Hungry for Comfort
Chinese Food, Diversity & Delights
Hungry for Comfort is an annual exploration of culinary food stories within different cultural groups across Toronto. This year, the spotlight is on Toronto’s Chinese communities and their significant contribution to the city’s rich and diverse food culture. These nourishing stories will inform, inspire and connect you to Chinese culinary history.
Staying connected to each other during these challenging times is more important now, than ever. Stories have the power to build connections when they are inclusive of all voices.
Join these community-led conversations with the Chinese community, hear culinary stories through this series of renowned speakers and chefs, and watch cooking demonstrations that get to the heart of Chinese cuisine.
Learn more about Chinese history in Toronto from the City of Toronto Archives.
Arlene Chan and Marjorie Chan dish on how the Chinese food scene, including little-known market gardens, has developed up until the early 1970s and played such an important role in building intercultural connections in Toronto. Joanna Liu will demonstrate how to make “Shrimp with Lobster Sauce”, a popular recipe from her family’s restaurant, Yueh Tung Restaurant, in Toronto’s Old Chinatown. Joanna and her sister, Jeanette Liu, reflect upon managing their restaurant together. From Chop Suey to Peking Duck is hosted by Montgomery’s Inn.
Arlene Chan is an award-winning Chinatown historian who has written seven books about the history, culture and traditions of the Chinese in Canada. Her family stories and first-hand experiences in Toronto’s Chinatown are woven into her speaking engagements and Chinatown tours. Chan’s “The Chinese Community in Toronto: Then and Now” book is available at Toronto History Museum’s online shop.
Marjorie Chan is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, primarily working as a writer and creator for the stage. Her parents immigrated to Toronto from Hong Kong in the 1960s. Marjorie often explores Chinese history and experiences within her works. Marjorie is also the Artistic Director of Theatre Passe Muraille in downtown Toronto.
Joanna and Jeanette Liu manage their family’s restaurant, Yueh Tung, Toronto’s oldest existing Hakka Chinese restaurant. Joanna, a trained chef who has worked with some of the city’s finest chefs, oversees the kitchen while Jeanette, a former TV journalist, manages the business and marketing of the restaurant. Together the sisters are proud to carry on the family business that was first opened in 1986 by their parents, Mei and Michael.
Professor Chef Leo Chan shares stories about the explosion and diversification of Chinese food from the 1970s to today. Professor Daniel Bender discusses how Scarborough has gained a reputation as the food capital of the world. A cooking demonstration by Wilson Chan, of Mandarin Restaurants, features Cantonese Chow Mein, a popular classic dish that has endured decades of love in Toronto and around the globe. Culinary Journey through Toronto’s Chinatown is hosted by Scarborough Museum.
Professor Chef Leo Chan was born in Macau and raised in Hong Kong. He came to Canada in 1966. Leo was educated at York University, Ryerson and Cornell (Ithaca, New York), and has taught at George Brown and Humber Colleges. Leo has held senior positions in hotel and restaurant chains in Canada.
Professor Daniel Bender is the Director of the Culinaria Research Centre and the Canada Research Chair in Food and Culture at the University of Toronto. He is the author/editor of five books and is currently working on a book detailing the global history of culinary tourism. Professor Bender is also an editor of “Gastronomica: The Journal for Food Studies“.
Chef Wilson Chan ran a family-owned Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong for more than 10 years before immigrating to Canada. He joined Mandarin Restaurants in 1999 as Managing Kitchen Partner of Mandarin Hamilton. Since 2013, Wilson has been working as the Corporate Chef, responsible for the menu improvement and development.
A dash of sweetness from Ann Hui’s stories about small-town Chinese restaurants and the families that run them and a pinch of salt from Sean Chen’s Qing-dynasty gastronomic guide will be blended to taste, as Chef Wallace Wong moderates a discussion exploring authenticity. Eric Chong caps off the conversation with a cooking demonstration of his recipe for Char Siu Bao from his restaurant in Chinatown West. Authenticity of Chinese Food is hosted by Gibson House Museum.
