12th Annual DINE Launch Party

DINE Awards 2018

Another year, another amazing DINE and Destinations issue is out! To celebrate the launch of the 2018/19 magazine, publishers Sara Waxman and Adam Waxman hosted a fabulous party at Don Alfonso 1890, the first North American outpost of the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, and one of Sara’s selections for best places to eat in the city for 2018.

Don Alfonso 1890, DINE Launch Party
Don Alfonso 1890, Photo by Aline Sandler
Don Alfonso 1890 opened in Toronto this summer to glowing reviews. Parallel to classic Italian cooking, the focus is on working with superb quality raw materials. Led by Italian native Chef Ernesto Iaccarino, the restaurant elevates traditional flavors from the Amalfi coast into artistic masterpieces.

Catherine Nugent, Donald Ziraldo, Carole & Senator Jerry Grafstein, Nadia Di Donato
Catherine Nugent, Donald Ziraldo, Carole & Senator Jerry Grafstein, Nadia Di Donato, Photo by Aline Sandler

Guests were greeted with flutes of Jackson-Triggs Grand Reserve Entourage Sparkling Brut. Creamy and full of flavors of green apple and lemon, it was just the loveliest of welcomes. Following, glasses of Jackson-Triggs Red Meritage and White Meritage with notes of melon, pineapple, and grapefruit, my fruity wine-loving self was in love. Hendrick’s Gin also sponsored the event with dangerously yummy cocktails.

Hani Roustum, Nancy Munzar Kelly, Klaus Tenter, DINE Launch Party
Hani Roustum, Nancy Munzar Kelly, Klaus Tenter, Photo by Aline Sandler

The launch party took place in the stunning Rosewater Room above the restaurant. The space was sleek and timeless, perfect for any celebration. A selection of inventive canapés such as bright tuna tartare in parsley chips, bison tartare on chili chips, and purple potato purée served with fresh shaved black truffle and parsley leaf set the tone for the evening.

Rudy & Cathy Bratty, Sheldon Herzig & Cherry Tabb, DINE Launch Party
Rudy & Cathy Bratty, Sheldon Herzig & Cherry Tabb, Photo by Aline Sandler

We then moved on to heavier bites. Turmeric fried shrimp, as well as tuna belly served in a spinach brioche with fried zucchini and zucchini mayo were personal favorites, but porchetta in a brioche beet bun with onion agrodolce and truffle mayo also hit the spot.

Patrizia Cocchi Villani and Sandra Di Carlo (Italian Trade Commission), Eleanor Cook, Sandra, Quiteria (York Durham Headwaters), DINE Launch Party
Patrizia Cocchi Villani and Sandra Di Carlo (Italian Trade Commission),
Eleanor Cook, Sandra, Quiteria (York Durham Headwaters), Photo by Aline Sandler

And then the speeches. Adam Waxman proudly announced that this new issue would be the first tri-lingual magazine in Canada– published in English, French and Chinese–as this would be a truer reflection of the readership. He also announced the launch of dinemagazine.com. “We always had a website,” says Waxman, “But never enough time to manage it.” New partners Yaniv Spielberg and Peter Tieu revamped the old site and replaced it with a slick new one to feature new content daily. The camaraderie between mother and son was evident in Waxman’s introduction of publisher, Sara Waxman, and in her remarks about him. Together they made the most anticipated announcements of the evening, The DINE Awards.

Adam Waxman, Henry Wu, Sara Waxman, DINE Launch Party
Adam Waxman, Henry Wu, Sara Waxman, Photo by Aline Sandler

This inaugural awards night aimed, “To distinguish excellence in dining and hospitality,” to recognize the service, hospitality, wine, and regional culinary tourism initiatives, in addition to the chefs and restaurateurs. The Waxmans themselves awarded the winners of each category with introductions praising them and a Waterford Crystal Bowl. As Sara Waxman remarked, “I had thought our award should be a crystal ball, because heaven knows that’s what we all need in this business, but I chose a beautiful Waterford Crystal Bowl from Ashley’s for you to fill with your imagination.”
DINE Awards 2018

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