Empty Kitchens and Uncertain Futures in a Post Covid-19 World

I always joked that our kind danced on the razor’s edge of insolvency, what with our low pay, long hours, high burn out rate, poor life expectancy for chef-owned businesses and semi-transient mercenary workforce. Chef’s and their kitchens have always been at the mercy of a lot of financial factors, any of which could sink any restaurant pretty handily no matter how well-managed.

Now that precautionary measures relating to the fast-moving and deadly covid-19 virus has effectively shut down all restaurant traffic in North America we as a society are witnessing just how fragile our hospitality industry is. In a single week hundreds of thousands of my brothers and sisters have been put out of work as states and provinces outlaw sit-down service in favour of take-out just to keep people indoors and away from one another. It’s some serious end of the world stuff and as you can probably imagine I don’t make those razor’s edge jokes like I used to.

(more…)

Read More

Tacofino Will Change Your Life (Tofino, BC)

Tacofino requires no press from me. It’s the single place every Tofino native and tourist alike can agree to eat for lunch. It’s grown from a single taco truck parked behind a surf shop at the edge of the world to a multi-location empire stretching it’s delicious octopus-like tendrils all over the island and mainland. It’s food is always on point, so there is no reason to review it…

…Except it changed my life!

(more…)

Read More

2019 Post Holiday Gift Guide – Audiobooks About Food

I know what you’re thinking; “Post-Holiday Gift Guide” sounds like an article that took a little too long in the oven, maybe a deadline or two got missed and now it’s past time to be of any practical Christmas shopping use. Well, I assure you dear reader that I’ve got a good reason why you’re reading this now instead of a week or two prior to the holidays, just stay with me.

(more…)

Read More

Fresh Pasta

I’ve been making fresh pasta on and off for about two years now. It’s been a long, steep learning curve with a lot of lumpy, feathery or overly-elastic balls of dough destined for the trash bin. Many weekends I would despair that the process is too arcane to be learned from a book and that the tactile magic required to make it like some Piedmontese nona would require a bankrupting trip to the motherland, or at the very least a couple of weeks worth of classes.

But I kept at it, spurred on by the near-pornographic descriptions of fresh pasta making and eating found in audiobooks like Bill Buford’s Heat and Pasta, Pane, Vino: Deep Travels Through Italy’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding. Little by little I got better, mostly by scaling back my efforts to just the simplest recipes and easiest shapes and focusing on my technique, checking at every stage to make sure the texture of my dough matched the descriptions I would read in The Pasta Bible or the fantastic Cooking By Hand by Paul Bertolli.

(more…)

Read More

Tojo’s (Vancouver, BC)

Tucked into an unassuming block of office buildings on Broadway, one of Vancouver’s busiest thoroughfares is a Tardis-like temple of Japanese gastronomy run by one of the planet’s most famous sushi chefs. This itamae titan is Hidekazu Tojo and unlike a lot of chefs with half a century of experience tucked under his apron he can be counted on to be at his restaurant nearly every day with a big smile to greet guests.  

(more…)

Read More