Featured Story Motorsports

Tagliani and partners launch “allergy friendly kitchen contest”

Written by Norris McDonald
Nobody in motor sport, and I mean nobody, works as hard as Alex Tagliani when it comes to making sure the people who pay the bills – his sponsors – get their money’s worth.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s greeting customers at Rona, the all-Canadian home improvement and building supplies network, or scaring the living daylights out of someone while driving them to make a St. Hubert chicken delivery, or discussing food allergies that affect the lives of millions of Canadians, “Tag” is as much at home as he is behind the wheel of a racing car.
I know that his sponsors have PR people involved in their promotions, but Tagliani is a natural when it comes to talking to reporters or fans and he’s a fountain of ideas himself.
Now, if I was to pick the one sponsor that I think “Tag” feels most strongly about, though, I would suggest his relationship with Pfizer Canada tops the list because it’s because of Pfizer’s EpiPen,   which delivers an injection of epinephrine, that he’s still alive.
Tagliani is so allergic that he can’t even look at nuts, never mind consume any. By his own admission, though, he’s been caught out several times, usually when eating in restaurants, and the EpiPen has saved his life.
He’s been an ambassador for Pfizer for six years now and every year they – collectively – come up with a new promotion for him to take across the country as he races in the NASCAR Canada Pinty’s Series for late-model stock cars.
Tagliani and the other Pinty’s drivers – D.J. Kennington, Andrew Ranger, Kevin Lacroix, Pete Shepherd III and 16 or 17 others – will be duking it out in the headline race Saturday. The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto will go to the post at 3:25 p.m.
Meantime, Tagliani was in Toronto much of this week to talk about the Summer of Tag 2018 in which Food Allergy Canada, with the support of Pfizer, is running an “allergy friendly kitchen contest” to educate people about allergies and to raise awareness. Says Tagliani:
“This year, our theme is on creating an allergy-friendly environment in the kitchen. In recent years, our focus was on restaurants and food allergies. Now we want to bring this attention to home cooking.
“Cooking at home should be fun. For people with allergies, grilled chicken and steamed broccoli is safe but we’re trying to get people to go beyond that, to still be safe but enjoy more of a variety.
“The contest is now open. All people have to do is go to the Food Allergy Canada website, download some recipes and enter. You do that by creating one of our allergy friendly recipes and take a photo of you making the meal with your family or friends, or of the meal itself, and submit it. There are some great prizes and the grand prize is a Napoleon Propane Gas Grill that’s valued at more than $1,000.”
Tagliani was also eager to talk about the importance of the NASCAR race at the Honda Indy Toronto, which is one of the “big three” in the series, the others being the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres and the twin-bill with the NASCAR Camping World Series trucks at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in late August.
“I don’t want to count my chickens,” he said, “but I love street course racing. I won this race in 2016 and started on the front row the last few years. I’m not coming here to finish 15th. I’m coming here to win.”
And to carry the message, too