Anita Stewart ~ Biography

Anita Stewart, C.M., LLD (Hon), M.A (Gastronomy), P.Ag (Hon)

Over the year’s I’ve been given many titles.  Most, thankfully, have been polite.  Summing up the past 4 decades or so (YIKES!), the words Activist and Disrupter have been applied the most.  I like them because I have never believed that life is a dress rehearsal and if we are to live it fully, we’d better get busy.  My mantra? Canada IS food and the world is richer for it.

  • Member of the Order of Canada
  • Food Laureate, University of Guelph
  • President of Food Day Canada & Flavours of Canada ®
  • Doctor of Laws (Honouris causa) University of Guelph, June 2011 Convocation
  • Member of the Advisory Council of the World Gastronomy Institute (WGI)
  • Winner of Gold and Silver in the Canadian Agri-Marketing Awards (2019) for Social Media
  • Inaugural Dinner Bell Award (2018) from Canadian Centre for Food Integrity
  • Lifetime Member of the Culinary Historians of Canada
  • Chairman’s Gold Award, The Ontario Hostelry Institute, March 22nd, 2012;
  • Chair’s Recognition Award, The Egg Farmers of Ontario, March 28th, 2012;
  • Ontario Food Ambassador 2011 ~ The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association;
  • Recipient of Cuisine Canada ~ University of Guelph Food Culture Award 2009
  • Inducted in June 2009 as an Honourary Lifetime Member of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks;
  • Culinary Awards Advisor to the Governor General’s Awards in Celebration of the Nation’s Table
  • Recipient of The Ontario Hostelry Institute’s 2009 Gold Medal (Educator);
  • Chosen as the 2009 Guelph Woman of Distinction (Business,Labour,The Professions and Entrepreneurs);
  • Winner of the 2008 Cuisine Canada Edna Award for lifetime achievement;
  • Jury Member ~ The World Food Media Awards, Tasting Australia, Adelaide, S.A.;
  • Founder of Cuisine Canada;
  • Jury Member (Toronto): Great Canadian Kitchen Party (formerly Gold Medal Plates);
  • Jury Member (Wolfville, Nova Scotia) Devour! The Food Film Festival; 
  • Culinary Broadcaster & Columnist, CBC – Syndication and Radio One’s Fresh Air.



Springing from rural roots, Anita Stewart as been over the side of icebreakers into work boats in the North Pacific to visit every manned light-station on that coast to meet their keepers. She’s traveled by dog sled and snowmobile to Cree hunt camps in Northern Quebec. She’s blasted out to Hibernia, the most easterly bastion of Canadian cuisine on the continent. She’s scuba dived for sea cucumbers and urchin in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and bucktail fly- fished for salmon in Discovery Passage. She defined the term “Canadian culinary tourism” while it was still an oxymoron and she continues to push to make it an important scholarly discipline.

In those early nationalistic journeys she cultivated a network of friends which in 1994 was translated into Cuisine Canada, the first and still only, pan-Canadian culinary alliance of food professionals. She was Chair of the Board for a number of years. Her writing spans country inns and farm markets, hotels and, naturally, our phenomenal agricultural heritage. Her speaking engagements, lectures and broadcasts on CBC Radio One tell similar stories.

HappyShe has consulted for The University of Guelph and developed the OAC Food Inventory which honours the researchers who, over the years, have put so many new cultivars onto Canada’s tables.. She also coordinated the food for three of that university’s high level think tanks on Canadian political and agricultural issues.   They took place in Elora.

She was contracted by Agriculture and AgriFood Canada to co-host two media breakfasts with Canada’s Minister of Agriculture, the Honourable Gerry Ritz; the first at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver; the second at the 20-011 Calgary Stampede.

Working with both Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage, she has brought real Canadian cuisine to both the national and international stage at events such as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto and the Worlds Fair in Hannover, Germany in 2000. She was on the senior team of consultants which wrote a Culinary Tourism Strategy for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation and was the “Sage on the Stage” at the Culinary Tourism Symposium held in Toronto March 6/7/8, 2005, the first Culinary Tourism Symposium ever planned and expedited by Canadians. She continues to work in that field as part of the team that is currently reviewing that strategy.

The Canadian Tourism Commission’s US Media Team collaborated with her in 2006 to create the menu for CELSIUS! A Canadian Lounge, in Bryant Park, deep in the heart of New York City’s Financial District.

