Meet NCVA Cupcake Challenge judge, Ron Eade

For Part 3 of our 5 part Meet the Judges series we get to know the Ottawa Citizen’s own Ron Eade.

Ron Eade has been the food editor at the Ottawa Citizen, the capital region’s largest newspaper, since 1998. He is also the authour of Omnivore’s Ottawa, a blog encompassing all things food in the Ottawa region.

While Ron is far from vegetarian, he does have an appreciation for good food in whatever form, and has attended Veg Fest as a patron in both 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he joins the NCVA as a guest judge for the NCVA Cupcake Challenge.

At home he regularly experiments in the kitchen and tests new dishes on his wife, Nancy, and young son, Graeme. Most of those dishes are not vegetarian.

On May 1, Ron will be found eating far too many cupcakes for one person, along with the other NCVA Cupcake Challenge judges. Already announced: CBC’s Stu Mills, and the incomparable Auntie Loo. More to come!

13 thoughts on “Meet NCVA Cupcake Challenge judge, Ron Eade”

  1. Ugh.

    Too bad about Ron – I think he’s the epitome of narrow-minded.

    Further, could a judge that at least has more respect for animals not have been found? I mean, he pushes discount animal products and seems to have zero regard for how those animals are raised, treated, or slaughtered.

    Maybe next year…

  2. I think we need to keep an open mind. Many people that are today vegetarians or vegans once ate meat. Becoming more aware is a process – for some it will happen via information on the plight of animals… for others, the environmental impact… and for others, the realization that the food can be fantastic. The fact that Ron is willing to help us judge, while not being a dedicated member of our cause, I think is a positive thing.

    Josh Flower
    NCVA President

  3. Ron Eade is, whether we like it or not, a very prominent voice in Ottawa’s culinary scene. He has also attended Veg Fest for the past two years.

    Having Ron participate is simply an effective way to ensure that our event and message makes it to a mainstream audience.

  4. I have to agree with Jeremy.

    I’m not looking to start an argument here, and I wholeheartedly support NCVA and its objectives. I believe that there are ethical omnivores (I like to think that I am one), and I eat vegan a lot of the time. I wholeheartedly support conscious eating, and I recognize that for some people that means veganism, vegetarianism, or simply insisting on knowing about the production of the food you consume. I don’t believe in judging people for their food choices since it’s a very personal topic, but I do object to Mr. Eade as a judge for Veg Fest.

    Mr. Eade has made his position on food clear (to me, anyway) – he appreciates food that he thinks tastes good, and he will mock those who do not agree with him. He will state that we should support Ontario pork farmers and avoid produce that is shipped from across the globe, but he still promotes discount meat (which almost certainly suggests inhumane living conditions for the animals)and he will promote stocking up on any item, no matter where it is from, if the price is right. He visited a fois gras farm and stated, “row after row of ducks eagerly craned their long necks through the tops of their cages to reach out”, which to him meant the (caged)animals were happy. In that same article he states, “But if you believe foie gras production — or chicken, pork or beef — is wrong under any circumstance, then the answer is to stick to eating nuts and berries.”

    When his inconsistencies have been pointed out to him, he has chosen to reply sarcastically in his column:

    “And to think, I didn’t once wax sanctimonious this week about saving the environment by eschewing wasteful strawberries shipped from the other side of the continent … And you can trust me on that.”

    rather than responding sincerely to readers’ comments, he merely dismisses them, in a passive/aggressive way.

    Mr. Eade is welcome to his opinion, certainly. And obviously he has a readership and some kind of clout in the Ottawa food community. I find him to be intolerant and condescending toward animal activists and vegans/vegetarians/locavores. I don’t expect him to be a dedicated member of any cause, but I do think that there are numerous fabulous judges available for a VegFest competition who at least do not think they are superior to those present who choose to eat locally and/or meat-free.

    Just my two cents.

  5. There is no doubt about Ron Eade’s voice in Ottawa’s culinary scene. It’s just too bad it lacks integrity, let alone respect towards those who disagree with his opinions.

    That said, if publicity is what NCVA is all about, why not invite Guy Fieri, Adam Richman, or Martin Picard next year?

    I think all things said it’d be best if myself and my family not attend this years event. We’ll be at home eating our nuts and berries.

  6. Ron Eade has engaged in a lot of public insults toward people who refrain from eating animal products. And he advocates eating animals from foie gras to muskox. He’s pretty hard to stomach if you care about alleviating the misery of animals used for food.

    Yes Ron is a well-known figure in foodie circles. But I’d feel a lot better about him being a food judge at Veg Fest if he’d stop publicly insulting vegans and animal rights.

  7. I have to agree with Jeremy and Respectful Omnivore regarding Ron Eade and his disrespect for people who are vegetarians/vegans.

    He has been absolutely condescending of local activists (and activists in general for that matter) who fight for animal rights. He spoke to me at Veg Fest last year and all he wanted to do was find out who the “leader” of the Ottawa Animal Defense League was (there isn’t one).

    I will be going to Veg Fest because it is a great event, and I won’t let Ron Eade ruin it for me, however I do not think he is the kind of person who should be judging at this event. He does not truly appreciate good food, because if he really did, he would not make fun of vegan food and talk about eating nuts and berries as the only alternative to meat.

  8. I have to agree with the comments thus far by Mich and Jeremy. Just recently he posted an article in his blog which started off by saying
    Of all the wonderful creatures that find their way onto my plate for dinner….

    He has no conscience when it comes to animal suffering. He has made as mentioned numerous derogatory remarks against vegans and vegetarians.
    Such as this one calling compassionate individuals who speak up against animal cruelty “Shrieking Bullies”

    Just like the Fur industry designers are responsible for the misery of fur bearing animals
    Foodies are the designers of a farm animal misery.

    Ron Eade, The Ottawa Citizen, 2006.09.06

    A distressed mother sent me a plea for help the other day after discovering her 22-year-old daughter on the Internet, reading radical websites posted by animal rights activists.

    As you may expect, the vitriolic hyperbole convinced her daughter to immediately stop eating meat. She, in turn, tried to convert her mother.

    This misplaced sense of moral rectitude is largely due to a tsunami of misinformation that has overwhelmed our pop culture in matters concerning food. (No surprise, really, considering that a scant two per cent of Canadians today are farmers compared to more than half the population a century ago.)

    Eade Supports Chicken Farmers of Canada

    Sorry but I feel that no credit should be given to Ron Eade a man who promotes the immense pain and suffering of billions of farm animals and who emphatically denies this cruelty exists.

    Well who wouldn’t say no to some amazing delicious Vegan treats.

  9. Thought I would share Ron’s article from today’s Citizen promoting Veg Fest:

    I hope everyone interested in veganism will come out to Veg Fest, even if you don’t agree with Ron’s inclusion. This is a big, positive festival designed to bring everyone together – even those that don’t agree with our core beliefs but have enough curiosity to come out. Feel free to locate me at the event if you’d like to discuss this decision or anything related to the NCVA and our positions.


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