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WESTERN LIVING

JULY/AUG 2019

B.C. & ALBERTA L VOLUME 48 L NUMBER 6

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19 DESIGN

19

One to Watch

Vancouver’s Julia Mior handmakes rugs that double as artwork.

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24

Outdoor Furniture We Love

Luxe loungers that have us dreaming of our next patio party.

FOOD + TRAVEL

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Foodies of the Year

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The chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers and foodie heroes redefining how we eat and drink in Western Canada.

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FEATURES 26

The Collectors

The team at HB Design takes a very global collection of furniture and pairs it with a thoroughly West Coast aesthetic.

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A Room of One’s Own

After 12 years and a lot of life changes, it was time to make this home truly hers.

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The Local

The too-charming lakeside patio that will inspire a roadtrip to the Kootenays.

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Floating Chefs

Head to Ocean House in Haida Gwaii, and you won’t leave hungry.

PLUS

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Trade Secrets

Lush landscaping to inspire.

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CONTENTS

“I have a sauce problem. I love sauces! Hot sauces especially. In fact, I started a group with some industry friends called ‘Sauce Club.’”–Rachel Zottenberg

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Cover: Ema Peter; this page: Julia Mior: Tanya Goehring; Haida Gwaii: Kevin Clark; bedroom: Ema Peter; Michael Schindler: Kyoko Fierro

Shopping + Openings

Artful bar carts, playful circular coffee tables and more pieces and places catching our eye right now.


WESTERN LIVING editorial publisher Samantha Legge, MBA editorial director Anicka Quin executive editor Stacey McLachlan art director Jenny Reed travel editor Neal McLennan style editor Lucy Lau contributing editors Amanda Ross, Nicole Sjöstedt,

Barb Sligl, Jim Sutherland, Julie Van Rosendaal city editors Karen Ashbee (Calgary), Julia Dilworth (Victoria) editorial interns Roxci Bevis, Candice Lipski, Jusneel Mahal email mail@westernliving.ca

westernliving.ca online coordinator Theresa Tran production manager Kristina Borys production support technician Ina Bowerbank designer Amanda Siegmann marketing coordinator Christine Beyleveldt vancouver/victoria tel 604-299-7311 head office/sales inquiries web westernliving.ca tel 604-299-7311 email gsepulveda@canadawide.com

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director of sales Brianne Harper sales manager Gabriella Sepúlveda Knuth account managers Trish Almeida, Nicholas Stanley

Suite 230, 4321 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C. V5C 6S7 tel 604-488-4865

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chairman & ceo Peter Legge, OBC, LLD (HON) president Samantha Legge, MBA senior vp of integration Brad Liski vp of content marketing Ryan McKenzie vp of digital Kevin Hinton vp of hr/admin Joy Ginete-Cockle vp of finance Sonia Roxburgh, CPA, CGA executive creative director Rick Thibert creative director Cathy Mullaly director of editorial Michael McCullough director of production Kim McLane director of circulation Tracy McRitchie marketing lead Chris Hinton systems administrator Brian Fakhraie accounting Terri Mason, Eileen Gajowski circulation Katie Gajowski, Kelly Kalirai, Lori North executive assistant to peter legge Elaina Kohlhauser PRIVACY POLICY From time to time, other organizations ask us if they may send some of our subscribers information about products and services that might be of interest. If you prefer that we not provide your name and address, please contact us at the address listed above. You can review our complete Privacy Policy at westernliving.ca. WESTERN LIVING MAGAZINE is published 10 times a year by Canada Wide Media Limited, Suite 230, 4321 Still

Creek Drive, Burnaby, B.C. V5C 6S7. Phone 604-299-7311; fax 604-299-9188. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. All reproduction requests must be made to COPIBEC (paper reproductions), 800-717-2022, or CEDROM-SNi (electronic reproductions), 800-563-5665. The publisher cannot be responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. This publication is indexed in the Canadian Magazine Index and the Canadian Periodical Index, and is available online in the Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database. ISSN 1920-0668 (British Columbia edition), ISSN 1920-065X (Alberta edition). Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #40065475.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

A BURGER, A FEW FRIENDS, AND ONE GREAT NIGHT

Q& A This month we asked our contributors, what’s your favourite dish you make to impress friends? Carey Shaw, Foodies of the Year page 42 I make a mean homemade peanut butter cup! For a few years now, during the holidays, I make big batches and deliver gift packages of them to my friends and family. I get asked now if I will be making them again, so there is no turning back. So simple, and so darn delicious.

Tanya Goehring, Foodies of the Year page 42 My favourite dish is actually an old recipe that I got from my mom: her famous chocolate chip cookies. They’ll blow you away. I think it’s the little bit of salt that makes the cookies so delicious.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Photographer Tanya Goehring wrangles the women of Happy Woman Kitchen for our Foodies of the Year photo shoot. Wendy Au Yeung (centre) organizes the culinary-based social enterprise that offers employment opportunities to marginalized women in Vancouver’s Strathcona and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods.

VISIT

anick a quin, editorial director anick a.quin@westernliving.ca

FOLLOW US ON

Anicka Quin portrait: Evaan Kheraj; styling by Luisa Rino, makeup by Melanie Neufeld; outfit courtesy Holt Renfrew, holtrenfrew.com.

Follow Anicka on Instagram @aniqua

On a Friday night in Vancouver, at the corner of Powell and Victoria, my friends and I willingly handed over our phones to a stranger. Okay, said stranger was the bartender of Trans Am, a busy, tiny little spot on the city’s East side that’s been making waves for both its simple menu—burgers and that’s about it—and its strict new policy. Some of us were more willing than others (one friend was called out for not handing over his second phone—“If I catch you using that other phone I see in your bag, you’re out”), but we were there for the burger— wagyu beef, house mayo, thick-sliced bacon— rumoured to be the best in town. And though we all felt a little at loose ends without our usual go-to fact-checking tool (what was the name of the actor who looked so familiar in that episode of The Good Fight?), there was a nostalgic thrill in that, and we had a great night. This issue features our annual Foodies of the Year (spoiler: Trans Am’s Gianmarco Colannino is one of them), in which we search for places like this to celebrate. In addition to our own research (gruelling, investigative work, like eating that Trans Am burger), our contributing writers from across the West sent in details on who has been moving the dial in their own cities. These are the people who are shaping the way we eat today, such as indie-popmusician-turned-natural-winemaker Mike Shindler with his cult-favourite label, A Sunday in August, or Edmonton chef Shane Chartrand, who produced a docuseries that shines a light on pre-colonial Indigenous cuisine. Each of the 10 Foodies of the Year featured here (page 42) bring something more than simply great dining to their local culture—they create moments and experiences that allow us to connect more deeply with where we are, what we’re doing and who we’re with, whether that moment is a perfect glass of wine on a summer Sunday or sharing a few wonderful, screen-free hours with friends on a Friday night. I wholeheartedly hope that, wherever you live in the West, you have plenty of opportunities over the coming summer months to discover many perfect moments of your own.

