Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009 In Review: Yes We Yam!

Hello my succulent spuds,

With our first general meeting of the year coming up this Friday, I think it's high time we take a look back on the deliciousness that was 2009 at the Hot Yam! There was....

Delicious Food!

From gnocchi to parathas to a smorgasbord of soups, 2009 saw a constant stream of tastiness flow out of the Hot Yam! kitchen. We served all year long in 2009, allowing us to take full advantage of Ontario's phenomenal agricultural bounty and our local farmer's markets.

With food safety in mind, our volunteers nevertheless shed blood, sweat, and tears (of joy!) while sharing their recipes, their skills, and their love of all things sustainable.... serving up thousands of memorable meals in the process. Go team!

They say that smell is the sense closest linked to memory.... but until they invent scratch-and-sniff computer monitors, here are some pictures instead. Thanks to our fantastic photographers, especially Jono “Yamlicious” Lung, for capturing our culinary creations.

Delicious Press!

With food this good, the 'Yam! managed to score some very positive media attention in 2009. We have so much gratitude for all the reporters, reviewers, and media outlets who stopped by our humble eatery – you rock! Aside from the warm, fuzzy feelings they gave us, your articles and reviews have helped spread the word about our mandate, our practices, and our vision. Here's to more good news in 2010!

Here are some links to 'Yam-lated stories from the last year:

Steven Davey's Review in NOW Magazine from late August. Still giddy!

More Love from NOW Magazine: Top 10 Restros of 2009, best lunch under $5, and a mini review!

The Varsity: Living Arts, Nov 9, 2009 - Eating Vegan at The Hot Yam!

The 'Yam often came up when the Varsity discussed campus food, like in these four articles.

The Bulletin, March 10, 2009 - Student-run vegan eatery popular lunch option.

Delicious Events!

EatLocal! - The Hot Yam!'s annual local-food extravaganza brought together students, a farmer's market, free local eats, awesome merchants, and a lot of other community folks. This was one of three events associated with World Food Week in October, sponsored by Hart House.

Home Is Where the Fork Is – New College has exhibited an ongoing commitment to food issues, and collaborated with the 'Yam! in October to put together a fantastic food event. We served up 8 wicked dishes featuring a plethora of local autumn ingredients, and even demonstrated how to make our much-lusted-over vegan chocolate pudding. This was another World Food Week event.

Food4Health Student Unconference – The goal of this event was to inject some energy and excitement into both existing and soon-to-be-existing campus food initiatives. From bees to food maps to gardens and beyond, 'Yams not only participated at all levels but also catered the lunch. Watch for a similar get-together in early February, 2010. This was our last World Food Week event - phew!

ISC Cafe – From August 31st to September 4th the HotYam! was busy serving up amazing food every day at the International Students Centre. It was our way of welcoming back the school year with open arms, and full stomachs.

DisOrientation – We pushed our free wares outside of the UTSU building as part of their post-Orientation event-fest.

Earthcycle – The 'Yam provided some good eats at UofT's big, rocking environment week in September. Because nothing ruins a good meal quite like climate change.

PowerShift Canada 2009 – In October, masses of young people converged in Ottawa to demand immediate and sweeping government action on climate change. Not only were 'Yams part of the action, but Kira and Indra also led an engaging workshop for the participants entitled “The Decorporatization of Campus Food”. You tell 'em!

Delicious Developments....

Identify 'N Impact Youth Award – We were truly honoured to be the recipient of an I'N'I Award in 2009. These awards aim to “celebrate the valuable contributions young people make to communities throughout Toronto, and the important role youth play as advocates, visionaries and agents of social change”. These awards are sponsored by the Toronto Youth Cabinet; thank you so much, Toronto youth!!

Kitchen Makeover! - Have you seen it? Our magical kitchen has been outfitted with new ranges, shelving, new lights, and more! We owe so much to the folks at the International Student Centre for their hospitality, patience, and support. You're the best!

Education and Outreach – The Environmental Students' Union graciously sponsored our first-ever work-study position in 2009. We would like to welcome once more Heather to the Hot Yam! She'll be helping us make the 'Yam! a more educational, more engaging space well into 2010.

FoodCycles - FoodCycles is an inspired (and inspiring) urban farm and learning centre, located within the city of Toronto itself. Launched in 2009, FoodCycles is committed to growing delicious, nutritious, earth-friendly food at their Downsview Park digs, making them easy friends with the 'Yam. We were proud to be one of FoodCycle's first customers, and we are even more excited to continue our relationship with them far into the future. Deep thanks to all the visionary farmers and suppliers, who provide the foundations for everything we do.

… and Awesome People!

At the Hot Yam!, our goal is to provide the community with good, soul-satisfying food. To make it happen, we run completely on the time, energy, spirit, and generosity of people, both our impassioned eaters and our irreplaceable volunteers. After everything that happened in 2009, one thing is definitely clear - we're doing this together.

As we go bravely forth into the new year, one that promises more opportunities, more challenges, and more amazing food, I think we all deserve a big, sustainable pat on the back for a job very, very well done.

May the Yam be even Hotter in the months to come!

- A. Jason Yam, et. al


  1. Yay for the Yam! Can't wait to see what kind of delicious things this year holds!

  2. so happy to have been part of the yam while i was in toronto. miss being in the kitchen with you all. love from cincinnti