her eight cookbooks have won multiple awards from the IACP, James Beard Foundation and Taste Canada. Her first six titles were co-authored with former husband Jeffrey Alford between 1995 and 2008. Her two solo cookbooks are Burma: Rivers of Flavor (2012) and Taste of Persia (2016). A renowned storyteller and celebrated photographer, Duguid has travelled extensively through Southeast Asia and Persia with local people. Her exemplary body of work shares these culinary experiences through gorgeous images, an anthropological perspective and uncomplicated recipes that encourage creative cooking at home.
Graham Kerr (“The Galloping Gourmet”)
Photo credit: Tessa Kerr, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Graham Kerr’s “The Galloping Gourmet” was North America’s most popular 1970s TV cooking show. The show’s irreverent and glamorous host Graham Kerr, who was born in 1934, paired food, wine and travel, and pioneered an in-studio audience. Kerr grew up in English hotel kitchens, and later joined the New Zealand Air Force. Surprisingly, he found himself demonstrating cooking on television. The success of his 1967 New Zealand cookbook led the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to invite him to produce a cooking show in Ottawa from 1969 to 1971 (“Le Gourmet Farfelu” in Quebec) and seven volumes of Graham Kerr’s Television Cookbooks with psychedelic pop-inspired covers.
Posthumous Inductee Constance Hart (1826–1898)
Photo Credit: Public Domain, Canadian Institute for Historical Reproduction 91705, 1993
Constance Hart was the first Jewish person in Canada to write a cookbook. Her Household Recipes was published in 1865 by “a Montreal lady” born into a prominent Jewish family who were early advocates for Jewish civil rights in Quebec. It is one of only two cookbooks that were not reliant on foreign texts prior to the first Canadian community cookbook of 1877. Hart’s simple and straightforward recipes “combine[d] the greatest novelties in the art of cooking with those approved Recipes, which have generally entered into ordinary use,” as her preface claimed.
Beulah M. (Bunny) Barss
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bunny Barss
Bunny 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.
Posthumous Inductee Edna Staebler (1906–2006)
Photo Credit: Author photo from Food That Really Schmecks, 1968
Edna Staebler was an award-winning literary journalist and author of 21 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 are full of wonderful descriptions, colourful anecdotes and flavourful dialect, as we peek into the cooking pots of her friends and family. 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.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Julian Armstrong
For over 50 years, Julian Armstrong has tirelessly explored the cuisine of her adopted province, Quebec. For the Montreal Gazette and the Montreal Star, she travelled into every region to record its recipes and food stories. Her two cookbooks—A Taste of Quebec (1990, updated 2001) and Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey (2014)—explain and celebrate her province’s cuisine to Canada and the rest of the world. An award-winning food journalist, she mentored many other food writers. Armstrong is a true Quebec and Canadian food ambassador.
Posthumous Inductee James Barber (1923–2007)
James Barber was a Vancouver engineer who started food writing in his late forties. The first of his twelve cookbooks was Ginger Tea Makes Friends (1971), which encouraged kitchen confidence with simple techniques and fresh, easy-to-find British Columbian ingredients. He became best known as “The Urban Peasant,” the name of his 1991–2002 CBC cooking show, which demonstrated unpretentious, flavourful dishes. A witty and genial cookbook writer and television personality, Barber strove to demystify recipes so that anyone could produce tasty meals from local ingredients—an approach that presaged the 100-mile diet.
Photo Credit: Stan Switalski
From writing to teaching, to television and radio appearances across Canada, over a long career, Rose Murray has shaped our perspective of Canadian cuisine. She has authored more than ten books, including two Taste Canada Gold Award winners: Canada’s Favourite Recipes (with Elizabeth Baird, 2012), Hungry for Comfort (2003) and A Taste of Canada (Honourable Mention, 2008). Her first work, The Christmas Cookbook (1979), remains a treasured resource, and she has contributed to many books by others, including various Canadian Living cookbooks. Her knowledge and love for her region and Canada is also documented in national magazines and newspapers, from Canadian Living, Elm Street and Harrowsmith to The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Her many recipes for Foodland Ontario deserve recognition, although they were never credited by the client.
Posthumous Inductee Nellie Lyle Pattinson (1879–1953)
Photo Credit: 1943 yearbook of Central Technical School, Toronto
Nellie Lyle Pattinson wrote The Canadian Cook Book (Ryerson, 1923), which was reprinted 20 times up to 1949, always in a plain blue binding. Produced to meet the need for a recipe book for girls learning domestic science in the new technical schools, the blue cookbook quickly became the textbook in schools nationwide and also a favourite bride’s gift, despite its modest appearance.
