About the Culinary Historians of Canada

Mission Statement

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.

Les HISTORIENS CULINAIRES DU CANADA étudient, interprètent, préservent et célèbrent le patrimoine culinaire du Canada, qui a été façonné par les traditions alimentaires des peuples des Premières nations et des générations d’immigrants de toutes les régions du monde. Grâce à des programmes, des événements et des publications, le CCH éduque ses membres et le public sur l’histoire des aliments et des boissons du Canada. Elle a été fondée en Ontario en 1994.


We embrace:

  • 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 CHC Board for 2108-2019. Left to right: Lori Jamieson, Kim Moulsdale, Ellen Pekilis, Sherry Murphy, Carolyn Crawford, Sylvia Lovegren, Julia Armstrong, Samantha George, Judy Chow, Ryan Whibbs, Luisa Giacometti, Sarah Hood. Not shown: Jane Black and Jennifer Meyer. Photo by Mark D’Aguilar.

The members of the 2019-2020 board of directors are:

Executive Officers

  • President (acting): Sarah Hood (Toronto, term ends 2024): 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 carried out historical recipe research for the Canadian version of the television series Back in Time for Dinner and is currently contributing research to a youth-oriented series about Canadian food history. She has taught courses at George Brown College for 25 years in such topics as writing and the history of Western clothing. She offers 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: Trudy Bloem (term ends 2025)
  • 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: 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.
  • Chair of the Program 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.
  • Co-Chair of the Communications Committee/Electronic Resources: Abbey Stansfield (Wainfleet, Ontario)
  • Co-Chair of the Communications Committee/Publications: Sarah Hood: See above for bio

Other Board Positions

  • Co-chair of the Education Committee: Jane Black (Stratford, 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.
  • Co-chair of the Education Committee: Ryan Whibbs (Calgary): Ryan is a chef and food historian, currently teaching in the School of Hospitality and Tourism at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary. Ryan earned the red seal (cook) in 2002, and completed undergraduate and graduate degrees in history at Trent and York Universities respectively. Ryan’s 2015 doctoral dissertation, entitled God Sends Meate but the Devil Sends Cookes”: Cooks Working in French and English Great Households, c.1350-c.1650, focused on professionalization of cooks in late medieval and early modern France and England. His current research focus is “cooks and culture,” exploring cooks’ historic and contemporary interactions within society. Most recently, his 2023 paper “Gens Experts & Non Suspects: Apprenticeship in the Cooks’, Charcutiers’, and Caterers’ Guilds of Paris, 1475-1599” in The Recipe from the XIIth to the XVIIth Centuries Europe, Islam, Far East (SISMEL, 2023) explored the training of culinary apprentices in early modern Paris. While many of Ryan’s publications focus on European culinary history, he has published other peer-reviewed papers about cooks and social media, as well as cooks’ perceptions of studying nutrition. At SAIT, Ryan teaches courses in the culinary program including Culinary Anthropology, Trends & Technology, Culinary Diplomacy, Quick-Service Cooking, Cooking for Special Diets, and Breakfast Cookery among others. Ryan is thrilled to return to the Board of CHC for his second term. He can be reached at ryan.whibbs@sait.ca.
  • Chair of Outreach: Carolyn Crawford (Caledon, Ontario): See above for bio
  • 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:

  • Fiona Lucas (Toronto): 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 costumer on the Toronto-Hamilton-Stratford theatre circuit; after that, for eight years she was the Coordinator of Volunteer Management for Doors Open Toronto and Nuit Blanche Toronto. Her undergraduate degree was in the history of fine art, her graduate degree in Canadian history. She also earned a diploma in costume design and a certificate in museum studies. In 1994, she co-founded the Culinary Historians of Ontario (now of Canada), for which she has served in various capacities on the board of directors, including President. Currently, she is editor of Culinary Chronicles. She also founded the Volunteer Historic Cooking Group of the City of Toronto Museums,. Her first book was Hearth and Home: Women and the Art of Open Hearth Cooking (2006), and her second, co-edited with Nathalie Cooke, was Catharine Parr Traill’s Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic (2017).
  • Kim Moulsdale (Toronto)
  • Liz Truchanowicz (Toronto)

Constitution and By-Laws of the Culinary Historians of Canada

Strategic Priorities 2023-2026

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:

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

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

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
We will also accomplish this priority by considering:
  • 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.

Culinary Historians of Canada Board 2016-2017 (l-r): Luisa Giacometti, Shirley Farrar, Julia Armstrong, Emily McKenzie, Fiona Lucas, Samantha George, Carolyn Crawford, Sylvia Lovegren, Sarah Hood. Absent: Jane Black, Sherry Murphy, Lydia Robertson, Mya Sangster. Photo by Mark D’Aguilar


CHC board members

The 2009–2011 Board members: Fiona Lucas, Janet Kronick, Maggie Newell, Bob Wildfong, Angie McKaig, Liz Driver, Amy Scott (Photograph courtesy of Angie McKaig)


Founders of the Culinary Historians of Canada (left to right): Christine Ritsma, Bridget Wranich and Fiona Lucas examine the two known copies of The Frugal Housewife’s Manual (Toronto: 1840), the first English-language cookbook compiled in Canada, at the U of T’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in 2003.

 Founding executive 2003

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)

View our slideshows of the first 20 years of CHC, compiled by Fiona Lucas