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Walk This Way Julia Mior textile artist, Julia Mior Rugs

Tanya Goehring

Vancouver-based textile artist Julia Mior discovered an affinity for machinery when she began building motorcycles with her dad a few years ago. So when she spotted a tufting gun for sale online, she thought, “What the heck?” and headed to checkout. Less than a year later, the 26-year-old was hooked on rug making. “I love the process,” she says. “It’s like meditation for me.” That thoughtful process produces artful results: hand-tufted New Zealand wool floor coverings that are decorated with nude forms of the female body. On some rugs, the figures are portrayed through a handful of thick or thin strokes—evocative of the works of Henri Matisse and Tracey Emin—while on others they’re shaded in navy, green or rust, and accompanied by the outlines of Greek vases or palm fronds. For Mior, the decision to highlight women’s bodies emphasizes the role that women have traditionally filled in textile and craft industries. But it also challenges viewers to consider their relationship with the depicted figures. “It’s this conversation starter that everyone gets to have their own experience with,” she says.—Lucy Lau

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DESIGN // SHOPPING

BY LU C Y L AU

Let’s Roll

With its playful silhouette and oversized, cartoonish wheels, the Come as You Are bar cart ($2,425) by Germany-based Dante is as spirited as happy hour should be. informinteriors.com

Anicka’s Pick

D.156.3 by Gio Ponti for Molteni & C. From $9,020, available at Livingspace, livingspace.com

I was lucky enough to be in Paris earlier this year in time for the Gio Ponti exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs—which opened my eyes to the work of the genius Italian designer whose furniture pieces read as current today as they did in the ’40s. Pair that with a recent visit to Vancouver’s Livingspace, where I made a beeline for this stunner of an armchair and was thrilled to discover it was designed by Ponti in 1949. It’s all straight lines and comfort, with walnut Tuxedo-like sides and a perfectly angled strappy back to cocoon into with my latest Tana French thriller in hand.

Natural Selection

For more of Anicka’s picks, visit westernliving.ca

In Bloom

Good news for black thumbs: a transparent surrounding and frame give the botanicals depicted in Moebe’s Floating Leaves 03 ($164) a cool multi-dimensional effect, so you can ditch high-maintenance greens altogether. orlingandwu.com

Luxury Italian design meets West Coast cool in Missoni Home’s Mother Earth-inspired Alps collection, which includes textured throws and pillows (from $389) that resemble both lush naturescapes and abstract camo prints. providehome.com

NOTEWORTHY New in stores across the West.

Bright Idea

Light and music switch on (and off) in one fell swoop with the Symfonisk table lamp with wifi speaker ($249), one of two hightech designs from Ikea’s buzzedabout collab with Sonos. ikea.ca

Around the World

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Blu Dot’s Circula coffee table (from $827) may look understated, but it makes an impression with its stout, mushroom-like shape and aluminum construction. designhouse.com

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DESIGN // SHOPPING

OPENINGS

Glass Half Full

The unfussy tumblers ($35 for set of two) from Iittala’s recently launched Raami collection are designed to go swimmingly with your existing glassware. But with fun shades like moss green and sea blue, they stand on their own, too. kitinteriorobjects.com

Hot new rooms we love.

BY C A N D I C E L I P S K I

VANCOUVER Good Boy Collective Online pet-supply shop Good Boy’s first brick-and-mortar boutique carries modern, responsibly made products for cats and dogs. Think curvy beechwood beds, fun fish-shaped chew toys and tiny four-legged-friendly raincoats, plus pet-focused books and magazines for humans, too. Look out for local designers such as Brick Brick Ceramics (maker of bespeckled dog bowls) and Mountain Mutt (producer of colourful, stink-proof leashes). shopgoodboy.com

Catch the Sun

Compact and versatile, the Icaro table ($1,895) by Resource Furniture is a condo-dweller’s dream: it folds flat for easy storage once dinner is done. resourcefurniture.com

Cuddle Up

Whether you use it to cozy up on the couch or as an impromptu picnic accessory, Vancouver’s Droplet Home Goods’ handloomed, organic-cotton blanket ($185) is bound to warm up any setting. droplethomegoods.com

VANCOUVER Rains The first Canadian store from Danish rainwear company Rains offers headto-toe protection from precipitation thanks to a range of unisex jackets, pants and accessories that come in shades like lilac, mint and highlighter yellow. (Though neutral hues like olive and grey are available for the colour-shy, too.) Rains weirdly doesn’t make umbrellas, but who needs ’em when the label’s waterproof goods look this sleek? rains.com

Victoria Heart and Sole Too Heart and Sole, a local boutique beloved for its eclectic stock of quality, from-around-the-world shoes, has opened a second shop. Situated across from the original store on trendy Fort Street, Heart and Sole Too sells funky patterned legwear, waxed-canvas handbags and other accessories, as well as handmade apparel from West Coast names like High Road Clothing and Jessica Redditt Design. heartandsoleshoes.ca

Droplet blanket: Britney Gill

Here and Gone

Take the tiki party outside with Les Jardins’ Palma solar floor lamp ($1,199), which features an accordion-style teak shade and a selfcharging unit that offers up to 200 hours of uninterrupted (and ecofriendly) brightness. gingerjarfurniture.com

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DESIGN // OUTDOOR FURNITURE WE LOVE

CURVES AHEAD

Things get cushy on the patio with rounded shapes, softer textures and pliable forms. BY B A R B S L I G L Backyard Basin

Take the concept of forest bathing literally: a bath outside in Native Trails’ curvy Avalon concrete tub ($10,548), made from a combo of natural jute fibre and cement in earthy tones. cantubathrooms.com

Dome-icile

The flat and dome-shaped sunshades in the Bistrò collection (from $18,340) by Paola Lenti bring shelter and, with the customizable add-ons of a pouf or table, softness to your outdoor space. livingspace.com

Circular Logic

The round, airy base of the Mesh table series (from $1,298), designed by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal, lets light filter through to create pretty patterns. The tables come in hues like lilac and feldspar to provide a pastel pop on the patio. informinteriors.com

Light Show

Santa and Cole’s Cestita Batería ($750) is a portable, cordless version of the classic 1962 lamp designed by Miguel Milá. The lantern brings light— and perhaps the dance of shadow puppets—to soften any corner of the backyard. inform­interiors.com

designer’s pick

Tanya Krpan Sink In

The weather-resistant knit of the Gios chair ($499) and ottoman ($399) wraps around a square-yet-supple silhouette to create a relaxed perch for late-afternoon cocktails or after-dark stargazing. article.com 2 4   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

CTR Meridienne lounger ($12,235) by Tribù, avenue-road.com

“This lounger offers the perfect starting point to create a beautifully layered patio space. I love the chair’s asymmetry and textural weave.” Tanya Krpan of Tanya Krpan Design Co., Vancouver, tanyakrpandesign.com

Tanya Krpan portrait: Janis Nicolay

lean back


THE COLLECTORS The team at HB Design takes a very global collection of furniture and pairs it with a thoroughly West Coast aesthetic.

by anicka quin // photographs by ema peter


Great Presence

Many of the furniture pieces were updated and modified, like this red side table in the entryway: its stacked slices came from the legs of another large table.

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HOMES // THE COLLECTORS

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Air Apparent

The main living area is designed to feel both indoor and outdoor, both in furniture selection and in flooring that extends to the patio beyond (opposite). The kitchen’s colour palette (right) all started with the selection of the bright red La Cornue stove.

