Media Release

ARCHIVE: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | All Media Resources


Hot & Spicy Food Festival (July 20-22, 2012)
Presented by CIBC
Celebrating 15 fiery years of international culinary culture at Harbourfront Centre

TORONTO, ON (June 21, 2012) – Taste culinary ingenuity at the summer's most incendiary event, Harbourfront Centre’s 15th Annual Hot & Spicy Food Festival, presented by CIBC (July 20-22). This year, Harbourfront Centre celebrates 15 spicy years of culinary culture with a mouth-watering celebration that examines innovations in local and international culinary scenes.

Festival attendees can push their taste buds to the limit with ‘hot and spicy’ food from some of the most fascinating cultures on the planet, walk down memory lane with Hot & Spicy Food Festival alumnae chefs and savour smoldering flavours at a special ‘Hot & Spicy’ smokehouse.

Hot & Spicy Food Festival highlights include:
Hot & Spicy International Iron Chef Competition - a culinary showdown that is unparalleled in the city; a Taco Takedown with top chefs who will put their own spin on this tasty snack; and the ever popular Red Hot Market, featuring some of the spiciest hot sauces and marinades around;
• The first-ever TECHmunch Toronto food blogging conference designed to bring together and inspire novice and seasoned food bloggers alike;
• Sizzling tunes from Chilean rapper/activist Ana Tijoux; uplifting soul music from Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens and the soulful sounds of Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays;
Canning and Urban Foraging workshops and a Farmer’s Market for the health and eco-conscious consumer;
• …And more!

“For the past 15 years, the Hot & Spicy Food Festival has been a signature culinary event at Harbourfront Centre. It was one of the first culinary festivals that showcased global ‘hot and spicy’ taste tends for Toronto audiences,” says Melanie Fernandez, Harbourfront Centre’s Director of Community and Educational Programmes. “Over the years, the festival has become a leader in presenting culinary trends and unique food experiences from around the globe. We are pleased that CIBC recognizes the importance of this work and that they are presenting this signature festival with us."

“CIBC is proud to partner with Harbourfront Centre – one of Toronto’s foremost community, arts and cultural gathering places – to present a number of exciting events over the coming months, including the Hot & Spicy Food Festival,” says Stephen Forbes, Executive Vice-President of Marketing & Communications, CIBC. “CIBC has a strong commitment to diversity and we are thrilled to be part of this event.”

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront.

Harbourfront Centre is an innovative, non-profit cultural organization which provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation, in the heart of Toronto's downtown waterfront. Our summer festival season runs from Victoria Day weekend through Thanksgiving weekend, and features over 20 festivals and events that offer The World in One Place. For more information visit

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, our employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of employees. In 2011, CIBC contributed more than $35 million to charitable and non-profit initiatives in Canada to support national, regional and local


For more media information contact:
Althea Linton, 416-973-4428
Follow me on Twitter @misslinton

For high-resolution images and additional media resources, visit our summer media page: Follow us on Twitter: @harbourfrontTO

Hot & Spicy Food Festival Listings


Taco Takedown
Friday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Take in the ambience of our pop-up taqueria – savour tacos, music and other delicious treats as top chefs from across the city (Sang Kim, Vanessa Yeung, Luis Valenzuela, Matt Basile, Aaron Foster, Paula Costa and Peter Minaki) share their own spin on this tasty snack. Purchase a sampler platter of these creations and you’ll get to determine the winner! Hosted by food writer Mary Luz Mejia.

Red Hot Market
Friday, July 20, 7-11 p.m.; Saturday, July 21, 12 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, July 22, 12-6 p.m.
A signature event at Hot & Spicy and one of the most-loved elements of the festival, the Red Hot Market is the place to buy and sample a diverse variety of sauces, marinades and dips – all with fiery flair!

Food Demonstration: Toronto Garlic Festival
Friday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
The Toronto Garlic Festival features Elizabeth Rivasplata of Top Chef Canada fame preparing her favourite garlic-infused dishes while discussing the merits of cooking with Ontario garlic with a local garlic farmer. The demo will include useful tips on how to expertly cook with garlic.
Presented in partnership with Toronto Garlic Festival.

Farmer’s Market
Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22 at 12 p.m. (noon)
Pick up some of the best in local Ontario produce at Hot & Spicy’s farmer’s market!

Hot & Spicy: Past/Present/Future – Banjara Indian Cuisine and Roti Cuisine of India
Saturday, July 21 at 1 p.m.
In this series, participants from the past 15 years of Hot & Spicy select and pair up with an up-and-coming chef to watch in the local food scene! Banjara Indian Cuisine has been a long-time participant at the Hot & Spicy Food Festival (including way back in the day when they used to be called Mr. Maharaja). Experience a world of Indian spices as they collaborate with a chef from Roti Cuisine of India.

