{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1


January/February 2013

Comfort food:

Heart-warming and soul-satisfying, to stay the chills and soothe the ills

Romantic Wines & Liqueurs

Port, Porters & Stouts Spirits of Scotland culinairemagazine.ca


Safari Brunch Sundays 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Zoo admission included before noon. One great price. One great day.


Features 14

The Long Red Chopsticks

China has a long culinary history and diverse ethnic cultures; there is no one dish, or style that clearly defines its cuisine. But over time, four major styles of cooking have emerged that have influenced all Chinese cuisines. By Gabriel Hall

22 Soup Sisters Unplugged


Soup Sisters was started in Calgary three years ago. They are now in ten cities across Canada, and make over 8,000 bowls of soup each month for Women’s Emergency Shelters. By Karen Miller

Feeling The Warmth

Chef Brad O’Leary has fed many high-profile dignitaries, and for the last three years has been hands-on in his kitchen at Escoba Bistro, creating down-home comfort dishes well beyond the norm. By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth




‘Freedom And Whisky Gang Thegither’

Robert Burns’ birthday is celebrated all over the world; he is still revered over 250 years later. There are distilleries from this era still producing whisky, and with links to the Bard. By Andrew Ferguson

Beers for a Dark and Stormy Night

There are at least six categories of stouts and three varieties of porters. They have lots in common, but distinctly different profiles and flavours. By David Nuttall and Meaghan O’Brien

Cocktail Culture in Calgary

On January 29, twelve bartenders will be battling it out for the title of Alberta’s Top mixologist. You can influence the outcome by voting online at the Culinaire website. Here’s a sneak peek into the cocktails and their creators. By BJ Oudman

COVER PHOTOGRAPH Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel at Escoba Bistro culinairemagazine.ca



More Inside

January-February/Issue #8










42 6

Salutes and Shout outs

by Linda Garson


Three Wine Event Previews

By David Nuttall


New Tech for The New Year

By Linda Garson


Ask Culinaire

By Heather Hartmann


A Truck Load of Comfort Perogy Boyz

By Dan Clapson


Burger Tales?

By BJ Oudman


Chef’s Tips (and tricks!)

By Fred Malley CCC


Striking Oil…Liquid Gold

By Natalie Findlay


Diner Love - A Spin On The Classics

By Cory Knibutat

Defining Comfort: Meatloaf

By Jeff Collins


What Does Comfort Food Mean To You?


Open To Invitation: The World’s Largest Whisky Club

By Andrew Ferguson


Port After Stormy Seas

By Tom Firth


Menu Gems


The War of 2012

By Gabriel Hall


Comfort In The Wild

By Brenda Holder


Stone Soup

By Jocelyn Burgener


Of Myth and Legends: The World’s Best Whisky Liqueur

By Andrew Ferguson


The Humble Spud

By Silvia Pikal


Step-by-Step To Making Ginger Beef

By Natalie Findlay


Three Healthy Cures for a Hungry Winter’s Night

By Janine Eva Trotta


Comfort in a Glass

By Peter Vetsch


Wine for your Valentine

By Peter Vetsch


Open That Bottle

by Linda Garson


Liqueurs of Love

By Heather Hartmann and Tom Firth



OUR CONTRIBUTORS < JOCELYN BURGENER Jocelyn sees possibilities. She loves to connect ideas with opportunities, to find clarity in chaos and humour in everyday life. The former MLA was Director of Public Affairs for the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and until recently managed her own consulting business. Since 2008 she has served as a community representative for the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals. She is currently working on a collection of poetry.

< ELIZABETH CHORNEY-BOOTH Over her 15-year career as a professional writer, Elizabeth ChorneyBooth has written about music, film, business, and food, but ultimately she just likes to hear and share people’s stories. After a five-year stint as an editor at a national magazine in Toronto, Elizabeth returned to her hometown of Calgary in 2006, where she’s enjoying working as a freelance writer. In addition to Culinaire, her work has appeared in Swerve, The Calgary Herald, Where, Your Workplace, Leap, FFWD and a variety of other publications.

< JANINE TROTTA Janine Eva Trotta is a Calgarian of German-Italian decent married to a Mexican who loves to cook - meaning many are the food and drink wars waged at home. Janine graduated from the journalism program at Mount Royal University and has since written for numerous publications and websites, working at an expansive range of restaurants in between. She has visited roughly 25 countries in pursuit of great food and interesting people, and indeed has found these things.


Cu inaire Editor Linda Garson Design Emily Vance Contributors Wendy Brownie Jocelyn Burgener Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Dan Clapson Jeff Collins Andrew Ferguson Natalie Findlay Tom Firth Gabriel Hall Heather Hartmann Brenda Holder Cory Knibutat Ingrid Kuenzel Fred Malley, CCC David Nuttall Meaghan O’Brien BJ Oudman Silvia Pikal Janine Trotta Vincci Tsui Peter Vetsch Advertising Joanne Black 403-401-9463


Natalie Findlay 403-771-7757


Nicholas Quintillan 403-700-8591


Corinne Wilkinson 403-471-2101


For more information about some of our many other talented contributors please visit us online at www.culinairemagazine.ca.

Contact us at: Culinaire Magazine #1203, 804 -3rd Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 0G9 403-870-9802 info@culinairemagazine.ca www.culinairemagazine.ca www.facebook.com/CulinaireMagazine Twitter: @culinairemag For subscriptions, competitions and to read Culinaire online: culinairemagazine.ca All Trademarks presented in this magazine are owned by the registered owner. All advertisements appearing in this magazine are the sole responsibility of the person, business or corporation advertising their product or service. For more information on Culinaire Magazine’s Privacy Policy and Intention of Use, please see our website at www.culinairemagazine.ca. All content, photographs and articles appearing in this magazine are represented by the contributor as original content and the contributor will hold Culinaire Magazine harmless against any and all damages that may arise from their contribution. All public correspondence, which may include, but is not limited to letters, e-mail, images and contact information, received by Culinaire Magazine becomes the property of Culinaire Magazine and is subject to publication. Culinaire Magazine may not be held responsible for the safety or return of any unsolicited manuscripts, photographs and other materials. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part without written consent from Culinaire Magazine is strictly prohibited. culinairemagazine.ca


Salutes... Love at first bite! Congratulations to Cococo Chocolatiers, the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut Company, for their bold new chocolate bar, Rosemary Fusion, which has taken a Silver Medal in the Flavoured Milk Chocolate Bar category at the 2012 International Chocolate Awards in London. “It is a real honour for Cococo to be recognized from more than 600 entries,” says Derrick Tu Tan Pho, Cococo Maître Chocolatier. Rosemary Fusion combines noted Callebaut milk chocolate with rosemary and thyme, and is hand-finished with habanero sea salt. “It’s something new, we’re inviting people to experience chocolate as a food together with flavours they probably won’t expect,” adds the Chocolatier.

followed by heat, then the richness and depth of herbs slowly become evident. It’s a distinctive and complex, multi-layered chocolate to savour and appreciate – and completely moreish. Rosemary Fusion comes in tablettes of 100 grams, right for sharing and pairing with your favourite wine or beer. It also pairs well with charcuterie items like cured meats, mild creamy cheeses and nuts.

Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet, wins Best Food Literature (Canada-English) at the 2012 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards “You know your doctor, you know your lawyer, you know your accountant. Who’s your farmer?” Congratulations go to Foodshed writer, chef, poet and advocate dee Hobsbawn-Smith, who answers this provocative question as she introduces several dozen farmers, and the food they produce. And there’s more! Foodshed was also voted Best Alberta Cookbook in the CBC Books Cross-Country Cookbook Shelf! Read Culinaire Magazine’s review of Foodshed in September’s issue at www.culinairemagazine.ca.

Inniskillin Takes Top Canadian Producer Honours Congratulations go to Inniskillin Niagara Estate Winery too, who collected the prestigious Top Canadian Producer of the Year award at the 43rd annual International Wine and Spirits Competition in London. Inniskillin winemaker Bruce Nicholson, has previously won the Canadian Producer of the Year Award four times as winemaker for Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate Winery, making him the only Canadian to win from two different Canadian viticulture regions and two different Canadian wineries. Inniskillin took 2 Outstanding Gold medals, 2 Gold medals and an Outstanding Silver medal for their ice wines, as well as 4 more Silver medals and a bronze for their table wines.

Nk’Mip Cellars named Number One Winery in British Columbia And finally, our congratulation to Nk’Mip Cellars for their spectacular finish at the 2012 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards, bringing in no less than 14 medals and earning them the extremely prestigious title of the #1 Winery in British Columbia and the #2 Winery in all of Canada. Four of their top tier wines were bestowed with gold medals for their achievement in excellence, with ten others taking home silver and bronze. Great job!

When you bite into the chocolate, the first sensation is of sea salt, immediately

...and Shout Outs New beginnings We’re excited for the opening of MARKET at 718, 17 Avenue SW early in the New Year! Executive Chef Geoff Rogers, formerly at Home Tasting Room, has partnered with owner Vanessa Salopek to open MARKET, a restaurant where everything will scream local. Their philosophy is to explore further into the meaning of local food and ingredients, and find a connection between each plate, guest, and the origins of those ingredients. They will serve authentically local, seasonal and fresh cuisine, using ingredients from as close as their own kitchen, but no further than their neighbour’s farm. MARKET chefs will be making their bread and cheese in-house, butchering their own animals, in addition to growing their own greens and herbs in-house, with Calgary’s first Urban Cultivator – an internal home garden. We can’t wait!


Welcome too to newcomers Oh La La Patisserie at Unit 3118, 8561 8A Avenue SW. Owner Chef Sebastian Judkovski offers creative, melt in your mouth macarons in a wide variety of flavours – nine at last count – as well as croissants and soon to be available cakes and pastries. We’ll be able to read more about Oh La La in June’s Culinaire Magazine. And last but certainly not least, hello Montagu’s! Offering Calgary’s downtown business community with high-end lunch catering, Monatgu’s provide a choice of 13 fresh, made-to-order gourmet sandwiches using local suppliers and featuring home-made sauces and chutneys, delivered to your door at a pre-agreed time. Email order@montagus.ca or call 403-815-5803.

Letter From The Editor Happy New Year! Gung hay fat choy! Maybe it really is true that time goes faster as you get older! As we’re in the depth of winter, the theme of our joint January/February issue is “Comfort Food”. We’re focusing on those nourishing and satisfying dishes that warm us from the inside out; dishes that lift our mood as they’re often associated with nostalgic memories of home when we were growing up. Our contributors have shared their comfort food recipes with us, and we take a peep behind the scenes at Soup Sisters and the amazing job their volunteers do to bring hot and comforting soup to women in need, it’s impressive! We meet the people who specialize in comfort food - Diner Deluxe where we regularly see people queuing round the corner for their take on homey and comforting dishes; three passionate, family-owned burger restaurants in our quest for the best old-time diner burger; and three take-away home meal-replacement

locations offering gourmet solutions for nourishing dishes to suit our busy lifestyles, when we don’t have time to cook from scratch at home. Local chefs explain what comfort food is for them, and generously divulge their tips as well as recipes, and the master of comfort food cuisine, Chef Brad O’Leary at Escoba, tells us his story and of life in the kitchen of one of the city’s most popular bistros. Well-being doesn’t just come from the food we eat, we find contentment in drinks too, and read about the many varieties of dark beers and stouts, port wine and other wines that relax and cheer. At this time of year, we have more reasons to celebrate – Chinese Year 4710, the Year of the Dragon, begins on January 23rd, and we learn about the different styles and cultures that influence Chinese cuisine, as well as step-bystep to making Ginger Beef for ourselves at home. And Robbie Burns night falls at the end of January too! A wee dram is ideal for cold, long nights, so we’re featuring all things whisky - the largest specialist club, whisky-based liqueurs and long-lived malts and blends that

have survived the years. You can even win a signed bottle from a world-famous producer of aged whisky too! And our last celebration is of love, for Valentine’s Day! What will you be drinking and toasting your loved ones with? We have suggestions for you here… Culinaire is proud to support the Alberta Cocktail Challenge, and in this issue you can see who’s competing, their creative concoctions – and choose the winner for yourself by voting at culinairemagazine.ca! While you’re there, enter to win in our other competitions! Thanks to all that have supported Culinaire magazine, our contributors and advertisers, and those of you that have taken time to write such encouraging and complimentary comments – it’s very much appreciated! I hope you enjoy our winter issue; the good news is that the days only get longer, lighter and warmer from here! Linda Garson Editor-in-Chief linda@culinairemagazine.ca


Seafood Market

Lighthouse Café STADIUM SHOPPING CENTRE 2B - 1941 Uxbridge Drive N.W. (Corner of 16th Ave & 29 St. N.W.)

403 269-3474

Gift Card

Warm up with some Clam Chowder from the Lighthouse Café!

www.billingsgate.com culinairemagazine.ca


Flavours of B.C.’s Naramata Bench

Wine Stage January 26, 2013 7:30 pm Devonian Gardens, 324 8th Avenue SW, Calgary. Tickets: $115

Thursday, February 28, 2013 7:00 pm Willow Park Wines & Spirits, 10801 Bonaventure Drive SE, Calgary. Tickets: $95

One of the highlights of the monthlong High Performance Rodeo Festival, this event is often dubbed “Calgary’s Most Dramatic Wine Event”. This annual fundraiser for One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre celebrates its fourteenth year in 2013 and, for the first time, will be held in the newly renovated Devonian Gardens downtown.

A presentation of Alberta Theatre Projects and the Naramata Bench Wineries Association, this ATP fundraiser showcases wines from some of the two dozen wineries located along Okanagan Lake just northeast of Penticton, B.C. Enjoy these unique wines along with farm fresh food, live music and a silent auction. www.atplive.com/Events/ Flavours_ Naramata.html

Sample wines from some of the city’s finest wine merchants including Banff Wine Store, Bin 905, J. Webb Wine Merchant, Kensington Wine Market, Metrovino, Richmond Hill Wines and Vinestone Wine Co., while enjoying culinary creations from a selection of local restaurants. www.hprodeo.ca/2013/wine-stage Photography by Ben Laird

Win two tickets to Flavours of B.C.’s Naramata Bench! Yes, you and a guest can win tickets to the Flavours of B.C’s Naramata bench by simply telling us your most memorable experience sharing a bottle of wine in 200 words or less! The story could be funny/ heartwarming/scandalous - anything, as long as it’s interesting! To enter go to

culinairemagazine.ca and click on “Contests”. We can’t wait to hear from you! 8 • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Winefest Calgary February 22-23, 2013 Stampede Park Big Four Building. Tickets: $68-$85 Friday, February 22, 7:00-10:00 pm Saturday, February 23: Afternoon Session: 2:00 pm-5:00 pm. Evening Session: 7:00 pm-10:00 pm Winefest Calgary is an all-inclusive event where the consumer meets the wine expert as they sample their way around the Big Four Building. In addition, enjoy a selection of hors d’oeuvres during one of the three tasting sessions, or purchase your favourites at the on-site Liquor Depot store. Each ticket includes a Tasting Notebook and a complimentary wine glass. Edmonton Winefest is held at the Shaw Conference Centre, February 15-16. Tickets range from $65-$80. www.celebratewinefest.com/calgary www.celebratewinefest.com/edmonton

New Tech for The New Year New Cross-Canada Restaurant App for Business Travellers

New Local Business Site with Added Deals and Discounts

Ten top Canadian restaurant critics have created the country’s first restaurant app for the business traveller - Eat Canada: Dining in Downtown Canada. There are 20 restaurants and bars featured in each of 11 cities, chosen by professionals who know the food scene in their cities: Vancouver, New Social Media Platform to Celebrate Wine, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax Food & Friends and St. John’s, and you can sort by distance or Have you noticed how everyone price. photographs meals and wine bottles at You can check opening hours, cuisines, the table these days? Now there’s a brand noise levels, corkage, private rooms, outdoor new free social media “pin board” that dining, price ranges, credit cards and contact celebrates and shares “what’s on your details, get directions from your location and table” - great wine and delicious food. even make a reservation with the OpenTable VINPIN.com allows you to create and system. You can also track which restaurants manage your own personal wine collection you’ve visited and keep notes on your within your custom online Tables. Take favourites. pictures of your favourite wines, share The app has been built for iPhones and what you paired it with and never again iPads and is available through the App Store forget the name of that great bottle you for $9.99. Check out www.forcegrind.com/ enjoyed at a gathering last week. Also add eatcanada for more details. your comments, and store it on your Table! “When you think of it, we all eat, and most of us drink alcohol in social settings; not always the fancy juice, sometimes the affordable yet great value wines. In most cases we want to capture and share these experiences on our smart phones with friends and family” says VINPIN creator Corey Wood. The difference between VINPIN and other platforms is that you don’t have to hunt through a thousand categories of interests to get to the wine – it’s just wine! VINPIN can be found at www.vinpin.com. Watch out for the mobile app, arriving soon!

Skyhooq helps you find local businesses and services quickly and effectively, and receive relevant discounts, coupons and deals at the time you’re looking. This free interactive site also includes helpful decision-making factors such as weather, traffic conditions, directions, reviews and ratings, photos of the establishments, etc and heads up on special deals in your area. You can be one of the first to find out when your preferred merchants have new deals or products; you’ll want to know when your local pub is bringing in your favourite band and offering wings at 10 cents! You can search by address, postal code, area of the city, or just the city name itself. You can even enter phrases like “I’m hungry” or “I’m bored.” Skyhooq is smart and will understand you are probably looking for food or want to find a place to have some fun! Shyhooq is free to join and users also benefit from:

Posting reviews and ratings. Tell your local businesses how they are doing, good or bad, so they can meet your expectations and standards in the future. How can they improve if you don’t tell them how?

Getting in on the swag. Skyhooq regularly runs promotions, campaigns, prize draws and contests for registered users to participate and win cool gifts.

Go to www.skyhooq.com to try it for yourself!



