7-night Tahiti & The Society Islands Cruise – Featuring Celebrity Chef Vikram Vij

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Sapphire Talent Lab, Sea Courses and Paul Gauguin invite you to embark on a culinary voyage with Chef Vikram Vij! We are proud to offer you a culinary inspired journey of a lifetime! February 18th – 25th, 2017 onboard the m/s Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship.

Beauty surrounds you on this 7-night sojourn, both on land and underwater. The Society Islands beckon with lush rainforests, crystal-clear lagoons, and warm breezes that encourage nothing but indulgent beachside lounging. Continue on to the Tuamotu Archipelago, a collection of low-lying atolls known the world ‘round for their vibrant underwater ecosystem.

 Attend a culinary lecture and Q&A session with Vikram Vij
 Attend an Exclusive Sea Courses Cocktail Party hosted by Vikram Vij  Dine with Vikram Vij at L’Etoile onboard
 Attend a shore excursion exclusively for Sea Courses Clients hosted by Vikram Vij


Experience the magic of Christmas at Jasper Park Lodge with Vikram Vij & Mark McEwan

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This extraordinary Christmas themed event has been a tradition for the past 27 years at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. With a variety of talented presenters, decadent meals, themed activities and special sessions to attend, this event our most anticipated of the year. Celebrate all the things the holidays should be: great food, wine, entertainment and seasonal inspiration through fun and interactive classes. Cook with celebrity chefs Vikram Vij, Mark McEwan and more; learn the art of Christmas crafts and holiday decorating with industry experts; take home tips from a mixology class and sample wines from around the world.

For the first year we’re pleased to announce that all of our presenters will be in attendance throughout the 2016 Christmas In November.

Time to pull out your silliest Christmas sweaters and wear them with pride! This year, the welcome reception is all about basking in the hideous warmth of your silliest Christmas knitwear. Prizes will be awarded to the Silliest Christmas Sweater we can find!

Christmas in November 2016 dates are:

3 Nights (Weekend) – November 4 – 7, 2016
3 Nights (Midweek) – November 7 – 10, 2016
3 Nights (Thursday – Sunday) – November 10 – 13, 2016

For one hundred years,  Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge has upheld a reputation of rustic excellence. Sapphire Talent Lab is thrilled to be a part of this wonderful, festive event.


Fall Flavours 2016 With Chef Vikran Vij and Chef Mark McEwan

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The Fall Flavours Festival, a month long culinary celebration highlighting authentic Island tastes and traditions, takes place during September in communities across Prince Edward Island. The Festival features a variety of acclaimed guest chefs hosting a wide range of unique culinary experiences including events featuring Chef Vikram Vij and Chef Mark McEwan.

Our Signature Events feature the very best PEI has to offer and have been created exclusively for Fall Flavours. Some are small and intimate, others will draw a crowd … all will delight.

You can join local hosts and pick potatoes, catch lobsters, harvest oysters or head off to Culinary Boot Camp. These are just a few samples of the many Hands on Experiences/Participatory Events that let you enjoy food from the source. Each experience offers an educational component with a local host, as well as a tasting and/or cooking opportunity.

There’s a wide range of Culinary Events from which to choose. A feast of bar clams on the beach? Perhaps a brewmasters dinner with PEI produced handcrafted beers? And those are just for starters.

Visit local Fall Flavours Festival restaurants which offer Island Cuisine showcasing the best of land and sea.


Chef Mark McEwan Tantalizes Crowds at The CNE

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From his early years as Canada’s youngest ever, executive chef at Toronto’s upscale Sutton Place Hotel to his latest endeavor Fabbrica, Chef Mark McEwan is never content to rest on his laurels.

Using food as the ultimate palate for his boundless creativity and energy,Mark has led Toronto’s restaurant scene with North 44, Bymark, and ONE. He has taken another turn with his newest restaurant Fabbrica, where he has captivated customers with a rustic Italian cuisine in a warm, yet contemporary setting.

In early 2009, Mark hit the grocery retailer scene when he openedMcEwan’s. Always attentive to the changing needs of the consumer, he created this jewel box of a grocery store that caters to foodies and chefs alike.

Adding to his long list of talents, Mark is the author of the cookbooks, Great Food At Home and Fabbrica. He is also a television personality, hosting his own show The Heat on The Food Network and is the head judge on Top Chef Canada. His high quality cookware line by Fresco is sold nationally across Canada.

Canadian Chef Mark McEwan recently left the audience at the CNE this past Saturday August 27 inspired to go to their own kitchens to create innovative and out-of-the-box dishes of their own!


Chef Rob Gentile of Toronto’s Buca Restaurants Enjoys ‘The Game.’

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Chef Rob Gentile of Toronto’s Buca restaurants enjoys the game. Mr. Gentile, who played tennis when he was a kid, even playing in a league, recalls, “I used to watch Andre Agassi and go to the Rogers Cup with my dad.”

While work has pulled him away from the court, Mr. Gentile’s familiarity with the sport means he knows what tennis fans want when it comes to throwing a viewing party. It’s still finger food, though not the traditional tea or Wimbledon classic strawberries and cream.

