Brush to Plate

Your task is to come up with a recipe inspired by the 1919 Manly MacDonald painting above. On your marks, get set, bake!

What did you dream up?

Canadian Chef Craig Flinn looked to the same Canadian War Museum painting for inspiration. “My mother owns an orchard in Port Williams, Nova Scotia,” Flinn said. “After the recent passing of my father, who tended to his 250 fruit trees as a hobby for eleven years, I became interested in paying tribute to his time in the orchard, and our time as a family picking apples when I was a child. I can feel the late summer sun in this painting, with a windswept orchard bearing delicious fruit for our table.”

With all of this in mind, Flinn concocted a recipe for Apples Stuffed with Brioche Bread Pudding. It’s a three-layered deliciousness that includes dulce de leche, oat crumble, cranberries and cinnamon brown sugar ice cream. Flinn’s recipe is part of the Great Canadian Masters cookbook, published to honour Canada’s 150 year birthday.

Chefs from across the country scoured Canadian museums for paintings that inspired them to create fitting recipes. Some of the sweet pairings include:

Emily Carr. Melon. 1899

Campbell River’s Chef Derek Dammann got his inspiration from Emily Carr. His recipe? Montreal Melon with Onions and Basil. “Being from Vancouver Island, I was naturally drawn to Emily Carr’s paintings. The inspiration she took from the Pacific Northwest coast evokes memories of growing up on the island.”


Emily Carr. Shoreline 1936

Ottawa’s Josie Weitzenbauer was another Chef inspired by a ‘bold, rich and complex, yet delicate and graceful’ Emily Carr. She used local ingredients to create a most yummy looking Dark Chocolate Meringue Tart with Wine-Glazed Blueberries and Maple Whipped Cream.


Ozias Leduc. Les Trois Pommes. 1887

“I am in love with all things Quebecois,” said Chef Anne Yarymowich. “The warm earthy palette, and humble subject of Les Trois Pommes made me crave maple syrup, caramelized apples and rich buttery pastry.” To pay tribute, Yarymowich created a Maple-Laced Apple Tart Tartin with strict instructions to caramelize the sugar just right.


Canoe Lake. Tom Thomson. 1914

Famed Canadian painter, Tom Thomson, was the inspiration for Niagara on the Lake Chef Catherine O’Donnell. “This painting touched me,” she says, “because of my fondness for the artist and my love of canoeing in the Algonquin. It brings to mind memories of late evenings canoeing with my husband in the fall and the desire for a warm dessert with a glass of wine as we listen to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks.”

To meet this desire, O’Donnell created a Warm Apple Cake recipe with Brandied Caramel Sauce and Poached Icewine Apple Flowers.


Ludger Larose. Composition de fleurs avec personnage, Serre Logan. 1899

Chef Benjamin Lillico was inspired by Ludger Larose to forage natural herbs, flowers and berries from the Canadian wilds. His final recipe? Canada, Foraged with Wild Ginger Sorbert, Fermented Wild Berries and Foraged Wild Herbs and Flowers.

If you must eat something other than dessert, the Great Canadian Masters cookbook also includes plenty of main courses inspired by Canadian artwork and ingredients.

The Great Canadian Masters cookbook is available through Museums of Canada.

Written by Elizabeth Newton




Les Miz


Neil Singh

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton