FoodShare Toronto believes everyone deserves access to fresh, affordable, high-quality food. They do their best to realize this vision by implementing hundreds of programs, from community gardens to food education in schools.

On February 23rd, FoodShare will host their 8th annual Recipe For Change fundraising event at St. Lawrence Market, bringing together thirty of the city’s top chefs for a beautiful evening of food + drink, as well as sponsors like Beau’s Brewery, Southbrook Wine, and Philips, who will be doling out fresh-cut fries from their new low-fat air-fryer. Mmmmmm, check out all that awaits your discerning palette here.

In anticipation of this delicious foodie extravaganza, we’re profiling chefs who will be participating in Recipe For Change and asking them to share their mealtime rituals as well as their overall philosophies and values when it comes to food. First up, get to know Kristin Donovan of Hooked: our favourite fish and seafood boutique in Toronto that is rooted in respect and sustainability.

When did you first become interested in food? How was your passion born?

I’ve always loved to eat and to feed. The absolute passion to cook came the spring I became a tree planting camp cook, somewhere between Wawa and Thunder Bay. There were two of us cooking out of a yellow school bus, which had been converted into a working kitchen.

We fed a camp of sixty-five hungry planters three meals a day, plus loads of snacks and treats. We baked our own bread, made every single thing from scratch and fed them with a whole lot of love and affection. Each day began at 4am, feeding the planters by 5:30am and working right through until at least 10pm. We slept in tents, waking up to snow in late April and then sweltering heat amidst all of the blackflies and mosquitoes in early June. It was insane and I absolutely LOVED it. I had just finished university and knew my next step would be chef school.

What’s your favourite winter comfort food?

Creamy polenta with loads of Parmesan and killer tomato sauce.

How does cooking make you feel? 

Cooking satisfies me. It gives meaning to my day. It makes me feel productive in the most positive way. Though I rarely get to spend an entire day in the kitchen anymore, I’m pretty much happiest there (and in our shops in general).

When it comes to appreciating food and eating healthy, what are the biggest things that need to change in our society? 

Scale is one of the most important factors that needs to change in our food system. People are so disconnected from their food sources as a direct result of the scale of food production and distribution. The core of our business at Hooked is a very simple principle: respect, for each link in the chain. And this comes down to scale. Smaller is actually better. A direct relationship with those who grow, raise, catch, make and produce our foods is critical to the appreciation of food, to our physical health and to our environmental health.

Why is supporting FoodShare important to you?

Food security is such an issue in our city. Children go to school hungry because many families don’t have the necessary tools to feed their children or themselves properly. Areas of the city are sorely lacking in good, fresh, available and affordable food. FoodShare runs school breakfast programs, lunch programs, education for kids and parents alike, a food bank… FoodShare is a vital organization within our city. Supporting FoodShare and other similar local organizations is critical for both Dan (husband and business partner) and I.

Dinnertime at your home is __________.

Sacred time with my tribe.

When shopping at a market, what food section really turns you on?

At a Farmer’s Market, usually the veg and the cheeses. I tend to shop at small stores similar to ours in either our hood or in Kensington Market. While we eat a TON of fish in our house. I love going to the butcher shop.

Toronto is a beautiful city, and Recipe For Change is an event that demonstrates just how rich and flavourful we are. Don’t miss out! Tickets are $135 and include an evening of sumptuous food + drink with 100% of proceeds going to FoodShare’s school programsGet your tickets before they sell out!