W

hen a world-travelling couple collects furniture from every country they’ve lived in, their designer might be tempted to encourage the use of a storage unit. Or they could borrow a tactic from Jennifer Heffel and Alex McFadyen of HB Design: craft the collection into a source of decor inspiration. From the woven baskets tucked into the niches of the fireplace to the African prayer chair in the master bedroom, mementos from their clients’ travels provide a warm anchor to this modern home on Vancouver’s west side. “The homeowners were very keen on creating a collected type of feel to the home,” says Heffel. “They didn’t want everything to match. So we repurposed a lot of the furniture and designed it into new pieces, whether it be a big table leg we cut down and sliced up, or adding a cool colour.” There’s perhaps no better illustration of the concept than on the main floor, where the dining room is a mashup of wicker, leather and wooden chairs around a liveedge dining table, paired with an organic chandelier and an asymmetrically designed fireplace. Polished concrete floors lead right outside, blurring a sense of whether this space is primarily indoors or out. “It’s meant to feel like westernliving.ca / j u ly / a u g u s t

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HOMES // THE COLLECTORS

Play Land

The kids’ playroom is located just off the kitchen on the main floor. Comfy Togo sofas from Ligne Roset offer a crash pad for the little ones when the adults are entertaining friends nearby.

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HOMES // THE COLLECTORS

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it’s been gathered over time,” says Heffel. In the adjacent kitchen, a bold colour palette began with the selection of a gorgeous Bordeaux-coloured La Cornue range. The homeowners’ years in Mauritius developed their love for warm ambers and reds, and so Heffel commissioned custom resin wall panels from artist Alex Turco, creating a multidimensional backsplash of aqua, navy, oranges and golds, and an elegant contrast to the punchy mint-green barstools that line the island. A handrubbed antique bronze hood fan is a match to the unusual bronze faucet and sink. Those warm accents of colour are spotted throughout the home: in the poppy-red front door and matching sculptural side table in the entrance; and in the main floor master bedroom, where grasscloth-covered walls provide an organic backdrop to a vermillion-orange duvet and rust-coloured accents throughout. The egg-yolk yellow table lamps in an otherwise woodsy home study were once floor lamps, damaged in transit from Mauritius. The team at HB Design had them cut down and refinished in that sunny shade, and rewired them for perfect bright spots in this otherwise neutral space. Where the colour palette is more natural, as in the main floor powder room, drama is introduced with pattern: a Zebrano marble sink and backsplash fabricated 3 2   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

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Pattern Play

Intricate pattern is a strong design element in the home. The custom iron grate on the stairway is also repeated on the fireplace in the main living room (top left and bottom). In the powder room, a Zebrano marble sink and backsplash is fabricated from one piece of stone (above).

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HOMES // THE COLLECTORS

Hot Take

The teak table with the red metal base survived a fire—the teak did, anyway, and the team had the base reconstructed. In the master bedroom (top left), an African prayer chair sits beside the bed. The yellow lamps (bottom left) were once floor lamps that the team had rebuilt and painted.

from one slab of stone. Or a detailed, custom iron screen that runs as a guardrail along the stairs to the second floor and is also repeated over the fireplace, as well as on the front door. In all of the work that the team did to update the homeowners’ furniture collection, one piece almost didn’t make it in—and not because of any veto from the designers. A majestic teak table from Mauritius was brought to a local fabricator to have a bright red, laser-cut metal base constructed for it… and then the whole shop burned to the ground. “We lost all of the metalwork, but because it was solid teak, it didn’t burn,” says McFadyen. “It took a month and a half to get through the rubble to find it. It had such strong sentimental value.” The team removed a half-inch of char from the wood before reconstructing its bold red base, with a little of that burn left behind to show the evolution of the table, says McFadyen. While no one would wish that kind of damage on a beloved piece, its result is actually a flawless fit for this home—a wabi-sabi, perfectly imperfect design for this well-loved space. 3 4   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca


A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN

After 12 years and a lot of life changes, it was time to make this home truly hers. by anicka quin // photographs by ema peter

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J

oanna Cormack had been living in this home on Indian Arm— a one-road community on the water, just outside of Vancouver—for more than 12 years, but it had become time to make it truly hers. “We were really young when we built and first moved in, and I wanted to do some adulting,” she laughs. “I lived here with my partner, and I’m now divorced; I wanted to freshen up the space and make it mine.” The team at Falken Reynolds had come recommended, and so Cormack tasked Kelly Reynolds and Chad Falkenberg with bringing her new, grown-up vision for the home to fruition. “My ex got me into designer chairs and we had a few key pieces like the Saarinen womb chair,” she explains. “I wanted it to be fresh and modern, but in the classic Pacific Northwest style.” Reynolds envisioned a new design, where Cormack could spend more time taking in that gorgeous view outside the windows. “They

Framing the View

The sheer linen curtains from Cloth Studio were almost a no-go. “When they first suggested it, I thought, don’t make my house look like a nightclub!” says Joanna Cormack. But designer Kelly Reynolds convinced her that by pooling the fabric at the bottom, the design would feel less structured and only add warmth and drama. “They’re just beautiful,” she agrees.

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HOMES // INDIAN ARM

Light the Way

In addition to designer chairs, Cormack collects Bocci fixtures: in the kitchen and dining area, there’s a 38.16 chandelier, complete with air plants (above); in the entryway, a 28 rests on the table (left).

Historic Roots

The original floors and mantels from the home are made from reclaimed fir from the Vancouver nightclub Luv-A-Fair, which closed in 2003.

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have this amazing two-tiered deck that leads down to the water,” he explains, “but we wanted to find spots that could be used during the rainy months, too.” With its Flokati rug and that egg-yolk yellow womb chair, the new living space is both cozy and decorated with modern design accents. A comfy Flexform sofa pairs with a Trifecta table series from Vancouver furniture designer Christian Woo, the latter offering a whitewashed, modern surface for an evening cocktail. New Buds pendant lights from Foscarini float in the corner, reminiscent of the Japanese fishing floats that wash up on the shore below. In the kitchen, a blue and grey bench is big enough for Cormack to curl up on for mornings spent reading with a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, it’s become her favourite spot in the home. “I’ll do my emails and have my cup of tea, and look at my view,” says Cormack. “I sit there every day.” A perfect little slice of grown-up happiness.

Personal Showcase

Reynolds brought in the Danish Vitsoe shelving unit, designed by Dieter Rams in 1960, as a way to display the collections that Cormack had built in her travels over the years. “It’s a pretty mechanical looking unit, but it fits with this more bohemianstyle interior,” he says. “We could really load it full of items, and make it feel more casual and loose.” Mementos include first-edition books that her father collected, such as Peter Pan, and photos from Australia, where Cormack is originally from.

