CCBC News talked to Canadian chef, Sabrina Poirier, who has been in Brazil to take part in the Canadian Gastronomic Week. Responsible for creating the menu of the event, the chef talked about her influences and the Canadian cuisine characteristics. Check it out!

How do you define the Canadian cuisine?
I believe that there is no such thing as the Canadian cuisine. To me, the Canadian cuisine is that of the Canadian people, that is, global. It is hard to describe what we have, because everything was brought by the peoples who live in Canada. So we can have Asian cuisine, European dishes, South American influences.

What are the key influences to the Canadian cuisine?
It depends a lot on the region in Canada – Polish, Italian, French, Asian – the influences are really global.


Which dishes do you consider to be typically Canadian?
Poutine, dishes with beef. A typical Canadian meal is beef steak with potatoes, but we also eat a lot of salmon and quarry meat.

Which dish tastes like childhood to you?
Split pea soup with crubeens (pig’s feet). And lasagna, due to the Italian influences in my family. For dessert, apple pie.

What is your main culinary reference?
I really love cooking Mediterranean dishes; on the other hand, Asian cuisine impresses me a lot.

What are the typical Canadian ingredients?
Canada is very large, for that reason, ingredients vary according to the region, but to name a few, I would say the salmon. In my region, Québec, we are known for pork, maple syrup, apples, wild berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, and asparagus.

Is there a tendency towards consuming organic foods in Canada?
Yes, that is really happening. There is, in fact, a new law which determines that all non-organic products must come with labels showing if they are GM foods (Genetically Modified Foods), if pesticides were used, anyway, everything must come in the label. There is a major concern about the origin of what we eat. We have a strong tendency to choose greens when it comes to eating habits.


Which Brazilian products have you tasted and are your favorite ones?
I tried some and I still want to try more. I loved feijoada (black beans stew with pork and beef)! I found the combination with orange perfect and delicious! I also liked sun-dried beef pastry and cheese bread. WOW! I will try to make them in Canada, as well as feijoada. I also loved the fruits, they are unbelievable, very tasty, due to the tropical weather. I love papaya from here.

What about brigadeiro (small chocolate fudge balls), have you tried them?
Yes, I liked it a lot, but to me, one was enough, it is very sweet. I noted that Brazilians really like sugar. But some of my Canadian friends could eat many of those. Everyone really likes chocolate, overall, but I am not a big fan of chocolate, so one was enough.

What did you know about the Brazilian cuisine before coming here?
It is a pity the Brazilian cuisine is not so popular in Canada. We know much more about the Argentinean or Chilean cuisine than the Brazilian cuisine. When we think of Brazil, we think of Rio, Carnival, not about its food.

How was the experience of working with a Brazilian chef?
The chef I worked with is very talented, so it was very good to work with him. Kitchen language is universal, so even before some linguistic barriers, we managed to understand each other.

Is there anything you would like to add about your visit in Brazil?
I think Brazil and Canada are unknown regions. People stop at the surface and do not see, in-depth, everything we have to offer. We are known for our snow, Eskimos and igloos. And when we look at Brazil, we think of Carnival, favelas, the Amazon and snakes. It is not true! We have so much to learn. I think it is important for people to devote some time to uncover the treasures we have.



Leila Monteiro Lins

Leila Monteiro Lins has more than 30 years of experience in journalism and marketing, including media relations, event planning and the development of communication strategies. In April 2010, LML launched Discover Brazil magazine ( in Canada with the goal of making Brazil better known in North America.

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