When it comes to world-class cuisine, Toronto is definitely among the top players. But we’re also a city where food security, and access to fresh food, is a real issue for many.

That’s why FoodShare‘s annual Recipe For Change is SO near and dear to our heart: besides bringing together some of Toronto’s finest chefs for a truly memorable culinary experience, this foodie extravaganza also supports vital food programs across the city. 

In anticipation of Recipe For Change’s tenth anniversary, happening February 21, we’re chatting with some of the featured chefs. (FYI: This year’s event is especially cool because the evening will showcase the hard work from some of Toronto’s top female chefs of colour.)

Meet Miriam Echeverria, Chef de Cuisine at Greta Solomon’s Dining Room. Chef Miriam was born and raised in Mexico and developed a passion for cooking while observing the women in her family. She is a strong advocate for female equality and environmental consciousness. We love that she promotes environmentally sustainable living and wants to motivate new generations of women to stand up for their rights.

SDTC: What dishes will you be serving up at Recipe For Change?

ME: A play on a traditional beef tartare. We will be making a version with beets, served on a pumpkin seed tuile.

There are lots of reasons why this event is important. What makes it most meaningful to you?

In a city as big as Toronto, there are lots of ingredients, products, etc. to choose from and not all of them are thoughtfully sourced. I’m happy to participate with FoodShare in an event that is going to create change through education about sustainable products and sourcing local ingredients.

What are the dishes you remember most from your childhood? And how did they influence your path?

Definitely any dish that my grandmas used to cook at family get-togethers. One of the most memorable ones was Cochinita Pibil (a traditional pork dish marinated in achiote paste and cooked in a banana leaf). Food, in my culture, is what brings us all together. That’s what inspired me to cook, express myself, and offer an experience of coming together for food.

What flavours/spices do you love to cook with most, and why?

I love cooking with thyme and bay leaf, especially when making soups. They bring a lot of aroma and flavour, especially if you blend them together. (I never remove them from the stocks!)

When is your favourite time to cook?

Anytime, especially when I’m hungry! I’m always cooking on my day off, typically breakfast food. In terms of a favourite season: spring/summer, because that’s when all new green ingredients are coming of season and you get to cook with each new ingredient as they pop up!

What’s your best advice for those who lack confidence in the kitchen?

Even though cooking can be a challenge for many people, I always tell people:

  • It is very important to be in a good mood. If you are in a good mood, the confidence will come with it.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are what teach us how to be better.
  • Cook for the people you love; they’ll inspire you!

What part of the cooking process do you love most, and why? 

Presentation. Before becoming a chef, I thought of becoming a designer. I was interested in art, painting and drawing. When I found cooking, I found it is another way to express art, but even better because you can eat it!  I like to express myself through flavour, but also textures, colours, etc. on the plate. 

Tickets for Recipe For Change are now on sale. Be part of an amazing cause that will leave a lasting impression in your mind—and on your taste buds!