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SPONSORED REPORT

TURNING BLANK WALLS INTO MULTIFUNCTIONAL MASTERPIECES

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or a painter, there’s nothing more coveted than a blank canvas. An empty sheet means endless possibilities and creative freedom. For designers at California Closets, their blank canvas is a blank wall. Professionals like Emma Beaty love taking a bare wall space and transforming it into a functional storage solution with a stunning look that would suit a show home. Consider one of the Vancouver designer’s recent projects. Her client was downsizing from a 5,800-square-foot home to a 2,000-square-foot condo. While navigating how to live in a much smaller space, the client wanted a wall of storage that could incorporate and accentuate a beautiful black lacquer armoire that was a family heirloom. “Coming from a large home, she really needed to maximize storage in every room,” Beaty says. “Her practical side wanted somewhere to store her designer handbags out of sight, while her stylish side wanted something beautiful to look at in her bedroom.” Beaty designed a wall unit with staggered-box concept, a collection of floating black and white cabinets—that don’t look like cabinets. Touch-release doors mean no hardware or handles, and one of the cabinets is larger than the others, providing more storage and a larger surface for a black glass door with an etched paisley pattern. The unit also has a floating dresser. The entire piece hardly resembles a place to tuck away personal items. “It looks like a piece of art on the wall,” Beaty says. “She has an artistic flare, and this really suits her style. “You’d be surprised how much she can tuck away in this unit, but it doesn’t look like it was designed for storage,” Beaty adds. “It looks like it was designed for aesthetics.” The floating design also creates the illusion of a much larger space. To complement that striking wall unit, Beaty also designed additional cabinets Created by the Western Living advertising department in partnership with California Closets

CaliforniaClosetsJULAUG19DPS.SR_as.indd All Pages

for either side of the bed to match. They add even more sleek storage, help tie the room together, and contribute to harmony throughout the entire condo: Beaty has designed storage and organization solutions for every single room in the client’s new home. “Creating storage is so more exciting than people might think,” Beaty says. “When downsizing, people find it very difficult to visualize how their lives will fit into their newer, smaller spaces. We have the tools and skills to show people how they can add storage in a beautiful way.” “It could be something as simple as adding a custom bookshelf that surrounds their couch, or designing a sleek floating media centre or an efficient home office,” she says. “We learn what their personal style is and turn blank walls into multifunctional masterpieces.” California Closets’ Vancouver design consultants meet with clients at their residence—whether it’s a condo or a craftsman home—for an in-depth assessment and collaborate with interior designers, developers, tradespeople, and clients. Keeping people’s aesthetic and budget top of mind, they use a 3D CAD program so that they can show people what different concepts will look like in scale-accurate renderings. They’ve been creating personalized, customized organization systems tailored to individuals’ unique needs and tastes since 1999. Emma Beaty

A design consultation is complimentary. To book or learn more, visit www.californiaclosets.ca/


604.320.6575 californiaclosets.ca/vancouver VANCOUVER 2421 Granville Street | BURNABY 5049 Still Creek Avenue

2019-06-17 10:37 AM


These are the chefs, restaurateurs, winemakers and activists shaping food culture in Western Canada… and our world is all the more delicious for their passion, dedication and knife skills. We’re thrilled to introduce your 2019 Foodies of the Year.

THE LEADERS OF THE PACK

Jason and Alayne MacIsaac Distillers, Sheringham Distillery, Sooke, B.C.

The craft distilling field in the West sometimes resembles nothing so much as the starting line at the Boston Marathon. There are entrants as far as the eye can see, and in their own way they’re all quite accomplished—but as a bystander, how do you tell the great from the merely good? Well, in the case of former chef Jason MacIsaac and his wife, former marketer Alayne, they separated themselves from the pack early on, starting with a unique location—Sheringham Point, 20 kilometres east of Sooke—that was rich in rum-running lore. But it was truly revealed that something special was underfoot when the spirits started dripping off the still. First was the Seaside Gin, made with B.C.-grown white wheat and B.C. malted barley and flavoured with, among other things, local winged kelp for a kissed-by-the-Pacific flavour profile that has a real sense of place. Then came the Japaneseinspired Kazuki Gin, made with cherry blossoms and yuzu zest. And when Victoria bartending legend Shawn Soole came asking for an akvavit, they made that, too. Just to prove they can excel across the spectrum, they also made a red fife whisky, which was promptly named best whisky in Canada at this year’s Canadian Artisan Spirits competition. Any other distiller would have loved to hit just one of these spirited home runs. So the quick answer to the question of how to separate yourself from the pack? Do everything better than everyone else.—Neal McLennan

Want the recipe for the Sheringham Cherub cocktail from Sheringham Distillery? Visit westernliving.ca/FOTY2019 4 2   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Lillie Louise Major

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What’s always in your fridge?

From left: Lee Man, founding CRA judge; Chef Sam Leung, retired executive chef of Dynasty; Rae Kung; Chef Leung Yiu Tong, retired owner and executive chef of Hoi Tong; and Brendon Mathews, founding CRA judge.

Dried scallops, dried sea cucumber, shiitake, any dried food for making Chinese soup. I am well trained by my mom to make good Chinese soup.

What’s your favourite unusual food and drink pairing? Chivas Regal with sweetened green tea and curry fish ball and deep-fried squid. This pairing used to be a trend when friends and I spent time in karaoke boxes in Hong Kong almost two decades ago.

What’s your best kitchen hack? Season stir-fry lettuce with sugar, not salt—it will keep the lettuce fresh and green. If you season with salt, the lettuce will lose its green colour. I learned this from retired award-winning chef Tony Luk when he was on TV.

THE BRIDGE BUILDER

Rae Kung

Director, Chinese Restaurant Awards, Vancouver

It wasn’t that long ago that the mainstream Western understanding of “Chinese” food ran the gamut from chop suey to egg foo yung. But, these days, it wouldn’t be uncommon for even a casual foodie to hold forth on the vast differences between the seafood-focused Fujian, the fiery stews and braises of Hunan, rustic Anhui dishes or even classic Cantonese fare—which they’ll likely call by its appropriate name, Guangdong. There’s no one more responsible for the pushing of this learning than Rae Kung. The marketing professional has been the driving force behind the Chinese Restaurant Awards since its founding 11 years ago. In that time, the awards have gone from a small local affair to today’s gala celebration that launches thousands of new and informed diners into explorations of the Lower Mainland’s vast array of Chinese eateries. Along the way, she’s brought all cultures into the fold in an effort to foster a better understanding and appreciation of Chinese cuisine. She’s also pushed the adoption of Ocean Wise, and made partnerships with Vancouver Community College to offer scholarships for students. So the next time your pizzaloving college roommate suggests heading out for stir-fired geoduck with eggs and black truffles, you’ll know who to thank.—N. M.

Kyoko Fierro

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FOOD // FOODIES OF THE YEAR

W E

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Shindler tastes the fruits of his labour with his fiancée, Sam Milbrath, in his backyard in Vancouver.

Most underrated variety of wine? What are you drinking this summer? Pét-nat.

Hangover cure? Jumping in the ocean.

