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We are calling all the foodies

It isn’t a good omen when you and your husband come back from a honeymoon and get fired.

But it couldn’t have turned out better for Christine Manning and James Houston, and for Leaside.

The firing happened four years ago and the couple fortunately had a bumper crop of vegetables coming up in their garden. They decided that was the perfect time to make a start on a new business idea that they hope will draw food professionals from all over the city, and perhaps the country.

Christine Manning has a love of preserving and jam-making that came from growing up in small-town Alberta, with house chores including helping with the preserving, using Italian recipes from her mom and nonna. When she came east in the early 1990s, it was the first time she had tasted commercial jam. She decided it was not for her, and so started to make her own.

That love has now become Manning Canning, in a rear space at 105 Vanderhoof. What the couple, who live in Scarborough, have created here, they say, is a place where food entrepreneurs can talk to each other and learn from each other, and set up seminars and tutorials for other food professionals. So far she’s made arrangements for some events sponsored by the city.

Right now Manning has a full commercial kitchen with double gas stoves and ovens, a prep area, refrigerated storage, a dry storage area and a second kitchen with a combi-oven and two 30-gallon steam kettles for making sauces, soups and jams. There is even a wifi-equipped meeting area.