Ask Culinaire: Romantic Restaurants By Heather Hartmann

out ock it l n k o t ke ea really liat offer a m d I’ d n h t p, a nd ming u u recommecasion? o c e t o c lo ny l da speciastaurants caver y specia y r e the v e a r a r ,’ from ility t h ig I have park. What suitable fo b n ‘date availa of theatmosphere reams the largest food is c s m f o o and the ality o enu, t Vin Ro

u pas m the q dge in ure of ry nat re the all-ta city. While e a slight e articular, e v e p iv e Th to sha s in th s, I’d g Mission. In e with hance y the glas h location ow id c h in s l y ly a t b er, eeb a xac bot rigin and e algary has d of win nt across the o u can sit sid n the summ , o g t t in t n e e t a o e .I y ake, C chant u’re d consis e departm irs where y anquettes W is prett rant ho yo trying to m ntee an en m, S c a b t t w n au s e d t a g s e p e r e m u n e in t a r e ro shio the able rth S pend sion you’r ually guar etween th u t f u c e o a o e of t D r F e : e o r t e s b e sid velv king gestiv ask f h o n g t , o u lo Answ f an impre hat can vir vourites s r n e e t e a tio ov or o fa st your d ftop patio Aspen loca ller and m much r of choice ree of my he bill. a o e o h t m h r t e s t t t b e fi e is th t. A ce will e ar num o bea ntran g. Her e that hard t ft of the e evenin uld find on le ho lled to the ate meal. you s khouse ss-wa the a im la t lgary. g e t in e S o an is SE, Ca r in th er) t e h ’s w u it o C n ( t T e n e r a ry Av Ruth’s e eleg osphe Calga 5 9th g atm oor of the re few mor is is the 94, 11 in 2 : z a e s fl r a er h om ou the am e second th’s C , there s bett hris.c teakh From 4 hris S ww.ruthsc ervice ropose, Ru ctually get r n th s C o d ’s a 1 787 n h d t a o Ru 36 w 03 27 t to p in that it a e to ask f 6 rotun able food 4 n 3 . a y 6 r w 4 c y, lga ou e sur 403 2 W, Ca impec round. If y commodit ter. Make rmth of th ng nue S m a li a e e in k r s v 2 w w a e in A r c e w 9 in th pla st 7, 7 552 .co rse lso a t from icicle light owing, 01 45 sh: 20 restaurant . It’s a er gets wo u 4 u e . o R y c r g la a n in p he ys alg .rush - look weath with t it’s actuall e. For SW, C www as the with a view h Avenue b treet If S lo l. , 4 g a n , a ic t 0 1 g ow m m: 23 a table nt over Nin ghts is ma e a sn loving ra in Roo room.com tli g insid ss a meatu V e a e in t r e s t s b e r e e re .vin en th it’s lik o imp www betwe better, as g a date t in en it’s ev f you plann liver. o de e ly s e o it h t n , ill defi n fact this w way. I f o g d in nin n eve ond k mes B er before a for Casino a J , ic Rush d ch pp for su y, in a heade he place t ry sex r fect spot you aren’t e e v b t is ay no sed up and Rush he pe g, even if t m e it b in y so ht es it mig ing or gam r-intimate, g to get dr rounded b r c e ch u in n p s n o a u e e r g s d of not u’re u’ll b ary F d has r o o ’s y t o y I t p . if a t Royale posal, bu ure bet th he contem uences, an n ro .T fl O as for a p ulous, it’s lish people anadian in f Ray Bear. e, b C y g e a t f n h g s c u n k y o loo equall atures str ted by new sic in the lo t e le u f a a d u m v men also en up atures live here’s tly be lgary recen ds, Rush fe mbience. T n chilly Ca n o a e week dds to the y welcome a er which which is v , e ic v ser ts. r nigh winte e ith th om ded w Woods. o n a R p x in e V Aspen al just origin location in y r a lg a nd This C a seco ing of n e p o


If you have a question regarding anything related to dining, beverages, events, cooking and ingredients, our experts are here with answers. Visit us at culinairemagazine.ca, click on “Contact Us” and ask away! We hope to hear from you soon!

A Truck Load Of Comfort - Perogy Boyz By Dan Clapson If there’s one thing worse than the dead of winter, it’s a lack of comfort food. Luckily for diners around town, one of Calgary’s original gangsters (when it comes to the food truck revolution, not an actual gangster) is here to keep you full. The boyz owner, Curtis Berry, was raised a bonafide perogy lover. “As a good Ukrainian who grew up on hand-pinched perogies, [this was] the immediate choice for a food truck.” he explains, “Perogies are what I know, what I love, and you can usually only get them around the holidays. I wanted to change that, hence ‘Perogies to the People!’” His truck has been rolling since late summer 2011, and the menu, offering anything from the traditional potato cheddar or sweet carrot cake perogies to a borscht any Baba would approve of, can hit the spot at any time of year. Along with bringing these pockets of potato-y goodness ‘to the people’, Berry and his team are also for the people. “We have done events for 20 people as well as events for 200!” Berry points out, “We have

done weddings and customer appreciation days...We plan on being around for the long haul and without these contacts and relationships we would be just another truck.” With the amount of competition that’s growing in Calgary’s food truck scene, it’s important to stay on top of your game.

‘Perogies to the People!’ “There is definitely a loyal base with people’s favourite [truck].” Berry says, “Sometimes it’s us and sometimes it’s not, but I always enjoy hearing others’ experiences.” There’s no doubt that Perogy Boyz remains a stand-out in the city because of its Ukrainian-inspired offerings. Pizza and sandwich trucks may be a dime a dozen (not saying that they can’t be delicious) these days. So it goes without saying that finding a niche and running, er, driving with it is can be the key to success.

With the new year comes some new changes within Perogy Boyz; original partners Brendan and Shawn Greenwood of Taste are no longer involved with the truck due to a new business venture, but Perogy Boyz will happily continue to truck along. “The food truck business has been a great learning experience for me and I have learned many things along the way.” says Berry, “I think the most important thing I have learned is that people want quality ingredients, reasonable prices and food served in a timely fashion.” Like any good restaurateur, on wheels or grounded, he couldn’t be more right. Though most of the menu will be changing very soon, the boyz will no doubt continue to satisfy. Also, in case you’re wondering, Berry promises that their signature bacon gravy is here to stay, as is the borscht. Phew! To have a peek at The Perogy Boyz new menu and for event bookings, head to perogyboyz.com. If you’re jonesin’ for some eats right this minute, then find the truck on twitter, @perogyboyz, to see where they’re headed today. culinairemagazine.ca

• 11

I am often accused of being passionate about a product because of the people. I return home from a trip so excited about a wine discovery, not because it is the best wine out there, but because I met the person who grew the grapes and more than likely, that person decided to change their life, maybe move from a high-stress job to run the family business, follow their passion and find time for things that matter to them. So it should be no surprise that when I started my assignment to find the best “diner burger” in Calgary, it became more about the people than the burger. To me, the epitome of comfort food is a juicy mound of protein, smothered with cheese and preferably topped with bacon. We are fortunate in Calgary to have a bevy of restaurants cooking up fantastic burgers, but the diners I visited have more than great food - they have a story. Despite being very different, all three have a few commonalities: 1) they are family owned and operated 2) they were inspired by a child 3) the owners are passionate about quality products 4) advertising dollars support their communities

I began my journey with Naina’s Kitchen in the southeast industrial area near Crossroads Market. Listed as number one on Burgerquest, I had to check it out for myself. Erin Mueller started the restaurant in October 2010; a single mother of a young daughter, she needed a place to bring Maren to work. Educated in business and hospitality, a little formal training as a chef, and experienced in food services in Dubai, she seized the opportunity to buy an existing restaurant and fulfill her dream. With the help of her mother (Naina means grandma in Welsh), she succeeded in opening her diner, keeping her daughter at her side despite her long hours.

With a variety of home-cooked breakfast and lunch options, her undisputed claim to fame is the stuffed burger. Starting with half a pound of ground beef, she fills it with either one topping or two or more. My tasting sidekick and I opted to share her suggestion of sun dried tomatoes, bacon, spinach, caramelized onions, mozza and cheddar cheese. Yup - messy, but worth every dribble of juice running down our fingers! Next up, Angel’s Drive In in Bowness, whose tagline is “experience a heavenly taste”, is named after the owner’s daughter. Bowness Dairy Bar since 1954, owner Zaher Najjar bought the restaurant in 1999. Educated as

Burger Tales Story and photography by BJ Oudman


Zaher is focused on quality. He serves only what he and his children would eat and sources products before everything is made on site, from scratch and to order. Ground beef from a local butcher (he will soon be moving to natural beef ), homemade sauces, and milkshakes made from soft ice cream and no mixes (he would not let us leave without trying one and our rubber arms twisted easily) - you can taste his passion for quality ingredients in every bite.

an engineer, he comes by burgers honestly - his family emigrated from Lebanon and ran Burger Baron in Raymond. Angel’s is a genuine retro diner, from three tableside jukeboxes, LP’s decorating the ceiling, to the retro prices! At a table in the spotless and welcoming space on a snowy Calgary day, we are served lunch - mozzarella bacon burger and mushroom cheddar burger along with a sampler plate of sides; deepfried mushrooms are his “don’t ever take it off the menu” item for many regulars.

is usually out the door. A popular brunch destination (the breakfast poutine sounded amazing), we were there for the burgers. Shayne suggested we share the monthly burger special – Alberta lamb with raisins, apricot ginger stilton, curry mayo and cilantro mint pesto - and the Dairy Lane burger topped with Gruyere cheese and bacon, both served on fresh onion kaiser buns with a crisp pickle. For those without carnivore tendencies, the vegan and glutenfree options on the menu are extensive too!

And what started off as a Foothills Street Club hangout, trended into a Wednesday weekly “chat room” for car buffs of any make or vintage. Zaher states everything from a Lotus to a 1956 Belair has parked in his lot while the owners share ideas and a burger. The next time you drive by, don’t let the exterior fool you - pull over! Our last stop - Dairy Lane in West Hillhurst. Chronologically, it should have been our first. The second oldest restaurant in Calgary (the oldest is the Palliser), it opened in 1950 as a Mom & Pop DQ. But it was a serendipitous beginning for owners Shayne Perrin and his wife Jodi, who took over in 2003. Living in the neighbourhood and stopping in for a milkshake on her way home, Jodi overheard the owners, the Highbanks Society, discuss selling. Despite the interest of other capable parties, Highbanks believed in community, and the Perrins had that to offer. A ten month old at home and working as a bartender was not the life Shayne envisioned. Hard work resulted in success by the end of year one and he has not looked back; he opened Blue Star Diner in Bridgeland in November 2011. Tiny space that it is (less than 600 square feet including the kitchen and ten tables for two), it is no wonder that the line-up

From Crystal Creek beef to celery-cured bacon from Hutterites, products are sourced and relationships are developed to make it more than about the food. The food is fantastic, but passion for strengthening their community - suppliers, staff, regulars and locals - these connections elevate flavours to another level. Leaving us to savour the food, Shayne chauffeurs a server to the free weekly staff yoga class (run by his wife at a local yoga studio). Now that’s comfort. Naina’s Kitchen: 8, 2808 Ogden Road SE, Calgary. 403 263 6355 nainaskitchen.com Angel’s Drive In: 8603, 47 Avenue NW, Calgary. 403 288 1009 angelsdrivein.com Dairy Lane: 319v 19 Street NW, Calgary. 403 283 2497 dairylanecafe.ca culinairemagazine.ca

• 13

China is a country with a multi-millennia culinary history and diverse ethnic enclaves, and so doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a sole dish, flavour or iconic style that clearly defines its cuisine. Each region still retains a distinct style defined by the available resources, reflecting the tastes of the local people.

14 â&#x20AC;˘ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Many ethnic Chinese, and chefs who have spent time immersed in Chinese culture, make a common observation; “the further west you go, the shinier Chinese food gets” which means the less likely it is to represent actual Chinese food. Most stereotypical Chinese dishes were only created within the last century, purely in the western countries, where emigrated Chinese chefs adapted ingredients that were familiar and identifiable to western pallets and patrons. China is a country with a multi-millennia culinary history and diverse ethnic enclaves, and so doesn’t have a sole dish, flavour or iconic style that clearly defines its cuisine. Each region still retains a distinct style defined by the available resources, reflecting the tastes of the local people. As you move from north to south, the growing climate dictates a change from wheat to rice. As you head west from the coast, the primary protein switches from seafood to domesticated meat and game meat. The local abundance or lack of herbs and spices due to the fertility in the land, dictates the individual flavours. Over time, four major styles of cooking have emerged which have influenced all Chinese cuisines. • Beginning with Shandong cuisine: a hallmark of the northern style and probably one of the most influential cuisines in of China and throughout Asia. Their access to

grains, corn, seafood and vegetables allows them amazing flexibility in constructing their meals. Shandong cuisine is often summarized as Imperial or Beijing style, but also encompasses the far northern regions, including Inner Mongolia and the borders of North Korea. The climate in northern China is much like our climate here in Canada. Harsh winters and mild summers promote the growing of wheat, pickling of vegetables and the use of game animals. This makes the region famous for their winter hot pots, braised meats, rich and heavy noodle broths, and steamed buns. This is also where the world-renowned “Peking Duck” originated; roasted duck skin wrapped in extremely thin and delicate crepes with cucumber and green onion. • The traditionally wealthy Shanghai area produces the complex Su cuisine. As Shanghai was a major port city and gateway to the rest of the world, much of China’s riches passed through this area, allowing a wider range of ingredients and more complex techniques to emerge. Shanghai is well known for the gelatin soup dumplings, “xiao long bao” (or “sio lon mendou” to locals) as well as an array of steamed, baked and fried dumplings. • The Szechuan area, in the southwest interior of China, utilizes fertile lands to produce a wide array of foodstuffs. It is most famous for its use of gastro-intestinally destructive chilies and peppers in such

dishes such as mapo tofu, dan dan noodles and the tongue numbing Szechuan hot pot. Even though Szechuan cuisine is known for its spice, much of their cuisine isn’t nuclear in its composition. “Tea Smoked Duck” or “zhangcha” duck that uses tea leaves and camphor along with natural duck fat to create a powerful flavour, is a well known and sought after dish for special occasions. • Notwithstanding the climate similarities, Cantonese cuisine is the most commonly eaten Chinese cuisine in Canada. The vast number of immigrants from southern China, primarily from the Guangdong region (which used to be called Canton, hence the term Cantonese) via Hong Kong and Singapore, allowed this form of Chinese cuisine to spread all across the globe. As Guangdong was a port and trading area, they had a wide range of ingredients at their disposal, much like Shanghai. Use of steaming and stir-frying is prevalent in Cantonese dishes in order to focus on preserving the natural flavours of the ingredients. The use of small dried shrimp, salted fish, black bean paste and salted or preserved duck egg is signature to Cantonese cuisine. For many Cantonese chefs, the use of herbs other than scallions and garlic is kept to a minimum, in order not to complicate the palate of the diner. Focus on the unadulterated mixture of natural flavours to create a complex flavour that is still light on the palate, is the goal of southern cooking.

The Long Red Chopsticks by Gabriel Hall


• 15

There are a few other notable styles that differ greatly from the main four, primarily due to their distance from the major centers in the east. • Uyghur cuisine, which is also referred to by its provincial name, “Xinjiang” derives from the far north western reaches of China. Because of its proximity to its Islamic neighbours like Kazakhstan and the disputed region of Kashmir, the food is often halal and bears more resemblance to Arabic and Indian dishes than from eastern China. A typical Xinjiang meal can consist of mutton kebabs, yoghurt and honey accompanied by naan-style bread that often incorporates various seeds and spices. Cumin and red chili peppers are used as the main seasonings in this region. Not only does the food vary wildly, so do the eating habits. Chopsticks are rarely used in this region, as many prefer to eat using their hands or using bread to mop up and scoop up rice and meat. • Tibetan cuisine is another example of combining the better of two cultures. Barley flour is the staple in this region, which is then used to produce breads and noodles. Vegetables and meat are used in steamed buns, soups and stews that often include yoghurt, butter and cheese. These are rarely seen, and even more rarely used, in the four major styles. Chopsticks and bowls are used in this region as opposed to fingers and platters that their Xinjian neighbours to the north, and their Nepalese and Indian neighbours to the south, prefer. The four major styles can generally be found in the western world, but it is rare to see some of the other Chinese cuisines in Canada due to the lack of native ingredients, herbs and spices, and our ability to replicate them well. Not to mention, the fact that they might fail the Canadian palate test. It is impossible to pigeonhole “Chinese food” into one set of dishes, the use of a few ingredients, techniques, or ideologies. As its flavours and techniques vary as widely as its people, creating a single qualifier would be like trying to define Canadian or American cuisine. Poutine? Burgers? Just like we have depth beyond those two stereotypes, China is much more than pork fried rice or the roast duck hanging in the restaurant window. So what is that mysterious “authentic” Chinese food? Well, it is very difficult to define authenticity, as one has to spend years if not decades acquainting oneself with the endless regional nuances. Perhaps ginger beef is authentic in the sense that Chinese food already spans so many different styles and cultures, accepting another regional specialty that has evolved from the mother cuisine may be not be so revolutionary. Or perhaps, some traditions were never meant to be tampered with.


Chef’s Tips (and Tricks!) Story and photography by Fred Malley CCC Photograph of Heather Gould-Hawke by Jason Dziver

Heather Gould-Hawke, Design District Urban Pub Heather Gould-Hawke is at the helm of gastro pub Design District Urban Pub. And Brew Brothers is right next door; they have their products on tap and in the kitchen for cooking. How many pubs can you go to and order Arctic char, Nobelford duck and fresh oysters? Of course they have the burger with aged cheddar, BLT, pulled pork and a charcuterie (duck or salami, cured musk ox) and cheese selection that you order à la carte. Of course, they make their own bacon - no shortage in sight - Heather has her own producer. She is a firm believer in knowing where your food comes from. She grew up on a self-sufficient farm where they raised and harvested everything. “‘It was part of the culture”, she explains.

Urban Pub Crab Cakes 225 g Crab meat, squeezed 1 stalk Celery, brunoise (fine dice) 1/3 Red pepper, brunoise ¼ Red onion, brunoise 225 mL (1 cup) cooked brown rice 175 mL (3/4 cup) Panko crumbs 2 Eggs, beaten 1 Lemon, juiced 1 Lemon, zested 60 mL (1/4 cup) Mayonnaise To taste Kosher salt To taste Black pepper

What is comfort food? Comfort food to Heather is that which “warms the heart and belly. Mac and cheese or a homestyle burger. The things that grandma made from scratch when I was growing up spaetzle, braised red cabbage and sauerbraten. Memories from the past create comfort.” Cooking at home, when she is there, means having lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, spices for baking (cinnamon and cardamom) and chicken. Her peeve is one that many in the hospitality industry share - how people in Canada perceive culinary professionals. Her travels in Europe confirm that there is respect there for food and the people who grow and prepare it. Another interesting thought was her observation that we are moving away from organic. In the meantime, she shares a recipe for crab cakes that is on the menu.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Form crab cakes (makes 18 x 55 g) Panfry in butter over medium heat until golden. Serve with a light salad and your favourite dressing. Note: These freeze well.


• 17

Aaron Creurer, Red Tree Kitchen Red Tree Kitchen has been a destination in Marda Loop for 12 years. Founder/Creative, Aaron Creurer, started some years before on his own, but fortune would bring Susan Hopkins on board as a business partner. Together, they have built a thriving business on both the catering side and home meal replacement. The selection in the display

case included braised short ribs, lasagne, quinoa cakes and an array of colourful, healthful salads and desserts too.

What is comfort food? Comfort food to Aaron is very much, “What do I feel like at the moment and what will make me happy.’ He takes a seasonal approach to his favourites, French and Moroccan in the fall and winter, and Asian and Mediterranean in the spring and summer. A big fan of braising and simmering, he prefers earthy flavours, as the recipe for Wild Rice Salad he is sharing, demonstrates. Aaron is a proponent of local, seasonal and sustainable, much like many of the chefs of today. His philosophy is straightforward, ‘Simply beautiful food’.

Favourite ingredients for Aaron are cumin, pomegranate molasses and good balsamic. Oh, and he likes lots of red wine, to savour in front of the fireplace. Moroccan-inspired lamb shanks were a seven-year favourite on the menu, but alas, they have joined the ranks of luxury food and are by special order only. You can still get the Banana bread with peanut butter mousse. A challenge to the suppliers in the Calgary: “‘Why can’t you find nice frisée in the city”? His other peeve is not having a gas range in his condo. Asked where he sees food trends heading, he says, “Smaller desserts and back to the basics”, and with a laugh, “upscale granola”. With the Christmas rush beginning when we chatted, they are already planning the Valentine’s menu. You have to pre-order and you can get the flowers too while you are there.

