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Natalie MacLean, Michael Smith among winners of Taste Canada’s food-writing awards

Culinary-narrative award winner Natalie MacLean

Although a few high-profile winners were unable to attend the ceremony, that didn’t stop last night’s newly rebranded Taste Canada “ The Food Writing Awards from being a spirited affair.

Held at the Arcadian Court in Toronto, the awards “ managed by the University of Guelph and a committee under the leadership of national chair Karen Gelbart “ celebrate the country’s best English- and French-language food books.

Natalie MacLean’s Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines (Doubleday Canada), which earlier this year won a Gourmand World Cookbook Award, took home the prize for best English-language culinary narrative. Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan won the best single-subject cookbook for Spilling the Beans: Cooking & Baking with Beans & Grains Every Day (Whitecap Books). David Rocco, who sent a video message from India to accept his award, won best regional/cultural cookbook for Made in Italy (HarperCollins Canada). With his infant daughter perched on his lap, Chef Michael Smith sent in a video from Jasper, Alberta, to accept the best general cookbook award for Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen: 100 of My Favorite Easy Recipes (Penguin Canada).

Prolific cookbook author Anita Stewart was inducted into the Taste Canada Hall of Fame, along with posthumous recipients Catharine Parr Traill, Jeanne Anctil, and Margo Oliver.

This year, 73 titles were submitted for consideration. Publishers donated copies of all shortlisted titles to the University of Guelph library’s Canadian cookbook collection.