4 4   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

THE QUIET VISIONARY

Michael Shindler

Winemaker, A Sunday in August, Vancouver/Kelowna

Natural wine. Are there two words more likely to elicit passionate outbursts from those for and those against? The idea of low intervention or natural winemaking has dominated the wine world lately, and as it makes its way into our corner of the oenological world, the debate is just as fierce. There are some who’d gladly drink vinegar if it were “natural” and others who will search out every minor flaw just to prove that adding sulphur to stabilize wine is the only way to go. But up the middle we have Mike Shindler, indie-pop musician and now lo-fi winemaker, who waded right into this hotbed with the simple desire to “create wines that continually bring people joy.” Easier said than done in B.C.’s competitive market for quality—and, especially, organic—grapes. But word has gotten out, and each year production has increased such that his juicy, skin-contact pinot gris is now at 800 cases and no longer the unicorn it once was. It’s joined by one of the freshest merlot/cabernet blends in the valley and a multitude of other passionate experiments in all things pure. “We’re trying to bottle a feeling,” says Schindler. “If we can continue to do that every year, we’re happy.”—N. M.

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Kyoko Fierro Fierro

Lately, a lot of my friends have been a little down on Chardonnay, but I love it.


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FOOD // FOODIES OF THE YEAR

THE MERRYMAKER

Rachel Zottenberg

Restaurateur, Rachel and David Inc., Vancouver

Whether she’s hiding a swinging-’70s speakeasy behind a faux accountant’s office, serving up picklebacks in a bar modelled after a retro basement or trading in a proper sign for a cool-kids-know red light, Rachel Zottenberg is no stranger to fighting the good fight against Vancouver’s “No Fun City” rep with her collection of always-playful bars and restaurants. Alongside her business partner, David Duprey, Zottenberg has steadily opened a string of charmingly eclectic spaces over the past decade that strike the perfect balance of thoughtfulness and chill. There’s the Emerald Supper Club and Cocktail Lounge in Chinatown, of course, with its old-Vegas glamour and killer cocktails, and Mount Pleasant’s Uncle Abe’s, always buzzing thanks to its cozy sofas, rosé slushies and attached donair shop. But this year, with the resurrection of the Rumpus Room (the original was closed due to real estate development in 2016) and the opening of Vancouver’s cheekiest secret bar, Key Party, Zottenberg is truly at the top of her game. And though we’re celebrating her work in the restaurant scene, she could easily be championed for her support of the arts, too: her company provides hundreds of studio spaces to artists, has just opened gallery-slash-events-venue Betamax Studios and sells everything from runes to animal skulls at the delightfully kooky This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven boutique. Turns out, Vancouverites are living in Fun City after all… and Zottenberg is the mayor.—Stacey McLachlan

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What’s your favourite unusual food and drink pairing? Pickles, hot sauce and whiskey.

Guilty pleasure snack? This isn’t really guilty, but I love tomato soup and rye bread with sweet onion. I only really feel guilty when someone is there to witness how much raw onion I can eat and then has to hang out with me and my sexy breath.

Grand Marnier Graham Crackers from Key Party

1 oz Grand Marnier Zest of 2 oranges 1 cup whole-wheat flour 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour ½ cup wheat bran ¼ cup wheat germ 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp salt ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon 6 tbsp honey ¼ cup milk ½ tsp vanilla (real vanilla is best) ½ cup unsalted butter, softened ¾ cup brown sugar 4 6   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

In a small pot over medium heat, add Grand Marnier and bring to a boil; reduce by half (approximately 1 minute). Add orange zest. In a bowl, combine flours, wheat bran and germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, combine honey, milk and vanilla. Set aside. In a third bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. At low speed, add dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture until smooth. Add Grand Marnier mixture. Cool and mould into cookie dough. Shape dough into three discs with your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough at a time into a ⅛-inch-thick square. Cut into the desired shape (we do rounds just large enough to fit one marshmallow). With a spatula, place onto the baking sheet. With a fork, prick each cookie several times. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Reuse scraps. Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

Carlo Ricci

Fancy some s’mores with your cocktails? At Key Party, guests can toast marshmallows over Sterno heaters at the table and then squish ’em between these housemade graham crackers with a layer of Nutella.


TA S T E O F T H E

OKAN AGAN

Swirl, sip and savour your way through hundreds of BC VQA wines from top BC wineries and award winning winemakers paired with small plates prepared by western Canada’s top chefs and renowned local restaurants.


FOOD // FOODIES OF THE YEAR

THE AMBASSADOR

Shane Chartrand

Chef, SC Restaurant at River Cree, Edmonton

What’s the most underrated ingredient? The eulachon, or candle fish.

What’s the most overrated ingredient? Beef.

Your favourite unusual food and drink pairing? Seal meat I once cooked in B.C., with a simple cabernet sauvignon.

Get Chef Chartrand’s recipe for Charcoal Bison Skirt Steak with dill pickles and sweet red mustard at westernliving.ca/FOTY2019

4 8   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Nathan Winski - KEEN Creative

What has been your most memorable meal? Cooking smelts over an open fire in Yukon.

Chef Shane Chartrand paints the palm of his hand with a brilliant red roasted-pepper reduction, then presses it against a white dinner plate. It’s a dramatic edible backdrop for his signature dishes at the River Cree Resort and Casino—but also an allegory for the way his fingerprints are all over the West’s new wave of modern Indigenous cooking. In his kitchen, local indigenous ingredients are the stars: Chartrand simmers bison bones, puffs wild rice in chicken broth, tosses fried smelts with wild leeks, dries salmon for pemmican, tops mussels with the tender spruce tips he plucks in the spring, and turns foraged highbush cranberries, mint and maple syrup into ruby red mocktails. Chef Chartrand has a Cree background, but was adopted into a Métis family who taught him to hunt and fish, skills he maintains in his spot at the forefront of the re-emergence of Indigenous cuisine in Canada. He continues to learn the traditions of other nations across the country, travelling to meet with elders and First Nations youth, and sharing his knowledge and experiences at food events and conferences. His first cookbook, Tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine (in Cree, tawâw means “welcome, there is room”), co-authored by prominent Okanagan food writer Jennifer Cockrall-King, is scheduled to come out this October. Recently, Chartrand took his education efforts to the screen, teaming up with two other First Nations chefs to produce a sixepisode Storyhive-funded series called Red Chef Revival, which documents their travels to the Mackenzie Valley in the Northwest Territories, Haida Gwaii in B.C. and the village of Ohsweken in Ontario to share their stories of pre-colonial indigenous cuisine.—Julie Van Rosendaal

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Find the recipe for Mrs. Kuang’s Pork and Chive Dumplings at westernliving.ca/FOTY2019

Happy Woman Kitchen

From left to right: Yu Rong Li, Ya Qin Wan, Wendy Au Yeung, Hui Qing Chen (aka Mrs. Kuang), Yu Ying Guan.