Posthumous Inductee Helen Wattie (1911–2009) &
Elinor Donaldson Whyte (1926–)
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Wattie Family and Whyte Family
These two young teachers at the Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University) in Toronto, updated Nellie Lyle Pattinson’s text to reflect Canada’s prosperity and changing food habits after World War II. Their innovative 1953 edition, called Nellie Lyle Pattinson’s Canadian Cook Book, included—for the first time in Canada—a chapter of “Regional Dishes” that incorporated culinary history, immigration patterns and distinctive recipes. Their Pizza (Ontario section) may be the first printed recipe for pizza in a Canadian book. Wattie and Donaldson produced several updated editions to reflect an evolving society; and by 1969, they had integrated the regional recipes into the main text, recognizing they were now part of “our heritage of food.”
Michel Lambert est né au Saguenay. Il a enseigné pendant plus de 30 ans et il a été chef-propriétaire de l’auberge La Maison de la rivière à La Baie. Mais l’une des grandes réalisations de Michel Lambert est la série de volumes « Histoire de la cuisine familiale au Québec ». Le premier volume est publié en 2006. Il raconte les origines autochtones et européennes de notre cuisine, de la préhistoire au milieu du XIXe siècle. Le second volume raconte la cuisine de la mer. Le troisième volume est consacré à l’histoire de notre cuisine forestière pratiquée dans les régions des Laurentides et des Appalaches. Le 4e volume porte sur la cuisine de la ferme traditionnelle avec ses cultures dans les champs, le jardin et le verger de même que ses élevages d’animaux domestiques. Le dernier volume (2013) porte sur la cuisine traditionnelle faite avec les produits importés de même que la nouvelle cuisine québécoise inspirée par toutes les cuisines du monde. Un œuvre colossale: « Histoire de la cuisine familiale du Québec ».
Michel Lambert was born in Saguenay. He taught for more than 30 years and was also chef owner of the inn La Maison de la Rivière in La Baie. But Lambert’s seminal accomplishment is his colossal multi-volume tome L’histoire de la cuisine familiale du Québec. The first volume was published in March 2006 and outlines the native and European origins of the Quebec kitchen from prehistoric times to the middle of 19th century. The second volume (November 2006) focuses on the maritime kitchen. The third (March 2009) is dedicated to the history of Quebec’s forest kitchen, centred in the Laurentian and Appalachian Mountains, while the fourth (2011) delves into the kitchen of the traditional farm, its fields, gardens, orchards and breeding animals. The last volume (2013) looks at how world cuisine and imported products have influenced the Quebec kitchen.
Posthumous Inductee Mona Brun (1920–2013)
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Brun Family
British Columbia–born Mona Brun (née Lee) will be forever associated with the Golden Era of the famous Woodward’s Food Floors in Vancouver. Warm-hearted and witty, Brun was a stay-at-home mother until 1960, when she entered the workforce and quickly established a culinary career extraordinaire. From food demos for Star Weekly and Dairyland, she soon moved to CBC Radio’s “Food Facts” and then CBC TV’s “Cuisine 30” show. By 1963, she was starring on “Woodward’s Culinary Capers” television show. For the next three decades, she brought her good cooking to families across western Canada on this show and on her own “Creative Home Cooking” and other TV broadcasts. At Woodward’s Bea Wright Kitchen in the downtown Vancouver store, she ran recipe contests and offered advice. In 1977, Cooking with Mona appeared, an immediate bestseller that captured the essence of B.C. family cooking in that period.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth Baird
Elizabeth Baird’s distinguished career in food began with an invitation from publisher James Lorimer to write a book about Canadian cooking. Classic Canadian Cooking, published in 1974 and reprinted in 1995, was her entrée into food writing. She went on to work at various newspapers, but it was her work as food editor of Canadian Living magazine for 20 years that truly made her a household name. Along with magazines, there were other opportunities in radio and television, especially “Canadian Living Cooks” on the Food Network. And then there were cookbooks, over 30 of them in all, most notably The Complete Canadian Living Cookbook. Baird is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Founder’s Award from Cuisine Canada, a National Magazine Award, a Silver Ladle from the Toronto Culinary Guild, and Woman of the Year from the Women’s Culinary Network. She was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in May 2014.
Posthumous Inductee Mère Emélie Caron (1808–1888)
Photo Credit: c1855, from Institute of Providence, vol 3, Montreal: Providence Mother House 1930.
Mère Emélie Caron is a prominent example of the many 19th-century women in religious orders who devoted themselves to feeding the poor with nutritious and tasty foods. She was the second Mother Superior of the Sisters of Providence, and hers is the only name officially attached to Directions diverses, a cookbook that was originally prepared for use at the sisters’ Mother House and subsequently became a standard kitchen reference at many of Québec’s Catholic institutions. First published in 1878, Directions diverses prompted eight editions up to 1913. Its recipes reflect the culinary tastes of the time, with the inclusion of English and American as well as French and traditional Québecois foods.
