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Taste Canada celebrates 2013 award winners and hall of fame inductee Elizabeth Baird

Awards host Stefano Faita, Hall of Fame inductee Elizabeth Baird, and 2009 inductee Elizabeth Driver

Judging from the full room of culinary and publishing professionals at Toronto’s Arcadian Court last night, the rebranding of Taste Canada’s food-writing awards can be declared a success.

Hosted by CBC TV’s Stefano Faita, the event honoured the best in Canadian English- and French-language cookbooks and “culinary narratives” from the previous year. According to Taste Canada national chair Karen Gelbard, 64 submissions were received and judged by a national panel of 23 jurors. Only two French-language awards were presented (all 28 titles submitted fell into two categories), including one for Martin Picard’s Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon, which earlier this year received first place at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

As voted by more than 1,000 visitors to the CBC Books website, the inaugural Taste Canada/CBC People’s Choice Award was given to editor Mairlyn Smith for The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook: From the Ontario Home Economics Association (Whitecap Books).

Canadian-cuisine stalwart Elizabeth Baird received a standing ovation for her induction into Taste Canada’s Hall of Fame. Baird also received a best general cookbook honour for Canada’s Favourite Recipes (Whitecap), co-written with Rose Murray. During her induction speech, Baird thanked her first publisher, James Lorimer, for his persistence in persuading her to write 1974’s Classic Canadian Cooking. She also acknowledged Nick Rundall and Robert McCullough ““ current and former Whitecap publishers, respectively ““  praising all those involved in the publishing industry: “There’s not a lot of money in it, but it brings a lot of pleasure to people.”

The English-language winners are:

Culinary Narratives: French Kids Eat Everything (And Yours Can, Too), Karen Le Billon (HarperCollins)

General Cookbooks: Canada’s Favourite Recipes, Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird (Whitecap Books)

Regional/Cultural Cookbooks: Burma: Rivers of Flavor, Naomi Duguid (Random House Canada)

Single-Subject Cookbooks: The Book of Kale: The Easy-to-Grow Superfood; 80+ Recipes, Sharon Hanna (Harbour Publishing)

Taste Canada/CBC People’s Choice Award: The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook: From the Ontario Home Economics Association, Mairlyn Smith, ed. (Whitecap)