Crave

jeffreywVariety is indeed the spice of our lives, and this allows us to really diversify with minimal additional effort. –Joel MacCharles

Let’s call it the persistence of imagination. We’ve all seen it, if not actually experienced it. It’s that unquenchable desire that drives a person to turn a passion for food, such as a love of chocolate, into something that explodes beyond the boundaries of their own kitchen walls. Maybe it’s a special jam recipe or homemade wine. Whatever the creation, before long others end up craving it, too. What begins as a simple food experiment meant to sate a personal hunger turns into something bigger — maybe even something lucrative. Connecting with people who relentlessly pursue the dictates of their taste buds is truly inspiring. There’s a vibe. Soon, their endless pursuit of flavour will have you believing that anything is possible. But who are these people? And why do they bother going to such lengths when all they need do is walk into a grocery store and find loads of products that are already there? Dan Luciani, a technology expert by day, Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison, who run wellpreserved.ca, Angelo Bean, the Sausage King, and Jefferson Alvarez, executive chef at Vancouver’s Fraîche, had a ready answer for me: when passion takes hold, there is no turning back. Continue reading “Crave”

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My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts

pumpin-pin-tartsThis summer, Valerie Lugonja over at A Canadian Foodie embarked on an interesting journey. She founded The Canadian Food Experience Project. Beginning June 7, 2013, participants are encouraged to share their stories about their own remarkable encounters with Canadian regional foods. By doing so, we can all gain a clearer perspective on what makes the Canadian culinary identity.

This month’s theme really gave me pause. What exactly is a Canadian recipe? What came immediately to mind under the heading of ‘Canadian’, after Saskatoon berry jam, was Ambrosia salad. Hmm, the former’s good; the latter, well, is not what I’d call a favourite. Is it something the pioneers would have made? But then, which pioneers – the English, the Ukrainians, the French and so many others? Don’t forget all the Native Canadians with their own special recipes. Continue reading “My Cherished Canadian Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Tarts”

Tidings’ Maverick Chefs

Chances are good that you’ve noticed a shift in menu fare lately – more like a sea change, really. Filet mignon is no longer king. Instead, you’re likely to nosh on sweetbreads, heart and brain. Better yet, the chef will have proudly made all the charcuterie, maybe even the bread, himself. This year’s Maverick Chefs are leading that cross-Canada charge. Brayden Kozak, Brandon Olsen, Ségué Lepage and Dale MacKay have, in one way or another, revolutionized the way Canadians think about and enjoy food. They have embraced the beauty and simplicity of old, artisanal methods making as much by hand as possible despite the small, cramped kitchens in which they work their magic. Continue reading “Tidings’ Maverick Chefs”