Posthumous Inductee Helen Gougeon (1924–2000)
Ottawa-born Helen Gougeon was a cookbook author, food journalist, and radio and television personality who was best known as an early advocate of ethnic cuisine in Canada and an enthusiastic promoter of regional Canadian cooking. Gougeon’s pioneering Cooking…with an Accent (1946) fostered Canadian interest in ethnic recipes long before the multicultural movement made this fashionable. She made Canadian regional cuisine accessible on a national scale by publishing in her newspaper columns recipes that had previously been known mostly through community cookbooks. Gougeon’s columns on cooking appeared in Canadian Living, the Montreal Gazette, the Montreal Standard, the Ottawa Journal and Weekend Magazine. Her broadcasting credits included the CBC television series “Bon Appetit.”
Anita Stewart (1947-2020)
Photo Credit: Sarah Hood for CHC
Anita Stewart has spoken, written, lobbied and organized across Canada and internationally for over four decades on Canadian cuisine. Stewart has written 14 cookbooks, notably The Flavours of Canada: A Celebration of the Finest Regional Foods (2000) and Anita Stewart’s Canada: The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (2008). Academically, Stewart was the first Canadian to graduate with an M.A. in Gastronomy, was awarded a Doctor of Laws (Honouris Causa) by the University of Guelph in 2011, and holds an honorary P.Ag. designation. She has a lifetime membership in the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks, and is the founder of both Cuisine Canada (Taste Canada’s predecessor) and Food Day Canada. Stewart was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada for her contributions as a journalist, author and culinary activist, and for her promotion of the food industry in Canada.
Posthumous Inductee Catharine Parr Traill (1802–1899)
Photo Credit: Traill Family Collection / Library and Archives Canada, C-067346
Catharine Parr Traill, who was a pioneer in the backwoods of Upper Canada, authored several important books, including The Female Emigrant’s Guide and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping (1854–1855), a Canadian classic. She is considered English Canada’s first genuine culinary voice. Drawing upon her own and her bush neighbours’ hard-won practical experience and the friendly advice of the local Anishinaabe, Traill captured on paper the most detailed and useful housekeeping and culinary information for immigrants moving on to bush farms, such as how to make hop yeast, bake-kettle bread, maple sugar, venison stew and wild rice pudding. The book straddled the shifts occurring in the Victorian-era kitchen, such as including both hearth and cookstove technologies, and both homemade risings and commercial baking powders for breads and cake recipes. The Guide continues to be an essential source of primary knowledge for historical cooks and for historians of food, women and society.
Posthumous Inductee Jeanne Anctil (1875–1926)
Jeanne Anctil was a teacher of household science, principal of the Ėcoles-Ménagères Provinciales in Montreal and the author of 350 Recettes de Cuisine, published in 1912, and reissued in 1915 and 1924. Her preface discussed the necessity of cooking and eating in a Christian context. An obituary stated: “Mademoiselle Anctil a su […] montrer la véritable noblesse […] de la vie domestique […] et indiquer à nombre de jeunes filles des directions sensées. Toute la vie fut consacrée au service au siens.” [Mademoiselle Anctil knew how to show the genuine dignity … of domestic life … and to explain sensible [household] management to schoolgirls. All her life was dedicated to the service of others.]
Posthumous Inductee Margo Oliver (1923–2010)
Photo Credit: Charlie King for Margo Oliver’s Weekend Magazine Cook Book, The Montreal Standard, 1966
Margo Oliver was frequently referred to as “Canada’s Betty Crocker” (to her dismay) and was perhaps best known for her weekly recipes columns between 1959 and 1982 as food editor of Weekend Magazine and its successor, Today. She wrote several cookbooks for these magazines, as well as Margo Oliver’s Cookbook for Seniors (1989) and Margo Oliver’s Good Food for One (1990). In 1993, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Ontario Home Economists in Business. Oliver’s career spanned a coast-to-coast prominence for over three decades.
Marie Nightingale (1963–2014)
Photo Credit: Perry Jackson, courtesy of Saltscapes Publishing Ltd.
