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About Bonnie

Bonnie Stern is the founder of the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking in Toronto which she opened and operated from 1973 to 2011. She has studied and taught cooking around the world, authored 12 bestselling cookbooks, hosted three national cooking shows, and appears regularly on various television and radio shows across Canada.

For 17 years Bonnie wrote a weekly column for the National Post and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines. She has conducted popular workshops for the James Beard Foundation in New York City and leads culinary cultural trips to various delicious destinations. Bonnie is also the creator of a ground-breaking book club in which novelists are invited to discuss their work during thematic dinners.

Bonnie Stern is the recipient of many awards including ones from the Toronto Culinary Guild, the Ontario Hostelry Institute, Cuisine Canada and most notably she is the recipient of the 2007 Premier’s Award. Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking won the coveted International Association of Culinary Professionals’ award.


June 2021

There's lots to catch up on this month!

To start with, I'm excited to introduce a guest contributor to my newsletter this month. Dan Gutter, who runs the amazing Jack and Lil's Commissary Kitchen (along with his mom Lauren Gutter) always has the 411 on the best new spots to eat in Toronto (for yourself, your friends or your kids!). We have been family friends with the Gutters for so long and I completely trust their taste in everything delicious. If you have never had their South African special grilled chicken mayo sandwich (@jackandlilsto) - it's one of Toronto's best. You'll find Dan's suggestions (Restaurant Recommendations and More) below, including Sunny's Chinese which I've had and is great.

A big congratulations to Sindyanna of Galilee, a non-profit organization consisting of Arab and Jewish women working together to produce outstanding olive oil, honey and za'atar. I just heard that their Extra Hopeful, fair trade, extra virgin olive oil won a medal at the World Olive Oil Competition in New York City. I have taken many of my culinary groups there when we are in Israel and we always come home with delicious gifts for ourselves and friends. It is a centre filled with optimism and hope. And what could be better than an olive oil that gives you hope! You can now buy their delicious oils on Amazon.

And congratulations to The Edible Story for making Canada's 100 Best List. We have always loved their food and when they pivoted during the pandemic we've continued to love their delicious boxes for our book clubs. It has been a tough time for everyone in hospitality so congrats to all who made the list and everyone who has worked so hard to keep us well fed.

Virtual Book Club
It has been a long time since I have read a book in one day. But that's what happened when I started reading Paula McLain's new book When the Stars Go Dark - nothing got in my way. Paula is our guest in the final book club of this season - Monday June 21. If you are going to be at the cottage or don't live in Toronto but still want to attend the book club - a few people in that situation came up with the idea to gift their included dinner to a family member or friend in Toronto - get in touch if you'd like to do that too.

Zoom Cooking Classes
I always enjoy teaching Zoom classes but lately I have done a few private events for families that live across the country. It has been so meaningful for them but also for me to be included in such warm gatherings. It's another way cooking can bring people together despite this crazy time we are living through.

Farmers Markets are opening now, the sun is shining, and second vaccinations are becoming more available but remember to stay safe and be kind.


Kitchen Tip
PEELING GARLICThere are so many ways to peel a clove of garlic. And here's another way. Trim off the root end and tip. Cut the clove of garlic in half from top to bottom. The skin should practically fall off. (I have found the drier the garlic, the less the skin sticks.)

Bonnie's Book Club

Bonnie’s Book Club is a labour of love. Nothing pleases Bonnie more than to have the opportunity to bring readers and writers together in a truly unique way that offers the rare opportunity to meet some of Canada’s leading authors (and some from farther away), discuss their work and enjoy a delicious meal.

Drawing on her degree in English and her passion for food and cooking, Bonnie Stern invites you to a literary evening you won’t soon forget – Oprah’s book club never tasted this good!

The Book and Dinner Club comes with a delicious catered meal and wine from The Edible Story, delivered to your home the day of the event. A signed copy of our featured book will be sent out in advance so that you will have the opportunity to read it before the meeting.


