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52 DIY Summer Style Lighten up your décor and welcome the season with these designer tips. BY LANA LOUNSBURY
Savouring Salmon Everything you need to know about this celebrated West Coast fish, with delectable recipes from three Vancouver Island chefs. BY MIKE WICKS
62 The Art of Happiness The key to a better life starts with finding a new perspective — and reconnecting with nature. BY ALEX VAN TOL
Give the heart of your home lasting appeal with a cabinet makeover that
Let art and architecture be the stepping stones to breathtaking
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Quality Never Goes Out of Style
I NTERIORS Visit Jordans.ca | 2269 Douglas Street Victoria | Free Underground Parking | 250.385.6746
IN EVERY ISSUE 8 EDITORâ€™S NOTE 11 YAM LOVE Get grilling and a sweet recipe
13 TOP OF MIND Embracing stripes, contemporary outdoor lighting, local beauty finds, Trends & Tastes and City Culture
74 LAST PAGE A luscious summer dessert
FOOD + DRINK 20 GOOD EATS Making gourmet pizza at home
By Shelora Sheldan
24 DIVINE DRINKS Modern takes on classic cocktail bitters By Adem Tepedelen
28 IN PERSON Chef Cosmo Meens of Cook Culture By Athena McKenzie
HOME + GARDEN 30 OUTSTANDING HOMES Living with colour in a Canadian hacienda By Shelora Sheldan
FASHION + BEAUTY 66 STYLE WATCH A shore thing By Janine Metcalfe
70 JOE DANDY Travelling in style By David Alexander
ART + CULTURE 26 TRAVEL Argentina: The Paris of South America By Kathryn McAree
72 BOOKMARKS Great picks for your summer reading list By Carolyn Camilleri
EDITOR’S NOTE By Kerry Slavens
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
aybe I had an overdose of Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” on a recent road trip, but I’ve been thinking a great deal about happiness lately. It’s such a wonderful, addictive feeling that many of us spend a lot of time wondering how to get happy and how to stay happy. To gain more insight into the state of happiness, I asked Alex Van Tol to research and write about it for this issue of YAM. Her article offers deeper insight into what happiness is — and isn’t — and it led me to ask myself, “What makes me happy?” I came up with a long list that included everything from beautiful shoes to coming home in the evening and seeing the lamp on in my living room window, a signal someone I love is home waiting for me. But if I’m being truthful, the real answer is: I make myself happy. I wouldn’t have always been able to say that. As a young woman, I thought happiness was something that happened to me. I didn’t fully understand that I could choose it. And then one day, after my moody teenage years and somewhat cynical 20s, I finally just got it. Truly, it was somewhat shocking at first to catch myself unaware, just feeling … happy. I can’t say it came from another person or from a self-help book or yoga class (although I finally figured I’m sure those things helped) — it was more an accumulation of evidence that overpoweringly told out that the key to me that I could, for the most part, choose how to be. happiness came to Believe me, it’s not that I sit around laughing at my own jokes (they’re not that funny) or that I’m me when I stopped a constant ray of sunshine (my family will tell you struggling to get it. that I don’t wake up well). It’s more that my default setting is happy — or at least content or serene — rather than gloomy or anxious or prickly. I finally figured out that the key to happiness came to me when I stopped struggling to get it. After all, trying to be happy is just as bizarre as trying to be sad. You either are — or you’re not. You can nudge yourself in a general direction and remind yourself of what you have to be thankful for, but it’s counterintuitive to pursue happiness. As Edith Wharton wisely said, “If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time.” On a related note, few events bring me as much happiness as Dîner En Blanc, an annual event held in select cities around the word, from Paris to Victoria, where hundreds of diners dressed in all-white finery converge on a secret location to wine and dine together under the early summer skies. As night falls, and sparkling lights illuminate the carefully chosen landscape, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of joie de vivre. Brink Events and The Social Concierge are bringing Dîner En Blanc back for its third year in Victoria on Thursday, June 25. See you there! Visit victoria.dinerenblanc.info. — Kerry
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PUBLISHERS Lise Gyorkos, Georgina Camilleri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kerry Slavens
