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Bonnie Stern

Phone: 416 484 4810


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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.


February 2020

For my first book club of 2020 I hosted Maye Musk and her new book A Woman Makes A Plan. On the surface it is easy to see Maye as the 71-year-old, gorgeous, glamourous, supermodel and mother of Elon, Kimbal and Tosca Musk. She is all of that, but dig a little deeper and you learn how resilient she was, escaping an abusive marriage with three young children, working as a registered dietician-nutritionist and  modelling on the side to make ends meet. She lived in Toronto for seven years (as a dietician and model) and was especially touched that some of the dieticians she had worked with came to the book club to see her again.

Our next book club is with Marjorie Celona and her new highly acclaimed novel How a Woman Becomes a Lake. It takes place on Monday March 23 and you can read all about it in our book club section below. I loved the book and can hardly wait for this book club.

In our recipe section below I have included two delicious soups that will warm up your February from two of my favourite new cookbooks; a recipe for pancakes perfect for Pancake Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) or Valentine’s Day; and a delicious bar cookie for for any day – BarOne Crispy Rice Treats - just eat them in moderation.

Delicious Wishes


Kitchen Tip
HOW TO MAKE LABNEHLabneh is the new yogurt cheese and gaining momentum with our new interest in Middle Eastern food. I have actually been making it for years - but calling it yogurt cheese. I have to admit ‘labneh’ is a much more exotic name. (And it is not the same as Greek yogurt.) You can buy labneh at Middle Eastern stores when it is often made from goat or sheep’s milk and very thick and delicious. Or, you can make it yourself with full-fat or lower fat yogurt but it has to be natural without thickeners like starch or gelatin. Your goal is to drain off the whey. (I usually use 2% Organic Meadow yogurt.)

Line a strainer with cheesecloth or a heavy-duty paper towel, set it over a bowl and add the yogurt. Cover loosely. Refrigerate for a few hours or up to 48 hours. The longer you leave it the thicker it will be. You will end up with approximately half liquid (whey) and half very thick yogurt (cheese/labneh). You can then flavour it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, herbs, grated lemon peel, za’atar or harissa and serve it as a dip with pita or vegetables, a sauce, a spread or use in recipes. The whey can be used to cook rice or other grains, for making breads or in baked goods and for soaking grains and legumes.

When I had my cooking school and store, I used to sell a ‘gadget’ that I still love today for making yogurt cheese. You can buy it online and if you make yogurt cheese often enough it is definitely worthwhile. It’s called the Donvier Yogurt Cheese Maker. It is a neat little package with a container, strainer and lid and holds 750mL yogurt (before straining).

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 inspired by the book.

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

Small print: All registrations must be paid in full when registering. Please check your schedule carefully before registering. Cancellations can be accepted only up to 14 days before event date, a $50 charge (plus HST) applies to cover the administration fee and cost of the book. However, at any time you may send someone in your place for no additional charge. It is the attendee’s responsibility to mark their calendar with the date, time and location of the event.


MARJORIE CELONA: HOW A WOMAN BECOMES A LAKEBonnie is pleased to welcome Marjorie Celona, one of Canada’s most exciting new writers. Marjorie is no stranger to critical and award acclaim, having been nominated for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize and winning France’s Grand Prix Litteraire de l’Heroine for her debut novel Y.

Marjorie makes her first visit to the Book Club to launch her long-awaited new novel How a Woman Becomes a Lake, a powerful tale told in taut illuminating prose which asks: what do you do when the people who are supposed to love you the most fail?

It's New Year's Day and the residents of a small fishing town are ready to start their lives anew. Leo takes his two young sons out to the lake to write resolutions on paper boats. That same frigid morning, Vera sets out for a walk with her dog along the lake, leaving her husband in bed with a hangover.

But she never returns. She places a call to the police saying she's found a boy in the woods, but the call is cut short by a muffled cry. Did one of Leo's sons see Vera? What are they hiding from the police? And why are they so scared of their own father?

In the months ahead, Vera's absence sets off a chain of reverberating events in Whale Bay. Her apathetic husband succumbs to grief. Leo heads south and remarries. And the cop investigating the case falls for Leo's ex-wife but finds himself slipping further away from the truth.

