They say you are what you eat. But for the International Centre in Toronto, it’s the food they serve others that speaks volumes. One of the top event facilities in Canada, the centre hosts over 450 events each year. So when they recently signed with the GoBarley brand to display its logo on all barley products, it only made sense.

“Just because people are attending a conference doesn’t mean they should settle for rubber chicken and mashed potatoes from a bag,” said Executive Chef Tawfik Shehata. “We offer fresher, healthier options, and using Canadian barley helps us do that.” As Shehata pointed out, most people don’t eat Danishes and donuts three times a day at home, so why do it differently at an event? “Instead of just the usual assortment of pastries during breaks, we also have a super food salad bar featuring items like barley salad with roasted cauliflower.”


All in good taste

Come meal time, Shehata and his team serve up some scrumptious dishes that make the most of Canadian barley. They include herb and parmesan barley risotto, barley cake with garlic and jalapenos and a delectable barley salad with dried apricots, cranberries and pecans in an orange balsamic dressing. While he loves creating these dishes, he said it’s the conference attendees who really benefit.


Events go better with barley

With all the special events he does, Shehata is glad to have a special ingredient like barley on hand. At the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards on October 20, Shehata will be making a Homemade Alberta Barley Tagliatelle with a Willowgrove Hill Farms Pork Ragu. Barley will also figure prominently at upcoming International Centre events like the Crocs Warehouse Sale (Oct 23 – 26), the Fall Cottage Life Show (Oct 24 – 26) and the Toronto International Snowmobile ATV Powersports Show, also October 24-26. They’ll likely attract a broad range of guests, but Tawfik said there is one common denominator. “Give people the option of delicious food that’s also good for you, and many of them are grateful. That makes it all worthwhile.”