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What to Do — Besides Eat — at the Niagara Food Festival

image001Held every September, the Niagara Food Festival highlights the very best in Canadian food, farms, restaurants, and celebrity chefs. This year’s festival marks the 22nd year for the event, and it will take place September 11 through the 13 in Welland. Delicious food abounds, but eating is just one of the reasons to attend. Here is a look at some of the other opportunities for fun and education available at this year’s Niagara Food Festival.

The Mobile Culinary Theatre

Part of the educational and entertainment components of the Niagara Food Festival, the Mobile Culinary Theatre is one of the most popular attractions each year, because it allows for a complete cooking demonstration with a live audience. It’s also available for rent for anyone hoping to attract a crowd to an event. A fully functional and mobile demonstration kitchen, the MCT is 15 feet deep and 28 feet long, which allows plenty of space for chefs to put on culinary shows. The MCT will be the set for a number of culinary adventures throughout the festival.

Live Music

Another feature of the Niagara Food Festival is the lineup of excellent local and regional bands that provide entertainment all weekend long, starting at 6pm on Friday. From rock and roll to folk music, the bands are high-energy and family friendly. Kim Mitchell, former member of Max Webster and Canadian singing and guitar-slinging legend is slated to perform, and other acts include:

  • The Mandevilles
  • Orangeman
  • Street Pharmacy
  • Brad Battle
  • River Junction Band
  • Wednesday’s Engine
  • And more!

The Contest

image003Every year the festival holds a “So You Think You Can Cook?” contest for Niagara residents, and the finale — which will take place on September 12 of this year’s festival — is one of the highlights of each year’s event. The first round of the contest is open from June 1 through August 7, and it requires entrants to develop an original recipe for consideration that uses at least one locally grown or sourced food or product. Three finalists are selected to compete for the prize of being the best recipe-maker and cook in the Niagara region, and they must prepare their dish live and in front of an audience where it will then be sampled by the festival judges. Recipes and dishes are judged via the following criteria:

  • Taste appeal
  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Use of Niagara product(s)

Celebrity Chefs

Each year’s festival brings a slew of celebrity Canadian chefs out of the woodwork, and this year’s event will be no exception. While who will all be in attendance is still being decided upon, one sure crowd favorite who has already been booked is Erin Smith, a young Port Colborne native who won Chopped Canada with her innovative use of frog legs, green tea powder, and cheesecake.

If you love eating and cooking, book your Niagara vacation so that it coincides with the Niagara Food Festival. There will be plenty of excellent food to eat, and the entertainment and learning opportunities will keep you happily engaged all weekend long.