After four years of diligent research prompted by Canada’s 100th birthday, Marie Nightingale (1928–2014) produced the esteemed Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens in 1970. It continues to be an important resource on the province’s culinary history, from the Mi’kmaq through to colonialization by successive waves of French, Loyalist, Black, German, Irish and Scots. Her book led to her becoming the food columnist for 20 years at the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, and then at the lifestyle magazine Saltscapes. Her two other cookbooks were Marie Nightingale’s Favourite Recipes (1993) and Cooking with Friends (2003). Her work won many awards during her career, among them the Edna from Cuisine Canada. To great national fanfare, Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens was republished in a 40th-anniversary edition in 2010.
Posthumous Inductee Jehane Benoît (1904–1987)
Photo Credit: CBC Still Photo Collection A040856
During her long, eminent career, Madame Benoît tirelessly promoted the culinary arts and passionately advocated for good Canadian food to Canadians of all ethnic backgrounds and walks of life. Secrets et recettes du cahier de ma grand’mère (1959) was Benoît’s first cookbook, although it was preceded by several recipe pamphlets. Her last book was Encyclopedia of Microwave Cooking (1985). Equally proficient in French and English, she made numerous appearances on radio and television, particularly the national CBC program “Take 30,” and wrote countless articles for newspapers and magazines, as well as more than 30 cookbooks. Several of them became classic bestsellers in Canada. The best known was L’encylopédie de la cuisine canadienne / The Encyclopedia of Canadian Cuisine, first published in 1963 and reprinted many times.
Margaret Fraser (died 2012) &
Carol Ferguson (died 2018)
Carol Ferguson and Marg Fraser combined their extensive culinary knowledge into an early book on Canadian history, A Century of Canadian Home Cooking (1992), a comprehensive, illustrated culinary history/cookbook through the decades of the 20th century that remains an essential reference work.
Ferguson was the food editor of Canadian Living magazine from 1975 to 1987 and food editor of Homemaker’s magazine from 1996 to 2000. She was a regular columnist and feature writer on hundreds of articles on all aspects of the pleasures and practicalities of food and cooking. She authored the first Canadian Living Cookbook (1987) and contributed to 12 others, as well as writing The New Canadian Basics Cookbook (1999). She was a founding member of Cuisine Canada, Taste Canada’s predecessor. All that experience led her to being a food writing instructor at George Brown College until 2008, where she continued to earn a good reputation for mentoring novice culinary writers.
Fraser started as a dietitian and then shifted to the television commercial industry to become one of Canada’s leading food stylists. In the early 1980s, she freelanced for Canadian Living magazine as a food stylist, then became a contributing food writer, associate food editor and, finally, associate editor of Canadian Living’s Food magazine. She also contributed to five Canadian Living cookbooks: Microwave, Barbecue, Rush Hour, Light & Healthy and Canadian Living’s Family Cookbook. Fraser received the Toronto Culinary Guild’s Silver Ladle Award in 1985–86, the Toronto Home Economics Association’s Marjory Flint Honour Award in 1993, and the Ontario Home Economists in Business Hall of Fame Award in 2002.
Posthumous Inductee Kate Aitken (1891–1971)
Photo Credit: Montreal Standard c. 1945
Kate Aitken of Beeton, Ontario, who was known in the latter years of her long career as just “Mrs. A.,” was Canada’s first celebrity cook. Her career as a cookbook author, teacher, broadcaster and speaker spanned 40 years across Canada and Europe. Her name resonated with anglophone women in this country, so ubiquitous was her presence. Kate Aitken’s Canadian Cookbook, first published in 1945 by the Montreal Standard, was republished in numerous editions up to 1966. Before 1945, her cookbook-lets promoting brand names were widely distributed to thousands of Canadian homes. Through her radio broadcasts, beginning in 1934 on CFRB to southern Ontario, then on CBC daily from the late 1940s into the 1950s to 33 stations across the country—over 9,000 broadcasts in all—Mrs. A. taught cookery to anyone within reach. After giving up broadcasting in 1957 she wrote cookery columns for the Globe and Mail. She was also known in Toronto for her cooking demonstrations at the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Winter Fair, attracting throngs of eager visitors. For decades, women all over the country contributed prized recipes by Mrs. A. to their local community cookbooks.
Photo Credit: Sarah Hood for CHC
Culinary Landmarks: A Bibliography of Canadian Cookbooks 1825–1949 by Elizabeth Driver was a monumental undertaking encompassing 20 years of thorough and exhausting scholarship. The bibliography is remarkable because of the intensive attention to each and every entry from all the regions of Canada, coast to coast to coast. This seminal work provides not only the background and the history of Canadian cookbooks, but also critical information about the many authors. Culinary Landmarks has become an invaluable tool for research into Canadian foodways, social history, women’s studies and book history, and as such is one of the most important books on Canadian foodways ever produced; it has been described as “a precious gift to Canada.” This first very special Hall of Fame award recognizes an outstanding achievement by a remarkable individual.