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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. Bonnie was inducted into the Taste Canada Hall of Fame in 2021.


May/June, 2022

No matter what the weather, a trip to Newfoundland will warm your soul. If you did not see my Instagram posts or previous newsletter, I just returned from Bonnie’s Bookclub Newfoundland edition. Although it was technically spring, we encountered snow, wind and rain and it didn't matter at all. The warm welcome we received from our authors, chefs, guides, hotel staff, servers and fellow travellers conquered all. We met wonderful people, ate delicious meals, and were greeted with so much hospitality it was the perfect place to go for your (my) first venture back into the world. The good news is that it was so easy to be back in restaurants and be around lots of people - although that may be the bad (or dangerous) news too. Be sure to still be careful and consider wearing a mask wherever possible.

Anna and I are beyond excited to receive the first copy of our cookbook, Don’t Worry, Just Cook (release date September 20, 2022). It has been such a rewarding and meaningful experience working with my daughter, sharing our love of food. Pre-order your copy now to receive 5 complimentary recipes and a chance to win my favourite Breville hand mixer. (See link in News and Event section below).

In this newsletter I have included restaurant and hotel recommendations and strongly encourage you to travel to Newfoundland and the Atlantic Provinces. And if you need help planning your trip, I cannot recommend Jill Curran, owner of Maxxim Vacations in St. John's, highly enough! (1 800 567 6666)

See you at the Farmers' Market. I will be the one wearing a mask.

Delicious Wishes,

Kitchen Tip
USING BACK EDGE OF YOUR KNIFEWasting less is on everyone's minds these days. If you are hesitant to peel your carrots etc. and lose the vitamins, flavour and texture in the peel, but they are a bit dirty, instead of taking out your peeler, a trick I learned in chef training and still use today, is to used the back of your knife to scrape off any dirt. You can also use the back of your knife to bruise lemon grass or after cutting the corn off the cob you can press out the corn 'milk' for sauces or chowders with the back edge of the knife.

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 copy of our featured book will be sent out in advance so that you will have the opportunity to read it before the meeting.

Bonnie's Book Club is taking a summer break. Announcement for Fall book clubs coming soon.

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
Don’t Worry, Just CookDelicious, Timeless Recipes for Comfort and Connection
by Bonnie Stern and Anna Rupert

“I tell you not to worry because I’ve done all the worrying for you!”

Bonnie Stern, beloved teacher and bestselling cookbook author, wants nothing more than for you to feel like she’s in the kitchen cooking beside you.

In her latest cookbook, Don’t Worry, Just Cook, written with her daughter Anna Rupert (who has, in fact, been in the kitchen cooking beside Bonnie her whole life!). Bonnie and Anna are here to help cooks of all experience foster comfort and connection through food.                                      

Hardcover $35
Kindle edition $16.99
Release date September 20, 2022

To pre-order click: Don’t Worry, Just Cook

Save your confirmation number and follow the instructions to receive 5 complimentary recipes and a chance to win Bonnie's favourite Breville Hand Mixer.

COOKING CLASSESBonnie has been doing custom Zoom cooking events for fund-raisers, corporate classes and private groups. One of her favourite formats is to bring families together who are separated by distance to cook and enjoy dinner together.

Contact for more information and rates. Subject line: Bonnie’s Cooking Events. Events can be personalized but some of the popular themes are:

Italian All the Time

French Country Cooking

Israeli Family Dinner

Mediterranean Flavours

GLUTEN-FREE GARAGESunday May 29, 2022
10am - 4pm

The 9th annual Toronto’s original pop-up gluten-free market at Artscape Wychwood Barns.For tickets and more information click: Gluten-Free Garage

SUMMERLICIOUS 2022Friday August 12
to Sunday August 28, 2022

Summerlicious returns to help support the local restaurant industry in economic recovery and revival, and to celebrate Toronto’s diverse culinary scene.