PAULA McLAIN: WHEN THE STARS GO DARKAnna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When unspeakable tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino. She spent summers there as a child with her beloved grandparents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her to heal. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. Anna is in no condition to become involved with the search, until a childhood friend, now the village sheriff, pleads for her help.

Then, just days later, a twelve-year-old girl is abducted from her home. The crimes feel frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna's childhood, when a string of unsolved murders touched Mendocino. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with these missing girls, she must learn that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together true crime, trauma theory and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives - and our faith in one another.

Date: Monday, June 21, 2021
Time: 7:30 pm EST
Place: Virtual
Fee*: $175 + HST
(includes a catered meal from The Edible Story, wine, delivery, gratuity and an autographed copy of When The Stars Go Dark sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Call Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810

Some geographical restrictions may apply.

* Small print:
All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Please mark your calendar with the date and time of the event.

Cancellations can be accepted until Monday June 7, 2021. A $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. However, you may have someone take your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to notify us regarding change of address for the meal delivery by Monday June 14, 2021.

The Edible Story
The Edible Story Box
The Edible Story box2

Bonnie's Cookbooks
Friday Night Dinners (Paperback)

Friday Night Dinners

Bonnie's latest cookbook with her favourite menus, recipes, photos and stories. Over 170 delicious recipes for every occasion - holidays, barbecues, fast suppers and fabulous feasts - and Bonnie makes sure you can make fantastic meals and still enjoy the food and fun with everyone else. You'll want to use this book every day of the week.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2010, 320 pages, paperback


Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking
Bonnie Stern's
Essentials of Home Cooking

Winner of the 2004 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award. A beautiful cookbook filled with Bonnie’s personal favourites - dishes that reflect the way we are cooking today.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2003, 208 pages, paperback

A very special collection of over 150 mouth-watering recipes including soups, spreads, salads, hors d'oeuvre, pastas and much more. Complete with presentation, entertaining, menu planning tips and over 50 detailed illustrations.

Published by Random House of Canada, 1990, 176 pages, paperback

Over 120 recipes for decadent cakes, pies and pastries, scrumptious cookies, creamy mousses and ice creams – A collection of recipes from a master that stand the test, and tastes, of time.

Also provided are elegant decorating tips, helpful information on equipment and ingredients, and black-and-white illustrations throughout demonstrating basic techniques that will make these recipes absolutely no-fail.

Published by Random House Canada, 1998, 214 pages, paperback

This wonderful compendium is a must for every kitchen featuring over 300 favourite recipes from the bestselling Simply HeartSmart Cooking, More HeartSmart Cooking and HeartSmart Cooking for Family and Friends, as well as 75 brand-new recipes to add to your HeartSmart repertoire. Many of the classic recipes have been fully updated to incorporate current food trends and new nutritional information.

Published by Random House of Canada, 2006, 480 pages, paperback.

News And Events
COOKING CLASSESBonnie has been doing custom Zoom cooking events for fund-raisers, corporate classes and private groups. Contact for more information and rates. Subject line: Bonnie’s Cooking Events. Events can be personalized but some of the popular themes are:

Challah Workshop

Italian All the Time

Israeli Family Dinner

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTUREAt the beginning of 2020 we had a magical 10th anniversary Eating Israel Culinary Tour. For now, we are planning a tour for March 2022 and will let you know when we feel it's safe to travel.

If you are interested to be on our culinary tour mailing list (and not already on the list), email Bonnie at Subject line: Eating Israel.

For a small taste of my time in Israel check these videos filmed and produced by Mark Rupert:

A gorgeous February day in Israel

My favourite coffee shop in Tel Aviv

Everyday is a busy day at Port Said

FOGO ISLAND AND ST JOHN’S BOOK CLUBWe were in the middle of planning a book club and food tour at Fogo Island Inn with a stop in St. John’s when the lock down occurred. We have postponed the trip for now but continue to try to plan for the time it can take place. Fogo Island Inn is rated #3 in the Top Hotels in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine and Raymond's in St. John's is consistently rated one of Canada's top restaurants.

If you have always wanted to go to Newfoundland the combination of a few days in St. John’s, including dinner at Raymond's, and 3 days on Fogo Island, staying at Fogo Island Inn, will be a dream come true. We will also be hosting two or three book club events, tours, classes and wonderful meals.

