Donna Dooher, National Chair
With over 30 years of professional experience in the kitchen, chef Donna Dooher has established herself as a prominent figure in the hospitality community. The owner of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, she’s served as Food Editor for WISH magazine, and authored the best-selling Market to Table cookbook, and the award-winning Out to Brunch with Mildred Pierce. The former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association, she is currently the CEO and President of Restaurants Canada. As an active member of Slow Food, Donna is a self-proclaimed ‘fork hugger’ dedicated to supporting Ontario farmers and local agriculture.
Karen Baxter, Executive Director
With an MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Karen Baxter brings her expertise in event management, public relations and fundraising to Taste Canada. She is a driving force behind Taste Canada’s project management and industry liaison, including building sustainable and long-term industry partnerships, logistics planning, management of the Board of Directors, budget control, organizational financial planning, event planning along with overseeing the details of the gala presentation ceremony, and its affiliated student cooking competition—Taste Canada Cooks the Books.
Jennifer MacKenzie, English-Language Chair
Jennifer MacKenzie is a Professional Home Economist who wears many aprons as a freelance food writer, café co-owner and media spokesperson with a little event planning added to the mix. She is the author/co-author of six cookbooks and writes and develops recipes for print and online publications. As well, she has tested and recipe-edited over a hundred cookbooks on every subject from soup to coconut. Serving two years as a Taste Canada judge, Jennifer now channels her passion for Canadian cookbooks and applies her varied skills as a member of the Taste Canada team.
Marie-Serge Blais has been a Professional chef for 15 years and has been teaching the art of cooking for a decade. She works with La Tablée des Chefs and Moisson Québec and shares her passion for cooking with those who want to learn. Addicted to travel, wines and gastronomy, her career brought her to France, on television shows and on the Québec CKRL radio for weekly programs. She has been part of the Taste Canada team from 2012 to 2015.
Marie-Serge Blais est cuisinière depuis maintenant 15 ans et enseigne la cuisine depuis une décennie auprès d’une clientèle variée, tant au niveau professionnel que communautaire. Chef enseignante pour La Tablée des Chefs ainsi que pour Moisson Québec, elle partage sa passion de la cuisine au plus grand nombre. Mordue de voyages, de vins et de gastronomie, son métier lui a permis de travailler en France, sur des plateaux de tournages ainsi que de tenir des chroniques hebdomadaires de radio pour CKRL à Québec. Elle a été juge pour Les Saveurs du Canada de 2012 à 2015.
Charmian Christie, Slideshow Producer & Judging Criteria
With an MA in Journalism from Australia’s University of Wollongong and an extensive writing portfolio, cookbook author and recipe developer Charmian Christie loves words as much as food. When she’s not developing the next big iPhone app or blogging at The Messy Baker, she writes for a variety of publications both in print and online. Her first cookbook, The Messy Baker: More than 75 Delicious Recipes from a Real Kitchen, is published by HarperCollins, and has been featured on Oprah.com, Saveur and Publishers Weekly.
Julie Miguel, Web Content, Social Media Manager & Blog Award Coordinator
Julie Miguel is a digital content producer with a specialization in food media. Her experience includes hosting, food journalism, recipe development, branding, food styling, and photography. The focus of her food-based blog Daily Tiramisu is to empower home cooks to create great meals from scratch. She is a self-taught cook who has trained with many well-known chefs and she continues to broaden her culinary experience through her work. Julie is currently a Baking Arts student at Centennial College.
Julie has also been on National Television, namely, she placed 7th on the inaugural season of MasterChef Canada and has made numerous appearances on The Marilyn Denis Show as well as other local television appearances.
Carolyn Frail, Newsletter Editor and External Relations Taste Canada
Carolyn Frail is a Professional Home Economist and freelance food science and nutrition writer with a BASc in Food and Nutrition. Over the past 13 years she has worked on various projects within the food industry, ranging from freelance nutrition writing to project management as well as sales and marketing. She was also the Newsletter Editor for the Women’s Culinary Network.
Sabrina Falone, Stage Manager—Taste Canada Cooks the Books
Sabrina is a professionally trained chef with a degree from Liaison College of Culinary Arts. After graduating from culinary school, she augmented her education by attending the food writing program at George Brown College. Her experience in both the food service and food writing fields, along with her passion for recipe development and food styling, make Sabrina a very valuable member of the Taste Canada team.
Karen Gelbart, Past National Chair
Karen Gelbart is a Toronto media consultant with a long and distinguished career in journalism and broadcasting. In her last corporate role, she assumed responsibility for Shaw Media’s most popular television channels: HGTV, Food Network, Slice, DIY, Twist TV, BBC Canada, and BBC Kids.