THE CONNECTOR

Wendy Au Yeung

Founder, Happy Woman Kitchen, Vancouver

Wendy Au Yeung may not be a professionally trained chef (“I just love to cook and I think I do it fairly well,” she says), but she understands the capacity food has to empower people and bring them together. It’s why she launched Happy Woman Kitchen, a culinary-based social enterprise that offers employment opportunities to marginalized women in Vancouver’s Strathcona and Downtown Eastside neighbourhoods. The non-profit was founded last summer when Mrs. Kuang, a friend and neighbour of Au Yeung’s who immigrated to Vancouver from Zhenjiang more than two decades ago, was invited by Au Yeung to sell her homemade porkand-chive dumplings at the Strathcona Artisan Market. Au Yeung saw the chance to involve other members of the community and, within a few days, the pair were joined by a group of Mrs. Kuang’s friends at a local community space, where they wrapped made-from-scratch dumplings and whipped up sauces for chilled noodle bowls. Soon, the smiling popos were selling sago soup, Hong Kong-style curry fish balls and other street food-inspired Chinese dishes at a series of seasonal pop-ups in Chinatown. The money earned at the events goes directly to the grandmas or to purchase equipment and perishable items for future pop-ups. “The idea is to give them the ability to sell at different markets,” explains Au Yeung. “I want to give these women as much ownership as possible and only fill in where needed. Empowerment is key.” This summer, Au Yeung hopes to partner with other low-income, immigrant and refugee women in the area, and offer them temporary work. “It’s not about centring me or my product,” she says. “It’s a way to centre women on the margins and their talent, contributions and food.”—Lucy Lau

Tanya Goehring, Location courtesy of chinatownhouse.ca

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FOOD // FOODIES THE 2019 FOODIES OF THE YEAR OF THE YEAR AWARDS

What’s your most memorable meal? Fried ripe plantain and beans (a Nigerian delicacy).

What’s your go-to breakfast? Coffee and mocha bread.

Favourite nightcap? Hot chocolate.

THE RISING STARS

Joe and Blessing Obirai Owners/Bakers, BeeRain Bakery, Saskatoon

Blessing Obirai was born in a bakery. Her husband, Joe, grew up selling bread on the streets of Nigeria. Joe took a detour from these humble, bread-centric beginnings to pursue a career in science, which led him all over the world and found him working with NASA. But when the pair met in the U.S. and moved to Saskatoon in 2016 for Blessing’s physics and engineering studies, they both began to miss the fresh bread they remembered from home. So they put Blessing’s baking history and Joe’s chemistry background to work, and fired up the oven. BeeRain’s selection includes traditional Nigerian buttermilk bread, but the duo has grown creative as well, crafting loaves with swirls of green tea, chocolate or purple yam from locally sourced organic ingredients whenever possible. A little taste of home away from home, right here in the Prairies.—Stacey McLachlan

5 0   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Carey Shaw

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WIN

a Long Weekend for Two in Berlin!

Discover cool wines, cool styles and cool flavours.

For more info please visit

germanwinecanada.com

Dry Riesling. Luscious Pinot Noir. Crisp Pinot Gris.


FOOD // FOODIES OF THE YEAR

THE IMPERFECTIONIST

What’s your favourite unusual food and drink pairing? It’s not that unusual, but fried chicken and champagne is a combo I like to smash. Or a Nutella-and-ricotta sandwich with a glass of crisp white wine.

Guilty pleasure snack? A Big Mac.

Hangover cure? OG blue Gatorade and Advil, before you go to bed.

Gianmarco Colannino

Owner and Burglerslinger, Trans Am, Vancouver

In a city of polished cocktail bars and 20-tap beer joints, there’s something about this tiny, perfectly imperfect spot on the city’s east side— just 13 seats, an understated scribble of a sign on the door—that feels a world away from Vancouver. Owner Gianmarco Colannino literally built Trans Am (every nail in the bar, every piece of newspaper plastered on the wall is the work of his hands) after beating a rare form of testicular cancer. It was time, he decided, to do something he always wanted to do. “It was about offering something that I couldn’t find in the city,” he says. “A nobullshit kind of thing. We’re straightforward with everyone.” When he opened, he was the lone guy staffing the six-burner electric range behind the bar while pouring drinks and chatting with customers—and his original plan of rustic Italian quickly became a challenge. He switched to burgers (and what burgers they are, made from AAA wagyu chuck), teamed up with former Merchant’s bartender David Back and ramped up the cocktail program, and it was game on. Colannino caused a stir in the city this year with a new shift in the program: cell phones must be checked at the door. “I’d wanted to do it for a very long time,” he says, “but everyone told me I was nuts.” A trip to a speakeasy in L.A., where he was asked to hand over his hat and phone when he entered, changed his mind. “And I had the best time ever, not being able to touch my phone. So I thought, okay, I’m not crazy—this could work.” You’ll feel the difference on a Friday night: conversations rise up over the music, neighbours chat with one another. In a city known for its insular nature, it’s an un-Vancouver Vancouver spot. And that makes it the city’s coolest bar.—Anicka Quin

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Red Hook Cocktail from Trans Am

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye ½ oz Punt e Mes vermouth ½ oz maraschino liqueur

5 2   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Combine ingredients in mixing glass, stir and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with maraschino cherry.

Carlo Ricci

The Red Hook is a relative of the Manhattan and Brooklyn cocktails.


What’s always in your fridge? Andrew: Sourdough yeast starter. Richard: Hot sauce.

What’s your favourite unusual food and beer pairing? Sehmer (left) and Harris brewing up something special at their East Van factory.

THE COLLECTIVISTS

Richard Sehmer and Andrew Harris Founders, Craft Collective Beerworks, Vancouver

Given the boom in craft brewing in Vancouver, it might appear that opening a brewery is easy. But those big tanks you saw on your last tasting tour? Even used, one of those will set you back about $100,000. Then you need a brewmaster, recipes—a dream—and affordable lab space, somewhere in Vancouver big enough to hold it all. Cracking the market now is the deep-pocketed pursuit of the very few with passion (and wallets) strong enough to overlook the risks, industry realities that Vancouverites Richard Sehmer and Andrew Harris know all too well. Sehmer is a lawyer who, with his wife, Sarah, started Trim Hair Salon on Main Street eight years ago, next to Harris’s business, Portland Craft. The two became friends, and while Sehmer was helping new breweries get off the ground through his law practice, Harris co-founded Russell Brewing and Main Street Brewing. (Sehmer was also a director of Main Street Brewing, as well as a co-founder of Twin Sails Brewing.) The beer industry couldn’t have asked for two better-suited fairy godmothers, or founders, to start Craft Collective Beerworks, a collaborative craft brewery that’s a one-stop brew shop complete with rentable tanks, assistant brewers, canning line operators and lab techs for those indie owners who have the dream, but not always the means, to create their own craft beer. “We like to think we’ve disrupted the industry for the better by giving smaller breweries the resources to compete with larger ones,” says Sehmer, who counts Postmark, Spectrum and Phantom among Craft Collective’s brands. “We know exactly how difficult it is to run a brewery. That’s why we started Craft Collective.”—Julia Dilworth

Cory Stevens

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Andrew: Ramen and a crisp saison. Richard: Sour beer and pickled pineapple slices.

What song is always on your dinner party playlist? Andrew: “Bohemian Rhapsody,” by Queen. Richard: “All Night Long,” by Lionel Ritchie.

Favourite nightcap? Andrew: Rooibos tea with a dash of bourbon. Richard: A fedora.

Hangover cure?

Andrew: Two eggs, half a can of Spectrum Margarita Gose, a shot of vodka, half a lime (squeezed), 4 oz of Da Bomb Insane hot sauce—all shaken and consumed as quickly as possible. Richard: Three eggs, one can of Spectrum Margarita Gose, two shots of vodka, one lime (squeezed), 8 oz of Da Bomb Insane hot sauce—all shaken and consumed as quickly as possible.