If you are interested in receiving information, once it is available, email Bonnie at Subject line: Fogo Island. Everyone on our Food Tour list will receive information about any culinary tours and/or travelling book clubs as well.
Restaurant Recommendations and More
The Chef Dan

A guy named Daniel Seidman is making sous vide burgers, fresh brioche buns, sourdough bagels, and short-rib pastrami, from his house in the Annex. He sells take home kits in limited quantities one day a week via Instagram. One of the best burgers I’ve had and don’t miss the pastrami either.

Pre-order opens every Monday at Noon via the website. Weekend pickups, address provided after checkout.

Barbershop Patisserie
859 College Street

Jill Barber, former pastry chef from Osteria Rialto, opened a puff pastry shop 6 months ago on College West. Seasonal puff pies, sausage rolls, lemon bichon (phenomenal, must-try), palm leaves and more. Exceptions to the puff pastry rule include chocolate chip cookies and unbelievable seasonal cakes available for pre-order via email (they serve 5 perfectly...or 2 people twice!) Open Friday to Sunday, 11am to sold out.
Sunny's Chinese
David Schwartz’s Regional Chinese Cuisine pop-up, selling an ever changing tasting menu. If you’re able to snag a spot, you’ll have to find a red door on the outskirts of Yorkville and wait patiently in a parking lot. But it’s worth it.  Reheating is very easy, food is exceptionally delicious and the menu is so beautiful you’ll want to keep it as a souvenir.  Pop-ups are every few weeks so go to their website to get on their mailing list.
BEAR Steak Sandwich

Started just a few months ago by Aki Erenberg and Ricardo Barrientos, this sandwich already has a reputation for deliciousness. Grilled flank steak smothered with fresh and tangy chimichurri on a fresh Portuguese bun. So simple, so good, and so easy to enjoy while walking through the neighbourhood. Just be sure to ask for extra napkins.

Sunday noon-6pm. Pre-orders only, on their website every Monday. Secret address on Palmerston Blvd.

161 Harbord Street
Philip Haddad, dental healthcare professional turned baker extraordinaire, has just opened his first bakery. While they open at 9, the line starts at 8:30 and doesn’t die down for hours. In this case it’s worth the wait! Unlike most bakeries that bake all night and sell their product throughout the day, Emmer is doing it differently. They bake throughout the day for ultimate freshness and to allow a better lifestyle for staff. The offerings change week to week and even hour to hour. Go for the breakfast sandwich or halloumi-tahini toast and leave with a variety of croissants and fresh sourdough. Thursday-Sunday, 9am-3pm.
Featured Recipes
  • 1 lb cooked fish (salmon, halibut, cod etc), bones and skin removed
  • 1 lb cooked potatoes, mashed
  • 1/3 lb cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, halved, ribs and seeds removed if hot, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp salt

  • to cook:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or more if necessary

  • cilantro mint mayonnaise:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • half the chopped jalapeno from above
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and mint
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • FISH CAKES WITH CILANTRO MINT MAYONNAISEAlthough I haven't been anywhere lately, I remember when I travelled. On one of my first of many visits to the popular and delicious Vij Restaurant in Vancouver, I had the most amazing fish cakes. Still now, whenever I have leftover cooked fish I make fish cakes of some kind.  This is how I made them the other night. I usually make these for a main course but they are great a little smaller for appetizers. Also good for brunch with a fried or poached egg on top.

    1. In a mixing bowl gently combine fish, mashed regular and sweet potatoes and flour. Mix in egg, cilantro, green onions, half the chopped jalapeno, cumin, coriander seeds and salt. Do not overmix - the fish will flake but try to keep its texture.

    2. Shape mixture into 18 patties approximately 2 1/2" wide and 3/4" thick.

    3. Heat oil in a large skillet. Dip fish cakes into flour, shake off excess and add to pan in a single layer - do not overcrowd the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side until browned and heated through. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan and continue cooking until all are cooked.

