About the Culinary Historians of Canada
The mission of the Culinary Historians of Canada is to inspire appreciation and advance knowledge of Canada’s food history.
The CHC researches, interprets, preserves and celebrates Canada’s culinary heritage, which has been shaped by the food traditions of the Indigenous peoples and generations of people who have arrived from all parts of the world. Through programs, events and publications, CHC educates its members and the public about the foods and beverages of Canada’s past. Founded as the Culinary Historians of Ontario in 1994, CHC welcomes new members wherever they live.
- DIVERSITY by exploring all the culinary histories of Canada.
- LEARNING by producing innovative and engaging programs.
- COLLABORATION by nurturing fertile partnerships among members and the culinary history community.
- AUTHENTICITY by valuing accurate research while remaining open to fresh interpretations of the past.
- PRESERVATION by supporting the promulgation of Canadian culinary history.
- INTEGRITY by demonstrating responsible stewardship.
Board of Directors
The members of the 2019-2020 board of directors are:
- President (acting): Sarah Hood (Toronto, term ends 2023): A journalist who often writes about food and the restaurant industry, Sarah has overseen the monthly e-newsletter, Digestible Bits & Bites, since 2014. She joined the CHC board in 2016. An award-winning jam-maker, her most recent book is Jam, Jelly and Marmalade: A Global History (Reaktion Books, UK). She contributed historical recipe research to the Canadian version of the television series Back in Time for Dinner. She gives occasional presentations about food history and volunteers as a historic cook at Montgomery’s Inn in Etobicoke, Ontario.
- Vice-President: Kesia Kvill (Calgary, term ends 2024): Kesia currently serves as as Chief Curator at Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary and is finishing a PhD at the University of Guelph in Canadian Food History. While writing her dissertation, she spent time cooking First World War recipes at Doon Historical Village, designing a 1920s kitchen for the future Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum in Norval, and serving on Heritage Guelph. She has been contributing to the CHC newsletter regularly for several years.
- Secretary: Sarah Harrison (Sutton, Ontario, term ends 2024): Sarah has been a member of the Georgina Historical Society board since 2018. In this role, she helped at special events, such as Harvest Fest, Old Fashioned Christmas and Canada Day. She has also contributed content to the newsletter and website of the historical society. Her undergrad Classics degree is from Queen’s University in Kingston and she has also earned a Masters in Library & Information Science and a Masters in Museum Studies, both from the University of Toronto. Currently, she works as a librarian in the East Gwillimbury Public Library.
- Treasurer: Fiona Lucas (Toronto, term end 2023): Fiona is an historian of cookbooks, foods, kitchens, and culinary material culture. She was a food historian with the City of Toronto Museums for over two decades. Before that she was a theatrical costumer on the Toronto-Hamilton-Stratford circuit; after that, for eight years she was the Coordinator of Volunteer Management for Doors Open Toronto and Nuit Blanche Toronto. As of mid-2019, she is a freelance culinary historian and consultant at “Fiona’s Food: Exploring and Eating History” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lucas’s undergraduate degree was in the History of Fine Art. She earned a Diploma of Costume Design from Ryerson back in the early ’80s when it was still a polytechnical college and a Certificate of Museum Studies from the Ontario Museum Association in the early ’90s. She holds a Masters of Canadian History, with an emphasis on servants and food history (2006). In 1994, she co-founded the Culinary Historians of Ontario (now of Canada); up until 2017 she served in various capacities on the board of directors, including President, Chair of the Program Committee, and Editor of Culinary Chronicles. She also founded the Volunteer Historic Cooking Group of the City of Toronto Museums, in 1996. Her first book was Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking (2006), silver winner in the culinary narrative category of Taste Canada Food Writing Awards (then called Cuisine Canada). Her second book, co-edited with Nathalie Cooke, is Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic (2017), which was shortlisted for the Taste Canada Awards in the culinary narrative category and also listed in The National Post’s 100 Best Books of 2017. (Term ends 2023.)
- Past President: Carolyn Crawford (Caledon, Ontario, term ends 2024): Carolyn served as CHC board secretary from 2016-2018. In April 2017, she represented CHC at Vimy (France), demonstrating Canadian War Cake, and has since offered WWI Homefront and Front Line food presentations at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and to historical societies. She generously provides historic and traditional baked goods for sampling or sale at numerous CHC events. Having grown up on a farm and still farming today, as well as her involvement in organizations such as 4-H, Women’s Institute and her local Fall Fair, have led to her love of baking and collecting culinary antiques, recipes and cookbooks. (Term ends 2024.)
Standing Committee Chairs
- Chair of the Membership Committee: Judy Chow (Guelph, Ontario): Judy has been a CHC member for many years and has previously worked with the CHC board on programming and strategic planning. She has gained board experience with the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology and through involvement with the sport of figure skating at the club and regional levels. After graduating from the University of Guelph, she served as an instructor and program co-ordinator for the Certificate in Food Science program at her alma mater. She now works in the food industry in the field of regulatory affairs. Her interests include regional cuisines, history of food processing and evolution of food laws.