Told from shifting perspectives, How a Woman Becomes a Lake is about childhood, familial bonds, new beginnings, and costly mistakes. It is going to generate a lot of conversation.
Date: Monday March 23, 2020 (Limited seats available)
Time: 6:30pm to 9:30pm
Location: 7 Numbers
516 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
Fee: $175 + HST (includes dinner, beverages, gratuity and a copy of How a Woman Becomes a Lake sent out as soon as possible)
Advance registration only: Bonnie Stern 416 484 4810

Some of Our Book Club Locations
The Edible Storyx

The Edible Story
This cooking school, catering company and event space is the perfect place for our themed book clubs. Owners/chefs Alanna Fleischer and Brian Cheng will create a menu to suit.

320 Richmond Street East #105

(Entrance on Sherbourne)
647 278 1819

Tabule on Queen Street East x

Tabule on Queen Street East

Tabule on Queen Street East is one of Bonnie’s favourite Toronto restaurants. Smart Middle Eastern decor, delicious exotic-flavoured food and professional friendly service makes this a great choice for our book clubs.

810 Queen Street East
416 465 2500

7 Numbers x

7 Numbers

Everything at 7 Numbers is delicious – calamari, lasagna, meatballs, osso buco, sexy duck, everything.

516 Eglinton Avenue West
416 322 5183


Corporate Services

Corporate culinary events are a great way to host a corporate function. Great food always brings co-workers and staff together. People have fun, learn a lot and take home delicious memories.

Events are customized to meet your location, schedule, objectives and food preferences. Bonnie works with nutritionists, food producers, restaurants, etiquette experts and authors to create exciting programs.

All events will be planned and hosted by Bonnie personally.

Corporate Cooking Class
Private Cooking Class


Bonnie Stern has worked with various food manufacturers, grocery chains, restaurants, chefs, health professionals as well as cookware manufacturers, etc., offering a wide variety of corporate services, such as:

Corporate culinary events
Corporate family dinners
Market Tours
Recipe development
Private cooking classes
Product consultation
Menu consulting for parties
Fundraising events

For detailed information,
please call: 416 484 4810

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

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.

Cuisiner au goût du cœur
Cuisiner au gout du coeur
Published by Trecarre, 2006, 512 pages

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

News And Events
WINTERLICIOUS 2020January 31 to February 13, 2020

Winterlicious 2020 is here featuring three-course prix fixe lunch and dinner menus at over 200 restaurants as well as 14 culinary events. Be sure the Winterlicious menu reflects the regular menu of the restaurants you want to try.

For more details click Winterlicious 2020

CHEFS FOR CHANGEThursdays February 6, 13 or 20, 2020

Join Community Food Centres Canada at Chefs for Change, a mid-winter dinner series and chef collaboration featuring phenomenal food made by dozens of Canada’s best chefs.

Net profits will help Community Food Centres Canada to support vibrant, food-focused organizations that bring people in low-income communities together to grow, cook, share, and advocate for healthy food for all.

For more information click Chefs For Change

THE STOP'S TRIVIA NIGHTSaturday February 8, 2020

A night of food, drink, and fun-filled trivia in support of The Stop's Wychwood Open Door!

Now in its 12th year, this annual fundraiser is the city's largest live trivia event. Test your knowledge for a chance to win incredible prizes (and bragging rights), while supporting their vital drop-in centre.

For more information click: The Stop's Trivia Night

BONNIE'S CHALLAH WORKSHOPIn this workshop Bonnie will show you everything you need to know to make the most delicious and beautiful braided challah. Everyone will have a chance to make challah dough, knead the dough and get to know the perfect texture at each stage. You will learn to make braids with 3, 4 and 6 strands and also round braided breads. You will learn about ingredients and all the tricks and tips you need for success.

This very popular workshop includes coffee and snacks, a delicious lunch or dinner, printed recipes, all ingredients and lots of fun. And best of all - you'll take home your own challah on Bonnie's favourite quarter sheet pan to bake for your family and friends.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Bonnie’s Challah Workshop to

ITALIAN ALL THE TIMEI am always hungry for Italian food. It is so delicious, so user friendly and everyone loves it.

This dinner class will feature some of my favourite Italian recipes for pasta, risotto, Giuliano Bugialli’s crispy baked chicken with lemon sauce, and a special dessert.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Italian All the Time to

 “Everyone was impressed by the professional cooking lesson in such a warm, comfortable atmosphere, like being in a friend’s kitchen.” Jeanne Bullock
ISRAELI FAMILY DINNERIsraeli food is what everyone wants to eat right now. Come and learn the ingredients and flavours that make it so popular. Israel is an immigrant country and Israeli cuisine is a delicious mash-up of food and flavours from the Middle East, the Mediterranean and North Africa.