Cabaret Noir
Saturday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m.
At the Cabaret Noir, audiences will experience a feast of African culture – from food to music to dance.

Hot & Spicy Smokehouse – Slow Fish with Slow Food Toronto
Saturday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m.
Learn the ins and outs of smoking fish and discover the ways that you can make conscious, delicious and responsible fish consumption choices from a local chef representing the new Slow Fish initiative of Slow Food Toronto.

Hot & Spicy International Iron Chef Competition
Saturday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. - USA vs. Antigua and Barbuda
Saturday, July 21 at 4:30 p.m. - Mexico vs Canada
Sunday, July 22 at 2 p.m. - Finals
Witness innovators in the international culinary scene as they go head-to-head in this nail-biting competition! The 9th Annual International Hot & Spicy Iron Chef Competition returns as chefs from around the world work against the clock to interpret our top-secret ingredient. A panel of celebrity judges, including Elizabeth Baird and Kevin Brauch, will determine the winner. Hosted by TV personality and chef Christian Pritchard.

Hot & Spicy: Past/Present/Future – Emily Richards with Jesse Lauzon of Springridge Farm
Saturday, July 21 at 5 p.m.
In this series, participants from the past 15 years of Hot & Spicy Food Festival’s select and pair up with an up-and-coming chef to watch in the local food scene. Emily Richards, who competed in our very first Iron Chef event in 2004, will collaborate with Jesse Lauzon from Springridge Farm in Milton to offer a sweet and savoury demo featuring Ontario berries and spicy peppers.

Hot & Spicy Smokehouse – David Neinstein from Barque Smokehouse
Saturday, July 21 at 6 p.m.
Learn the secrets to Chef David Neinstein’s smoking technique that have helped make Toronto’s Barque Smokehouse famous!

Hot & Spicy: Past/Present/Future – Steve Gonzalez and Kevin Chica
Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.m.
In this series, participants from the past 15 years of Hot & Spicy select and pair up with an up-and-coming chef to watch in the local food scene! Last year at Hot & Spicy, Steve Gonzalez participated in a grueling Guinness World Record attempt that had him barbecuing for over 32 consecutive hours. This year, he will offer us a glimpse into the Nuevo Latino food he will be serving at his new restaurant as he pairs up with his new sous-chef, Kevin Chica.

Food Demonstration: Spicy Mexican Flavours with Chef Arturo Anhalt from Milagro
Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m.
Take a tour of spicy Mexican flavours with chef and owner of Milagro Cantinas, Arturo Anhalt.

Hot & Spicy 15th Anniversary Doughnut Giveaway
Sunday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m.
Who needs birthday cake when you can have a doughnut? Enjoy a Hot & Spicy themed doughnut in celebration of the festival’s 15th anniversary!

Food Demonstration: The Flexitarian Life with Nettie Cronish
Sunday, July 22 at 4 p.m.
Local vegetarian hero Nettie Cronish will demonstrate roasted curry cashew paste with cauliflower and peas – a recipe flexible enough to please both vegetarians and carnivores alike. Nettie is one of the long-listed nominees for this year’s Taste Canada Food Writing Award.


Mexico Amigo Mariachi
Friday, July 20 at 7 p.m.
This renowned mariachi band provides an exciting, vivid view of Mexican folklore and culture, featuring authentic costumes and instruments that highlight their extensive repertoire.

Ana Tijoux
Friday, July 20 at 9:30 p.m.
Born in France to Chilean parents exiled during the military dictatorship, Tijoux returned to Chile as a teen. She first became a household name with her band, Makiza, as well as providing the voice of the main character in the popular animated series, Los Pulentos. Equal parts global activist and MC, her lyrics are fueled by current political issues while her sound harkens back to the golden age of hip hop.

KC Roberts & the Live Revolution
Saturday, July 21 at 2:30 p.m
KC Roberts & the Live Revolution (KCLR) is an independent 7-piece original funk band from Toronto. Winners of the 2007 Toronto Independent Music Award for best live act, the band is well-known for its energized live performances.

The Slakadeliqs
Saturday, July 21 at 8:00 p.m.
The Slakadeliqs is the result of four years writing, experimenting and exploring various fresh, funky and feel-good sounds. This Sarnia-born and Toronto-based producer/singer integrates diverse sonic flourishes into a cohesive, organic and, yes, soulful whole. The Slakadeliqs is a along-list nominee for the Polaris Prize.

Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens
Saturday, July 21 at 9:30 p.m.
Naomi Shelton is no ordinary gospel singer. Though she, like many others, grew up singing in her Alabama church, she has also spent much of her life in the soul clubs around New York. With her first official full-length release in 2009, it’s clear that her singing is equally influenced by both facets of her life. At Hot & Spicy, she is backed by The Gospel Queens (Bobbie Gant, Cynthia Langston and Edna Johnson) who have worked with a number of legendary performers including Sammy Davis Jr.

Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays
Sunday, July 22 at 4:30 p.m.
Slim Moore and the Mar-Kays are a soul group whose members have backed up soul music royalty including Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Temptations, The Coasters, The Drifters and The Platters, to name a few. The group recently released their debut album, Introducing Slim Moore & The Mar-Kays, to the acclaim of soul lovers everywhere.


Hands On Hot & Spicy: Canning Seminar with Andrew Chase
Saturday, July 21 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 1p.m.
Learn everything you need to know about making and canning spicy chutney with food guru Andrew Chase.

Hands On Hot & Spicy: Foraging Seminar with Slow Food Toronto
Saturday, July 21 at 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4 p.m.
Learn the ins and outs of foraging around the city with a representative from Slow Food Toronto.
Presented in partnership with Slow Food Toronto.

TECHmunch Toronto
Sunday, July 22 at 11:00am (ticketed event)
TECHmunch is making its debut in Toronto as part of the Hot & Spicy Food Festival to serve up tasty strategies for food blogging success! The day-long event is an intimate workshop and interactive conversation that will inspire even the most seasoned food blogger. Food bloggers of every level – from hobbyists to media conglomerates and everything in between as well as brands that want to connect and form partnerships with food bloggers are invited to attend. TECHmunch was created by Founder Babette Pepaj (@BakeSpace), who serves as its producer and host. TECHmunch Toronto is being co-produced by Harbourfront Centre as part of Hot & Spicy and is presented with local assistance by Ivy Knight (@IvyKnight), Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder


Gadfly Presents: S2 - Skills and Soul All-styles Street Dance Battle
Saturday, July 21 at 3:30 p.m. & 5:30 p.m.
Hip hop dancers, b-boys, krumpers, poppers, house dancers and many more will come together to compete and share with each other the unique energy that only exists in street dance culture.

Traditional and Contemporary African Dance with Roshanak Jaberi
Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m.
Roshanak Jaberi and her dancers present a mixed program of traditional African and contemporary urban dance fused with electrifying tribal house music.


Friday, July 20 at 9 p.m.
Enjoy a smokin’ performance sure to light your senses on fire! Witness fire eating, fire juggling, some sizzling audience interaction and more with PyRomeo!

Hottt Mmammacita with the SwizzleStick Theatre
Saturday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Enjoy sizzling site animation from the SwizzleStick Theatre with Hottt Mmammacita. Watch as she swirls her spicy satin, bringing tempting tastes and tingling flavours to the Hot & Spicy Food Festival.

Exploring the Urban Orchard with Not Far From the Tree
Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22 at 1 p.m.
Walk into the urban orchard and taste what our city has to offer! Not Far From the Tree invites kids to experience the many varieties of fruit grown right here in Toronto.

Season-Long Events at Harbourfront Centre

Uncharted Waters: Toronto’s Enigmatic Harbour presented with the assistance of the Toronto Port Authority (June 21, 2012-June 2013)
An outdoor, large-scale photo exhibition of the harbour’s people, places, industries, vessels and ecosystems which uncovers the true value of one of Canada’s largest inland ports.

Summer Music in the Garden presented by TD Bank Group (Most Thursdays, 7 p.m. & Sundays, 4 p.m., July-Sept.)
Free performances of classical and traditional music from around the world as Summer Music in the Garden enters its 13th season. Concerts and tours take place in the Toronto Music Garden weather permitting; contact our info desk at 416-973-4000 for updates.

Dancing on the Pier (Thursdays, June 28-Aug. 30, 7-9 p.m.)
Join the Dancing on the Pier house band for social interaction and learning that explores global dance trends. Hosted by Martin Samuels.

Free Flicks (Wednesdays, July 4-Aug. 29, approx 9 p.m.)
From classic film to cult comedy, we explore the journey of the underdog from zero to hero on the big screen, under the stars. Hosted by Norm Wilner.

International Marketplace (Weekends, June 2-Sept. 3)
Shop the world every weekend, all summer long – from Indonesian textiles and Indigenous crafts to African artefacts, South American jewellery and far beyond.

World Café (Weekends, May 19-Sept. 3)
Our newly renovated World Café features a rotating selection of the best international cuisine at affordable prices.

Harbourfront Centre Street Stage, (Weekends from Victoria Day to Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Come and see some of the best street performers this city has to offer!

Canoe Rides and Paddle Boats on the Natrel® Pond (Weekends, May-Oct.)
Take a break and enjoy a fun float beside our picturesque boardwalk. Cost: Canoe rides are $4 per person, paddle boats are $5 per person, including life jacket rental and a 15-minute ride.

Where you are:   Home / Who We Are / Media Resources