In April, 2007 she was the keynote speaker, sponsored by Ontario Tourism, at the CTC’s Media Marketplace, the annual event in the U.S. that promotes Canadian tourism to the top travel communicators in America. Working with the Canadian Tourism Commission she live streamed directly into the homes/offices of US media from a talent-filled kitchen at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

On July 7, 2003, started a nation-wide backyard/lakeside/main street Canadian beef barbecue. Billed as Canada Day 2! The World’s Longest Barbecue, it was conceived in support of Canadian agriculture and specifically the beleaguered beef industry. An invitation was issued and on Saturday, August 2, 2003 at 6 p.m. in whatever time zone they were in, thousands of Canadians participated, some from as far a field as Baffin Island, Japan, Australia and the U.K. The grassroots of Canada, wherever they were, played – they also spoke! It was an overwhelming success! In every region, real Canadians barbecued real Canadian cuisine. From that day forward she has issued a similar challenges to Canadians far and wide to toss all sorts of Canadian ingredients onto their grills. Thousands have participated and the annual, mid-summer event has evolved into Food Day Canada.

“Anita Stewart’s mission is to take Canadian cuisine out from under its bushel, to lead the world to a new awareness. If anyone can do it, it’s this dining dynamo.” – Campbell Cork, The KW Record, Kitchener


IMG_7992Published Works: 

“It all began in 1974 with The Juice and Cookies Cookbook which supported the newly created Elora Cooperative Preschool. It hit the stands with a massive first run of 500 copies. Hand written, photocopied and painstakingly assembled by a crew of Co-op moms and dads, it quickly sold out (we charged $5) and raised enough money for some climbers. Like other cookbooks across the nation, it also forged friendships which have lasted a lifetime.

This was my first foray into cookbook “writing” and it was with these great friends that I began to understand how important food was to all our lives. The recipes ranged from gingerbread (yum!) to play dough (yuck!).Since then there have been many books in my life…both my own, several with great co-authors. ”

  • Anita Stewart’s CANADA ~ The Food, The Recipes, The Stories (HarperCollins Canada, Toronto, 2008/2014) ISBN: 978-1-55468-231-7 Cuisine Canada Gold Award
  • The Flavours of Canada: A Celebration of the Finest Regional Foods (Raincoast, Vancouver, 2000 / 2006) ISBN: 1 55192 895-7 Awarded Cuisine Canada Gold and Bronze awards
  • photo 1-14Great Canadian Cuisine, The Flavours of Canadian Pacific Hotels (Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver 1999) ISBN: 1 55054 690 2
  • A Taste For Comfort: A Scenic Tour of Pacific Northwest Inns, (C&D Publishing, Portland, Oregon, 1993) ISBN: 0 9634294 0 X
  • Canada’s Great Country Inns: the Best in Food and Lodging. (Random House / Fodors Toronto / New York 1992) ISBN: 0 679 02183 3
  • From Our Mothers’ Kitchens (Random House, Toronto 1991) ISBN: 0 394 22128 1
  • The Country Inns Cookbook: Revised Edition (Stoddart Publishing, Toronto 1990) ISBN: 0 7737 5339 7
  • The Gray Rocks Story (Weiser & Weiser, New York,1989). ISBN: 0 914373 16 1
  • The St. Lawrence Market Cookbook (Stoddart Publishing, Toronto 1988) ISBN: 0 7737 5142 4
  • IMG_8011The Lighthouse Cookbook (Harbour Publishing, Vancouver 1988) ISBN: 1 55017 103 8
  • The Country Inns Cookbook, (Stoddart Publishing, Toronto 1987) ISBN: 0 7737 5099 1

Co-Authored Works

With Jo-Marie Powers

  • Northern Bounty: A Celebration of Canadian Cuisine (Random House Canada, Toronto 1995) ISBN: 0 394 22431           0
  • The Farmers’ Market Cookbook (Stoddart, Toronto 1984) ISBN: 0 7737 5005 3

With Julia Aitken

  • The Ontario Harvest Cookbook: An Exploration of Feasts and Flavours,(Macmillan Canada, Toronto 1995) ISBN: 0 7715 7379 0

On Flavours of Canada: “The book is as riveting as the author herself, whom I met recently at recipe contest for Agriculture Canada. This is a proud, all-Canadian cookbook. Looks as great as it reads. Buy it!” — the late Ron Eade, The Ottawa Citizen


photo 5-3Broadcasting and Speaking

Anita began a broadcasting career with a summer series on Ontario Morning in 1999 which continued into a long association with CBC Radio One’s Fresh Air, a Saturday/Sunday programme with an audience reach across the Province and on line with an audience of roughly 350,000. She spent 5 years as that programme’s Food Columnist before moving on to work with CBC Syndication on a regular basis. Her extensive career in speaking has been inspirational to many and standing ovations are common.  She began with book tours and has continued with engagements around the world.