Red Tree Kitchen Wild Rice Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette Serves 4-6

250 g (1 cup) Wild rice 200 g (1 cup) Butternut squash, cubed 3 mL (½ tsp) Olive oil 1 mL (pinch) Salt 25 g (2 Tbs) Red onion, finely chopped 2 mL (½ tsp) Thyme, fresh 85 g Dried apricots 85 g Dried cranberry 30 g (1 cup) Fresh spinach leaves


Cook the wild rice by simmering uncovered in 750 mL (3 cups) water or stock. When kernels burst, drain excess liquid and cool.


Sauté the squash in olive oil until tender, season with salt and cool.


Combine rice and squash and add remaining ingredients, mix well and refrigerate.

Honey citrus vinaigrette Pinch Black pepper ½ Lemon, juiced 20 mL (4 tsp) Red wine vinegar 10 mL (2 tsp) Olive oil 10 mL (2 tsp) Canola oil 25 mL (2 Tbs) Honey pinch Cayenne 1 clove Garlic, grated 30 mL (2 Tbs) Rice vinegar 2 mL (¼ tsp) Salt


Bob Matthews, La Chaumière One may not think of La Chaumière when considering comfort food, but the clientele keep returning faithfully.

What is comfort food? Chef/co-owner Bob Matthews recalls “the childhood meal that mom made. The smell of cooking when you came home; a roast chicken with lemon and tarragon, in the oven”. He recently spent the summer in France, on a property with a hedge of rosemary and beehives. ”The honey was like an epiphany”, Bob says. Besides honey, Bob appreciates good olive oil and Maldon Sea Salt. Bob has always had a bit of a travel bug. As a young Olympic cyclist, he completed his culinary training at SAIT and worked at La Chaumière. A bit of moving and he ended up in Asia, returning to Canada 12 years ago when the opportunity presented itself to become a partner with Joseph de Angelis. The food quality attests for itself and Bob’s mantra is ‘Fresh’. He firmly believes you shouldn’t overwork the food and you need to know where it comes from. He doesn’t like menus that read like a book or people who have forgotten how to eat and take time to enjoy food; you know, the ones who shovel it in as fast as possible. Meals are family time to be shared and appreciated. Valentine’s came up in the conversation. It’s a well-prepared menu and even with two seatings, it is booking up. Reserve quickly if you want to impress your other half.

Roast Chicken with Lemon and Tarragon Serves 4 to 6

15 g (1 ½ Tbs + sprigs) Tarragon, chopped 25 g (5 cloves) Garlic, crushed 30 mL (2 Tbs) Olive oil ½ Lemon, zested & quartered 1 Fryer chicken, large 60 mL (1/4 cup) White wine 225 mL (1 cup) Chicken broth 10 mL (2 tsp) Flour To taste Salt & black pepper Preheat oven to 425º F. Mix tarragon, garlic, olive oil and lemon zest. Stuff the body cavity with quartered lemon and tarragon sprigs. Truss chicken. Rub ¾ of the tarragon/zest mixture onto the chicken and place chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast chicken for 20 minutes and turn oven down to 375º F. Roast until thermometer in thigh reads 170º F, approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Lift the chicken and tilt to drain juices into roasting pan, then place chicken on platter and tent with foil while resting. Meanwhile, remove excess fat from pan drippings. Add the white wine and simmer while scraping the bottom to dissolve the drippings. Mix the flour with remaining herb mix and whisk in to the simmering liquid. Simmer for 2 minutes, while carving the chicken. Season the juice to taste and serve with the chicken.


• 19

Striking Oil… Liquid Gold Story and photography by Natalie Findlay


“Once someone tries a real extra virgin... it’s distinctive, complex, the freshest thing you’ve ever eaten... But there has to be a first time. Somehow we have to get those first drops of real extra virgin oil into their mouths, to break them free from the habituation to bad oil.” This is a quote from Tom Mueller’s, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

possible. Bruce and Courtney of Blue Door Oil and Vinegar, love interacting with people, getting them to taste the oils, and seeing their reactions to the depth of flavour that real olive oils have, unlike most of the grocery store brands. ‘It’s always a joy to watch the realization of what a good quality olive oil tastes like, on somebody’s face’, says

The winter season cries out for some of the more robust flavours, such as dark chocolate balsamic and chipotle EVOO. This combination could be added to a chili or a creamy chocolate ice cream. The honey, ginger white balsamic and Persian lime EVOO would be great with a stir fry or drizzled over a cheesecake. A hearty winter stew will embrace a deeper flavour with the addition of the espresso balsamic and blood orange EVOO, and you can also add these to your favourite chocolate brownie recipe. Sautéed white beans in garlic EVOO and drizzled with jalapeño balsamic will provide just the right amount of heat. There are even butter EVOOs which tastes exactly like butter and would be great spritzed on popcorn.

Now Calgary has such places; to taste, to learn and to discover the nuances that make up true extra-virgin olive oil, also known as “EVOO”. Blue Door Oil and Vinegar has recently opened at 8561 8A Avenue SW. Proprietors Bruce and Courtney Gillis fell in love with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and the store concept, while on a vacation in Halifax. There is also Oliv Tasting Room, located at 100-1130 Kensington Road NW, founded by Awie and Isabeau du Toit. They took their love and passion to create a place where we can go to be a part of that excitement, and purchase great olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

The fusion of the oils and the balsamics give great flavour to your meals. Make your own combination and flavour profiles for the way you cook, so you can have your own fusion kitchen. The Blue Door Oil and Vinegar store also carries flavoured sea salts and these can really kick up your meal. There are many different flavoured oils and balsamic combinations available to try. Check out their websites to discover new recipes and events.

Real extra-virgin olive oils are clean and pure. Tastes range from mild, with just a hint of bite that tickles the back of the throat, to a deep and robust green grass taste. It’s fascinating to taste the olive oils and notice the differences between the olives and regions. Sensations can be dramatic, so it’s worth spending the time to discover the flavours of each oil. At Blue Door Oil and Vinegar, olive oils are held in stainless steal vats, called fusti, that are airtight and keep out the sunlight - two of the main factors in degradation of the olive oil. The third factor is time. Olive oils have a shelf life of twelve to eighteen months, and after this time the quality and taste decline. Olive oil contains polyphenols, the naturally occurring antioxidants that contribute to its astringent taste and health benefits. The olive oil is poured directly from the fusti when you make your purchase. The front of each fusti has a description of the oil containing details of the country of origin, crush date to validate the freshness, and a description of the flavour profile and it’s chemistry. Oliv Tasting Room has their recently poured oils in beautiful dark glass bottles for you to pick up at any time. The dark glass helps to keep sunlight from penetrating the glass and altering the taste. Olive oils should be kept out of the fridge and away from sunlight to preserve the taste and health benefits for as long as

The real fun begins when you discover the flavoured oils and balsamics they have to offer. Both stores carry many different and interesting combinations. The concept of the stores is to taste and find the flavours you like, and add additional flavours as you build your cooking repertoire. They will provide you with recommendations for your menu, both savory and sweet, or you can try different flavours until you find the perfect match.

Both Blue Door Oil and Vinegar and Oliv Tasting Room carry quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They also offer great service and the ability to interact with the food that you want to purchase. You can taste everything in the stores, so stop by and indulge and upgrade your taste buds to what great quality olive oils taste like. Courtney. Oliv Tasting Room’s staff will take you on a world tour of olive oil regions to help you expand your knowledge and taste profile of quality olive oils. Both Oliv Tasting Room and Blue Door carry balsamic vinegars aged up to 18 years and certified from Modena, Italy. They each have a traditional dark balsamic, which is fruity and savoury, and a white balsamic that has a citrusy taste. There are also balsamics that are infused with different flavours, such as peaches, honey and ginger, and vanilla.

Blue Door Oil and Vinegar: 8561 8A Avenue SW, Calgary. Tel: 587-353-6888 Monday to Saturday 10:00am-8:00pm, Sunday 12:00pm-7:00pm www.bluedoorcalgary.com

Oliv Tasting Room:
 100-1130 Kensington Road NW,
 Tel: 587-352 6050
 Mon-Fri 10:00am-6:00pm,
Sat 10:00am5:00pm,
Sun 1:00 pm-5:00pm www.olivtastingroom.com culinairemagazine.ca

• 21

What screams comfort food more than homemade soup? Well in my mind it is not the soup made at the Soup Sisters events, but the camraderie in the kitchens that comforts me. It is the volunteers who make the soup-making possible, they are my hallelulah.

I am a Soup Sister volunteer and I love every moment. Each and every volunteer brings a different background and as we set up the ingredients and the equipment for soup-making that evening, we talk about other things (usually a Sunday, so a little more interesting than just work). The same volunteers appear again and again despite busy lives and schedules, so we get to know each other. The dedication to Soup Sisters impresses me. We meet any challenges with wit and laughter. The soup-makers arrive and we are ready. Soup Sisters was started here just over three years ago by Calgarian, Sharon Hapton. The story has now been told many times, Sharon was celebrating a milestone birthday and she gathered a group of girlfriends to make soup. The soup made that night was delivered to the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter the next morning and the concept was born. Soup Sisters provides bowls of nourishing soup every month to shelters, to nurture and support those affected by domestic abuse and family violence. Little has changed in the process over the last three years, but the amount of soup made has. Soup Sisters is now in ten cities across Canada in fifteen different locations (culinary partners), and making over 8,000 bowls of soup each month for the various shelters.

Soup Sisters

Unplugged By Karen Miller


Sharon has received a Woman of Distinction award from the YMCA and in 2011 was named a Chatelaine Woman of the Year.You know what they say (or they should anyway) - behind every good woman is a great team of volunteers. Sharon herself will tell you the only special thing she has done is surround herself with an amazing group of dedicated and accomplished women and men. She says the volunteers across the country have become very special people in her life. Some volunteers have been with Sharon since the beginning. Others join as they become aware of the organization and some soup-makers become volunteers themselves. When asked what she feels the volunteers mean to the organization Sharon responds, “I love that people approach me as complete strangers to start up a Soup Sisters in their own city and then meet others who approached me and this group of likeminded and wonderful women become coordinators for where they live and good friends”. The circle starts small and becomes large. Every evening starts with an introduction to the organization and a speaker from the shelter benefitting from the soup made that evening. Sharon’s voice, her demeanor and calm presence exude comfort and a nurturing feeling. I often make the same presentation

and feel I am selling it, not because I have to but because it impresses me. The stories from the shelters change, the gratitude they have for those taking the time to come and make the soup does not. There is no one volunteer who stands out, there are many. I first met Carolyn, the administrative wiz who does just about anything, setting up for my first stint as a guest chef. She has worked the recipes used into the scale needed for the big pots made each evening, she books the groups and organizes them to get the most out of the event. Sylvia and Michelle are always vivacious and bubbly whether they are weighing carrots or carrying heavy bins of soup containers down flights of stairs. And Erin and Brian, quiet and inquisitive, are always willing to take second stage. I am in awe of these personalities. No one is looking for the spotlight but rather always willing to help. Even the guest chefs, who volunteer their time with an opportunity to promote themselves, instead show the group how to chop an onion, crush garlic or simple knife skills. The evening proceeds and soup is made. Sharon feels the Soup Sisters vision is infinite and wherever there is a shelter there should be a Soup Sisters to let the women and children know people care and are part of their fight against domestic abuse and family violence. I have always said the sad part of all this is there are shelters everywhere. But Soup Sisters is part of the solution and there are caring people everywhere also. She will keep growing in Canada and hopes to expand with a non-profit franchise model for the United States. The big pots of soup are simmering and waiting to be ladled into containers with labels written in hand by the group. Now they sit down and enjoy a bowl of soup together. The banter is lively and the group is always amazed at how easy it was when working together, to make as much soup as they do. Sharon calls this “friendraising” or truly “a hug in a bowl”. The soup is ladled, the pots are washed and we all go home feeling good.

Italian Lentil with Sausage By Shari Miller, Soup Sister Makes about 4 servings 1 onion, diced 1 carrot, peeled and diced 1 stalk celery, diced 30 mL (2 Tbs) olive oil 2 sweet or hot Italian sausages, casings removed, crumbled 1 clove garlic, minced or finely chopped 1.5 L (6 cups) chicken stock 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced 1 potato, peeled and diced 125 mL (1/2 cup) green lentils, rinsed To taste salt and pepper 60 mL (1/4 cup) parsley, finely chopped 1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until the onion is softened. 2. Add the crumbled sausage meat and the garlic. Sauté until the sausage is half-cooked. 3. Add the stock, tomatoes, potato and lentils. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to mediumlow. 4. Simmer uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 5. Ladle up a thick and chunky bowlful, and garnish with a playful scattering of parsley.

French Onion By Christine Straub, Soup Sister Makes 6 servings 45 mL (3 Tbs) unsalted butter 4 onions, peeled and diced 2 L (8 cups) beef stock 6 slices French bread, cut 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick 125 mL (1/2 cup) shredded Gruyere cheese 60 mL (1/4 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese To taste salt and pepper 1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions until well-browned, about 40 minutes. 2. Add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, until the onions are very tender, about 30 minutes. 3. While the soup simmers, preheat the oven to 425º F. Sprinkle the bread slices with lots of Gruyere, then top with parmesan. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and bake until they’re nice and golden and bubbly on top, about 5 minutes. 4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then ladle up a piping hot bowl of onion soup and top with a bubbly, cheesy round of toast. Give the bread a minute or two to soak up the action before eating. culinairemagazine.ca

• 23

What’s more daunting? Starting a brand new restaurant from nothing more than a concept and fighting for every ounce of success, or being handed the baton of one of Calgary’s most popular diners and being burdened with proving yourself to your loyal customers who expect nothing but the best each and every time? Last June, Chef James Waters was tasked with taking the reins of Diner Deluxe after the new ownership, who also run the Dell Café in Bowness, bought the rights to the brand and menu the diner had established. One of this city’s flagship diners, Diner Deluxe was practically an institution for the brunch brigade that lines up out their doors every weekend, year-round. Taking over any restaurant isn’t easy, but at least when you have a substantial and enthusiastic fan base, as Diner Deluxe has earned over the years, it gives you a big boost of momentum getting started, and that’s just what the owners were hoping for. “They (the owners) knew it was busy and popular so it was easy to make the purchase and get rolling rather than opening something on their own, and spending three years trying to gain business,” Chef Waters said. “The tough part about it was picking it up on June 1st,” Waters added. “June to September is the busy time for us. We’re lined up almost every day. It was definitely an eye-opener to do 300 covers the first day of work.” The restaurant earned most of its loyal customers by consistently offering top-notch diner fare done in their signature retro style, but as is the tendency with any new chef or ownership group, you want to put your own stamp on things. We’re all familiar with the perils of re-inventing the wheel, but if a menu stays the same for too long, you risk boring your customers. How then, do you decide whether to stick with what made you a success to begin with when trying to raise the bar? “We took some of their recipes and procedures, used them for the first little bit and then started tweaking things,” Waters said. “There was some uproar about a few things. They had a big sprig of rosemary on each plate and we took that away. We changed the hash browns a little bit, going to a smaller cut. We got accused of using frozen product after that.” New menu items will either be a hit or miss, but before messing with favourites, such as the crowd-pleasing Eggs Benedict and its irresistible Hollandaise sauce, Waters and his staff decided not rock the boat too much and to involve their customers in some of the menu changes, by inviting them to offer input. “We did a kind of poll with the customers whether to keep it on the sourdough bread or to go with the biscuit, and in the end the biscuit won with all the customers that ate it,” Waters said. “We’ve done that with a lot of the new items we’ve done. We can still do it the old way, we can always offer that, so we try to keep the old ways in mind but try to bring new flavours, new options and new choices.” What won’t be changing anytime soon are the aforementioned Bennies, fan-favourite Maple-fried Oatmeal, breakfast poutine and comfort food classic, Meatloaf. As is their style, Diner Deluxe puts a spin on Mom’s meatloaf serving it with a savoury red pepper jelly and Dijon mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and chive, alongside a trio of local seasonal vegetables.


Diner Love

A Spin On The Classics Story and photography by Cory Knibutat


â&#x20AC;˘ 25

“We’re finding at dinnertime we can play around a bit more,” Waters said. “More time, people are ready to sit, have a bit of wine or beer. It’s very straightforward stuff so we try to bring more technique into it.”

The breakfast poutine starts with their delicious hash browns, Quebec cheese curds and the must-have Hollandaise. “We see it on almost every plate now,” Waters said. “We have probably quadrupled our Hollandaise production because of that and we buy 50 pounds of cheese curds each weekend.” The Maple-fried oatmeal starts normal enough, taking your usual oatmeal flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and dried cranberries, but then, as they say, ‘The magic happens.’ “Our spin is to press it so you don’t have that soggy oatmeal we had as kids,” Waters said. “So we fry it in a bit of butter to get that crispiness and add to the texture, and we present it in our cast-iron, which is a fun way to do it. As the cast iron is hot we pour our vanilla cream over it, which gets bubbly and reduces. Then we have our lemon curd which is tangy and sweet, and of course top it with maple syrup.” Is your mouth watering yet? That’s the formula to how Diner Deluxe has been so consistently on top. A spin on the classics, for the most part, is what they find people are wanting more in a diner. “We might do something a little more high-end, a bit more out of the box but it doesn’t sell as well,” Waters said. “If we take a Reuben sandwich and put our spin on it, I find it sells a lot better.” No need to get too eccentric with plating designs either. You won’t ever order a meal that comes to your table deconstructed, leaving you to find all the king’s horses and men to put your food together before you eat. “We found in the first few months that they (customers) would rather have it fast, ready and hot, rather than pretty, awesome, wellstacked food,” Waters said. “Nobody really seems to mind about that. A lot of people are thinking, “I’m here for half-an-hour, give me some grub and I’ll be on my way.’” While the breakfast crowd remains their bread and butter, Diner Deluxe has taken aim at improving its menu for evening diners, with a lot of its new options more adventurous and elegant entrees, familiar enough to be known as diner food. The modest, yet varied, wine selection doesn’t hurt either.


“Basically, everyone’s had meatloaf before, so again, it’s doing the classics; ‘How can we cook something better than the next guy?’” That drive will help keep the bar raised at Diner Deluxe and help keep both old and new customers happy as they continue to evolve, while still staying true to what made them a hit to begin with. People have to come to know and love what Diner Deluxe has to offer, and hopefully won’t be as surprised to see a few changes to the menu. “For now we are super happy where it is but come the new year, we ‘re going to turn it up a notch,” Waters said. “You try to listen to as much feedback as you can because without the customers, there’s no point, right?” “In a way, it’s our restaurant and theirs,” Waters said. “We just want to let them know that we love everyone that’s around us, all the regular people that are here. It’s for them just as much as it’s for us.”

Diner Deluxe is at 804 Edmonton Trail NE, Calgary. 403 276-5499

Open To Invitation:

The World’s Largest Whisky Club By Andrew Ferguson The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was born in the Edinburgh kitchen of Phillip “Pip” Hills. Starting with a cask from Glenfarclas, thereafter distillery number “1”, Pip and his syndicate began buying casks and bottling them for their own purposes. Bottled at cask strength, without colouring or chill-filtering, these whiskies were full of character and unlike anything else on the market at that time; interest grew rapidly. By 1983 the syndicate was in need of a home, and bought a venue in Leith known as “The Vaults”. Around this time the club formally became The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Today the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is the world’s largest whisky club with 26,000 members, branches in 16 countries and venues in Edinburgh, Leith, London, Tokyo and many places besides. The Society publishes its own whisky magazine, “Unfiltered”, and most importantly, it bottles whiskies exclusively for its members. The Society bottles more than 400 single cask, cask strength, single malt Scotch whiskies every year from a broader range of distilleries than any other independent bottler. Society whiskies are unique; each is given a two part number and playful name. Individual casks of whisky are selected for bottling by Society tasting panels with rigorous standards. They produce whimsical tasting notes that inspire each whisky’s name. The number on each bottle is split by a decimal with the first half identifying the distillery and the second, the number of casks they have bottled from that distillery. Each whisky is also given a name that ties into its tasting note. 1.159: Lively and Explosive by example is the 159th cask of Glenfarclas bottled by the Society.

The Canadian branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was launched on 17th of October 2011, brought to Canada through the hard work and passion of Rob and Kelly Carpenter. Rob and Kelly were first acquainted with the Society while living in Edinburgh. Introducing it to Canada has been the fulfillment of a dream nearly a decade old. In a little over a year the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada has attracted hundreds of members from across the country, launched its own website, released more than 110 different whiskies and established embassies in Calgary, Victoria and Vancouver. The Calgary branch hosts a tasting on the “First Friday” of each and every month to showcase at least 7 new whiskies. These tastings have become very popular with Society members, many of whom have established new friendships through it. Membership in the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canada costs $230 for the first year with a renewal of $120 per annum. The first year’s membership includes a handsome membership kit complete with a brass membership pin, a Society handbook, tasting notebook, and four 100ml whiskies representing the range of different styles the Society bottles. Membership includes the quarterly award winning whisky magazine “Unfiltered”, monthly bottling lists called “Outturns”, access to the Society websites, admission to the Society venues around the world and a chance to purchase some very rare and curious whiskies. For more information on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society visit www.smws.ca, or in Calgary pop in to the Kensington Wine Market. Photograph: Rob and Kelly Carpenter with a SMWS Bottle Cake from the 1st Anniversary Party. culinairemagazine.ca

• 27

Step By Step Story and photography by Natalie Findlay

to Making Ginger Beef

The ubiquitous ginger beef came to western Canada via Calgary. Three cheers for Calgary for being the birthplace of such a delicious dish. Surprisingly, this plate is not a traditional Chinese meal, but believed to be an adaptation of a dish that was not as sweet as we Calgarians like. Our version, as written in history, was developed at Chinatown’s Silver Inn in Calgary in 1974; this restaurant still remains in operation today. Now more than one establishment claims to be the first, but the real question should be who’s is the best?

Ginger beef can be found in Chinese restaurants everywhere, however Calgary’s ginger beef is unique. The ginger beef that is found in Alberta can be hard to find in other parts of Canada as it seems that each region has taken a very popular and delicious dish and made it their own. The basis of this dish consists of deep fried strips of beef coated in a sweet/sour type of sauce with a strong ginger flavour and an underlying sensation of garlic and heat. The balance of the sauce is what makes the dish stand out. The recipe below is fantastic; make it exactly as written and you will experience one of Calgary’s original recipes. The great thing is that you can also manipulate the recipe to your own taste. The cornstarch, egg and water coating makes a crunchy, but light,


coating on the outside. Be very careful when frying as the oil will splatter (quite a bit). However, do not cover with a lid to stop the splatter as you will end up steaming the meat and creating more splatter from the condensation on the lid. There is plenty of ginger in this recipe but feel free to add more if you love ginger. The salt comes from the soy sauce, the sweetness can be altered with the amount of sugar you add, and can be increased or decreased to your taste. The sour sensation is developed from the vinegar and wine, so you can try different kinds of vinegar and wine to see which combinations you like best. The chili flakes impart the heat, so add as much or as little as you like, and the sesame oil adds a robust and nutty flavour to the dish.

This traditional recipe is from Dave’s Wok Inn. Makes: 4 servings Cooking time: 35 minutes

100 g (3/4 cup) cornstarch 70 mL (4 1/2 Tbs) water 2 eggs, beaten 500 g beef shoulder, cut into strips For frying oil 125 g (1/2 cup) sugar 50 mL (3 1/2 Tbs) water 30 mL (2 Tbs) white vinegar 30 mL (2 Tbs) cooking wine 45 ml (3 Tbs) soy sauce 1 g (1/2 tsp) chili flakes 15 mL (1 Tbs) sesame oil 75 g or 3 med carrots, julienned (cut into strips) 50 g (1 large) green pepper, julienned 20g (1 1/2 Tbs) green onion, thinly sliced 50 mL (3 1/2 Tbs) ginger root, finely diced 4-5 cloves garlic, minced Ginger beef’s secret to success is to make sure all ingredients are prepared for cooking before you begin.

1. Dissolve cornstarch in water and beaten

egg. Add beef strips and coat thoroughly.

2. Heat oil and add meat in batches. Do

not overcrowd the pan or the beef will start to steam instead of fry. Make sure to separate the strips as you place them in the pan. There can be quite a lot of splatter once the meat is added. 3. Fry beef strips until crisp, then drain and reserve. 4. Caramelize the sugar with 50 mL (3 1/2 Tbs) of water in a sauté pan. 5. Add the vinegar and wine and stir to dissolve. Add the soy sauce and chili flakes and bring to a boil for 2 minutes then remove from heat and reserve. 6. Heat the sesame oil and stir-fry the carrots, green peppers, green onions, ginger and garlic approximately 4 minutes. 7. Add the reserved vinegar/wine/soy liquid and bring to a boil. 8. Add the fried beef strips and toss to coat. 9. Serve with your favourite rice and be sure to make enough for leftovers. * Everyone has their favourite ginger beef recipe. We would love to hear where you go to get ginger beef in Calgary! It could even be at your house after making this recipe. Write to us at culinairemagazine.ca and share with us your favourite place to order ginger beef and/or your favourite ginger beef recipe.


• 29

Three Healthy Cures for a Hungry Winter’s Night By Janine Eva Trotta

While the frosty air of post-Christmas Calgary might not inspire joy itself, the delightful cooking of comfort food it inspires in warm kitchens throughout the city most certainly

“Take Me Home and Make Me Hot!” - The Main Dish With a stylish storefront in Bridgeland, a food court booth at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, and a venue at the Edge School for Athletes, The Main Dish has made gourmet take-out easily accessible to a wide spread of Calgarian families and their varied palates. “Our chefs are great at putting a unique twist on classic dishes; for example our mashed potatoes are kicked up a notch with roasted garlic and white cheddar cheese,” describes the restaurant’s Marketing, Promotions and Events Leader Carissa Lazette. Without fully revealing the surprise, Lazette hints that the 2013 menu will offer more locally inspired options made with local ingredients, with “a new healthy option twist to our to dine-in dishes that no other restaurant in Calgary is currently offering.” Soul Warming Quick Picks: “Typical comfort foods!” Lazette advises. “From our Gourmet Take-Away, customers can pick up our new Chicken Lasagna or 4-Cheese Manicotti. From our Hot Cuisine counter, customers can dine in or take-away our Turkey Gnocchi Carbonara.” Fresh Factor: “We always say we are Calgary’s real meal alternative by offering convenient breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, including many healthy options under our Healthy Essentials brand, and options that are gluten free, dairy, free, and vegan.” Heat Up Valentines Day: Pick up a take-away three-course dinner for two, or dine in and sample the chef’s tasting menu. Main Dish: 903 General Avenue NE, Calgary. 403 265 3474 tmdish.com

does. If a long winters’ day has ebbed your desire to queue at the grocery store and put together a meal at home, there are several options for healthy takeout meals worth battling the congested icy road traffic to get to. Whether making an impulsive pit stop to satiate a meatloaf craving or stocking up for a busy week, these three homey food purveyors are sure to offer a meal option that will make your taste buds feel as though they were joyously noshing at grandma’s. 30 • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Above: The mouthwatering Turkey Gnocchi Carbonara features ground turkey, bacon, onions, garlic, sun dried tomato and butternut squash in a tarragon white wine cream sauce with Parmesan cheese. Left: Dine in at the market-styled Main Dish home base in Bridgeland, or take out your selected meal to enjoy in-home. Below: Jack Daniels Bourbon BBQ Ribs with sweet potato mash and green beans, kicked up with a hint of sliced almonds.

Avove left: An eclectic mix of goodies for grab at the Forage storefront. Below left: Bison Meatloaf with Saskatoon Berry Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Root Vegetables.

“Tasty Meals in No Time!” - Dashing Dishes A unique service offered in six locations throughout the city, Dashing Dishes allows patrons to come and package their own healthy, family-friendly meals to take home and put in the fridge or freezer to eat throughout the week or month. For an added fee, customers may also have meals packaged by a Dashing Dishes employee and ready to pick up at the location of their choosing. Currently these include Beddington, Silver Springs, Glamorgan, Strathcona, Canyon Meadows and Lake Bonavista. “In about an hour customers assemble 8 to 12 to 28 meals that will satisfy a family of at least four,” says Nydia Hefflick, who co-owns the enterprise with husband Brad.

“Farm to Fork Foods to Go” – Forage As an avid foodie on the go, Forage owner Wade Sirois saw an opportunity that would bring the local ingredients he was already using in his catering business to take-out meals available at a storefront. Located in Marda Loop on 33 Avenue SW, Forage offers “the dishes that we grew up on”, made with thoughtful produce from an impressive network of nearby sustainable farms. In the rustic, cozy space, familiar dishes cooked well await freezing customers in what Sirois calls his busiest season. “We have some dishes that are reserved for the cold weather cocooning months of January and February – butter chicken, an Iranian stew with dried lime and turmeric, brown ale bison stew – dishes that are warm and comforting,” Sirois explains. “These months tend to be some of the best months.” Snowy Day Pick Me Up: “Our tender and flavourful fall-off-the-bone short ribs (either Hoven Farms organic beef or Buffalo Horn Ranch bison) with buttermilk mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables with our freshly baked buttermilk biscuits,” Sirois recommends. “Short ribs are easy enough to prepare but we cook them for four-plus hours so it’s a dish you have to think ahead a little in order to cook at home.  At Forage they are all ready for eating.” Responsible Consumption: “We not only know what is in our meals, we also know the farmers where most of our ingredients come from,” Sirois boasts.  “We change our menus weekly and we take into consideration the weather and what’s available seasonally to create them.” Making V-Day Special: “I’d like to say that our food is always prepared with a healthy dose of love already in it,” Sirois glibs. “What you do and who you share those short ribs with is up to you!” Forage: 3508 19 Street SW, Calgary. 403 269 6551 foragefoods.com

Menu options change every month and are selected by the client ahead of time by registering for a specific session online. The service saves you the time of shopping, chopping and cleaning up your kitchen mess. All ingredients needed to make each dish are conveniently set up at little workstations equipped with clear instructions. The client needs only measure and mix. Cure for the Winter Blues: “We offer many soul-warming dishes on our winter menus, from Crockpot Chicken Chili to our Vegetable Makhani in Creamy Cashew Sauce, but lately we’ve really been craving our cozy and delicious Irish Beef Stew,” Hefflick says. “Made with two cans of Guinness beer, it definitely hits the spot when the weather is cold!” Ingredients for Healthy Living: “We try and choose ingredients that most people wouldn’t necessarily have in their pantry or include in a busy weeknight dinner; however, we strive to provide family-friendly meals so ingredients can always be adapted to a family’s own tastes,” Hefflick explains. “In addition we work with a local butcher who supplies all of our fresh, Albertan meat. This allows us to tweak our menu to ensure we’re always receiving the freshest cuts available.” Valentines Day is for Loafers: Book a session with your honey for a fun and lively night of on-your-feet meal assembly. Dashing Dishes: 44B 25th Avenue NE, Calgary. 403 471 1395 dashingdishes.com

Avove right: In just one hour of ingredient assembly, clients generally leave with 8 to 12 freezer or oven ready meals. Below Right: Nothing says comfort like a cheesy pizza. Customers assemble theirs for take home.


• 31

Feeling The Warmth

32 â&#x20AC;˘ JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

Story by Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel

Escoba chef Brad O’Leary is a soft-spoken man, so he generally lets his food speak on his behalf. The quiet Nova Scotia-born O’Leary has perfected the art of creating hearty bistro dishes with a fine-dining flare, which makes Escoba a popular downtown spot for both lunch and dinner. O’Leary is a firm believer that flavour and freshness are more important than fussy plating, making the restaurant a top destination for discerning diners in search of comfort food that goes a step or two beyond the norm. O’Leary’s menu is inspired by both his training as a high-end chef and his early days as a young food enthusiast schooled in his grandmother’s Nova Scotia kitchen. “I always knew I was going to be a chef,” O’Leary says. “I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was 10 years old cooking with my grandmother. She was my inspiration a hundred percent. We did a lot of baking back then and made stews, all comfort food.“ After graduating high school O’Leary considered a business degree, but he was not able to resist the lure of the kitchen. He studied at the Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College, Prince Edward Island, for two years before moving to Toronto to work with chef Robert Buchanan at Acqua. Hesitant to lay down roots in any one place, O’Leary spent two years in Toronto and then found himself in Australia, and spent a year working at another well-regarded restaurant. The pull of friends and family brought him back to

Canada and he took a job as a sous chef at the ultra-prestigious Rideau Club in Ottawa. Over the course of his three years at the Rideau Club, O’Leary learned the ins and outs of high-end dining and had the opportunity to feed many high-profile dignitaries. “I did do a function for Jean Cretien,” O’Leary recalls. “I was so shy that I was not able to go out and talk to him. And the next thing you know, the kitchen door flies open and it’s Cretien coming in. He grabs me and puts me in a big bear hug and kisses me on the cheek. It was awesome.” After a stint back in Nova Scotia, where O’Leary also happened to meet his wife Laurel, the couple moved west to Calgary for family reasons and in 2007 O’Leary took a job at Escoba as a sous chef. The restaurant was undergoing some renovations at the time, so not only did O’Leary cook in the kitchen, but he also took on some construction work, even helping to lay down the tile floor that is still in the restaurant’s dining room. Despite his connection to the restaurant, and the fact that Laurel had also started working in the Escoba kitchen as the daytime sous chef, O’Leary didn’t gel with the then head chef and he left for a job at the Petroleum Club to take the reins as wine cellar chef. While there, O’Leary got back into the same fine-dining groove that he had found himself in at the Rideau Club in Ottawa and also found himself growing as a chef. culinairemagazine.ca

• 33

“I was able to come out of my shell a little bit at the Petroleum Club because I’d have to go out and explain my dishes and talk to people to tell them what they were getting,” O’Leary says. “And they were always really gracious. I’d be cooking for people down there and they were people with high standards - they’re high up in society here in Calgary. I’d go outside at the end of the night and they’d be leaving the restaurant at the same time. And they’d all call me by my first name and just make me feel at home.” As much as O’Leary loved the high-end experience he had at the Petroleum Club, after a couple of years he once again felt the need to roam. Plagued by a restlessness, he never seemed to stay at a restaurant, or in many cases a city, for more than two or three years. That all changed with his return to Escoba in 2009. Laurel was now Escoba’s chef, but she left the kitchen to work as front-of-house manager and her husband took over the kitchen. At last, in the same restaurant in which he had laid the dining room floor two years previously, O’Leary felt like he had found a place that he could call his own. At Escoba, O’Leary is able to combine the upscale food skills he learned at some of his previous jobs with his home cooking roots. While O’Leary prides himself on his ability to create pristinely executed and nuanced dishes, at his current post his top concerns are definitely flavour and freshness. “Here we’re about the food,” O’Leary says. “Freshness, seasoning and flavour balancing are the biggest thing for me.” With Laurel backing him up in the front of house, and the strong support of Escoba’s owner Darren Hamelin, O’Leary has made Escoba his home. With as many of 160 to 170 full entrees served each weekday at lunchtime alone, O’Leary needs to keep his kitchen running quickly and efficiently.


As anyone who has every worked in a restaurant will tell you, this is no easy feat, but through a combination of his softspoken personality and his dedication to only letting a superior product hit the tables, O’Leary manages to get it done day in and day out.

“Brad’s other strength is that he can bring a creative aspect into a stable environment,” Hamelin continues. “And that’s what often doesn’t coincide between creative people and business people. There’s one or the other — you’re right brain or you’re left brain. In this business you have to be both.”

“I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants and I don’t think I’ve ever seen food go out as fast as we do it,” he says. “We work so well together. You always hear about clashes between the out front staff and the kitchen, but that doesn’t happen here. And it’s not because it’s my wife — I’ve never yelled at servers. Obviously there are times when emotions get high, but I’m not picking at the servers. I don’t expect servers to be picking at the kitchen.”

Juggling business and creativity can make for a tough schedule, which is made all the tougher by O’Leary’s insistence on being incredibly hands-on in his kitchen almost all of the time. He oversees all food preparation and personally makes his own soups, ravioli, and many other items on his menu that many chefs would typically leave to other members of the staff. While O’Leary prefers to refer to himself as “particular” rather than calling himself a control freak, he does admit that the pace can be grueling and he usually only takes time off if it’s to spend it with his young son, who also frequently hangs out with his dad in the kitchen. Still, O’Leary says it’s the challenge of keeping up with these demands that keeps him happy at Escoba.

Hamelin says that O’Leary’s ability to run a functional kitchen, combined with his creativity and passion for food, is what has ensured Escoba’s continuing success.

“It’s an adrenalin rush,” he says. “I don’t burn out because I still get a rush out of it. It’s like playing sports. That onehour lunch rush and the dinner rush during Christmas is exactly like playing a game of hockey. It gets my adrenalin running when I see the dishes going out. And that’s how I know when it’s time to change, is when I don’t get a rush from it. And here, I don’t see myself losing it because it’s always a rush every day and always a race to the finish.” “He’s brought stability,” Hamelin says. “Brad brings stability to the kitchen from the point of view of creating consistency in every process from hiring, to training, to producing, to making sure that we always hit a certain mark when it comes to quality and freshness, and that’s what a customer looks for in Escoba.”

When it comes down to it though, all that Escoba’s customers really care about is the taste of the food on their plates. With comforting dishes like roast chicken and scallops served with potato Dauphinoise, or the pork combo of smoked bone-in pork loin and braised pork belly served with butternut squash ravioli, O’Leary’s creations

scream down-home comfort. Hamelin says that he orders the salmon over shrimp risotto whenever he needs a pick-me-up, whereas Laurel O’Leary can’t resist the bison and mushroom dumplings served with a truffle crème fraiche. “When you read the menu I think you see something that we’ve put a big effort into, which is not overpromising and under-delivering,” Hamelin says. “We try to somewhat under-promise with the menu and then over-deliver with the freshness, the quality and the flavours.” Which is what it all ultimately boils down to for O’Leary as a chef. He offers those fine dining touches and ingredients that make going out to a restaurant a special experience, while satisfying his customers’ need to feel that sense of warmth that only comes from true comfort food. “People come here and see it’s a bistro and think they know what they’re going to get,” O’Leary says. “But what they see with the flavours and the plate is comfort. Everything looks really good, but then you bite into it and it feels like home.”