For more information click: Summerlicious 2022

Restaurant Recommendations and More
Alt Hotel
125 Water Street
St. John's
709 383 2136
This dining room, led by Chef Matthew Swift, located in the Alt Hotel, has won many accolades and they are all well-deserved. We had a private event with seafood platters, latkes with smoked char and beets, partridge with root vegetables and beignets. Service was professional and friendly and it was all too wonderful.
Moderate to Expensive
Alt Hotel
125 Water Street
St. John's
709 383 2136
We were so happy with our stay at the Alt Hotel. Our rooms had amazing views of the harbour and although the rooms were small, they were so intelligently designed with so many clever, up-to-date features, we were smitten.
The Merchant Tavern
291 Water Street
St. John's
709 722 5050
The casual restaurant from Chef Jeremy Charles and Sommelier Jeremy Bonia is always the right choice. For lunch one day we enjoyed smoked mackerel crostini, peas pudding agnolotti and strawberry and knotweed tart. Amazing.

Duke of Duckworth
325 Duckworth Street
St. John's
709 739 6344

Although I have planned many times to go to this extremely casual pub that has the very best fish and chips - I have never actually eaten there. But I have sent so many people and the feedback I receive is always positive. Order fish and chips with the works!
Mallard Cottage Restaurant
8 Barrows Road
St. John's
709 237 7314
Mallard Cottage is one of the restaurants in St. John's that first made St. John's a food destination. It is located in the fishing village of Quidi Vidi (just outside downtown St. John's) in a beautifully restored early 1800's cottage. Local, seasonal food is delicious, service is casually perfect and executive chef and co-owner Todd Perrin is a community leader as well a popular television chef.
The Inn by Mallard Cottage
1 & 5 Barrows Road
St. John’s
709 237 7314
Located across from the Mallard Cottage Restaurant, it has seven wonderful rooms and is a very special, a little out of the way place to stay in St. John's.
The Adelaide Oyster House
334 Water Street
St. John’s
709 722 7222
A wide selection of oysters, internationally flavoured small plates and lots of fun, make this a popular destination. I especially loved the oysters, crispy fish tacos, El Camino cocktail, tuna poke and the Brussels sprouts.
52 Cod Sein Cove Road
709 743 3490
What a surprise to find casual fine dining in a modern lovely setting in Witless Bay. Partners and chefs Kyle Puddester and Kayla O'Brien created a wonderful lunch for us with the most delicious and soul-warming tomato soup, perfectly cooked cod and potatoes and a delicious chocolate mousse cake 'bar' coated in chocolate!
Moderate to Expensive
Union East and Drink
Gander International Airport
1000 James Blvd
709 651 1666
Unlikely as it may sound this restaurant, at the Gander airport is one of Gander's best. And it's really good. Everything is homemade and fresh. Great fishcakes, beet salad with goat cheese and delicious carrot cake with creamy cream cheese icing. Not only that, in June the airport will unveil its new  iconic lounge - definitely worth a visit if you are there.
Fogo Island Inn
210 Main Road
Joe Batt’s Arm
Fogo Island
709 658 3444
After CBS's 60 Minutes segment on Fogo Island, everyone now knows Fogo Island Inn is a very special place. It is located on an island, off an island at one of the four corners of the earth. It isn't easy to get there and taking the ferry gives you the sense of just how isolated it really is. It is very expensive to stay there, everything is perfect and all profits are reinvested in the community to secure the future of the island and the people living there. How is it possible in such a remarkable place that everyone is so friendly and hospitable? It's because you are still in Newfoundland - even though you may think you are in heaven.
Featured Recipes
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine, stock or water
  • 1 28oz can plum tomatoes, with juices, broken up or pureed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb linguine or bucatini
  • 2 tbsp butter, optional
  • handful baby spinach, optional
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • LINGUINE WITH CHICKEN BOLOGNESE When it comes to comfort food it is hard to beat pasta. Using chicken rather than beef makes Bolognese lighter and quicker to cook. You can double the sauce and freeze half (or quarters) for another meal where you would only have to cook pasta.


    1. Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven and add onion. Cook on medium heat a few minutes until tender and fragrant. Add garlic, carrots, celery and hot red pepper flakes. Cook another 5 minutes. Add ground chicken, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it loses it raw appearance. Cook about 10 minutes.

    2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook gently about 30 minutes or until thick. Season with salt and pepper.