    4. Meanwhile make sauce by stirring jalapeno, cilantro, mint and lime juice into mayonnaise.

    Makes about 18 fish cakes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6oz each)
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided (preferably unsalted)

  • salad dressing:
  • 2 to 3 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

  • salad:
  • 4 heads Belgian endive, whole or torn into pieces
  • 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • lemon slices or wedges
  • CHICKEN PAILLARDS WITH ENDIVE PARSLEY SALADOne of my favourite techniques I learned in chef training was how to make chicken paillards or should I say - how to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts so they are cooked through but still tender and juicy. Melissa Clark's version in her cookbook Dinner in French (Penguin Random House) are easy and quick enough for a weeknight dinner, but fancy sounding enough for guests (and we will have guests again one day, won't we?).

    1. One at a time, place each chicken breast between two pieces of parchment paper and with a mallet or rolling pin, pound to a thickness of 1/2 inch. season chicken with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl combine lemon peel with garlic and olive oil. Add chicken and coat with marinade. Cover and let sit 1/2 hour at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator.

    2. For the dressing whisk mustard with garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Season to taste.

    3. For the salad toss endive and parsley. Set aside.

    4. To cook chicken melt half the butter in a large skillet over medium high. Add half the chicken in a single layer, add half the garlic from marinade and cook about 3 minutes per side until golden brown and just cooked through. Transfer to a warm serving plate, cover loosely with foil and repeat with remaining butter, chicken and garlic.

    5. Toss salad with dressing and serve with chicken and lemon on the side.

    Makes 4 servings
  • 4 to 5 cups strawberries (about 1 1/2 lbs), hulled and halved (or sliced if large)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • grated peel of lime
  • ROASTED STRAWBERRIES WITH MAPLE SYRUP AND LIMEYou know it is finally spring when there are local berries in the markets. And when they are here, I just can't get enough. And when I have had enough fresh berries, I roast them. Roasting the berries intensifies their flavour and they are so delicious to wake up to in yogurt for breakfast, over cheesecake or ice cream and even in cocktails or drinks (see recipe below). Roasting also helps out-of-season imported berries. I buy my berries at Fresh Harvest on Eglinton (@freshharvestfoods) and at farmers markets like Wychwood Barns that are starting to open again.

    1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

    2. Hull strawberries (cut away the greens). Cut strawberries in half. If they are large cut into quarters or slice and if they are tiny, leave them whole. Spread them on the sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

    3. If the berries are local and sweet, add the maple syrup and sugar recommended above but if they are imported berries and/or off season, add more sugar and/or maple syrup. Add grated lime peel. Toss.

    4. Roast 20 to 30 minutes until berries cook and release an intense syrup.

    Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup roasted strawberry syrup with some strawberries (Recipe above)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice or more to taste
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup gazoz (sparkling water or seltzer)
  • sprigs of mint and/or rosemary
  • ice
  • fresh strawberries
  • slices of lime
  •  ROASTED STRAWBERRY GAZOZWhen I was growing up my grandfather was a constant source of seltzer water and the loganberry syrup that we flavoured it with. My sister and I loved spraying the sparkling seltzer into the syrup making it come alive! Those old seltzer bottles (some are beautiful antiques) - that had to be exchanged and recharged when empty - have been replaced by soda stream and all the soda water you can easily buy today.

    Maybe it was those memories that first attracted me to Benny Briga's tiny gazoz shop, Cafe Levinsky in Tel Aviv.  Or maybe it was the beautiful displays of flowers and herbs and homemade fruit and vegetable concoctions and syrups on display that looked so enticing.

    And now there's a wonderful book of magical drinks, Gazoz, (Thomas Allen) by Benny Briga and my friend and colleague, Adeena Sussman, author of the best-selling Israeli cookbook, Sababa.


    1. Place 1/4 cup roasted strawberry syrup and strawberries in each of two tall-ish glasses.  Add 1 tbsp lime juice to each. Add two ice cubes, stir and pour in gazoz.

    2. Garnish with fresh strawberries, sprigs of mint or rosemary and a slice of lime.

    Makes two drinks

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