Escoba Signature Wild Mushroom Soup Serves 6-8

30 mL (2 Tbs) olive oil 37 g dried wild mushrooms (soak in 875 mL (3 1/2 cups) of hot water for 1 hour prior – save the water) 560 g button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 55 g diced yellow onion 22 g (1 1/2 Tbs) chopped garlic 875 mL (3 1/2 cups) wild mushroom stock (water from soaking dried mushrooms) 750 mL (3 cups) heavy cream (35%) 1. Cook onion, reconstituted wild

mushrooms and sliced mushrooms in oil until they start to colour. Add garlic and cook another 4 to 5 minutes more 2. Add half the mushroom stock and cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium 55 g (1/2 stick) butter 315 g all purpose flour 1. To make a roux, melt the butter, add flour and cook for approx 10 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently until it starts to look like wet sand. 2. Add remaining mushroom stock and cook another 10 minutes, whisking so there are no clumps.

Smoked Tomato Sauce – served with the Grilled Atlantic Salmon Entrée Serves 8-10 I K Roma tomatoes, halved 300 g roasted red pepper, skins removed For rubbing olive oil 200 g celery, diced 300 g yellow onion, diced 30 mL (2 Tbs) chopped garlic 120 mL (½ cup) white wine 10 mL (2 tsp) dried basil 10 mL (2 tsp) dried oregano

Win $100 Escoba Gift Certificate!

3. Add to boiling pot of cream and mushroom mixture using a whisk. 4. Add: 15 mL (1 Tbs) balsamic vinegar 15 mL (1 Tbs) fresh lemon juice 15 mL (1 Tbs) grainy mustard 15 mL (1 Tbs) dried thyme 5. Allow to simmer. Season with salt and cracked pepper to taste. This soup is delicious paired with Pinot Noir, try Mission Hill Reserve Pinot Noir from BC.

10 mL (2 tsp) smoked paprika 2.5 mL (½ tsp) chili flakes 5 mL (1 tsp) chipotle paste 250 mL (1 cup) tomato sauce 1 L (4 cups) vegetable stock 15 mL (1 Tbs) lime juice

3. Deglaze pot with white wine, then add roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable stock and lime juice

1. Rub tomatoes and peppers with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400º F, until edges begin to darken, 20 to 30 minutes

4. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, then season with salt and cracked pepper to taste and puree.

2. In a pot, soften celery and onion, add garlic, roasted pepper, basil, smoked paprika, chipotle, chili flakes in a little oil and cook another 5 minutes

Pair this smoky tomato with a Viognier such as Paul Mas from Languedoc in southern France.

Yes, you too can be enjoying Escoba’s soulwarming comfort food! Simply let us know what your favourite comfort food dish is to make at home and we’ll pick the one that has us all feeling the warmth. We’ll also publish the best entries for everyone else to enjoy too. To enter, go to culinairemagazine.ca and click on “Contests”. We look forward to hearing from you! culinairemagazine.ca

• 35

SCENE A: It’s horribly cold outside: wind howling, snow swirling, temperature a couple dozen degrees below zero. You have shoveled the driveway, run some errands, cooked dinner and put the kids to bed. You get a fire going and settle into your favourite armchair with a book and a glass of wine. SCENE B: It has been a frantic day at work: project is behind schedule, deadlines looming, clients impatient. You have been on multiple conference calls, answered a hundred emails, delivered a presentation and run a big meeting. You’re finally home and you collapse onto the sofa. You need a glass of wine. There are wines for celebrating and wines for studying, wines for savouring and wines for sharing. Then there are those wines that you turn to in either of the scenarios above, in that rare quiet hour that you get to yourself or that calm after the storm of a hectically busy day. These are comfort wines, and to me at least, they all tend to have a similar list of qualities: They are red. I’m a big fan of white wines, and I love German riesling more than almost anyone in the city, but when I’m seeking a bit of comfort in a bottle I’m looking for bolder flavours, a richer mouth-feel and a powerful jolt of dense fruit, all qualities that a bigger red is tailor-made to provide. They aren’t overly complex or esoteric. When I taste with friends, trying to discern elements of flint in a glass of Chablis or unwinding the layers of a tight young red Burgundy can be a worthy and entertaining pursuit. But when I’ve just got home from working a 12-hour day, I’m not looking for another intellectual puzzle; I’m looking for a drink.

They are higher in alcohol. Let’s just get it on the table: sometimes a little booze is exactly what a situation calls for. After a long, hard day, a wine with a bit of a punch can be that blanket by the fire, that warm hug in a glass that brings you back to yourself. For the past few years, my go-to comfort wine has been the Juan Gil (Silver Label) Monastrell from the Spanish region of Jumilla. Monastrell is another name for the French mourvedre grape (also known as mataro), which produces full, intense, structured wines. When grown in the heat of southeastern Spain, monastrell adds bright pure fruit to its arsenal, along with a sort of sunbaked warmth that permeates your entire palate. At 15% alcohol, the Juan Gil is certainly not shy; it remains nuanced, powerful but not blunt. Widely available in Calgary for less than $25, it comes from 40+ year old vines and delivers concentrated sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, cinnamon and smoke, cola and dusty earth flavours in a warm, velvety, smooth package. It is the ultimate vinous satisfaction on a chilly Tuesday night or in the aftermath of a double shift, yet further proof that there is always a wine for every situation.

Comfort In A Glass By Peter Vetsch


Book Reviews By Elizabeth Chorney-Booth

Uncorked! 2013 The Definitive Guide to Alberta’s Best Wines Under $25 By Shelley Boettcher Published by Whitecap $19.95 Shelley Boettcher’s latest edition of Uncorked (the first came out in 2010) is an absolute must for those of us who have a general idea of what we’re looking for in a wine, but feel lost when gazing upon the offerings in the local liquor store. All of the white, red, rosé, sparkling, and fortified wines in this book are available in Alberta, so you know it’s advice that is actually useful. The layout of this book is genius in its user-friendliness. Each wine is given its own page, complete with Boettcher’s unpretentious descriptions, a bit of trivia, pairing notes, and suggestions on which kinds of occasions the wine would best suit. Best of all, each entry includes a picture of the label for easy recognition and an icon denoting cork or screw-top. You’ll never have to show up to a dinner party with a flavourless mass-market wine again.

The Truck Food Cookbook By John T. Edge Published by Workman Publishing $22.95 Calgary isn’t the only city to be hit by full-fledged food truck mania — the phenomenon has also been particularly strong in cities like Portland, Austin, Madison, and Philadelphia. John T. Edge’s Truck Food Cookbook celebrates the fun and kitsch of food truck culture while offering a selection of recipes from notable food trucks, so that readers can try a taste of the trucks at home. The Truck Food Cookbook embraces the hipster aesthetic of the food truck movement and introduces many of the faces that lurk inside the real-life trucks. Unfortunately, after leafing through the book, many readers will more likely want to travel around the United States seeking out the actual trucks rather than hunkering down and cooking the menu selections themselves. Still, since a food truck road trip isn’t doable for most of us, this book does offer very manageable recipes for fun, comfort food favourites like the Korean Short Ribs from Los Angeles’ Kogi truck, the Sloppy Jerk Pork Sandwiches from Madison, Wisconsin’s Jamerica Restaurant, and the Chorizo Breakfast Tacos from El Ultimo Taco in Houston, Texas.

Educating Calgary Palates since 2005

10 Day Luxury Wine And Culinary Tour Of Tuscany

Friday August 16th - Tuesday August 27th 2013 Experience the beauty of Tuscany in Italy and discover the outstanding wine and food specialities of the region in this luxury tour.

To request an itinerary or for more information please contact Linda Garson: 403 870 9802 linda@vineanddine.ca


• 37

Wine For Your Valentine

By Peter Vetsch

A dozen red roses, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, a pair of tapered glasses beside a bottle of Champagne on ice: all are enduring symbols of romance that are inextricably linked with Valentine’s Day. Sparkling wine is the liquid standby of February the 14th, and for good reason; bubbles can certainly set the mood, particularly when used as an aperitif for a candlelit dinner for two. However, if you want to pop the cork on something a little more daring, a little more original, even a little more sexy with your Valentine this year, leave the standard stuff on the shelf and enjoy some of the most underrated wine money can buy: sparkling rosé. Pink bubbles are generally a hard sell, but they are picture perfect for Valentine’s Day, combining the celebratory elegance and sensuous mouth-feel of sparkling wine with bright berry fruit flavours and a sultry colour that captures the essence of the occasion. If you don’t often frequent this section of the wine shop, fear not: I have sought the opinion of certified Sommelier, WSET Instructor and all-around bubbles expert Marnie Harfield of Fine Vintage Ltd. on the best bottles to bring home. Here are three bubbly rosés at a variety of price points that are sure to please, complete with Harfield’s notes on each: Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé (NV, $18) “First off, this is the sustainable purchase as it retails for around $20. Predominantly pinot noir, it shows all the red berry fruits the grape can offer - strawberry, cherry, raspberry. Dosage [the sugar/wine mixture added just before final corking] on it is around 10 g/L


[residual sugar], landing it in the Brut style, but giving it an approachability that makes it easy to drink on its own, awesome with salmon and great with chili! It is like drinking a bowl of fresh berries. When I found out that this house does only sparkling wines, I became forever enraptured.” Brundlmayer Brut Rosé, Austria (NV, $45) “This drinks like a Champagne, but costs slightly less. It’s an elegant wine with a focus of fine acidity, berry fruit, biscuit notes and delicate bubbles. I think it’s a sleeper: upon the first sip, you think, ‘oh this is good’. And then the next sip – ‘oh, this might be better than good’, and so on. I think what stands out about this one is that it is just so fine and feminine.” Devaux Cuvee “D” Rosé Champagne (NV, $80) “I love Devaux Champagne for its concentration, elegance and fine bubbles. This is 50/50 pinot noir/ chardonnay and is aged for 5 years, which gives it a rich full mouth-feel with amazing focus and a tremendously long and complex finish. This ranks with some of the best rose Champagne I have had - I mean up there with some of the iconic ones! Devaux is not new to the market, but this particular wine is. I would say this is a wine to be sipped through the evening and contemplated, or paired with equally complex food.”

By Linda Garson Photography by Ingrid Keunzel

Open That Bottle

At eighteen years old, Geoff Last was a beer drinker when he left his hometown of Montreal for Calgary in 1978, and it was on a date when he was twenty that he had his wine epiphany, drinking Châteauneuf du Pape. He still remembers distinctly the moment of trying the wine – it was a revelation how well it went with the food and the flavours he could taste in it.

pair with food. I love the way goes with red meat”, he adds. “Lamb and Châteauneuf du Pape is eye-opening”.

Always very involved in music and the arts, Geoff played bass in a band and was working in the music business when the opportunity arose to work in wine part–time at Britannia Wine Merchants, twenty-five years ago. His wage just covered his wine account. On moving to J. Webb, he met Richard Harvey, who was working there at that time, and he invited Geoff to work full-time if he opened his own store. Geoff didn’t have to think twice and jumped at the idea of working with wine full-time. He was at Metrovino for about six years until he was head-hunted for the position of general manager at Bin 905 in 2001.

So what wines does Geoff have tucked away for a special occasion?

He started writing for the Calgary Herald around the same time, and his main interest was wine with food. “I can appreciate superextracted fruity wines, but I prefer wine to

Geoff also loves to source small lots from small producers, as evidenced by a fifth of inventory at Bin 905. He loves the stories of winemakers and their vineyards, as well as the travel that wine writing affords.

“I’ve always been an Old World fan and I don’t really pay attention the wine press and magazine scores when buying for myself; I just do my own thing. But I do have a huge advantage that I can taste everything before I buy. I think the Rhône Valley and German Rieslings are the most under-appreciated wines on the planet. I’ve had some Rieslings in my cellar for over 15 years now and it’s a treat to watch them evolve over the years. There’s a satisfaction that comes with aging wines. I’ll probably open these wines for other people’s celebrations.

I have a 2002 La Turque Cote Rotie from E. Guigal that would be out of my price range now as it would be over $400. It’s nearly ready to drink, so I might open it this year for a birthday or at Christmas, depending on the food. I did have some 1978 that was too old to drink; I do like to have some fruit component to the wine.” For Geoff, “The joy of wine is sharing, so I’ll open these wines for my wife’s birthday and for friends. I like to open great bottles for Christmas and New Year for people who will appreciate them. I also have a Comte Georges de Vogüé Musigny 2005. At $180 it was over my selfimposed budget, but I may never get the opportunity to buy it again. We are one of only two or three stores in Calgary who get Vogüé and my bottle is numbered 0001, meaning it is the first bottle of production of this flagship wine! The ideal time to open it would be around fifteen years, so maybe I’ll open it for my 60th birthday. And I’m saving a bottle of 2004 Port for when my son is 18, as very few declared that vintage, so it will be something special for him.” culinairemagazine.ca

• 39

Wine is fine and champagne is dandy, but when talking about Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t leave out liqueurs. There’s something undeniably sexy about the retro cocktail culture. But love is strange, and let’s face it, so are some of the ‘romantic’ liqueurs. If you’re lost in both love and liqueurs, here’s how you can incorporate some seductive cocktails into your repertoire in time for the holiday.

Parfait Amour Virtually everyone over a certain age has a bottle of Parfait Amour in their liquor cabinet that hasn’t been opened in so long that a crust has developed between the lip of the bottle and the cap. Fortunately, that Parfait Amour lasts a lot longer than most romances, so it’s probably still good. Unfortunately, no one under a certain age has any idea what to do with it. The easiest drink to enjoy with a little perfect love would be to add it to a little sparkling wine or champagne. In the style of a Kir Royale, a ¼ ounce (or more) of this sweet liqueur in a flute before filling with dry sparkling wine brings a purple glow to your glass with citrus, almond, and vanilla flavours as well as the floral notes

Liqueurs Of Love By Heather Hartmann and Tom Firth


Parfait Amour is known for. There are plenty of cocktails that will call for a dash of Parfait Amour, and a simple internet search should show you the versatility here. It is a liqueur that will last a long time as most cocktails only need a little -which means the bottle will go a long way. It’s also a liqueur not solely for drinking – while you’re in the retro mood, try baking with it – the recipe for Pousse Café Gateau, an old-school French Canadian dessert, calls for Parfait Amour in the icing. (Pousse café, literally “coffeepusher”, is an alcoholic beverage drunk after dinner also called a “digestif”). Chambord Royale The French seem to have the monopoly on romantic liqueurs and Chambord is a relatively new product to Canadians despite its 300year tradition. Made from raspberries and blackberries, with warming cognac and other ingredients, it has a deep burgundy colour and is excellent in cocktails, martinis, and in the kitchen - who doesn’t love the flavour of raspberries and cassis? A word to the wise, though - its intense colour can tint your food. A soufflé or a poultry glaze can pick up the colour giving you a purplish dessert or turkey. However, a guilty pleasure is to enjoy a little Chambord over good quality ice cream - either chocolate or vanilla are good bets, but not so much mint chocolate chip. In a cocktail, it can also be added to sparkling wine or champagne, but it can bring a little je ne sais quoi to mimosas, martinis and adult lemonades.

Pink Port

French Martini 1 ½ oz Chambord Flavoured Vodka ½ oz Chambord 2 oz Pineapple juice Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries.

Alizé Alizé is an entire line of primarily cognac-based liqueurs premixed with juices, and ready to drink straight out of the bottle - how romantic is that? The passion fruit and mango variety even has ‘passion’ right in the name! Alizé is popular with the young folks, rappers in particular, and unlike the earlier examples of liqueurs, this product has a finite shelf life. With a lower alcohol content than a straight spirit (typically 20 percent alcohol or less), it is ready to enjoy well-chilled and poured right into a glass. It mixes well with sparkling wine (party like P Diddy and mix it with champagne such as Cristal or Moët) and in cocktails.

Port is a perfect wine for cold winter nights, and let’s face it, Calgarians don’t usually enjoy patio weather on Valentine’s Day. It is traditionally a serious wine (check out the article on port on page 48) that has only recently tried to be “fun,” when the producers at Croft unveiled the first “Pink” port. That’s right - pink! Pink as in Barbie, love hearts, and Mary Kay Cadillacs. It still has the sweetness of port, but without the big tannins and heaviness that might scare off some people - and you can avoid those romantic black teeth, a side effect of vintage port. Lush and sweet with strawberry fruits, white chocolate, and a little spice, this style of port is good well-chilled on its own or even mixed with prosecco. Be manly and drink port, but embrace your inner romantic with a little pink - for the lady - of course.  Liqueurs may not be for everyone, yet cocktail culture has been undergoing a resurgence recently as people young and not-so-young are rediscovering classic cocktails and new expressions of the classics. Just as creative cooking can be a shared experience at home, trying out cocktails with someone you love can be a fun way to relax, no Tiki bar or paper cocktail parasols required. See our feature on the Alberta Cocktail Competition on page 63 for details of how you can taste and vote for your favourite!

Blue Voodoo 1 oz Alize Bleu Passion 1 oz Vodka ½ oz Coconut Rum Splash of pineapple juice Combine ingredients and serve over ice in a highball glass, garnish with a wedge of pineapple.


• 41

‘Freedom And Whisky Gang Thegither’ By Andrew Ferguson

On the 25th of January 1759, Robert Burns was born. For 36 years his flame shone so brightly that it is still alight today. He is considered Scotland’s National Poet and favourite son. His words gave pride to the Scottish people and helped give rise to the Romantic Movement. His life and ideas inspired the founders of Liberalism and Socialism. Robbie Burns wrote of love, liberty and whisky. Though he passed away more than two centuries ago, his memory has been kept alive through his works such as his poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’, set to the tune of and old Scottish folk song. And his birth is marked every year on or about the 25th of January all over the world, by ritual Burns Suppers replete with kilts, bagpipes, poetry, song, highland dancing and of course Scotch whisky.

Burns was a farmer, a poet and even spent a few years as an exciseman or “gauger” (tax collector). As exciseman he was employed to see that the government got its due, especially as relates to alcohol. Though he initially took to his occupation with great ardour, he was never fully comfortable with it, as made plain in his poem ‘The Deil’s Awa wi’ th’ Exciseman’. Burns had a love of whisky, and often wrote of it as he did in ‘Scotch Drink’, where he lamented the loss of Ferintosh Distillery and its cheap whisky. But his most famous reference with respect whisky is surely: “Freedom and Whisky gang thegither” from ‘The Author’s Earnest Cry And Prayer’, a parody on Milton, directed at the House of Commons. If you happen to find yourself marking the life of Robert Burns on a cold night late in January, why not consider a whisky with a link to the Bard of Ayrshire. The distillery most closely associated with Robert Burns today is Arran. The Isle of Arran is directly opposite the Ayrshire coast where Burns spent his formative years. Located at Lochranza in a bay on the island’s northern tip, they produce a soft, grassy, honeyed malt. In addition to their core range the distillery also produces the Robert Burns Single Malt ($42.49) and the Robert Burns Blended Scotch Whisky ($28.49).


