In Conversation With Joanna Fox



Hitting shelves today is Joanna Fox's highly anticipated cookbook, Little Critics. With a foreword by 
Fred Morin of Joe Beef, the book features more than 100 recipes from Fox’s friends, who just happen to be some of the top chefs in Canada.

Little Critics is an exquisite opportunity to voyage across the country by mouth, with recipes for Gnocchi di Ricotta by Rob Gentile, Cauliflower Cheese Bake by Suzanne Barr, and much more.

Fox, currently an editor at ELLE Canada, has written about the food scene for leading publications including The Globe and Mail, enRoute, and Bon Appétit. She has also co-authored, edited, and collaborated on a number of other cookbook projects.

We caught up to talk about her new book, the Montréal food scene, and her go-to comfort dish in a dash. 

Courtesy Penguin Random House

Your new cookbook, Little Critics, features more than 100 recipes from 80 top chefs across Canada. When did the idea come to you and what was the process of connecting with everyone like?

I got the idea when my son, who was about three at the time (he’s now six) totally turned on me. He was eating everything, and then all of sudden he started rejecting every meal I made – no pasta, no eggs, no potatoes (not even French fries!). I have a lot of chef friends and realized many of them had kids as well, and I started wondering if they were having the same issues as I was—as it turns out, they were.

Chuck Hughes' Pesto Pappardelle, Little Critics

You came up with this brilliant cover in the midst of the pandemic. How did that happen?

We shoot the entire book in my living room, with just my photographer, Dominique Lafond, and my recipe tester, Michelle Marek. My son also happened to have an Ikea toy kitchen there, and all his play food, animal figures and cars lying around, so we started to integrate items into each shot, basically playing as we went along. I was looking at one of my empty plates getting ready for the next shot, and it just hit me that the title of the book could go on it, with toys all around. Dominique took a test shot, and we immediately knew that this was it. It was a really magical moment.

Rogelio Herrera's Carrot Ginger Soup, Little Critics

Little Critics is chocked full of kid-friendly recipes, and I know by reading that I can't wait to devour them myself. What do you think about kids getting involved with the cooking too?

Although this is really a book for adults to make for the little ones in their lives, there are definitely some fun recipes to make with them if your kids are into cooking – like the bagel recipe from Connie DeSousa and John Jackson, the ricotta gnocchi from Rob Gentile, and of course all the cookies and sweets!

Lora Kirk's Brownies, Little Critics

What's one foolproof comfort dish you can prepare in under 15 minutes with less than 3 ingredients?

Oh wow those are some tough parameters. A grilled cheese sandwich—bread, cheese and butter (ketchup on the side optional). 

When it comes to food, we're fortunate to have access to such a diverse offering in Canada. Tell me some of your favourite spots in Montréal.

Montréal is an amazing food city and going out for dinner here is always so much fun. Some of my favourite spots are Joe Beef for a special occasion, Vin Mon Lapin for a dinner date with my partner, Gia, at the bar, for an after work aperitivo, and Vesta for pizza and tiramisu with my son.

Little Critics is out today and is available for purchase at Indigo.