CREATIVE AND TECHNICAL MANAGER Jeffrey Bosdet
PRODUCTION MANAGER Jennifer Kühtz
EDITORIAL DESIGNER Janice Hildybrant ASSOCIATE EDITOR Athena McKenzie CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER Jo-Ann Loro EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Patrick Grace CONTRIBUTING WRITERS David Alexander, Carolyn Camilleri, David Lennam, Lana Lounsbury, Kathryn McAree, Danielle Pope, Shelora Sheldan, Erin Renwick, Adem Tepedelen, Alex Van Tol, Mike Wicks CONTRIBUTING FASHION EDITOR Janine Metcalfe
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jeffrey Bosdet, Simon DesRochers, Derek Ford, Joshua Lawrence
CONTRIBUTING AGENCIES Alamy p.26; iStock p.27; Living4Media p.52; Masterfile p.41, 62; ThinkStock p.23, 27, 29, 39, 42, 48, 55, 56, 60 ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Vicki Clark, Cynthia Hanischuk, Charlsey Sperl ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Bev Madden-Knight GENERAL INQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org LETTERS TO THE EDITOR email@example.com TO SUBSCRIBE TO YAM firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING INQUIRIES email@example.com ONLINE yammagazine.com FACEBOOK YAM magazine – Victoria TWITTER twitter.com/YAMmagazine COVER 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria’s Rucola & Crudo pizza; beer glass provided by Penna & Co. Photo by Jeffrey Bosdet/YAM magazine
Published by PAGE ONE PUBLISHING 580 Ardersier Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1C7 T 250-595-7243 firstname.lastname@example.org pageonepublishing.ca Printed in Canada by Transcontinental Printing. Ideas and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Page One Publishing Inc. or its affiliates; no official endorsement should be inferred. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not the publisher. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, in all or part, in any form — printed or electronic — without the express permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement #41295544 ADVERTISE IN YAM MAGAZINE YAM magazine is Victoria’s leading home and lifestyle magazine. Established in 2009, YAM was created for people who want to live well, live smart and make the most of their lifestyle. For advertising info, please call us at 250-595-7243 or email email@example.com.
Win this portable grill!
get grilling Be sure to enter our contest to win a fun and fabulous Weber Q 1200 portable grill. It’s perfect for use at the beach, on picnics and when you’re camping; it’s also the ideal grill for small patios and balconies or if you’re making smaller meals. To enter, and to find some tempting grilling recipes, go to yammagazine.com.
AZINE JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAG
For even more local content from Victoria’s leading home and lifestyle magazine, visit yammagazine.com. You’ll find the latest scoop on trends, tastes, homes, fashion and more, including the recipe for Sweet Things Bakery’s Chocolate Butter Cream Cake, shown on page 74.
A NEW WAY TO READ YAM YAM magazine is now available on ISSUU. Same great content, same fabulous photography, in a new, easyto-use digital format.
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Shop Dine Discover! marketsquare.ca | 560 Johnson YAM MAGAZINE
TOP OF MIND
stripes ahoy! When it comes to fashion and dĂŠcor, why not take a linear approach? This classic print can be found on everything from shoes to chaise lounges.
1 Hester & Cook classic stripe paper table runner (line available at Nest & Cradle) 2 Chanii B Bebe shoe in red suede (Heart & Sole, $265) 3 Saint James Tolede II dress (Baden Baden Boutique, $185) 4 Kate Spade New York Charlotte Street North 4-piece place setting (Hudsonâ€™s Bay, $80) 5 Red Zinnia Striped Pillow (Chapters and Indigo, $30) 6 Deckhand Stripe Seersucker Necktie (cursorandthread.com, $89, line available at Still Life) 7 Bobbin chair in indigo (Pier One Imports, $630) 8 Herschel Retreat backpack ($70-$80, line available at Baggins)
T OP O F M I ND
ON OUR RADAR LOCAL BEAUTY No need to look far from home for the latest in beauty innovations. For one, The Willowstream Spa at the Empress offers a facial with the exclusive Kerstin Florian K-Lift Age Management System. This relaxing, noninvasive procedure uses three high-performance energy technologies, including red LED spectrum light, to address and treat the aging process. A series of treatments produces lifting and firming results, restoring dermal density and increasing collagen growth. Another fabulous beauty find is Elate Cosmetics — Victoria’s own cruelty- and chemicalfree, vegan, organic make-up and skincare line — which recently released its highly covetable Spring line.