Both whiskies are endorsed by the World Burns Federation and help sustain their efforts to keep his memory alive. The blend is very good, considering how reasonably priced it is and once beat out five single malts in a blind tasting I conducted. The single malt is good too, lighter and younger than the distillery’s flagship 10 year. Cutty Sark also has a Blended Scotch whisky whose hat has been tipped to Rabbie Burns. In 2012 they released a limited edition 25 Year called Cutty Sark Tam O’Shanter ($389.99). The bottling is named for one of Burn’s most famous poems, from which the whisky itself took its name. ‘Tam O’Shanter’ is about a trip to the pub gone wrong, fraught with a suspense-filled ghostly chase. The whisky comes with an illustrated version of the epic poem by renowned Scottish artist Alexander Goudie; the ancient-looking bottle and its oak box are also decorated with some of Goudie’s ghostly scenes. The whisky is very sherried, rich, spicy and fruity for a blend. It puts many of the more mainstream blends to shame and has almost single-handedly changed my opinion of

Blended Scotch whisky. Fewer than 50 bottles have found their way to Alberta. Very few single malt distilleries survive from Burn’s day, but there are still four operating today which were in production during his life. There is no evidence he ever visited any of them but if you’re going to raise a glass of whisky in his honour, why not raise one from one of these ancient distilleries, such as the spiritual home of the Famous Grouse, Glenturret. Located near Crieff in Perthshire, Glenturret claims to be Scotland’s oldest working distillery. Officially founded in 1775, the distillery was operated by illicit distillers who had a history of distilling going back as far as 1717. Most of its production is used in blends with few official bottlings. There are however some good independent ones out there, like Gordon & MacPhails MacPhail’s Collection Glenturret 1997 ($64.99). Matured in Refill Sherry Hogsheads, the whisky is sweet, spicy and creamy. The oldest continually operated distillery in Scotland is Strathisla, which officially began distilling in 1789; though there is some evidence it began operations much earlier. Situated in the beautiful town of Keith, Strathisla is one of Scotland’s smallest and most charming distilleries. Like Glenturret, most of the production goes into a blend (Chivas Regal), but the distillery also produces limited quantities of Strathisla 12 Year ($53.59). Strathisla is more weighty and meaty when compared with most Speyside whiskies. In the Northern Highlands, not far from the Royal Burgh of Tain is Balblair. Though little known, it is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland having been established in 1790. Balblair rebranded itself a few years back using the 4,000 year old Clach Biorach Pictish stone as inspiration. The distillery’s core range consists of vintage-dated whiskies rather than ones with age statements. The Balblair 1978 is just such a whisky; matured in Ex-Bourbon American oak, the whisky is sweet and honeyed with subtle citrus notes. Last but certainly not least of the Burns era distilleries still producing, is Bowmore, Scots Gaelic for “big reef”. Bowmore is the oldest distillery on the Isle of Islay, which is famed for its peated malts. Its No.1 Vaults warehouse is the industry’s holy of holy’s with an atmosphere that can only be described as spiritual. The Bowmore 15 Year Laimrig ($87.99) is a small batch cask strength version of their 15 Year Darkest originally bottled for the Swedish market. It is loaded with dark fruit, chocolate and of course Bowmore’s characteristic salty smoke. “Oh whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks! Accept a bardie’s gratefu’ thanks!” Long live the memory of Robert Burns, and fine Scotch whisky! culinairemagazine.ca

• 43

Defining Comfort: Meatloaf By Jeff Collins

Meatloaf was all I knew how to make as I moved into a college residence in Toronto in the seventies. We cooked for ourselves in a communal kitchen. That first year away from home, I ate a lot of meatloaf. I was living on money I earned from summer jobs and handouts from the folks. After beer and books, there’s wasn’t much leftover for food. But if you had eggs, breadcrumbs, and some ground meat, you had a meal. In his 2012 e-cookbook, “The Ultimate Meatloaf”, John Chatham writes, none too kindly, “Many of our moms just didn’t have the time or knowledge to make a great meatloaf. They often just threw together some ground beef, a few breadcrumbs, an egg, and, if we were lucky, some chopped onion to add a little flavor. They mashed it together, squirted some ketchup on top, threw it in the oven, baked it until it was gray and as hard as a rock, and called it dinner. It’s a shame that so much good ground meat was treated so shabbily.” Things have changed! On the restaurant scene, meatloaf finds its natural home in so-called “Family” restaurants and diners. “Slow Roasted Meatloaf” is a staple on the menu at all five Phil’s Restaurants, four in Calgary and one in Banff. It has more upscale iterations as well. Open Range in Bridgeland offers a “Local Venison Meatloaf with salsa roja and crispy fried onions”, while at “Notable” in Bowness, Chefs Michael Noble and Justin Labossiere occasionally offer a “Monthly burger inspiration” described on the menu as, “Meatloaf, spicy Monterey Jack cheese, zucchini pickles, roast onion mayo, (on a) house-made sesame bun.”


“I don’t think food has to be frou-frou and fancy and molecular to be amazing”, says Chef Noble. “A great meatloaf is a great meatloaf. It’s comfortable. It’s tasty. And really, if you own a restaurant, or run a restaurant, why wouldn’t you do food that appeals to a broad market.” Noble recalls introducing a meatloaf sandwich to the menu at the Four Seasons hotel in Vancouver twenty years ago. “I always loved meatloaf as a kid and I was trying to create a new sandwich back in the days when paninis first were becoming popular and I thought ‘How good would that be if I actually made meatloaf, cooled it off, sliced it, put it in a sandwich and got it all nice and hot and sticky again!’...In fact, the meatloaf burger on the Notable menu is a reproduction of that meatloaf that we created back in the nineties.” If you don’t want to mess with making your own meatloaf, there are plenty of options in the growing value-added meat market. The small Alberta supermarket chain, Freson Brothers IGA, does a brisk business in premixed, pre-formed, ready to cook, meatloaf. Rob Gustafson, the Meat Manager, describes the corporate recipe as “1-2-3-4. One ‘spice pack’, two cups of water, three kilograms of ground Alberta beef equals four meatloaves.” His “spice pack” is 228 grams of dry ingredients. It includes dehydrated onion, red and green bell peppers, toasted wheat crumbs, salt, tomato powder, various spices and Romano cheese. I’m heating up some leftover meatloaf, as I write. As Chef Noble says, ““On this cold wintery day, you want something comforting in your belly, so a great meatloaf? Absolutely!”

What Does Comfort Food Mean To You? We asked our food and beverage contributors this question, and for their favourite and most comforting dish to make at home – they share their recipes with us here.

Jeff Collins

I grew up in Newfoundland with three siblings. Meatloaf was a way to stretch out a ‘pound of ground’ to feed four kids and two adults. This basic recipe I learned from Mom... Wine pairing? Any Pinot Noir you can buy for under $20. It’s meatloaf for Pete’s sake!

Meat Loaf

450 g ground venison/lean beef 125 ml (½ cup) finely crushed breadcrumbs 1 (28g) packet of onion soup mix 2 medium eggs 125 ml (½ cup) salsa 125 ml (½ cup) beer

1. Use clean or gloved hands to thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Hand form into a loaf and lay in a shallow greased baking dish. 2. Bake at 350º F for an hour until a meat thermometer records an internal temperature of 160º. 3. Remove from the heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

David Nuttall

Nothing goes better on a cold day than a bowl of chilli. And Texas Chilli is the best. While growing up with relatives in Texas, I was taught that true Texas Chilli does not have any beans, and lean beef brisket is better than ground beef. You can also make this mild to as pica (hot) as you’d like by adding hot sauce while cooking. Try this easy recipe, adjust the amounts to your own personal preference, and scale it up to however many people you need to serve. I’ve made it for 120 people before, and it can be made the night before and slowly reheated in the oven.

Texas Chilli

medium onions, minced 4 parts lean beef brisket, chopped or in small cubes 1 part ground pork oil for browning meat cloves garlic, minced whole green chillies, minced tomato sauce whole tomatoes, finely chopped cumin salt

oregano dry mustard 1 shot of tequila 1 bottle of beer (change beer styles for different flavour) chilli powder beef bouillon cubes hot sauce (optional) 1. Brown onions and beef in oil in a big pot. Remove any excess fat.

2. Stir in all other ingredients. Add hot sauce to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally. 3. Serve in a bowl with warm buns and butter to soak up the leftover juice.

Fred Malley, CCC

Our family favourite comfort food dish is Scallops With Grape Tomatoes and Pasta – quick, easy and completely delicious!

Scallops with Grape Tomatoes and Pasta 45 mL (3 Tbs) Olive oil 1 clove Garlic, crushed 1 Shallot, fine chopped 1 Yellow pepper, cut into strips 325 mL (1½ c) Grape tomatoes, halved 3 mL (½ tsp) Herbes de Provence 3 Green stuffed olives, large, chopped 10 mL (2 tsp) Capers, chopped 4/6 Sea Scallops, U-10 30 mL (2 Tbs ) Riesling To taste Salt and Black pepper, fresh ground 2 portions cooked Pasta, hot







Sweat the garlic, shallot and peppers in olive oil. Add the grape tomatoes and herbs and sauté until wilted. Add the olives and capers and season to taste. Sear the scallops to medium rare, remove scallops and deglaze pan with wine. Portion the pasta and tomato mixture and top with scallops and the pan drippings. Crack a bottle of Riesling and enjoy.


• 45

Linda Garson

Comfort food for me has to be hot and satisfying – and it usually involves potatoes. On the few nights I stay home alone, my go-to dish is jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings: chilli, chicken Thai red curry, baked beans and cheese – I love them all and often play to create new fillings. For my traditional favourite, it has to be something we had at home when I was young – latkes! If we were lucky, then mum would have made them for us when we got back from Sunday school for lunch. They’d be very hot, crispy and we’d sprinkle them with sugar (that must be why my dentist tells me I have British teeth!) but not applesauce or sour cream. But I can enjoy that too!

Potato Latkes Serves 4-6

3 large baking potatoes peeled (about 675 g) 1 medium onion, peeled 60 mL (1/4 cup) flour with 5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder 15 mL (1 tsp) salt To taste pepper 2 eggs For frying Canola oil

1. Grate potatoes and onion so finely they are almost a pulp. Leave in a sieve to drain for 10 minutes. Put in a bowl and add remaining ingredients. 2. Heat 1cm deep oil in a heavy frying pan and when hot put in tablespoons of the mixture, flattening each latke with the back of a spoon. 3. Cook over steady moderate heat for about 3 or 4 minutes a side until a rich dark brown, then drain on crumpled paper towel.

Karen Miller

My all time favourite go-to food is spaghetti with simple homemade tomato sauce. It was the first recipe both my kids asked me to teach them how to make so they could make it for their friends. In a saucepan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil, add thinly sliced garlic and watch. Flavour the oil - do not burn! Add 1 can good Roma tomatoes or sliced fresh tomatoes, and a good pinch of salt. Sauté tomatoes over medium low heat until softened - the smell should make you unable to wait any longer. While sauce is simmering, cook noodles al dente. Top noodles with sauce and add fresh basil leaves. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Janine Trotta When my family is craving something warm, gooey and full of flavour - that won’t involve running out in the cold for ingredients - I always turn to quiche. Quiche is one of those creative dishes that works beautifully in getting rid of a hodgepodge of items in the fridge. This recipe is my favourite melange I’ve baked so far and takes very little time. The perfect complement to this decadent dish is a crisp glass of Oregon brewed Rogue Dead Guy Ale; the demijohn-style bottle adds a fun accent to the table.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Quiche Crust: 240 mL (1 cup) whole wheat flour 5 mL (1 tsp) sea salt 60 mL (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil 60 mL (1/4 cup) iced water Filling: 240 mL (1 cup) butternut squash, cubed and roasted 5 eggs 1 Spanish onion chopped 60 mL (1/4 cup) goat cheese


1. In measuring cup, mix oil and water until thick. Add to flour and salt, mixing with fork. 2. Press into pie dish and preheat oven to 425º F. Place cubed squash and onion on crust. 3. Beat eggs well and pour over vegetables. Sprinkle with goat cheese, season, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve with hot sauce and lime.

Wendy Brownie

A simple recipe for comfort and ease is my Tuscan Chicken. The chicken is oh so crispy and tender along with the roasted garlic and onions. Serve with mashed potatoes and veg of your choice, using the juices as a sauce. Enjoy with a glass of Chianti Classico buon appetito!

Tuscan Chicken

All you need is a chicken chopped into serving pieces. Then: 160 mL (2/3 cup) balsamic vinegar 80 mL (1/3 cup) olive oil 2 sweet white onions, chopped 6 cloves locally grown garlic, smashed 1. Pour balsamic vinegar and olive oil into a large bowl enough to cover the chicken, along with a good smattering of Kosher salt and ground pepper.

2. Add sweet white onions, garlic and mix in with the chicken/vinegar/oil mixture. 3. Preheat oven to 400º F. 4. Transfer everything to a rectangular baking dish or roasting pan. Cover the chicken in the pan with foil (shiny side down), and bake for 45 minutes - the house will smell divine!! 5. Remove dish from oven, and baste with the glorious juices. Place dish back in oven and leave in for another 20 - 30 minutes.


Tom Firth

Growing up, Fiddle Diddles were a family favourite. With barely the patience to let them cool enough to pick them up, my siblings and I have many memories of them. I still make them and love how easy they are to make.

Fiddle Diddles 120 mL (½ cup) shortening 120 mL (½ cup) milk 480 mL (2 cups) white sugar

1.Boil all over medium heat in a saucepan stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. 2. Add: 90 mL (6 Tbs) cocoa power A pinch salt

5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla extract 720 mL (3 cups) rolled oats 120 mL (½ cup) coconut 3. Mix, and using two spoons place on waxed paper. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Gabe Hall

I can’t get any more comforted than having something my mother used to (and still does) make for me when I’m ill: congee with century egg and lean salted pork. The light and airy rice porridge never upsets my system and keeps me warm as I sleep away whatever ails me.

Congee with Century Egg and Lean Salted Pork 240 mL (1 cup) rice 1.5 L (6 cups) water 200g lean pork 2 century eggs To taste salt

1. Liberally douse the lean pork with salt and rub it in. Leave to let the salt penetrate for 3-4 hours.

Rinse well to get rid of excess salt. Cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside. 2. Remove the shell from the century eggs, dice into pieces, set aside. 3. Combine rice and water into a pot, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add the pork and century egg. Stir often to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until desired consistency is reached, for me the thicker the better!


• 47

Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas…Edmund Spenser had it right. Of course, he wasn’t talking about the wine when he said this but let’s not get picky. When you’ve had a rough day or a blustery winter storm comes through Calgary, a glass of port is a nice place to find refuge - sleep can come after. The wine known as “port” can only come from Portugal. Its history goes back to the 1700s during the frequent wars between England and France. Denied French wines, English drinkers had to look further abroad for their wines, and the northern Portuguese harbour at Oporto (literally “the port”) was a convenient place for England-bound merchant ships to stock up on wine. The problem was that wine didn’t really travel that well in the hold of ships (it still doesn’t, but it travels on much larger and faster ships these days, in temperature controlled containers). The shippers found that the addition of a small amount of brandy to the barrels of wine prior to loading “fortified” or strengthened them for the journey, and the wines were in better shape upon arrival. Gradually fortifying came earlier and earlier in the wine making process, eventually happening during fermentation producing a stable, high alcohol wine that was the perfect wine for damp English weather. The wine known as port is made in the Alto Douro region of northern Portugal. This hilly, mountainous region along the Douro river is known for hot, dry summers and cold winters. It is a hauntingly beautiful region with dry stone terraces being the norm for several centuries to create enough space to plant vineyards.

Port After Stormy Seas By Tom Firth


Port is made using a blend of traditional grapes, most of which are only found in Portugal. Grapes such as tinta barroca, tinta cào, and touriga nacional are well suited to the climate and are a little “rustic” compared to other grapes like shiraz or cabernet sauvignon. These earthier flavours help the resulting wine have the power, structure, and longevity that other port-style fortified wines might lack. Since most of the flavour compounds of grapes are found in the grape skins, it is important to extract as much of these characters from the skins quickly. The grapes are traditionally pressed by foot for several hours in shallow open tanks called “lagares”. Once about half of the grapes’ natural sugars are fermented into alcohol, a measure of neutral spirit is added to the fermenting must, killing the yeast and resulting in a sweet wine of about 20 percent alcohol. Port comes in several styles ranging from those aged in barrel to those aged in bottle. • Tawny ports are aged in barrel and are…wait for it…tawny in colour. These wines lose the deep red colour found in ruby ports and take on a nutty

aroma and flavour in time. Most tawny ports will have an indication of the average age of the wine on the label such as 10, 20, 30, or 40 years of age, with a correspondingly higher price tag. Less common, but interesting, are colheita tawny ports which are a single vintage, as opposed to the blend of wines in the other tawnies. These wines do not improve with further aging and once opened, will keep anywhere from a week or two up to a couple of months for more aged examples. Tawny ports can be served slightly chilled and are perfect with nuts, blue cheeses, apple desserts, and dark chocolate. • The rest of the port types are red and begin at the bottom of the quality pyramid with the Ruby ports. These are wines that don’t have a vintage or age statement and usually have a proprietary name on the label, or might simply say Ruby Port. They are blends of years and are produced in a consistent house style. Serve these wines at a cool room temperature. • Late Bottled Vintage ports are wines that spend about 4-6 years in the barrel before bottling; hence “late bottled”. These wines are from a single year, but the extra time in barrel softens the wine somewhat and still preserves the richness expected from Port. These wines can be cellared for a couple of years if desired, but generally won’t improve further.

• Single Quinta ports are made from a single wine estate from a single vintage. Quintas (meaning an estate or farm) are usually flagship estates for the port producer and generally produce elegant ports of superior quality in most years. The labels will usually name the estate along with the name of the port shipper (or brand), such as Taylor Fladgate Quinta de Vargellas. They aren’t quite held in the same esteem as a “Declared” vintage port, but are some of the best buys for quality, ageable port. Single Quinta port used to be what you drank while you waited for your good stuff to age, but these days this is often the good stuff as the quality can be exceptional. Most Single Quinta wines become ready to drink at about 10 years.

wines are very delicate and will rarely keep more than a day. Ruby ports of all types are excellent matches with blue cheeses such as Stilton, dark chocolate, and really good cheddars.

• Vintage port is at the top of the quality pyramid of port representing only about one percent of production. To be called Vintage Port the producer must “declare” their intention to produce a vintage port that year. It only happens about 2-3 times in a decade and if the wine doesn’t quite pass muster, it will be directed to any of the other wine offerings from a producer. These last two types of port are the kind that age well in the cellar. Vintage Ports reach their maturity for drinking at around 15 years of age and better vintages can age for decades.

a wine, carefully and slowly pour the wine

Once opened, ruby ports lose freshness within a few days to a week at most. Older

Wine Picks

Taylor Fladgate 2009 Vintage Port - the most recent vintage declaration from top producer Taylor Fladgate. It won’t be ready to drink for at least 15 more years, but rest assured, it will be a bottle you’ll be happy to have in your cellar. $69 for a 375mL bottle and $130 for 750mL Fonseca 2005 Quinta do Panascal - just starting to show the nuances and complexity of a mature port. Fruits are lush and balanced by elegant spice and floral qualities. Keep cellaring if desired, but feel free to drink now too. $65

Warre’s Warrior Reserve Port – a stand out deal in ruby port, with plenty of big red fruit flavour, spice, and some chocolate notes. An excellent everyday port. $25 Graham’s 10 Year Tawny Port mint and cherry aromas with plenty of spice and mild nutty characters. Keep a bottle on hand for unexpected guests, and enjoy with toffee or crème desserts. Good stuff. $35

Decanting Port Decanting a bottle of port isn’t difficult. Vintage and Single Quinta ports probably should be decanted either to aerate the wine or remove it from sediment. To decant

from the bottle into a decanter or carafe allowing the poured wine to run down the side of the decanter. Once the small specks of sediment start appearing along the side of the decanter, either use a wine filter or stop pouring. The small amount of wine left in the bottle will contain most of the sediment. When in doubt, there are many videos online of the decanting process.

