Spot Prawn Tempura

After getting completely trounced in the first round of last week’s Shellfish Festival competition, I’ve been thinking a lot about simplicity. One of my many mistakes during those surreal 45 minutes was going in too many directions at once instead of focusing on a single, well crafted dish. So yeah, fourteen years experience and I still have to go back and work on fundamentals! *laughs*

I’ve still got bags of Calvin’s freshly-caught Spot Prawns in my freezer and the whole family is home today for one reason or another. I think it’s time I channel my fryer days at Wasabiya and bang out some simple, perfect prawn tempura. (more…)

Read More

Spot Prawns!

It was early on a Friday afternoon and despite the breezy grey weather I was soaked to my screaming bones with sweat and cursing Crystal’s Uncle Calvin (who got me into my current situation) under my breath. Brycen (Cal’s son) and I were hauling a very sketchy aluminum rickshaw overflowing with heavy metal crab traps up an impossibly steep gangway. It took both of us to get the beast up and over to Calvin and his new friends; a gang of grizzled old fisherman who did nothing to help us, but sure seem to have opinions on how we’re doing it wrong.

I was trying my very best to look tough in front of this motley collection of bums and pirates, despite my suspicion that there was a better way to go about this whole affair. Of course I was the only one on this particular commercial fishing dock that had no sea legs. Calvin and Brycen both grew up on fishing boats as (I suspect) Cal’s father and maybe even father’s father did. They knew all the moves, the lingo and the unspoken rules of the dock. Me, I was just an extra pair of hands. (more…)

Read More

Plums, Pavarotti and Pork Shoulders : Notes From The 2017 Feast of Fields

Recently I discussed at great length how the best part about working in the culinary industry is the people I get to work with. These people are the best people and this past August on a sun-soaked hill in Sannichton I got to be with my people doing what we all enjoy most; serving food to appreciative people surrounded by the astounding beauty of BC at the 2017 Vancouver Island Feast of Fields food festival.

Over forty different food service vendors ranging from restaurants to cola companies all with a “farm to fork” ethos filled ten circus-sized tents and a barn full of more good stuff at Ravenhill Herb Farm. The event raised a ton of money for FarmFolk CityFolk  (a local non-profit that raises awareness of and provides help to local food producers) and gave us cooks a chance to get out of the kitchen and into the late August, fried-eggs-on-tarmac heat for a few hours. (more…)

Read More

Gladstone Brewing (Courtenay, BC)

Gladstone Brewing is one of the Comox Valley’s most beloved institutions. It’s the flagship brewery of the North Vancouver Island craft brewing scene and it’s an absolute blotch upon EDB’s already sketchy reputation that we’ve only just got around to discussing them. For shame!

I’m definitely familiar with the brewery’s work. In fact I’ve drank quite a bit more of Gladstone’s beer at various local restaurants than I have almost any other local brewery. I’ll also admit to frittering away more than a few afternoons at the brewery proper, debating proper pizza dough thickness with Chef Matt while quaffing some seriously tasty craft beer. (more…)

Read More

Oyster Mushrooms

OysterIn the fertile forests surrounding Cumberland there is a special spot, just a couple ‘o yards from their famous mountain biking trails (hint: just across the bridge and to the left) that so many of us crankjobs fly past without a second glance. In this dank little oasis, tucked away under salal bushes is a rotten old alder tree (nearly 15 meters long and god knows how long dead) that houses a secret, edible ecosystem.

Twice a year (once in the spring and later on in the autumn) this fallen titan sprouts hundred upon hundreds of snow white fungal tongues that quickly grow into families of winged oyster mushrooms. When in full bloom the tree is nearly covered in fungus and can be spotted from much farther away… Luckily for me no one is venturing that far off the trails. These guys are all mine!

(more…)

Read More