- Chair of the Program Committee: Sylvia Lovegren (Toronto): Sylvia has been a member of the CHC since moving to Canada ten years ago. She has written two books: Fashionable Food, Seven Decades of Food Fads and Melon: A Global History—both available through University of Chicago Press—and contributed a number of entries in the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food. She has served on the Board of CHC for a number of years, first as Secretary, and then as Treasurer. She is still humbled by how much there is to learn about Canadian food history.
- Co-Chair of the Communications Committee/Electronic Resources: Vacant
- Co-Chair of the Communications Committee/Publications: Sarah Hood (see above for bio)
Other Board Positions
- Chair of the Education Committee: Jane Black (Red Lake, Ontario): Jane earned a BA from Waterloo in English and History, a BEd from Nipissing, and an MPEd from Western. She has spent the last 12 years working and travelling to 17 Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Cree communities in Northern Ontario. She enjoys incorporating culinary history into both formal lessons and extracurricular activities with students and Girl Guides.
- Coordinator of Publicity: Vacant
- Coordinators of Refreshments: Sherry Murphy & Carolyn Crawford: See above for Carolyn’s bio. For two decades, Sherry has been a volunteer historic cook at Montgomery’s Inn and Fort York National Historic Site; her knowledge of historic cooking enriches such hands-on cooking events as the annual Baking for the Victorian Christmas Table, which she leads, and provides CHC events with delicious baked goods from many past periods. She has become an expert in WWI-era cooking, and has made many presentations on the topic, including to thousands of students visiting France for the observation of the centenary of Vimy Ridge. She studied nursing and worked many years in the medical field; now retired, she volunteers at SickKids Hospital with the Women’s Auxiliary, helping in the Family Centre and teaching calligraphy. She also loves reading—mostly history—as well as sewing, baking and watercolour. (Term ends 2022.)
- Coordinator of Volunteers: Jennifer Meyer (Toronto, Ontario): Jennifer grew up near Toronto in a multicultural home with immigrant parents where food both divided and brought family together. She first became interested in food history and culture through a university course on the anthropology of food. A secondary-school history and social science teacher, Jennifer sees that feeding students is a great way to sneak in learning and create interest in elective courses.
Members at Large:
- Samantha George: Samantha is Curator of Parkwood National Historic Site in Oshawa. A member of the board of CHC since 2015, Samantha has made presentations on food history at both the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and Vimy 100. Her personal interests are food recipes and remedies of the Spanish Flu epidemic 2018/2019 and the Jam for Victory Campaign 1939 to 1945. (Term ends 2022.)
- Kim Moulsdale (Toronto)
- Susan Peters (Morrisburg, Ontario): With a background in both history and anthropology, Susan has a long-held interest in material cultural and culinary history. This passion led her to become a tea sommelier, and a writer and educator in tea history. After 30 years of experience as a historical researcher, she has learned to look to many resources for evidence of culinary traditions. She is the archivist for the Dundas County Archives in rural eastern Ontario and working on research into the culinary traditions of United Empire Loyalists for the Carman House Museum in Iroquois, Ontario.
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of September 25, 2020
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of October 5, 2019
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of October 20, 2018
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of October 21, 2017
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of October 15, 2016
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of September 12, 2015
- Minutes of the Annual General Meeting of November 30, 2014
Strategic Priorities 2020-2023
We will continue to implement our mission (to inspire appreciation and advance knowledge of Canada’s food history) from mid-2020 through 2023 by adopting three interlocking strategic priorities:
1. ENGAGING MEMBERS
We will accomplish this priority by cultivating:
- a membership program that delivers meaningful programs, fertile collaborations, continuous learning and informative publications
- retention schemes
- attraction schemes
- partnerships for programs and publications
2. REACHING EVERYONE
We will accomplish this priority by leveraging:
- technology to reach audiences across Canada
- social media platforms to interest Canadians in continually evolving ways
- partnerships to embrace diverse culinary histories
- national online programs to attract members from coast to coast to coast
- our website as a growing resource for Canadian food history
3. INCREASING CAPACITY
We will accomplish this priority by developing:
- a nomination and pipeline process for the board of directors
- an onboarding process for incoming board and committee members
- structured standing committees
- an online portal for key documents and archives
- a paid part-time manager
- charitable status
Every year we hold a range of events, from lectures and workshops to historic meals, behind-the-scenes factory tours, and field trips that explore food history. (See Upcoming Events, Recent Events and Past Events.)
- 1994: CHC was founded by Fiona Lucas, Christine Ritsma and Bridget Wranich, who directed the association’s growth for almost a decade. They attracted a membership that reflects a broad spectrum of skills and expertise in the field of culinary history.
- 2003: On the eve of CHO’s 10th anniversary, members adopted a Constitution and elected its first Executive, for a two-year term.
- 2010: The membership approved a change of name from the Culinary Historians of Ontario to the Culinary Historians of Canada.
First executive, 2003 (left to right): Eva MacDonald (Program), Melanie Garrison (Newsletter), Fiona Lucas (made Past President because a founding member), Maggie Newell (Secretary), Liz Driver (President), Bob Wildfong (Treasurer), Amy Scott (Vice President) and Elizabeth Nelson-Raffaele (Membership)