Jewish food festival returns to Toronto Oct. 9

Jessica Spengler FLICKR

The countdown is on for the second annual NoshFest, Toronto’s Jewish food festival.

Organizers Andrea Segal and Michelle Gordon are gearing up for this fall event, which will be held at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Oct. 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

According to Segal and Gordon, there is something about Jewish food that brings people together.

NoshFest 2016 attracted people from all over the city, Jews and non-Jews, the women point out, explaining that the festival offers a way of bringing together members of Toronto’s diverse community.

Segal and Gordon stress that NoshFest is more than a fress-fest. It’s a family event with all kinds of activities to suit various age groups.

Along with all the Jewish delicacies, there will also be cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, a klezmer band (Jonno Lightstone and the Rock the Shtetl) and a children’s activity area.

A Kidszone with edible arts and crafts will be run by The Leo Baeck Day School, along with Temple Sinai, the Early Childhood Centre at Holy Blossom and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre.

A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit Leket, Israel’s national food bank. There will also be an opportunity to purchase honey from Shoresh, the non-profit, grassroots Jewish environmental organization based in Toronto.


Cookbook author, Jewish food maven and CJN contributor Norene Gilletz will also be on hand to sign the new edition of Second Helpings, Please!, the iconic kosher cookbook that launched Gilletz’s culinary career. Sales of the book benefits the non-profit organization Act to End Violence Against Women.

NoshFest Co-Founders, Andrea Segal (left) and Michelle Gordon, right, apple picking before Rosh Hashanah are seen with their eldest sons both age seven, Jeremy Segal, left, and Isaac Koziebrocki

Event planner Amy Stopnicki, author of Kosher Taste, will be demonstrating a fall salad and a dessert, and a second food demonstration will be conducted by Julian Pancer, or one of his chefs from The Chef Upstairs.

There will be about 20 booths selling or sampling a variety of foods.

People will be able to chow down on traditional Jewish fare like dill pickles, corned beef, smoked turkey, bagels and cream cheese. But there will also be some traditional dishes with a twist, like pulled beef knishes, as well as vegan lox and cream cheese.

One of the newest novelty items will be raw cookie dough in a variety of flavours. It’s all the rage, Segal says. “The idea is that you eat the dough on the spot.” The dough is a safe product because it’s made with pre-cooked flour and without eggs, she adds.

The baked goods on offer will include Jewish favourites like mandelbroit and ruggalach, Gordon says.

There will also be a food truck named Bubby Doris.

Segal and Gordon are encouraging people to buy their tickets online in advance. Last year, more than 1,500 people attended the event.

They point out that because the festival is in October, there will be some outdoor booths. “We decided to make NoshFest early this year to take advantage of the warmer weather,” says Gordon. “Some vendors will be outdoors in the covered area of the barns.”

Segal and Gordon say they came up with the idea of NoshFest after seeing similar events in other cities.

The two women met in Grade 2 and have been friends for 30 years.

Today, they are both mothers. Gordon is a privacy lawyer and Segal is an event planner in the health-care industry.

Gordon urges people to stay tuned to NoshFest’s social media channels. “We’re running contests and we have a newsletter on our website ( People can sign up and buy tickets.”