Workshop includes appetizers on arrival, lunch or dinner, recipes and lots of fun.

Please Note: As with all our classes and workshops, right now we are only offering this to groups (groups of ten with one person organizing the group).

For more information please send your name, email address and phone number with subject line: Israeli Family Dinner to

“What a wonderful night at your kitchen. I am just so thrilled that I finally got to experience your Israeli dinner class. As usual, your classes always go beyond my expectations.” Cathy MacCallum

EATING ISRAEL: THE LAND OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURESunday (dinner) March 1 to Tuesday (breakfast) March 10, 2020

Thanks to all of you who have signed up to come with Bonnie on her 10th delicious journey. Our 2020 trip is now fully booked but if you would like information about 2021 (when it is available) please email

What people are saying about our last trip:

"Thank you for the experience of a life time! It was truly wonderful! I can’t imagine ever being able to see and do all that we did without you!" Diana D’Amelio

"Thank you for an amazing trip. Sometimes you build things up in your mind. I had been looking forward to doing this for years and worried I had set expectations too high. You and this trip blew all my hopes out of the water - you completely exceeded every hope." Joanna Smith

“We had such a unique opportunity to meet with Israeli culinary experts, and we learned not only about the food, but about the culture and efforts to build bridges of peace. The tour introduced us to so many things we would never have discovered on our own.” Kathy Kruk

Restaurant Recommendations and More
Fet Zun
252 Dupont Street
647 352 3337
I have been to Anthony Rose’s casual Middle Eastern restaurant, Fet Zun, many times. Although I don’t always believe everything I see on Instagram, when I saw pancakes with halvah and pistachios, I knew I needed to check this out. And I wasn’t disappointed! Sample the real thing (at brunch or lunch) and then make my take on it in the recipe section below.
The Grand Elvis
176 Dupont Street
647 748 3287
The Grand Elvis is the re-invention of Rose & Sons and Big Crow – two restaurants in Toronto I really loved and went to often. But it seems, one plus one is bigger and better than two. The renovation linking the two restaurants (with the entrance right on Dupont) is magical and the warmth (both in temperature and decor) is comfy and welcoming. The food is great – don’t miss the burger, ricotta dumplings, griddled cabbage salad, chili, Brussels sprouts and fries. Just delicious.
785 Queen Street West
647 352 5773
After a busy week I wasn’t up for cooking Friday night dinner as I usually do. So the kids decided to order Thai from Nana, sister restaurant to Khao San Road. It was a great choice. We loved everything – fresh rolls, green curry chicken (and tofu version); pad Thai; and our favourite, pad see ew with wide flat rice noodles.
Featured Recipes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
  • 6 cups peeled and chopped orange vegetables (any combination of carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs total chopped veg)
  • 1 14oz/400mL can coconut milk, preferably full-fat (approximately 2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  • topping:
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • harissa + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ADEENA SUSSMAN'S ORANGE SOUP WITH CRUNCHY SEEDS AND HARISSA'Marak Katom' or 'orange soup' from Adeena Sussman's gorgeous new Israeli cookbook, Sababa, brings a bright colour and soothing texture to cold winter nights. Use any combination of orange vegetables and don't hold back on the nutty multiseed topping. You can also use chopped roasted coconut, almonds, or even crispy granola as a topping or just a swirl of harissa.

    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until golden and slightly softened about 8 or 9 minutes.

    2. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften about 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and water (rinse out the tin with the water and add to the vegetables), honey, salt and turmeric. Bring to the boil and cook 25 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.

    3. Cool vegetables slightly and transfer to a blender, or food processor or use an immersion blender. Puree until smooth about 30 seconds. If the soup is too thick add water and adjust seasoning.

    4. For the topping, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds and cook, stirring until they turn golden and crackle or pop about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

    5. Divide soup among bowls, drizzle each bowl with a little harissa mixed with oil and garnish with seeds. Extra topping will keep in an airtight container for about 2 weeks, or freeze.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast (from the shoulder, sometimes called blade), cut into 1 1/2" chunks
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2" chunks
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated and coarsely chopped separately
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 2 medium potatoes (approximately 1 lb), cut into 1" chunks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • SHUK STYLE SYRIAN MEAT AND CHARD SOUPThis hearty winter soup, called Hamud, is adapted from another one of my favourite new Israeli cookbooks, Shuk: From Market to Table, the Heart of Israeli Home Cooking, by Einat Admony and Janna Gur. When making a soup or braised dish with meat  (stew) I always find shoulder (sometimes called blade or chuck) to be the most tender. To make it vegetarian or vegan use vegetable broth or water and substitute 2 lbs mushrooms and/or chunks of butternut squash for the beef - and then combine steps one and two.

