Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Tasting Day for the St. Andrew’s Charity Ball Dinner


Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race! Burns

There is no doubt that the annual St. Andrew’s Charity Ball is a high point, if not the highlight, of most attendees social calendar. Be it with good reason, Scots know how to throw a good party. Whether it be the dancing, the pipes, and drums, the philanthropy, or the tradition, the reality is that the meal has played second fiddle to this collection of powerhouse experiences. Foodies have reason to rejoice, for the gastronomic experience of the evening now will be sharing in the limelight.


From Toronto to Banff, by way of Dallas, San Francisco, and Shanghai, Chef Foster has risen through the demanding hierarchy of Fairmont’s demanding culinary legacy. This year we indeed are lucky, for JW Foster, Ontario born and bred, has returned to take up the mantle of Executive Chef at the Fairmont Royal York.

Balancing tradition and innovation is never an easy task. The old standards give way to new delights and ever threaten to lose its connection to the past. The Scots are nothing, if not innovative, and it does well to see it reflected in the planning of this four-course dinner. The careful attention paid to the lowly turnip or the sublime use of an Italian meringue that would inspire the poets and patricians of Edinburgh’s Enlightenment to pen full volumes of praise will be but some of the gems to pluck from the treasures offered us on the evening of the Ball.

It is with great restraint that a detailed and gushing description of the meal that awaits is not boasted about here. To safeguard the elements of surprise and anticipation, take my word for it we are in for a treat. What can be said, without robbing from our collective future, is;

the soup is sublime and captures the very essence of autumnal flavours, the main will impress with its creativity and delicate flavours that reflect the global reach of Scottish emigrants, the haggis has new and more inviting dance partners that will surely be noted as welcome accompaniment to this traditional favourite, and the dessert, hints aside, be sure to leave room for it.