This year’s biennial Ashkenaz Festival welcomes a diverse lineup of notable chefs, restaurateurs, and food writers in its first ever Fressers Summit, highlighting the role of food in contemporary Jewish cultural revival. The new program features talks, demos and tastings by some of Canada’s most colourful Jewish food personalities, as well as some special guests from south of the border. Notable personalities participating include Zane Caplansky, Bonnie Stern, Leor Zimerman, Judy Perly, Michael Wex, Liz Alpern, Dina Rock and Michael Twitty.
An aspect of all cultures that brings people together, food was a natural choice for the festival’s already robust weeklong lineup of international music, film, theatre, dance, literature and visual arts. “I can’t believe we haven’t done this sooner, “said Ashkenaz Festival’s Artistic Director Eric Stein. “The Jewish food scene is exploding right now, and it very much parallels the creativity, diversity and cultural renewal that has characterized our performing arts programs for years.” The Summit kicks off at Harbourfront Centre on Saturday September 3, 6pm, with a panel discussion moderated by respected NYC-based food and arts journalist Michael Kaminer. The panelists will introduce themselves to the audience, and discuss their work at the vanguard of the contemporary Jewish food movement, sharing new directions and old wisdom in Jewish cuisine and foodways. Over the subsequent days, each will host an individual session highlighting the historical sources, personal experiences and cultural inspirations that animate their work. The resulting dialogue will nourish the imagination, tickle the taste buds, and provide a window into the heart and soul of contemporary Jewish culture. North America’s premier festival of global Jewish music and culture returns to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre for its 11 th year from August 30 to September 5. The Ashkenaz Festival is co-produced with Harbourfront Centre.