Anita is currently concentrating her writing efforts on the website for Food Day Canada and for Canada’s new national culinary magazine, International Taste and Travel. Most recently she has written for Canadian Geographic Travel, FOOD & DRINK, The Advocate (a Québec monthly) and has written commissioned articles in magazines and newspapers from Gourmet to the Los Angeles Times, from the Toronto Star to the Globe and Mail. Her work has been published internationally in multiple languages for Slow Food’s website and magazine. Over the past decades, pieces have appeared in Elm Street, Century Home, Doctor’s Review, Canadian Press, Homemakers, Foodservice and Hospitality, Chatelaine-Travel Canadian Hotel and Restaurant, Canadian Living’s FOOD, Flare, City and Country Home, The Vancouver Sun, The Montreal Gazette, The Guelph Mercury and The Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

In the U.S., her work has appeared in the U.S. in Endless Vacation, The Dallas Morning News, Travel/Holiday Magazine, FoodArts, Corporate and Incentive Travel, and the Los Angeles Times.

Speaking Engagements — A Smattering of the Highlights

  • Keynote address: Terroir 2017
  • Welcome/Keynote: AGM North American Relais et Chateaux, May 2017
  • Gala Speaker: Slow Food Canada AGM, Invermere, B.C. April 2016
  • Keynote:  Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, March 2015
  • Master of Ceremonies, Inaugural Canadian Cheese Awards 2014
  • Welcome/Keynote, National Food Security Forum, 2014
  • Featured speaker, American Agri-Women Conference, November 2013
  • Speaker, Future of Food in Healthcare, Ottawa, October 2013
  • Convocation Address, University of Guelph, June 2011
  • Emcee and Host, Canada Brand Breakfast, Calgary Stampede, July 2010
  • Emcee and Host, Canada Brand Breakfast, 2010 Olympic Winter Games
  • Host and dinner speaker, STOP Community Centre dinner series, October 2009
  • Speaker at AGM, Travel Tourism Association of Canada, October 2009
  • Keynote speaker at the inaugural meeting of Durham Region Food Group, July 2009
  • Speaker at Food Meets Function, Metro Convention Centre, Toronto, June 2009
  • Guest and dinner speaker, Don Mills University Women’s Club, May 2009
  • Keynote speaker, Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks, AGM, Kelowna 2009
  • Keynote speaker, Ontario Culinary Tourism Summit, November 2008
  • Host and speaker, New York City’s 41-74 Club October 2008
  • Luncheon/Keynote speaker, OMAFRA Division Day, September 2008
  • Keynote speaker at Canada Media Marketplace, New York City, April 2007
  • Keynote speaker in Quebec City for the Agriculture and Communications Excellence, 2006.
  • Participant in The OAC Dean’s Lecture Series at the University of Guelph, November 2004
  • Plenary speaker at The International Culinary Tourism Conference in Victoria, B.C. May 2004.
  • Keynote and wrap up Beyond City Lights/Rural Tourism. Simcoe, March 2004
  • The South Australian Food and Wine Tourism Workshop in McLaren Vale, South Australia, October           2003
  • Hahn Food and Wine Writers Festival in Adelaide, S.A. and broadcast on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) October 2003
  • Annual General Meeting of the Tourism Federation of Ontario, Orillia, April 2003
  • Ontario Institute of Agrologists, Simcoe, April 2003
  • Beyond City Lights, a rural tourism conference in Ottawa, March 2003
  • Alumni in Action, University of Guelph, March 2003
  • Manitoba Direct Farm Marketing Association, February 2003
  • IMG_0221Ontario Tender Fruit Growers Annual General Meeting, February 2002
  • Keynote at Annual General Meetings of both the New Brunswick and PEI Food Processors Associations, November 2001
  • Dinner keynote at The International Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World, June 2001
  • Ontario Agri-Business Association AGM, February 2001
  • The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s Board Meeting, January 2001
  • The President’s Luncheon of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair October 2000.
  • National Agricultural Awareness Week kick off, Ottawa, October 2000
  • Presenter at the 11th Symposium on Australian Gastronomy in Hobart, Tasmania, September 1999
  • Keynote address at the first joint and first Canadian meeting of The Association for the Study of Food in Society and The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society in June 1999
  • Speaker and Panelist at Hahn Food and Wine Writers Festival and Tasting Australia in Adelaide, September 1999
  • Canada’s Media Marketplace in Pasadena, California, May 1997
  • Canadian Pacific’s General Managers’ Meeting in Mont Tremblant, March 1997
  • Canadian Pacific Hotels Food & Beverage Conference January 1997
  • The Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, England, September 1992.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email