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

Love The Life: How To Stay Sane In The Culinary Industry

It was a night like so many others:  A hurricane of twittering servers running to and fro, The Clash blaring from the prep area, orders billowing like Tibetan prayer flags on the line and the hungry ghosts of a hundred tables whispering in my ear that they’re food’s taking too damn long to…

“Y’know, I’m really thinking about taking the Culinary Arts Course at the college… This feels right. I’ve already learned a lot already and I really like this place.” I overhear one of my prep boys debating his future over in no-man’s land and I automatically shout back, “You’re too damn smart for this industry! Go be an undersea wielder or whatever the hell makes more money!”

Everybody has a laugh and goes back to business but as I dug out another plateful of mashed potatoes I hear my own words ringing in my head. It was the same stuff I’d heard before and been told a million times by other, usually older cooks. Now I was the “lifer” on the line: The grizzled old man chiding the younger guys to get out fast and find a better path to fame and fortune far away from the hard slog of kitchen life. (more…)

Read More

Veneto (Victoria, BC)

Veneto 1It’s 6 ‘o clock on a smoldering afternoon in Victoria and my wife and I are hiking down the main drag, one blistering cobblestone at a time. We’re desperate to get back to our hotel room out of this ocean of people and car exhaust. Sure, we could hang out downtown but our dinner reservation isn’t for another couple hours and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sweat in this hipster inferno any longer, especially with all these MEC bags full of biking gear and cookbooks weighing me down.

I’m ready to start shoving tourists and crusty punks out of my way when I see the Rialto Hotel off in the distance; its grand double doors wide open, inviting me to drop everything and sit at the long marble bar where an angel with wings of cascading vintage glassware is pouring two fingers of Victoria Gin into an icy shaker with a wry grin.

I grab my wife’s hands and drag her inside, bags discarded along the way. We collapse into the tall chairs lining the bar and breathe in the stillness, seemingly miles away from the heat and crowd. The marble is cool to the touch and I can smell mint and lavender bitters on the air… We’ve arrived at Veneto, Victoria’s premier craft cocktail oasis… Thank the Gods! (more…)

Read More

Five More Great Food Podcasts

Five More Food PodcastsScrolling through itunes, I noticed that only one of the food podcasts from my previous list (less than a year ago!) had captured my interest long enough to survive.

Time moves fast in the podcasting world, and the culling can be merciless and swift. Two weeks of un-interesting episodes and my fickle fingers strays toward the “Unsubscribe” button…Don’t judge, I’m not the only one.

Luckily I’m not starved for content. As I said, seasons wax and wain at blinding speed and the fertile fields of itunes, Downcast, Sticher and Google Listen blossom with new food-related podcasts every month. With all the time I spend biking to work (yes, even in February) I got time to kill, and learn. So give me all the content, and then gimmie more! (more…)

Read More