Wallace Wong is not your typical chef. He is a chef, fitness athlete, TV and social media personality, entrepreneur and cancer survivor who has worked in some of the world’s most respected restaurants. Wallace was a finalist on “Top Chef Canada”, won “Fridge Wars/Chopped” and has represented Canada on the world bodybuilding stage. Wallace has built his brand Six Pack Chef around three pillars: Eat Good – Look Good – Live Great.
Dr. Sean J.S. Chen is a biomedical engineer and Associate at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, who has lectured internationally on Chinese culinary history. His book, “Recipes from the Garden of Contentment”, won bronze at the 2019 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Dr. Chen was a consultant for the award-winning television series, “Confucius was a Foodie”.
Ann Hui is the national food reporter for “The Globe and Mail”. Her debut book, “Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories From Canada’s Chinese Restaurants“, was a national bestseller.
Eric Chong has a degree in chemical engineering, but his true calling has always been cooking. He was determined to earn his spot in the culinary world after becoming the first MasterChef Canada. Together with his mentor Alvin Leung, Eric now runs R&D – a modern eatery paying tribute to traditional Asian flavours.
Savour the observations and unique perspectives about Chinese food and restaurants in Toronto during a lively panel discussion with Tina Chiu, Lucia Huang and Roger Mooking, moderated by Karon Liu. Cheuk Kwan will share a global perspective about Chinese food. Global and Local Perspectives on Chinese Food is hosted by Fort York National Historic Site.
Karon Liu is the food reporter for the “Toronto Star” where he highlights the diverse people who make up the city’s cuisines, how these speak to our history, and where the food scene is headed.
Cheuk Kwan grew up in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. His “Chinese Restaurants” television series brings together his diasporic experience and love of food and travel. Cheuk’s forthcoming book “Have You Eaten Yet?” draws out a global narrative of the Chinese diaspora by linking together personal stories from Chinese kitchens worldwide.
Tina Chiu joined Mandarin Restaurants in 2000. As Chief Operating Officer, she is responsible for leading the execution of company strategy. She also serves on the boards of Restaurants Canada and Humber College. Tina has a BA from Western University and an MBA from Schulich School of Business.
Lucia Huang is the Project and Event Manager of the Toronto Chinatown BIA. Using her bilingual skill as a newcomer, she has established a deep connection with the community. While she keeps discovering the charms of Chinatown, Lucia is passionate about using a variety of ways to share them with Torontonians and people around the world.
Roger Mooking is a world-renowned chef, restaurateur, television host, author and award-winning recording artist. The Trinidadian-born, Canadian-raised chef is influenced by his culturally rich family background, his love of people and travel, and his interest in global flavours to create new culinary experiences. As a third-generation restaurateur, Roger’s earliest influences were his family’s Chinese and Caribbean specialties, as well as eventually training under Japanese, Chinese, French and Swiss German chefs.
Roger’s “Everyday Exotic: The Cookbook: It’s About Flavor” book is available at Toronto History Museum’s online shop.
Message from the Mayor
Mayor John Tory is encouraging everyone to discover important cultural stories through the Hungry for Comfort program.
* Content posted on “Hungry for Comfort” operates under the principles of anti-oppression, anti-colonialism, sustainability, advocacy and storytelling. The content, views and opinions expressed are those of the individual story teller/presenter/producer and does not necessarily represent the City of Toronto’s views or opinions or an endorsement of such views or opinions by the City of Toronto.
The City of Toronto is not responsible for any legal claims, costs, damages, liabilities, or obligations arising from the use or misuse of any content presented or filmed as part of the “Hungry for Comfort” program. The City of Toronto does not guarantee or warrant the quality, accuracy or completeness of the information presented or filmed as part of the “Hungry for Comfort” program.