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FOOD // FOODIES OF THE YEAR

What’s been your most memorable meal? My first time at Narisawa, a two-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo. The food utilized many Western techniques, but the flavours were so succinctly Japanese. After speaking to [chef Yoshihiro Narisawa], he told me that techniques, globally, are a toolbox: you utilize a technique that best works for a certain ingredient. Whether it’s a Japanese, French or modernist approach to an ingredient, they are simply tools with which to best express a commodity… highlight the ingredients in your style utilizing your “toolbox.”

Scallops in Their Shells with Nuoc Cham SERVES 4

Darren MacLean

Chef and Owner, Shokunin and Barshoku, Calgary

Chef Darren MacLean’s appearance as a contestant on Netflix’s acclaimed global culinary competition The Final Table confirmed three things: “The relevance of Canadian products in the global culinary scene, the importance of collaborative efforts,” says MacLean, “and that I can cook.” The latter isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s eaten at his award-winning izakaya, Shokunin, where MacLean pairs traditional Japanese techniques with contemporary and local ingredients: think miso-cured bone marrow and escargot, charcoal-seared salmon belly and melt-in-your-mouth bison tataki. And if you haven’t tried Shokunin already, good luck correcting that: his stint on the show upped the restaurant’s profile so much that you’ll be battling the masses to snag a reservation. Luckily, there’s now more MacLean to go around: this fall will see him open two new restaurants in the Alt Hotel. Barshoku is a sleek modern space that will feature fish from fin to scale, and Nupo’s eight-seat pop-up-style dining concept showcases MacLean’s skills with a one-on-one tasting menu. And as if running three restaurants won’t be enough to keep the man busy, this fall sees him launching a foundation supporting farmland recovery. “Sustainability is important but I would like to see us wasting less and recovering more,” he says That’s where the future is.”—Karen Ashbee

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Slice each scallop vertically into 8 to 10 slices. Lay strips in a long line, each overlapping the next by ¼ slice. Roll the line up into a rose and place back in the shell. (If this is too much work, cut scallops into 4 and place pieces back in shell.) Reserve in fridge. Finely chop chili, herbs and shallots. Set aside. Mix together liquid ingredients with the sugar and blend/whisk until sugar has dissolved completely. Set aside, ensuring ingredients are kept very cold. About 10 minutes before serving, mix herbs with liquids and set aside. Place each scallop atop crushed ice in individual bowls. Stir the nuoc cham herb mixture and place about 1 tbsp over each scallop (or more as needed). Squeeze lime over top and serve with spoons and chopsticks.

Jager and Kokemor

THE DYNAMO

10 to 15 Nova Scotia scallops in shell, coral removed ¼ Japanese hawk or red Thai chili, finely chopped with seeds ⅛ cup cilantro stems, finely diced 1½ tsp shallot, finely diced Handful of mint, finely chopped ⅓ cup rice vinegar 2 tbsp white sugar Pinch of green yuzu kosho paste 2 tsp fish sauce 1 tbsp dashi 2 tbsp mirin 1 wedge of lime, cut into 4 pieces


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TRAVEL H A I D A G W A I I L C H E F R E C I P E S L C R A W F O R D B AY

T H E LO C A L

Kootenay Shangri-La

Kari Medig

You could make Nelson, B.C., your destination for a summer vacation—its boho vibe is a pretty picture-perfect goal for a summer road trip. But to really dig into that maker-faire realness that is the Kootenays, drive past the quirky town, grab the ferry and head over to the east shore of Kootenay Lake. In the walkable community that is Crawford Bay, you’ll find the blacksmiths of Kootenay Forge firing up wine racks and fire pokers; a barefoot weaver cranking out colourful works of art with her feet at the loom at, yes, Barefoot Handweaving; and a wee little log house that’s home to the most Harry Potter-esque business of adorably craggy handmade brooms. And just down the street, there’s this surprising little spot on the water. Nelson-born owner and chef Jason Malloff—who worked for years in the two-Michelin-starred Maison Jeunet in Arbois, France—decided that the Kootenays were calling him home, so he brought his version of French-regionalcooking-meets-West-Coast ingredients to Cabin, right on the lake. It’s only open in May to October and it’s here you’ll understand the magic that brought Malloff back to this place. Grab a lakeside spot on the patio with a steamy bowl of West Coast bouillabaisse rich with seasonal seafood, fresh fennel and a side of crusty homemade bread, sip a lime-heavy gin and tonic, and watch the ferryboats laze on in. You’ve arrived.—Anicka Quin

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FloatingChefs Haida Gwaii’s new Ocean House brings the xuux. by Tyee Bridge // photographs by Kevin Clark

5 8   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca


Bounty Hunters

“There’s one,” says one of our Haida guides as the captain cuts the boat engine to a crawl. “A fat one. Look at those stubby legs—he looks like a sausage.” We move to the port side to see the bear, plopped on his haunches on the rocky shore about 400 metres away. Through my tourist’s eyes, with no binoculars, the bear doesn’t look all that big: more like a good-sized dog. In the next few minutes, we see three more bears in the area. One in particular, roaming the estuary grassland at the head of the inlet, does look impressively large. As we watch, it takes off at a run, galloping away from shore and out of view. “He’s chasing a deer,” says Jaylene, one of our guides. “They’re vegetarians mainly, though they’ll eat fish and sometimes a fawn if they can get one. But there’s no way he’s going to get that deer. He’s just having fun.” Two of the guides yell a traditional Haida bear chant toward the shore. This lets any bears know that you’re in the area and you aren’t looking for fun. After we disembark—following the guides onshore and into the mossy woods—I get a sense of the bears’ actual size from sidestepping platter-sized piles of scat. In Alaska I’d seen

ursine poop, along with the sizable brown bears responsible, but nothing nearly as big as this. It makes me nervous. Haida Gwaii, it turns out, is home to one of the largest black bear subspecies in North America, Ursus Americanus Carlottae, which can reportedly weigh more than 300 kilograms. That’s a lot of bear to run across while tiptoeing through the spruce. To get that big, you need plenty of food. And in Haida Gwaii, in one way or another, everything comes back to food. On an outing the day before, one of our local guides— a bearish, cinnamon-bearded young man nicknamed Tuna—had led us into a forest glade. “Haida have harvested from these forests for thousands of years,” he said. “Look around you. What can you eat here?” A couple of answers sprung out of the group—salmonberry, spruce tips—and Tuna filled in the rest. Haida don’t traditionally gather wild mushrooms, he told us, but many other items were on offer: licorice fern root, stinging nettle, thimbleberry, single delight flowers, sourgrass, miner’s lettuce and, nearer the shore, sea asparagus. We were standing in a pantry.

Ocean House is all about immersing its guests in the culture of the Haida, and one of the key ways of doing this is to get into the forest to start learning about the unique environment of Haida Gwaii.