Offley 20 Year Tawny Port – a very well made and enjoyable tawny. The 20 year examples are my favourite blend of tawnies with chocolate raspberry, orange rind and toffee notes. A perfect after work sipper. $60

Dow’s 2006 Late Bottled Vintage Port - I have a soft spot for Dow’s, and their LBV is juicy, plummy, and surprisingly complex. Everything you want in an LBV. $25 culinairemagazine.ca

• 49

As we tolerate the months with the longest nights of the year, many beer drinkers turn to the dark side for their brew as well. While there are several beer styles that have a “dark” colour, it’s the stouts and porters that are the darkest of them all, begging the question what’s the difference between them?

Beers For A Dark and Stormy Night By David Nuttall and Meaghan O’Brien


There are at least six categories of stouts and three varieties of porters. A quick glance at Alberta’s liquor guide shows over three dozen stouts and two dozen porters available. When coupled with the fruit, chocolate, espresso, coffee, maple and other versions of both styles, you have an even greater diversity of flavours. We have looked at some of these beers in the September and November issues of Culinaire, but there are many others. Fortunately, almost all of these kinds of beers tell you in the name what the added presence is. Believe it or not, stout does not begin and end with Guinness. Although it is by far the most popular stout (hell, it’s one of the most popular beers, period) in the world, it is an example of a Dry (Irish) Stout, surprisingly, one of the few in this market. Originally an attempt to copy London porters, the result is a creamier beer with a more full (stout) body, partly due to the differences between London and Dublin’s water. A Scottish version is Orkney’s Dragonhead; a black stout with wheat, giving it hints of smoke, bitter chocolate, and toast. Sweet Stouts have less hop bitterness and a sweetness that often comes from the use of lactose (an unfermentable sugar). Often called “cream” or “milk” stouts, Charlevoix’s Vache Folle (Crazy Cow in English) Imperial Milk Stout from Quebec is a unique version of this style. Less bitter tasting than most stout, its milky smoothness hides the high alcohol (9% ABV). Oysters and stout have long been associated as a perfect pairing, so much so that some stouts are made with oysters in the brewing process. Porterhouse Oyster Stout is one such beer, “not suited for vegetarians”, as they claim. Others, such as Marston’s Oyster Stout, just use the name to encourage its consumption with your meal of bivalves.

A less sweet variety is Oatmeal Stout, which derives its name from the use of oatmeal to provide flavour, body, and complexity. Samuel Smith from Yorkshire, England has been making this beer for over 200 years. The oatmeal gives it a velvet character and a slightly bitter finish. Scotland’s Glencoe Wild Oat Stout has a similar creamy, toasted oatmeal flavour but is more lightly hopped. There are also numerous versions brewed in North America, most notably Le Bilboquet’s La Corriveau and St. Ambroise’s Oatmeal Stout from Quebec, Howe Sound’s Diamond Head Oatmeal Stout from Squamish B.C. and Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s Barney Flats from California. If you want a stout to be big, roasty, and hoppy, then American and (Russian) Imperial Stouts are the beers for you. American breweries have developed a style which involves different roasting profiles and use of American hops to create a stout which is bolder, richer, and have very strong coffee and chocolate notes. Rogue Shakespeare Stout and Lost Coast Eight-Ball Stout are classic West Coast versions of this beer. Originally, (Russian) Imperial Stout was made with more hops and to a higher alcohol level for the overseas trip from England to the Baltic states and Russia two centuries ago. Today, this is the most complex and hoppiest variety of stout with alcohol levels going well over 10% ABV. Odin’s Tipple Dark Norse Ale in some brands. 0,5L • 11% ALC/VOL Courage Imperial Russian Stout from London is one of the original proponents of this style, but versions are now made by breweries all over the world from New Zealand (8 Wired iStout) to Norway (Haand’s Odin’s Tipple).


Porters arrived first, in the early 18th century, probably named for the porters who worked around the London docks. It was originally a mixture of a few beer styles in a tankard, but later was brewed to style with dark roasted malt and light hops, giving the beer its distinct flavour and black appearance. When brewers began making higher alcohol porters, they called them extra stout porters - later shortened to stout. Thus, if breweries made both stouts and porters, the stout was the one with the higher alcohol. These standards have long since disappeared and there is little that separates them today. What they do have in common is lots of roasted malty sweetness with overtones of caramel, coffee, and chocolate. Oh, and their sales flourish in the winter.


• 51

Eventful Beers The beginning of the New Year has Robbie Burns Day for the Scottish and Valentine’s Day for lovers; let’s recommend a couple of beers to help you practise your brogue or put you in the mood. There are numerous Scottish breweries represented in Alberta from traditional (Traquair House, Tenant’s) to the new wave (BrewDog, Innis and Gunn, Orkney). There are also some Scottish whisky cask beers from Tullibardine 1488. From Traditional Scottish Ales Brewing come beers named after Scottish heroes. Rabbie Burns: The spelling is correct and it’s not a kosher beer. Honour the Scottish Bard with this dark ale full of liquorice and dark chocolate flavours. William Wallace: A Scottish Export Ale with a light hops and a caramel aftertaste. For Valentine’s Day. Dieu Du Ciel’s Aphrodisiaque is a cocoa and vanilla stout with hints of bourbon and roasted malt. Dark and smooth, the bitterness comes from the organic fair-trade cocoa with the vanilla notes making it a perfect dessert beer.

6,5 % alc./vol.



Imperial Stout also influenced the Baltic Porter style. These beers were brewed in Baltic countries often using lager yeast. The colour can be copper-brown with balanced hop, malt and coffee notes. Sadly, none of the originals are available in Alberta right now, but other countries have taken to the style. Brew Dog out of Scotland crafts Alice Porter, which is delicate in chocolate, with some nice bitter kicks throughout. This is an ideal porter if you’re looking for less sweet and more punch! Another to try is Beer Here Sod Baltic Porter from Belgium and Les Trois Mousquetaires’ Porter Baltique from Quebec. Brown Porter is a light-medium to medium body beer that is well balanced but more mild that its stronger counter parts; Robust and Baltic Porters. The characteristics of a Brown Porter are mild caramel sweetness, light hop bitterness and medium to dark brown in colour. This style is malty with chocolate notes and dangerously drinkable. Fuller’s London Porter has a collection of brown, crystal and chocolate malts with Fuggles hops. This compilation makes for a beautifully rich beer with light roasted notes, hints of chocolate and very mild bitterness. Named one of the world’s finest porters, this rich gem works wonderfully on its own, paired with a chocolate sweet dessert or rich and saucy meat dishes. This next Brown Porter is brewed in the London Porter style out of Belt, Montana. The award-winning Pigs Ass Porter by Harvest Moon Brewing has all the body without a lot of bitterness.

The malts used are the same as in Fuller’s London Porter and produce a smooth and creamy mouth feel, mild chocolate notes and a slight bitter finish from the hops. Also try London Porter by Paddock Wood Brewing Co. and Samuel Smith Taddy Porter. To satisfy the beer drinker that craves more power and body, the Robust Porter is just right. This style of porter has pronounced roasted and toasted notes and is much darker in colour with a billowy head that leaves behind beautiful lacing on the glass. Anchor Porter by Anchor Brewing Company was the first porter to be brewed after prohibition and kicks it up a notch in colour and complexity from other porters. It is a smooth porter with hints of vanilla, cocoa, coffee and toasted toffee, and pairs well with barbequed and roasted meats and game, stews and meat pies. Others to try are Rogue Mocha Porter and Deschutes Black Butte Porter. Stout and porters are more versatile than many people give them credit for. Not only do they go with the main course, they can be an excellent dessert beer as well. Try stout with your favourite ice cream for a decadent float you won’t have to share with the kids. In addition, use them to add flavour to sauces, batter (especially fish batter) and even desserts. So don’t just restrict your dark beer consumption to this time of the year, there are lots to try all year round!


• 53

Menu Gems Our contributors are sharing the warmth with their favourite comfort food dishes at local restaurants….

Jeff Collins Wendy Brownie My favourite comfort food is the Steak et Frites served with style at Cassis Bistro. The beef melts in your mouth ...the Frites are crispy and oh so heavenly. Sipping on a glass of Côtes du Rhône, one thinks that the snow and ice outdoors have almost melted!

I’ve had the mac and cheese at Janice Beaton’s restaurant Farm, and it is to die for! It last appeared on its everchanging menu on Wednesday Oct 31 as a weekly special, described as, ‘Wednesday – Macaroni and Cheese. Our take on the classic comfort dish. We pack ours with Sylvan Star gouda and cheddar cheese $9’ I’ll take two please! Tom Firth I spent a lot of my study time while I was in University at a Humpty’s (you could drink non-stop coffee and even smoke there until the wee hours) and I still have a weakness for their grilled cheese sandwich. Processed cheese, on flax bread with the “Tater-tot” style potatoes a little ketchup…brightens my day anytime. You can get a better grilled cheese at a lot of places, but this one has a fond spot in my heart. Andrew Ferguson My favourite restaurant comfort food has to be Charbroiled Buchanan’s Classic Deluxe Bacon Cheeseburger – it’s simple yet satisfying, and has a feel of homemade to it.

Dan Clapson There are a lot of dishes that I can’t get enough of in Calgary, but if I’m feeling chill on a cold day, nothing quite hits the spot like a cup of tomato soup and the Kimchikazee Grilled Cheese from my favourite food truck, Cheezy Biz!


BJ Oudman Comfort food is something reliable, consistent. A hot bowl of pho at so many Vietnamese restaurants delivers, but Pho Hoai is my favourite. Flavourful broth with loads of vegetables, noodles and pork always warms me up on a cold afternoon.

Heather Hartmann I’m out so often as it is, that if I need comfort, the last thing I want to do is be all spruced up and out at a restaurant. My idea of good comfort food is pizza from Roma’s Pizzeria in Bridgeland. A reader turned me onto it, and I’m eternally grateful. Either takeout or delivery, with me in my sweatpants, and a slice of their Prosciutto Crudo (prosciutto and gorgonzola) in one hand and a beer in the other, is my idea of a pretty comforting evening.

Silvia Pikal Peter Vetsch I will give you all a piece of advice that will put you forever in my debt. Go to the Crazyweed Kitchen in Canmore and order the soup. It doesn’t matter what the soup happens to be - it changes daily, but it is always otherworldly and it is liquid comfort in a bowl. Whether it’s tomato and red pepper, golden radish borscht, green apple and celery root or any of the other miracle concoctions the chef churns out, it will forever change your view of soup. I have driven all the way to the Weed just for soup more times than I can count.

Dried veggie ribs at Buddha’s Fusion Restaurant are my favourite comfort food! My boyfriend and I split a plate on one of our first dates and they continue to be a go-to food for us when we’re in the area. They’re covered in a heavenly breading and are deep-fried to crunchy, crispy perfection.  

Linda Garson My favourite comfort food dishes are hearty and warming and usually have a bit of spice too. I had a superb “Thai Curry Lobster” at Belgo Brasserie recently, stuffed full of seafood in a lemongrass-scented coconut broth with crispy rice, that I’d definitely recommend. Mushrooms fall into my comfort food category (oh for that soup at Escoba, see page 35) and blue cheese too, so the Gorgonzola Mushroom Dip with wild mushrooms, gorgonzola and pickled shallots at 80th & Ivy is very high on my list! So is Santorini’s Mousaka, Safari Grill’s Chicken Korai Masala, Rasoi’s Masala Slow-Braised Lamb Shank and the short ribs at Vero, Escoba and Il Sogno.

Janine Trotta The perfect cure to the worse night in February has always been a hearty Hungarian meal at Jonas’ on 6th Avenue SW. Though the washrooms are frigid, the food and Hungarian wine never is. I start with a bowl of liver dumpling soup and a slice of homemade bread served with jalapeno, and move onto their trademark Chicken Paprikash with spaetzle.


• 55

The War of 2012 by Gabriel Hall

One hundred years ago, as part of the British Empire, we fought a war with our neighbours to the south. We marched down to the heart of their country and burned down their White House in a victory that most Americans still refuse to acknowledge. This year they have decided to retaliate, not with guns, aircraft carriers and stealth bombers but with kitchen knives, slick new dining spaces and the best ingredients money can buy. Chefs who have made their fame and fortune in culinary bastions such as New York and San Francisco, are now marching down Canada’s streets intent on conquering Canada’s culinary market. The latest two shots fired over the border are David Chang’s Momofuku and Daniel Boulud’s Cafe Boulud. The Momofuku empire sprung forth from devilishly inventive minds at Momofuku Noodle bar in New York, a place Chang opened after stints working as an assistant ramen chef in Japan. Chang’s quirky attitude towards food, tireless search for the boundaries of food and his own imagination, quickly enraptured New Yorkers and others around the world. The Momofuku empire quickly grew from New York to Sydney and now includes a bar and a set of bakeries. It not only encompasses storefronts but also multiple cook books, a quarterly magazine called, “Lucky Peach” and a new series on PBS called “Mind of a Chef“, produced by Chang’s friend and noted TV host, Anthony Bourdain. The second shot could be considered part of a repeated incursion. After the 2011 closure of Lumière in Vancouver, Daniel Boulud opened Cafe Boulud a year later in the Four Seasons in Toronto. The three-starred chef, who had apprenticed under iconic names such as Roger Vergé, Georges Blanc and Michel Guérard, has opened restaurants in five countries and has received international commendations from the James Beard Foundation, the U.N. and was even made a French Chevalier. So why are these chefs now putting Canada squarely in their sights? Surely there are markets that are more economically viable with higher population densities? Or ones with more bio-diversity, producing a wider variety of unique ingredients?


In my search for an answer, local chef Kyle Groves gives me what could be the most plausible possibilities. Groves has spent time in Edinburgh, Scotland and at Marco Pierre White’s L’Escargot in London, England. Hence, he is no stranger to the ideas and movements of international chefs. His return to Calgary ended up in the stewardship of Catch (see Culinaire July/ August issue), one of our oldest and closely held bastions of fine dining. “Canadians are starting to embrace restaurants that are doing unique cooking” Groves noted, when asked about why Canada is turning the heads of big name chefs. “When chefs look for a place to open a restaurant, one of the things that they consider is how the local population will support the concept. There are many examples (not just in Canada) of restaurants opening and then shutting down within a short time period because they did not do a good job of delivering what the people who would be frequenting the restaurant(s) are looking for. As Canadians expand their palates, they are looking for new flavours and unique concepts. The new breed of superstar chefs recognizes this and supplies a product to meet the demand.” Certainly Canada’s economic stability, along with our notable reputation as an ethnic melting pot, not only accelerated our exposure to new cuisine concepts but also allowed us the ability to become patrons of our home-grown chefs. Great chefs will continuously look for new opportunities that will allow them to explore new concepts, which in turn push their own skills and knowledge, helping to propel them onto the international stage. “I believe that chefs and restaurants will be forced to elevate what we offer in our restaurants as more competition enters the market. If chefs never pushed the envelope and took risks, we would have a very boring list of restaurants and menus” Groves continues, “Having a unique wine list with a chef who is creating interesting and well-crafted food will probably go much further to increasing the overall success. Top Canadian chefs would be wise to look at unique ways to offer more value to the guests

who frequent their establishments.” With Canadians clamouring for more culinary diversity and our country’s ability to produce top quality ingredients, the only surprise is that more chefs aren’t taking aggressive action and trying to capitalize on our appetite for culinary adventure. Calgary’s economic growth makes our environment prime for the development of experimental cuisine and supporting a wider food community. “The city is young and vibrant and is currently very interested in new dining options and experiences. I could certainly see international chefs looking at Calgary as a destination in the next 5-10 years”, Groves concludes when asked about when Calgary will catch the eye of big name chefs. For now we’ll have to sit tight. While it is rare for Canada to be included in the annual “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” list and virtually excluded in any Michelin Guide, many are expecting the international culinary vanguard to come marching across the 49th parallel and onto our streets, raising the level of competition in short order. This time we won’t be pointing rifles and cannons to halt their advance, but rather excitedly waiting for them with our knives and forks in hand. Photo: Cafe Boulud, The Four Seasons culinairemagazine.ca

• 57

Cold temperatures, snow flying, winter blahs, yup time for some comfort food! During this time of year, the natural world is resting from the busy seasons of growing in the spring, flowering in the summer and budding in the fall. We too seem to need this restful break to replenish and I think that is why often we need, and perhaps, crave good nourishment. Since we are in the midst of a winter slumber, there really aren’t as many plants around that we can harvest to extract much for nutrients and create the comfort food we desire. So it is probably a better bet to pull out some of those root vegetables from the garden or those that you may have wildcrafted earlier in the season. In the late fall and even in early winter, if it is mild enough you can harvest cat tail root! The entire plant is edible at different times of the year, but in the fall and early winter they have those necessary healthy carbs. The root is quite fibrous so it takes a lot of

work to extract flour from it, but you can also use it in soups in a unique way, with a little patience. Before we learn that though, there are a few things you should know about harvesting cattail. You must know what you are looking for, so identification is critical. Sometimes plants can have lookalikes, and cattail does. It’s a good idea to either go with someone who can identify it, or get a really good book that can help you with proper identification. Next, it’s important to be sure of the water source where you intend to harvest. This water source should be clean and free flowing. If it is stagnant or water that has been sprayed, the plant will take up toxins, acting like a kidney system cleaning out all the impurities. Although some people say you can eat cattail raw, I’m always inclined to cook mine. The reason why is where there is a lot of

water, other water-loving animals live there too. And where you have animals, you have any variety of nasties including giardia and other pathogens that you can easily ingest. Cleaning well and cooking the plant will ensure they are safe. So, onto the soup! Sometimes I like to harvest nettles, wild onions and other wild roots to dry. All of these can be added to a soup, you can use any stock, but I like wild meat and use a good bone broth from it for a soup base. Throw all the wild root vegetables you want in there, and then place your cleaned and sliced cattail root, in a cheesecloth tied at the top, and throw it in the soup to simmer (I like slow cookers). When you are about ready to serve, you can remove the cheesecloth, mash the pulp out of it, and put the mashed pulp back in as a bit of a thickener and enjoy some nourishing soup!

Comfort In The Wild By Brenda Holder


Almost twenty years ago, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen took the idea of “comfort food” and used it to articulate the relationship between health and food, in the now-famous series Chicken Soup for the Soul. To millions of readers, the analogy of the title reaffirmed the connection between “comfort food” and our sense of well-being. The Webster dictionary defines comfort food as “food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal.” Sometimes when we least expect it, a special recipe, with its taste and texture, can trigger our senses and leave us content and satisfied. Part fable, part legend, the tale of Stone Soup is the storybook version of a comfort-food recipe. Published in 1947, Marcia Brown’s illustrated rendition of the classic folk tale was a Caldecott Honour Book. It tells the story of three soldiers returning home from the Napoleonic wars. The soldiers lit their campfire at the end of the day and asked some villagers for food, but the villagers were selfish and unwilling to share. So the legend goes that the soldiers filled their pot with water from a stream and placed it over the fire. Once the water was boiling they dropped a large stone into the pot. The people were curious and inquired what the soldiers were making. “Stone soup,” they replied.

