Year in review

It’s that time of year…activities wind down so that one can relax and enjoy the sunshine!
It was only a few short months ago that I was standing up on a bus in front of WFIM members & guests saying my first welcome speech!   As the new chair of the board for WFIM, I’ve learned a lot in this past year about our organization, and I’ve gotten to know so many of our members.   We’ve had some changes in the board during the year, and many of us were new in our positions, so there was a rather large learning curve.   We had some issues with the website, but I’m happy to say that our marketing team, led by Michelle shebib, has the new website almost already to launch!
Our events team Bren de Leeuw, Mariana Macocei, and newcomer Brenda Seto have executed many great events this year…starting with our day trip to Niagara on the lake visiting a Chocolate F/X factory and Pilliteri Estates winery.  We had a great networking event with our own Donna Messer. Mary Jezerinac & Nadine Farran-Gatti executed our annual round table leadership academy, and plans are already well underway for the 2014 Academy.  December’s gala dinner featuring Ashley Chapman was our largest event ever- with 180 attendees.   We supported our membership with a health event in January featuring Leah Warner, developed our membership with a leadership event featuring Vanessa Judelman in March, and inspired our membership with street food and a fantastic tour of Griffith laboratories in April.    Our golf tournament at Eagles Nest, executed by Sanja Kivac, our golf chair, was a fantastic day of networking and golf.  To end our year, we had a wonderful dinner, followed by an inspiring presentation from Rose Reisman on the Art of Living Well.
I’d also like to note that our sponsors and members have supported great causes this year.   Between a turkey drive, raffles and donations, we have raised over $6000 for Second Harvest, and through sponsoring a participant in the culinary showdown, speaker  honorariums and a raffle at the June Gala, we have donated over $1000 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
I am very pleased with WFIM’s success this year.  I would like to thank all of the volunteers on the board – I wasn’t able to name you all in this speech, but you have been invaluable to me and our membership.   As well, big thanks to all of the volunteers at all of our events who help make them successful.  Finally, big thanks to our sponsors who support us financially to make all these good things happen.
Looking into 2014-15, we already have great events lined up:  a special Volunteer Appreciation night in September, Chef John Placko in October, Academy in November, and another Gala Dinner in December to get us going.
I’d also like to announce the newly renovated Scholarship program!  This award will honor a female graduating student from a recognized post-secondary program in the food industry.  Keep an eye on our website for application instructions.
Have a safe & wonderful summer!  See you at an event in the fall.
Nancy Klassen
WFIM Chair
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Living Well

Rose Reisman was the keynote speaker at WFIM’s June Gala dinner.  Her theme was “The Art of Living Well”.  As shown by the wonderful meal, made from Rose’s recipes,  that the Toronto International Conference Center served the group of 120 women & men, “healthy eating is not difficult or in anyway a compromise on taste or flavour”.

If done right, our diets can provide us with a long, healthy life.  If done wrong, our diets can kill us through high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke.  Rose realized many years ago that she wanted to be around for her husband and children, so she made healthy changes to her diet to ensure that she did.  From her first cookbook featuring high-fat desserts, she has now written numerous books, including “The Best of Rose Reisman” – which every attendee at the WFIM event received.

Two guides to healthy eating include Canada’s Food Guide, and the Mediterranean Food Guide.  Both ensure that all food groups – including grains and meat – are eaten, which offer many health benefits.  Rose also shared that following a low GI – Glycemic Index – diet,  is also helpful to healhy eating.  Low GI foods, such as whole grains, barley, bulgar, sweet potato and legumes, help to keep your sugar levels stable and keep us feeling satiated longer.  Eating smaller meals more often helps, too.

Another important thing to note is pesticides:  going organic is not always necessary – there are the “15 clean” foods that have very little pesticides used, such as onion, pineapple, asparagus, canteloupe, so there is no need to spend money to buy organic.  However, beware of the “Dirty Dozen”:  apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, Grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, and potatoes.  These are foods that are best to buy organic.

As food manufacturers, we need to be conscious of what we are putting into the food we make.  More and more, consumers are looking for “clean” labels – for food that have little to no additives, saturated or trans fat.  Consumers – and us! – also need to be aware of the sugar, fat and salt levels in the processed foods we eat. Reading and understanding food labels is an important start to healthy eating and living well.

To those who attended the Gala dinner, I hope you enjoyed the meal, the networking, and Rose’s presentation.  I am looking forward to trying many of the healthy recipes in the cookbook!

Nancy Klassen

WFIM Chair