If you’re feeling hungry and are looking for something a little less bland than your average, it might be worth dropping by the Tenth Annual World Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront. The Festival promises three solid days of spicy goodness, with heat levels ranging from slightly piquant to eye-popping, face-melting, sinus-clearing insanity.
Highlights of the festival include candied insects courtesy of Sugar Mountain and a series of tastings by a group of women (somewhat misleadingly) dubbed the Red Hot Grandmas. Unlike other Red Hot Grandmas, who often share their goodies on the Internet, these spicy seniors will be sharing family recipes from various cultural communities around the city, ranging from Chilean cuisine courtesy of Maria Angelica Enriquez to food from Canada’s First Nations prepared by Geraldine Cameron.
For those who are interested in Mexican food above and beyond what’s on offer at various Tex-Mex fast food joints, the Mexican Consulate is sponsoring an exhibition by chef and culinary instructor Sergio Molina Sanchez from Ciudad Juarez’s leading eatery Mision Guadalupe. Sanchez will take the stage at 7:00 p.m. on August 10.
The Festival will also play host to the Fourth Annual Hot and Spicy Iron Chef Competition, where four spice-specializing chefs will do culinary battle to determine the reigning monarch of mouth scorchery. Locals Philman “The Rhyming Chef” George and defending champion Vicky Cheng will do battle in a qualifying bout on August 11 at 1:30 p.m. Westin Harbour Castle Executive Chef Duff Lampard and visiting Mexican Chef Federico Lopez will then have their qualifier at 3:30 p.m. The winners of each qualifying match will then go head-to-head for the title on Sunday August 12 at 3:30 p.m.
The Festival will also feature music and dance from various spicy food producing nations, including the Korean dancers of the Mi Young Kim Dance Company and Brazil’s Grupo Cultural AfroReggae.
The Hot and Spicy Food Festival is free and runs from August 10–12 at Harbourfront Centre. Photo by Tyson Willams from the Torontoist Photo Pool.