Chef Gentile doesn’t believe in serving sandwiches. He designed a menu that’s fun and summery and, best of all, offers food that can be held in one hand. And it complements the game, not overpowers it.

“Tennis lends itself to a fun party,” says Mr. Gentile. “When you have a bunch of people over and you’re entertaining, you want to have good, substantial food.” He also had mingling in mind.

The menu consists of Nodini, Buca’s bread knots tossed with garlic, rosemary and olive oil; Olive Ascolane, crisp olives stuffed with tuna and anchovy; Insalata d’Arancia, navel orange and red grapefruit salad with Taggiasche olives and barrel-aged vinegar; and Torta Cioccolatino, a gluten-free chocolate tart with cardamom and espresso cocoa powder (be careful if you’re wearing white).

Chef Gentile recommends pairing the food with a crisp lager, like Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Peroni’s balance of citrus and spicy aromatic notes complements the flavours, and the richness of the tart pairs well with the bitterness of the beer

“There’s an aspect of sophistication to watching a tennis match,” notes Mr. Gentile. “When you go to a tennis match, you get dressed up. So, when you have people over, you want a sophisticated party.”

He also developed the menu for the time-strapped home cook. Nothing in the menu takes longer than 30 minutes to an hour to make, and some dishes can be made the day before, like the salad and tart. Best of all, the food can be served buffet-style and held in one hand.

Whatever you do, the important thing is to ensure that everyone has good food, good drinks and a good view of the game. As for Chef Gentile, he’s still a busy man, but he hopes to catch a game or two at the Rogers Cup. No word on whether he’s going bring his own picnic basket or buy snacks.


Lovin’ Local Foodfest 2016

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Learn How to Eat Local This Saturday – for Free! Sip taste and savour the creations of some of Toronto’s best chefs at Lovin’ Local Foodfest 2016, including feature chef Mike Ward, restaurants, food trucks, breweries and wineries; catch local musicians, artists and performers on the main stage, and shop till you drop at the green street market! It doesn’t get any better than this, Toronto! For more information visit the event website. Look forward to seeing you there!

Wek conference2

Rocking the CMW Opening Keynote at DMS 2016!

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Digital Media Summit was pleased to announce Michael Wekerle as our 2016 opening keynote on Thursday May 5 at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel. Michael is a rock star in the world of Canadian finance, known for his shrewd value spotting in the fields of tech, biotech and media. As the founder and Chairman of the merchant bank Difference Capital Financial Inc., he oversees a fund that includes such successful growth companies as Hootsuite, Vision Critical, BuildDirect and Blue Ant Media. He also holds significant real estate assets, including an impressive portfolio of high-tech commercial properties in Waterloo, Ontario, as well as the historic Toronto entertainment venue the El Mocambo. And he is a partner in the Canadian franchise of Wahlburgers -Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg’s Boston-based burger chain.
Michael lives in Toronto and is a doting father to six children. He donates millions of dollars to a wide variety of philanthropic interests, including UHN, CAMH, SickKids and Holland Bloorview, as well as the youth outreach organization Seeds of Hope and the acclaimed Baroque opera company Opera Atelier. Michael is currently featured on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, highlighting his entrepreneurial spirit. The show was truly a success and Michael was an integral part in kicking it all off!
Justin and Vikram

The Celebrity Chef Who Brought Posh Curries To Canada

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It was a determination never to serve chicken tikka masala that almost stopped the career of celebrity chef Vikram Vij just as he was starting out.

Today Mr Vij is one of the best-known chefs in Canada, a regular on the country’s TV food shows, and the author of best-selling cookery books.

People queue around the block to eat at his three Indian restaurants in Vancouver. And his curry ready meals are stocked at supermarkets across the country.

Yet all the success, and his multi-million dollar fortune, almost didn’t happen.

Read the full BBC article 


IDEACITY 2015 – Connecting Minds

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Now in its 17th year, the annual ideacity conference has rightly earned its reputation as Canada’s “Premier meeting of the minds.”

Over the course of three days, media icon Moses Znaimer presents a dazzling line-up of some of the brightest minds on the planet. Ground breaking scientists, visionary entrepreneurs, artists, scholars, activists and agitators – if it’s new, if it’s hot, if it will challenge your thinking, it’s at ideacity.

Characterized by constant reinvention and growth, and defined by one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world, Toronto is Canada’s most populous city and a hotbed for art, science, and inspiration. The city’s rich history and unique identity form the base upon which its most visionary and ambitious citizens continue to develop and thrive, making it a truly exciting place to call home or to visit

Each year, Toronto welcomes close to 21 million visitors, making it one of North America’s premier destinations, and it’s no wonder. With a world-class culinary landscape, acclaimed academic and cultural institutions, and an enviable tradition of accessible and wide-ranging entertainment, Toronto is far more than just Canada’s economic engine.

Sapphire Talent Lab represented innovators Michael Wekerle and Massimo Capra at IDEACITY 2015.