The villagers watched as the soldiers took turns stirring the pot. Finally one of the soldiers tasted the soup. Turning to his friend, he suggested that it needed a little garnish. Quickly one of the villagers brought a few carrots and added them to the pot. The soldiers continued to stir and taste the broth. “It could use a pinch of salt,” they all agreed, and another curious villager brought some. Meat, vegetables and spices were added, until the soldiers finally declared it was ready. The villagers were so intrigued by the possibility of a stone turning into soup that they forgot their selfishness and, together with the solders, enjoyed a tasty meal - scarcely realizing that the soup had been the result of their own co-operation. There have been many adaptations of this old tale. In Scandinavia it is known as Nail Soup. In some versions, the soldiers are replaced by travellers; in Portugal it is a single monk. Canadian author Aubrey Davis, drawing from the Jewish tradition, created Bone Button Borscht, which is narrated by Barbara Budd and featured annually on the CBC on the first day of Hanukkah.

Ingredients: 1 large stone 1 large pot of water

Directions: Bring water to a boil, add stone, stir occasionally Serve with friends and strangers

Preparing a meal together brings its own enjoyment. The recipe for Stone Soup shows there is more to comfort food than simply eating.

Stone Soup By Jocelyn Burgener


• 59

Of Myth and Legends: By Andrew Ferguson

For nearly five centuries the islands of the Scotland’s west coast were ruled independent of the crown by pseudoViking-Celtic warlords. These Lords of the Isles ruled their dominion and raided beyond with the use of their long ships. Though rugged in nature and surrounded

by tempestuous seas, these islands fostered a strong and unique culture that survives in the Scottish Highlands to this day. By the late 15th Century, the Lords of the Isles had worn out their welcome with the Scottish crown. In 1411 they had invaded the north of Scotland almost as far as Aberdeen culminating in the bloody battle of Harlaw. The Lords were fiercely independent and even secretly signed a treaty with the English against Scotland in 1462. When this treachery was discovered in 1493 John MacDonald forfeited his title and lands to the crown. Since then the first in line to the Scottish and later British throne has always carried the title, Lord of the Isles. You’re probably starting to wonder, what does this have to do with whisky liqueurs? In 1475 the Lord of the Isles sparked a rebellion in Argyll, the mainland west coast of Scotland. John, the aforementioned last Lord of the Isles, took to the


hills, living off of the land he and his men proved rather difficult to capture. Legend has it the First Duke of Atholl came up with an unusual plan to put an end to things. He discovered the well that the rebels were drawing their water from and had it spiked with honey, oatmeal, herbs and whisky. The hope was it would encourage the Lord and his men to stay put until reinforcements could be brought up. The rebellion was put down and Atholl Brose was born. Atholl Brose is a traditional Scottish whisky liqueur, and is often homemade. Recipes for making Atholl Brose are relatively easy to come by on the internet, including some with cream for a concoction similar to Baileys. Gordon & MacPhail produce a bottled Atholl Brose ($43.99) with whisky from their Benromach distillery and selected herbs. In March of this year it was named the “World’s Best Whisky Liqueur” at the Whisky Magazine “World Whisky Awards”. Drambuie ($35.49) is another Scottish liqueur with a legendary past. After the Battle of Culloden in 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to the Isle of Skye, where he

The World’s Best Whisky Liqueur was hidden by Captain John MacKinnon. In return for his hospitality the Prince is said to have given the MacKinnon’s his prized recipe. The recipe passed through a number of hands until it was first commercially released in 1910. The name of the liqueur is interesting because it can be translated to mean: “the drink that satisfies”. Drambuie is made from malt whisky, honey, herbs and spices. The most famous Drambuie cocktail is the rusty nail. There are nearly 100 Scotch whisky-based liqueurs, most of which are not available outside Scotland. Two of them that are available in Calgary include Glayva ($32.99) and the Old Pulteney Whisky Liqueur ($33.49). Glayva, whose owner’s market it as the “the best liqueur in the world”, is made with aged malt whisky, heather honey, herbs, citrus fruits and anise. Old Pulteney’s whisky liqueur is made with whisky from Scotland’s most northerly malt distillery (Old Pulteney), honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. The Irish also make whiskey liqueurs, most famously Baileys, but before Baileys there was Irish Mist ($36.99). Irish Mist was

the first whiskey liqueur made in Ireland, launched in 1947 by the Tullamore Distillery that dates back to 1829. The recipe was based on traditional Irish Heather Wine, whose recipe is said to be 1,000 years old. It is made of Irish whiskey and other spirits, clover honey, heather, herbs and spices. One clever cocktail that can be made with Irish Mist is a ‘Rusty Mist’, which is half and half Irish Mist and Drambuie. Canadian firms also produce whisky liqueurs like Fireball Cinnamon Whisky ($28.99) and Yukon Jack (24.99). Fireball is a cinnamon flavoured whisky liqueur that was first released in the 1980s. The producers liken it to “a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face if his legs were on fire and tasted like cinnamon.” Yukon Jack likes to think of itself as the ‘Black Sheep’ of Canadian whisky liqueurs. At 50% it is very potent, made from Canadian whisky and honey.

sugar maple charcoal before filing into casks. The result is a lighter more delicate spirit. Tennessee Honey, like most of the other liqueurs mentioned above, is made with honey and spices. Evan Williams, a Bourbon distillery in Kentucky also has a honey liqueur, Evan Williams Honey Reserve ($31.99). Honey Reserve retains its base Bourbon flavour, but the addition of real honey and bottling at a lower strength makes it much more approachable. The more things change it seems, the more they stay the same. I wonder, would John MacDonald and his men have stayed put if the well had been filled with Tennessee Honey or Cinnamon Whisky?

Jack Daniels recently released its own liqueur, Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey ($32.49). Jack Daniels is not Bourbon, but Tennessee Whiskey; the main difference being that the latter is filtered through


• 61

Comfort food in our family has always involved hearty, baked dishes Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes with plenty of cheese. Au gratin potatoes are hard to resist when it’s -10º C outside and snowing. For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘au Serves 6 gratin’ means to sprinkle a dish with breadcrumbs or cheese and then bake it in the oven until browned. 600 g (4 cups) potatoes, thinly sliced As a child, I would be found sitting in front of the stove, waiting for the cheese to brown so I could help myself to a steaming plate of gooey, creamy potatoes. Today I have the same amount of patience, but am willing to experiment with different flavours to please more refined palates. A classic comfort side dish, au gratin potatoes are topped with a rich and slightly spicy sauce that forms a golden and crusty layer in the oven. The dish is garnished with smoked paprika.




Story and photography by Silvia Pikal


42 g (3 Tbs) butter 25 g (3 Tbs) flour 375 mL (1 1/2 cup) milk 5 mL (1 tsp) salt 100 g (3/4 cup) chopped onion 
 3 stalks celery, chopped 15 mL (1 Tbs) olive oil 150 g (1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
 5 mL (1 tsp) smoked paprika, plus more for garnish 5 mL (1 tsp) poultry seasoning To taste black pepper 1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Lightly grease a 23 x 33 cm (9 x 13”) casserole dish. 2. Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Sauté chopped onion for a few minutes, then add celery and sauté for a further 8-10 minutes, until onions are translucent. 3. Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes thinly. 4. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and whisk constantly for about a minute, until mixture is smooth. Continue whisking as you slowly add the milk. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to bubble, about five minutes. Lower heat and add salt, smoked paprika, poultry seasoning and black pepper. Remove from heat. Slowly mix in half the cheese until melted. 5. Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Top with the onion and celery mixture. Add the remaining potatoes over the mixture. Spoon sauce over the top layer and sprinkle remaining cheese over the sauce. 6. Bake for 1 hour or until lightly browned and the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Garnish with smoked paprika. Feel free to add green onions or parsley sprigs for presentation.

Cocktail Culture In Calgary:

The Battle For Alberta’s Top Mixologist! By BJ Oudman

Is there a doctor in the house? At the 2013 Alberta Cocktail Competition (ACC) being held at Hotel Arts on January 29, there will be, and his name is Michael Delevante, aka ‘the Rum Doctor’. The Doctor, senior distiller for Appleton and educator of all things rum, is one of four judges of the event, featuring twelve bartenders battling it out for the title of Alberta’s top mixologist. Christina Mah, event organizer and president of the Canadian Professional Bartenders Association (CPBA), explains the competition has been running for six years but re-branded to ACC this year to “extend the culture of our imbibing initiatives across Alberta”.  The competition will consist of three categories. All competitors will participate in the first two: “soda-licious” (must contain Fentimans soda) and “winter warmer”. Using criteria of taste, visual appeal, creativity, presentation, and intangibles, judges will choose the top two in each of these categories who will then go on to compete in the Iron Chef style ‘Black Box’. The black box will reveal one spirit and one non-perishable item (last year it contained Campari and wild honey) and twenty minutes on the clock. Winners will be crowned in each of the three categories and receive a $1,000 cash prize. The overall winner goes home with the glory of the title of the evening’s bout. The event starts at 6:00 pm, tickets are $20 at the door and include a welcome cocktail; proceeds will be donated to a local charity. Cards valid for a sample of all featured cocktails will be available for an additional $20. But perhaps even greater bragging rights (and $1,000) will be given to the bartender crowned with the “Culinaire Magazine Choice Award”.  From January 4 to February 28, each competitor’s drinking venue will feature their soda-licious cocktail on the menu. Visit one, visit all twelve, but do get out and vote! You may not have any say in Alberta’s politics, but you can influence this outcome. And no driving or standing in line required - the only polling station is online at www.culinairemagazine.ca. All winners will be announced in the April issue of Culinaire. Here is your sneak peek into the cocktails and their creators - go now and imbibe! Do try as many cocktails as you can - and don’t forget to vote at www.culinairemagazine.ca


• 63

Rebecca Davis

Luis Perez

Venue: Charcut Inspiration: Rebecca was a sommelier who switched to cocktails to express herself creatively. Starting with a spirit or a flavour, 90% of her drink is about research.  She utilizes a culinary slant for both inspiration and creation of her own syrups and purees. Charcut lists many classics but creates a new seasonal menu every four months.

Venue: Anejo Inspiration: Luis may work at a restaurant serving exclusively tequila-based drinks, but he is no stranger to the gamut of cocktail possibilities. His inspiration is continual learning; time spent working in hotels in Mexico provided him ample educational opportunities. Access to ingredients, both spirit and culinary, allowed him to experiment and gain confidence in his craft.

Drink: Fentiman’s Fairy 1 part Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth 1/2 part Cinzano Bianco Vermouth 3/4 part sage and ginger simple syrup 1/2 part fresh lemon juice Fentimans Tonic Absinthe Rinse glass with absinthe. Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Double strain into wine glass. Crown with tonic and serve neat.

Drink: Briza (Spanish breeze)

2 part Milagro Blanco Tequila 1 tsp vanilla infused agave nectar Lemon zest Orange bitters Mix in a shaker, double strain over bitters washed ice, top with Fentimans Victorian Lemonade and garnish with agave lemon wheel.

Matthew Hendriks Rod Redford Venue: Milk Tiger Lounge (MLT) Inspiration: Previously employed as a bike messenger, Rod gets his creative fix behind the wood at MLT. His favourites are simple and boozy, but for this creation he was inspired by his tattoo interests, gin and ginger. MLT has been driving the classic cocktail revitalization for the past four years, growing along with its all gluten-free kitchen.

Venue: Balkan the Greek Restaurant, Banff Inspiration: Matt’s love of cocktails was “up-loaded” by his friend and previous ACC competitor, George Kaplan. Matt put in eight years at Banff Park Lodge where he had access to 150 types of spirits, a large kitchen and a captive audience. He was hired by Balkan to renew their cocktail program and establish their reputation as the go-to cocktail joint in Banff. He continues to get inspiration from Wikipedia, books and trends.

Drink: Dandy Island

Drink: Orange Oni

1-2 thick slices of fresh peeled ginger muddled with 1 part cardamom syrup 1 1/4 parts Hendricks Gin 1/2 part Dubonnet 1/4 part Campari Shake, pour over ice and top with Fentimans Orange Jigger soda.


1 1/2 parts Hendricks Gin 1/2 part Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur 3/4 part fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 tsp blue agave nectar 1 cm cucumber slice Combine and shake hard. Pour 4 parts Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock soda over ice in glass and slowly strain shaken ingredients over. Garnish with cucumber flower and edible rose.

Darren Fabian Venue: Candela Inspiration: Part of the Alloy team for the previous five years, Darren moved over as GM of Candela to get it started on the right foot. Armed with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, he paid his way through school working behind the bar and has never left, preferring to work with both the product and the service. He loves spices and herbs and uses them as his base inspiration to deconstruct and rebuild a cocktail, creating layers and textures along the way.

Drink: Turkey Shoot

Muddle 1/4 riesling soaked pear with 1.5 tsp green cardamom pods, shaved fresh ginger and 1 tsp maple syrup. Place in shaker with: 1 1/2 parts Wild Turkey Bourbon 1/2 part apricot brandy Shake and double strain over ice, top with Fentimans Dandelion and Burdock Soda and a salted pear chip.

Savanna Beach Venue: Raw Bar Inspiration: New to the cocktail bar scene, Savanna credits mentor Christina Mah with grooming her to transfer her previous seven years of bar experience to the art of cocktails. Her enthusiastic approach to trying out new things is resulting in a distinctive style with unique flavours and unconventional ingredients. She is inspired by her ingredients - in this case the rose lemonade pointing out that Hendricks Gin uses rose and cucumber in distillation - an obvious marriage.

Drink: Eden’s Love Affair

Muddle 1 1/4 inch fresh celery in a mixer and add: 3/4 part Hendricks Gin 1/4 part Campari 3 drops orange blossom water Shake vigorously with ice, strain into champagne glass, lengthen with 4 parts Fentimans Rose Lemonade and garnish with a rose bud.

Bryon King Venue: Charcut

Tarquin Melnyk Venue: The Manor Bistro, Urban Diners, High Street Social Club, Edmonton Inspiration:  Travel and apprenticeship under noteworthy mixology talent, Tarquin returned to Edmonton to foster local interest in craft cocktails and a return to quality, sustainable ingredients. He takes control both as bar director, brand ambassador for Yukon Spirits and creator of “The Edmonton”, official drink of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. 

Drink: Diner Cream Soda 

1 part Campari 1 part Curiel Vanilla Vodka 1 part cinnamon citrus simple syrup 1 part lime juice dash orange bitters Combine in shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over ice sling, spritz with orange oil and top with 3 parts Fentimans Victorian lemonade. Garnish with a gooseberry.

Inspiration: Fire! Behind the bar, Bryon not only makes drinks but entertains his guests, giving them more than they expect. Self admittedly ADD, his energy shines through in the complexity and passion in mixology. His education as an architectural technologist and experience in stone masonry lends itself to the design, creativity, precision and attention to detail that is not far off from building unique, well balanced drinks.

Drink: The Birthday Girl (in honour of his sister turning 21 on the day of the ACC)

1 part Skyy Citrus Vodka 1 part Campari 1/2 part pineapple and basil simple syrup 1/2 squeeze lemon Add all ingredients, shake and double strain onto ice in glass. Top with 2 parts Fentimans Pink Lemonade. Garnish with pineapple cup sprayed four times with absinthe, light on fire for the candle and make a toast!


• 65

Stephen Stewart Venue: Milk Tiger Lounge

Timo Salimaki

Inspiration: Despite graduating with honours from the SAIT professional cooking program, Stephen’s passion for bartending brought him back to the bar where he discovered his love for classic cocktails. A look-alike from the hit series Madmen, he is inspired by jumping outside his comfort zone whisky. Rather than just sling drinks behind a bar, the creative aspect (he uses fifteen to twenty flavours of bitters) keeps him excited about his occupation.

Inspiration: After seven years at The Living Room, Timo built his first cocktail list at NOtaBLE. He notes that despite competitions (this will be his fourth in a year), the bartending community is very supportive and collaborative. With his chef brother as an influence, Timo builds flavour in the kitchen first, then brings those to his drinks, making as many of his supplementary products from scratch as he can.

Venue: National Beer Hall

Drink: Fentimans Not So Hard Lemonade

1 1/2 part Appleton Estate Rum 1/2 part Cinzano Bianco Vermouth 1/4 part St Germain Elderflower liqueur 1 part rooibos saffron syrup dash Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters Combine and shake with ice, fine strain over ice in glass, top with 3 parts Fentimans Rose Lemonade and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Drink: Good Thymey Muddle 2 wedges ruby red grapefruit with 1 1/2 part thyme simple syrup and add: 1 1/2 part Hendricks Gin Shake with ice and double strain into champagne flute. Top with 3 parts Fentimans Rose Lemonade and a dash of lavender bitters. Garnish with a candied grapefruit twist.

Franz Swinton Chuck Elves Venue: Three Boars Eatery, Edmonton Inspiration: Following the path of many others, initially a love for craft beer, then whisky and other spirits led to his interest in cocktails. Despite staying busy as co-owner and bar manager for the restaurant, he finds time to use culinary inspiration to blend flavours and create balance, with a focus on the classic end of the cocktail spectrum.

Drink: The Rented Mule

1 1/2 part Hendricks Gin 1/2 part Cinzano 1 part reduced Fentimans Ginger Beer 1/2 part orange peppercorn simple syrup Combine, stir and strain into a glass rimmed with gingered sugar. Top with 2 parts fresh Fentimans Ginger Beer and garnish with candied ginger.


Venue: Cube (opening early 2013) Inspiration:  Last but not least, defending champion Franz Swinton is one of the patriarchs of the Calgary cocktail scene. He honed his skills at Raw Bar before creating and caring for cocktail lists at many top level venues in Calgary. He is passionate about the industry, acting as vice president of the CPBA, and will be representing Canada at the World Cocktail Championships in Tuscany in May. He has the group’s most competition experience and is excited to see “the kids” competing. He credits his maturity with drawing him back from being more out there to classics, stating, “they are classics for a reason - classic ingredients, classic techniques”. But he challenges anyone to bring their game and defeat him at what he does best - after all, he is named after a classical composer!

Drink: Fentimans Rye and Cola Manhattan 1 1/2 part Gibsons Sterling or Wild Turkey bourbon 1/2 part Fentimans Cola Vermouth 2 dashes suius cherry bitters 2 dashes angostura bitters Build ingredients in Perlini shaker (pressurized carbonation system), shake, strain over fresh rocks and garnish with duck confit Manhattan cherry

CASUALLY ELEGANT. UNIQUELY VINTAGE. DISTINCTLY CANADIAN. From the intimate setting to the vintage details, you’ll instantly be whisked away from the everyday with a visit to the Selkirk Grille at Heritage Park Historical Village. Walk in and see a prominent sandstone bar, feel the warm wood accents, and hear the sounds of music from a bygone era. Then delight your taste buds with a dish from the menu of Executive Chef Jan Hansen and Chef de Cuisine Ian Kennedy, comprised of locally grown, organic foods and Canadian specialities. Our skilled staff will match this exquisite menu with exceptional service, ensuring a truly elegant dining experience.

• Winter Special •

Enjoy 50% off select wines until April 30, 2013

Reservations 403.268.8607 or www.HeritagePark.ca

Open daily for lunch. Tuesday through Sunday for dinner. 1900 Heritage Drive SW Calgary


• 67


Profile for Culinaire Magazine

Culinaire #8 (January/February 2013)  

Calgary's Freshest Food and Beverage Magazine

Culinaire #8 (January/February 2013)  

Calgary's Freshest Food and Beverage Magazine