    3. Just before serving cook linguine in a large pot of boiling water with 1 tbsp kosher salt. Cook pasta until just barely tender. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid and drain (or lift pasta out of the water with tongs) and add to sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and cook gently until liquid is absorbed. Add more cooking liquid if necessary to make a saucy sauce. Stir in butter, spinach (just until wilted) and parsley. Adjust seasoning and serve with cheese.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp each ground cumin, smoked paprika and kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper or cayenne
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb white-fleshed fish fillets, about 1/4" thick, cut into 12 pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, or more if necessary

  • guacamole:
  • 1 small jalapeno, halved, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 ripe avocadoes

  • chipotle mayo:
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp pureed canned chipotle chilies or Chipotle hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1 small clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • cherry tomato salsa:
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • torn cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 12 6" corn tortillas
  • DIY CORNMEAL CRUSTED FISH TACOS WITH GUACAMOLE, CHIPOTLE MAYO AND TOMATO SALSAThis fun summer-ish recipe is perfect indoors or outdoors, at home or at the cottage!

    1. In a wide shallow bowl combine cornmeal with cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl beat eggs together lightly. Pat fish dry. Pat fish in cornmeal, then dip into egg and pat into cornmeal again. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat oil in a large skillet and cook fish until crisp and brown on both sides - 5 to 7 minutes total. Do not overcrowd the pan, cook in two batches if necessary. Drain on a rack set over a baking sheet.

    2. For guacamole combine jalapeno, cilantro, salt and lime juice in a mixing bowl. Cut avocadoes into quarters lengthwise, remove quarters from pit and peel. Add to jalapeno mixture and mash coarsely. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap if not using right away or to keep leftovers from discolouring.

    3. For mayo, combine mayonnaise with chipotles, garlic and lime juice.

    4. For salsa combine tomatoes with cilantro, lime and salt. Char tortillas in a very hot cast iron pan, on your gas burner or on the barbecue until light browned/slightly burnt. Stack, wrap in foil and reserve in warm oven until serving.

    5. Arrange a DIY bar and let people smear a tortilla with mayo and guacamole and top with fish and salsa.

    Makes 4 servings
  • 1/2 lb rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 3/4" thick, about 2 cups
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • RHUBARB POACHED IN VANILLA SYRUPEven if it is snowing, sleeting or cold and rainy, remember it's spring. Celebrate with rhubarb. This easy way to cook rhubarb is wonderful on pancakes, French toast, scones, rice pudding, ice cream or plain with a spoon. And the leftover syrup is incredible in cocktails - just ask my favourite bartender, Ray Rupert (my husband). Here is his Rhubarb Bourbon Sour recipe - 1 1/2 parts Bourbon, 1 part rhubarb syrup and 1/2 part lemon juice. Serve over ice.


    1. Preheated oven to 350F.

    2. Place rhubarb in an 8" or 9" baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar. Bury the vanilla bean in rhubarb and sugar.

    3. Cover pan tightly and bake 20 to 25 minutes just until rhubarb is tender and sugar is dissolved.

    4. Remove rhubarb from the syrup (leave a little to keep it juicy). When cool, refrigerate. It will keep about one week (if it lasts that long).

    5. Transfer remaining syrup to a small saucepan and reduce to about half. Cool and refrigerate. It should keep about one month. (I keep it in a small preserving jar.)

    Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup shortening (or salted butter and reduce salt by half)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (*see Note)
  • 1 1/2 cups rhubarb, finely chopped (8oz after trimming)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

  • topping:
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • NEWFOUNDLAND RHUBARB CAKEWhen I took my book and dinner club to Fogo Island we were lucky enough to have Lori McCarthy and Marsha Tulk (along with Tim Charles, Executive Chef of Fogo Island Inn) take us foraging. Lori and Marsha's wonderful new cookbook, Food Culture Place: Stories, traditions, and recipes of Newfoundland is a finalist in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the category of Food Heritage. We wish them the best of luck!

    This delicious cake recipe was originally from Marsha's husband's grandmother (grandmother-in-law?) and perfect for using fresh or even frozen rhubarb. I have put my very few changes in brackets.

    Note* If you do not have buttermilk place 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice in a 1-cup measure and add milk to the 1-cup line. Let stand 10 minutes.

    !. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or butter a 9-inch square cake pan. (I used an 8-inch tube pan.)

    2. Cream shortening or butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

    3. In another bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir flour into batter alternately with the milk. Mix in rhubarb and nuts. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

    3. In another bowl combine coconut, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean and the centre springs back when pressed (or until an instant read thermometer reaches 195F).

    Makes one 9-inch square cake or 8-inch tube cake
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