    Serve as a first course or main with bread and a salad.

    1. Season beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large saucepan or medium Dutch oven and brown beef well, in batches if necessary. Add onions to the beef and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add liquid and bring to a boil. Depending on whether you are using stock that is salted or water (unsalted) add 1 to 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Partially cover and cook 45 minutes. Beef should be starting to become tender.
    Add carrots, celery, garlic, Swiss chard stems and mint. Bring to a boil again and then cook gently, partially covered another 45 minutes. Beef should be tender.

    2. Add potatoes and cook 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are tender.

    3. Add chard leaves, lemon juice and sugar and cook a few minutes longer. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
    Make 6 to 8 servings
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk labneh or yogurt cheese* (or use Greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped halvah (4oz)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • maple syrup or chocolate sauce
  • shredded halvah (or crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios
  • HALVAH PANCAKES WITH PISTACHIOSThis is my version of Chef Anthony Rose's amazing halvah pancakes that he serves for brunch or lunch at his restaurant in Toronto, Fet Zun. They were so delicious and it was such a great idea that I had to make them myself. Halvah is a kind of sesame fudge made with sugar and tahini. Any flavour will work here but I usually use plain or pistachio - my favourites. You can find halvah (and shredded halvah) in Middle Eastern stores. (In Toronto - I go to Ararat on Avenue Rd. north of Lawrence.) Cooked quince or pears would be great served with this.

    *Labneh is yogurt that has been drained. You can buy it in Middle Eastern stores or you can use unflavoured Greek yogurt. You can make labneh or yogurt cheese easily by lining a strainer with cheesecloth, paper towel or a clean dish towel and spooning natural yogurt in. Allow to drain a few hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. See Kitchen Tip above.

    1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl.

    2. In another bowl whisk together eggs, labneh, milk and vanilla.

    3. Mix together wet and dry ingredients, leaving the batter a little lumpy.
    4. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet. Whisk into batter leaving a coating of butter in the pan. Make pancakes with 1/4 cup batter each or whatever size you like. Press pieces of halvah into the top of each pancake. Cook about 3 minutes or longer until bottom is golden and surface turns dull. Turn pancakes, lower heat a little, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or longer until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and keep warm in a preheated oven as low as it will go, while making remaining pancakes. Wipe out pan between batches and brush with butter.

    5. Drizzle pancakes with syrup, sprinkle halvah and pistachios.

    Makes 3 to 4 servings (about 12 pancakes)
  • 8 Mars Bars* (2oz/52g) each, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut up
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 lb good quality milk chocolate (eg Callebaut), chopped (if not already in chips or discs)
  • MARS BARS CRISPY RICE TREATSWhen Maye Musk was the guest author at my book club in January, the event was at The Edible Story, a beautiful event space/cooking school/catering company. Alanna Fleischer, co-owner with Brian Cheng, created a menu to go with Maye's new book A Woman Makes a Plan. The food was healthful, delicious and looked beautiful. Maye is a dietician and throughout her book she talks about eating healthy food and having sweets only occasionally, and in small quantities, if at all. For dessert at our event, Alanna made a salad of different kinds of oranges (including blood and cara cara), dark chocolate bark and thin slices of this South African take on rice crispy squares. So delicious.

    This recipe can be halved and made in an 8" square pan.

    *Mars Bars are called Bar-One in South Africa.

    1. Place chocolate bars, butter and maple syrup in a large saucepan and melt on medium low heat.

    2. When melted stir in the cereal and combine well. Spoon into a 9"x13" baking pan, lined with parchment paper, and smooth evenly. Refrigerate.

    3. Melt chocolate in a clean dry bowl set over simmering water or on medium heat in the microwave until almost melted and then stir to finish the melting. (Milk chocolate melts faster than dark chocolate.)

    4. Smooth chocolate over the top. Refrigerate a few hours.

    5. To cut, remove from refrigerator at least 30 minutes before slicing. Remove the whole 'cake' from the pan. Place on a cutting board. Run a long knife under hot water and wipe dry. Cut into slices or squares or triangles (cut the squares into halves on the diagonal).
    Makes a lot - amount depends on how you cut them!
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