Food and wine are both vehicles of culture and expression. They both deliver the human aspect of terroir, that sense of place, on the plate and in the glass. So let’s experience every narrative we can! This past year has seen a great push for inclusivity in both the wine and hospitality industries. Seeking to change events, conversations and gatherings (even virtually) from being led by the same old voices. The old guard, so to speak, has seen a massive change up. Pushes to bring forward Black voices in Ontario food and wine have brought up some much needed conversations, but also celebrations of truly talented people that need recognition!
In honour of Black History Month I am highlight an amazing event coming up on the 27th of February – Celebrating Black Voices in Ontario Food and Wine. This event celebrates the stories, experiences, talents and voices of Black wine and food professional, placing them center stage. With amazing people that I admire greatly this is an experience of food and wine featuring Beverly Crandon, Steve Byfield, Suzanne Barr and Anushka Garnier.
Beverly will be the host of the festivities. A woman with a love of wine an infection smile Beverly is a wine professional with a background in marketing operations. She has been able to work with companies ranging from Fortune 500s to startups. A career in such a different field than wine her wine journey started with a passion to know more. A CMS Certified Sommelier Candidate and one of the founding members of Vin Equity she brings her passion for wine, work experience, and love of wine education to broaden wine appreciation and advancement in those not deemed the ‘traditional’ wine consumer or professional – making wine inclusive, approachable and enjoyable.
Nyarai Cellars is the feature wine, made by winemaker Steve Byfield. I had the opportunity to work with Steve this past year more closely, I remember how struck by his passion for winemaking when I had first met him. Entering the wine industry like many wine professionals, after years of study in a different field, finding wine and realizing that working in wine is what he is meant to do. Drawing on his background in music Steve is an amazing blender. Using the Bordeaux style of assemblage to blend from different locations across Ontario for his wines. Two wines in his portfolio are featured for the Feb. 27th event, the Cadence a Red Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. As well as the Nyarai Cellars Folklore Sparkling wine a lively and refreshing sparkling made using a blend of L’Acadie Blanc, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewurztraminer.
Paired with the wine selections is a phenomenal 4-course meal for two made by Chef Suzanne Barr and Chef Anushka Garnier. The cuisine is inspired by the signature styles of both Suzanne and Anushka bring their experiences, backgrounds and culinary history to the plate. Suzanne’s personality is a one that instantly takes you in and you can feel in her passion for food. She has a flair for creating food with comfort that made your soul feel good. So accomplished in her role but also in advocating for food security, people of colour and LGBTQ communities. She is such a force and an inspiring person as a restaurant, judge on the Food Networks Wall of Chefs, writer and activist for food security, and advocacy for people of colour and LGBTQ communities. Anushka Garnier is a woman after my own heart. An entrepreneur she is the creator and founder of Leaf and Bone, a boutique natural catering company. Using her background as a world travelling Chef to create amazing food that is thoughtful, healthy, affordable and accessible to everyone. When these two come together they create delicious dishes that are thoughtful and will work so beautifully with the wines that Steve creates
Take part in the Celebrating Black Voices in Ontario Food and Wine on February 27th, get your tickets here. The event is Sponsored by George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, Wine Country Ontario & VQA Wines of Ontario, and Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology & Viticulture Institute at Brock University. Ticket come in a range of prices so join Steve, Suzanne, Anushka and Beverly in a virtual wine and food experience!