Writer Tyee Bridge


TRAVEL // HAIDA GWAII

Ocean Wise

Mind you, the items are not all to everyone’s taste, and some require just a little preparation. I had tried licorice fern root—which is prized for tea and grows abundantly on trees in Haida Gwaii’s temperate rainforest—and it tasted like, well, tree bark. And dirt. Then I realized I needed to peel it. I’ve come here to get a taste of Haida Gwaii at a new, Haida-owned luxury ecolodge called Ocean House. The name can be taken at face value: the 12-room hotel, which comes complete with sauna and spa, floats. Revamped in Delta, it was towed (very carefully) to Haida Gwaii over the course of five days last year. It’s now moored in Stads K’uns GawGa, a.k.a. Peel Inlet, about a 15-minute helicopter ride from Sandspit. (The chopper trip, by the way, is short but amazing, with scenery taken right from Jurassic Park.) Fortunately for dirt-chawing rubes like myself, the Haida who created the new resort know the value of pulling in culinary expertise. Our trip has been planned around two feature “demo and dine” dinners by chef David Robertson of the Dirty Apron cooking school in Vancouver, which complement several scene-stealing meals by the resort’s Haida chef, Brodie Swanson. Robertson, often seen giving culinary lessons on CBC and other television stations, started the Dirty Apron in 2009. Coming to Haida Gwaii was amazing, he says, for the immediacy of available victuals. “Here you can have this experience of going out with someone who has a fishing licence and seeing the fish pulled freshly out of the water, and putting that on the plate the very same day. As a chef it’s pretty inspiring.” With the rest of the guests, about 14 in all, I get to cruise through two of Robertson’s inspired, multi-course meals, which feature some of the Haida Gwaii pantry: razor clam motoyaki, served on cockle shells with sea asparagus and a ponzu aioli gratiné; red Thai curry 6 0   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Island living means looking to the sea for sustenance. Here local crab is harvested just offshore using one of Ocean House’s fleet. Dinner tonight will be as local— and as delicious—as it gets.


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TRAVEL // HAIDA GWAII

Steps Away

The obvious benefit to staying on a floating lodge is that you can have your luxe digs wherever you want. Like on top of a great location to score some local uni.

and seared albacore salad; slow-roasted local venison loin with maple caramelized onions and citrus sourgrass pureé; and his incredible miso-sake roasted sablefish (see the recipe on page 63). Chef Brodie Swanson’s cuisine is the other draw of the week. Swanson grew up helping his Haida mother and grandmother in the kitchen; he has fond memories of eating home-baked ground octopus balls and slurping up freshly cracked guudinaay—fresh sea urchin roe—on the beaches near Masset. After taking courses in anthropology and geography, at age 26 Swanson abandoned a new career in geographic information systems in favour of the cutting board. In Vancouver, he was a chef at Salmon and Bannock restaurant, staged at West and the Flying Pig, and later learned the foundations of his cooking from Robert Belcham at Campagnolo. Now at Ocean House, he’s brought his skills to bear on the food of his childhood. “The cornerstone of culture on Haida Gwaii, our base and foundation, is the abundance of food here,” says Swanson. “‘The tide’s out, the table is set,’ as it’s said, and the forest is full of food. Entire summers were spent 6 2   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca


Miso-Sake Roasted Sablefish SERVES 2

2 - 4 oz sablefish fillets (skin on)

Marinade 3 tbsp sake 3 tbsp mirin ½ cup white miso 1/3 cup sugar

Broth 1 cup dashi 2 tbsp soy sauce ¼ cup ginger (sliced thin)

Garnish options ¾ cup carrot (julienned) ¾ cup soba noodles (cooked) Shimeji mushrooms Shelled edamame beans Garlic chips Green onion (julienned) Or topping of your choice

“Here you can have this experience of going out with someone who has a fishing licence and seeing the fish pulled freshly out of the water, and putting that on the plate the same day. As a chef it’s pretty inspiring.”–Chef David Robertson processing and preserving all types of food, and winter was celebrating all the harvest and bounty with potlatches.” The Haida people weren’t exclusively fishermen and foragers, he says, noting that they also cultivated crabapples, berries and medicinal plants. This abundance of food in turn translated into cultural wealth: if you’re scrambling for food, you don’t have time to carve and erect 50-foot totem poles or build 3,000-square-foot post-and-beam longhouses. “There’s no end to how much food we have. As a result, our culture, artwork, architecture and political system were highly developed,” says Swanson. After Chef David’s throwdown of incredible meals at Ocean House, I’m not sure I can be wowed further, but Chef Brodie’s food is, to use the Haida word embroidered on his black ballcap, xuux— “something impressive, cool, dope.” On the final evening, our “Feast Night” menu starts with freshly

baked, naturally leavened sourdough served with seaweed butter. Then skewered salmon bellies with gochujang glaze, followed by a butter-basted butter clam—seasoned not with added salt, but with smoked razor clam powder and cured egg yolk. Along with steamed black cod, the mains include black garlic-ginger-soy Dungeness crab legs, and venison tartare with pickled sea asparagus and carrot broth. “The sea asparagus gives the tartare some salty pop and texture,” says Swanson. “It was the first time I’d tried that. I was inspired by seeing the deer browse on it here.” Four days of boat rides, laid-back forest walks and kayak paddles, all followed by elaborate fivecourse meals. By the time our helicopter comes to pick us up on day five, I am a bipedal version of that bear we saw on the shore: a sausage on two legs. If you do head to Ocean House, four words of advice are all you need. Eat there, diet later.

Bring sake and mirin to a boil for about 20 seconds to cook off alcohol. (Careful: alcohol may flame.) Turn heat off and whisk in miso till smooth, then add sugar and bring back to a boil on high heat. Constantly stir to make sure marinade doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pot. Let cool, then marinate sablefish for a minimum of 2 hours or a maximum of 2 days. Once marinated, set oven to high broil. Place sablefish on baking sheet lined with tinfoil and broil for 4 to 7 minutes, depending on thickness. Be careful not to burn, and check regularly. If sablefish is not fully cooked, but is fully caramelized, switch oven to bake to complete. Add dashi, thinly sliced ginger and soy sauce to a sauce pot. Bring broth to a simmer to steep the ginger, then remove ginger once you have a mild ginger flavour. (It should not be overpowering.) Once fish is out from the oven and resting, add carrots, soba noodles and shelled edamame beans. Bring broth back up to heat, then plate. Garnish to taste with mushrooms, radish, seaweeds, garlic chips, or any kind of topping you like.

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TRADE SECRETS

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Bianca Bodley, Biophilia Collective

The Look

LAYERS AND LEVELS

Is it still called landscaping if it’s happening two storeys above the ground? Whatever the semantics, Bianca Bodley of Biophilia Collective in Victoria has tied together the plantings on the bedroom patio and the loose, textural gardens of the backyard so thoughtfully that each feels like an effortless extension of the other. “The homeowners wanted a modern look for the landscape, but one that was still full and natural,” says Bodley. “It’s my favourite kind of aesthetic.” Up top, simple pheasant’s tail grasses, Mexican feather grass and bamboo in planters line the green terrace to create some privacy and bring a hit of nature to eye level; at ground level, a Corten-steel water feature is surrounded by verbena bonaris and morning light miscanthus. Further away from the house (designed by Adam Fryatt of Mdrn Built), you’ll find the vegetable garden and apple trees down a pea-gravel path—a material chosen for the comfort of a homeowner, who’s happiest barefoot out in the garden. 6 6   j u ly / a u g u s t 2 0 1 9 / westernliving.ca

Joshua Lawrence

A lush terrace shares design DNA with the gorgeous garden below.


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Western Living, July/August 2019