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Not for the Faint of Stomach

rsz_08_05_2007_hot.jpgIf 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.


  • guest

    Having lived in Ciudad Juárez for six years I have to say I’m surprised to hear there is any sort of expert on Mexican food there…
    Seriously, México is a big country (OK, not compared to Canada, but still) and having travelled around it some I can tell you that its not easy to find good food typical of one region in another. Even in Mexico City, where there is a little bit of everything México can offer you can’t get a decent burrito without some effort, in Juárez, on the other hand burritos rock and it’s not easy to get good barbacoa, say. But generally speaking I’d expected expert Mexican chefs to live and work in central or southern Mexico, not up north where people mostly just grill steaks.
    I’ll give this Molina guy the benefit of the doubt, though. I never ate at Misión Guadalupe it being a little expensive for me, but I did hear it was supposed to be pretty good.

  • ariehsinger

    Funny, I shot a photo of this same set from a different angle this past weekend – on my photoblog.