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
CRYSTAL CLEAR Bring the wow factor to any outfit — from a simple T-shirt with jeans to a flowing summer dress — with a statement necklace. The striking, handcrafted creations from designer Ayala Bar use natural elements, glass beads, Swarovski crystals and mineral stones, creating intricate limited-edition pieces. Available at Provenance Fine Things in Sidney.
MOOD LIGHTING Nothing says summer is officially here like spending the evening relaxing on your patio, and you can extend and enhance the experience simply by adding some light. Luckily, the latest looks in outdoor lighting make it easy to transform your outdoor living space into a welcoming sanctuary well into the night. To get the contemporary look, consider a modernistic option, such as Vibia’s striking Wind lamps. Available at Gabriel Ross. 14
PEDAL POWER Have you always wanted to commute by bike, but were wary of urban cycling? The Greater Victoria Bike to Work Week runs from May 25 to 31, and along with celebration stations around town and the commuter challenge, a friendly race between a cyclist and a driver, the week promotes urban cycling skills courses — 70 per cent of adults feel safer riding their bikes in traffic after taking a class and 75 per cent find themselves riding more often. If sartorial concerns are keeping you off your bike, riding to work doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. Cycling’s growing popularity means there are plenty of accessories with flair, such as this dapper pannier by Hill & Ellis. Available at Le Vé lo Victoria.
Along with the warm weather comes the desire to relax in the great outdoors. The Cacoon hanging chair can be used in your own backyard or even taken on your next beach or camping trip. Available at Capital Iron.
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TRENDS & TASTES
KEEP ON TRUCKING As soon as the zest of spring is in the air, Victoria’s food trucks hit the streets en masse. Find your fave food trucks, from The Love Perogy to Grilled to the Mac, by downloading streetfoodapp.com — or enjoy them all at once at the Friday Truck-Ups in Centennial Square, July 3, 10, 24 and 31. These truck-ups are the perfect #TGIF experience, offering tasty food, local craft beer and live music.
You don’t have to go to La Belle France to experience an authentic French pâtisserie; just take a trip to the French Oven Bakery in the Victoria Public Market. Baker Nick Castro, who owns the bakery with his wife Sandra, is a French baker by trade and a first-generation immigrant from France. All recipes are originals from Lyon.
Countdown to Scrumptious ... From mixing the dough to the final product coming out of the oven, it takes 24 hours for the French Oven Bakery to create each melt-in-your mouth croissant. Try classic, raspberry, pain au chocolat or bacon and cheddar.
The Everything Elixer Everybody’s talking about Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs and Tonics, potent potions developed by Melinda Divers of Salt Spring Island. Divers created her Tumeric Elixir to boost her health and energy during her recovery from cancer. Her friends loved the elixir so much, she turned it into a business. Available in Turmeric or Turmeric Lime, these organic, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, energizing concentrates are perfect as a tea, as a chilled beverage or poured over ice as a digestif. They’re even great in smoothies or dressings. (Find local suppliers listed on moonshinemamas.ca) 16
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
TASTE OF ITALY As Il Covo Trattoria celebrates its first birthday, owners Italo and Charmaine Porcella share Chef Italo’s recipe for a classic Italian pasta dish. SPAGHETTI AI BROCCOLETTI Serves 4 • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 500 g broccoli, stems cut off (about 4 crowns) • 500 g spaghetti • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil • Pinch of chili pepper • Salt for boiled water • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese In a large saucepan, sauté garlic in olive oil at low temperature. Meanwhile, bring salted water to boil in a large pot and add broccoli for five minutes. Strain broccoli out of pot with a large slotted spoon in order to keep the water to cook the spaghetti. Chop broccoli into pieces and toss into the pan with the sautéed garlic and oil; stir and continue to cook on low heat until the pasta is ready. Cook the spaghetti according to directions (al dente is approximately 10 to 11 minutes). Drain in strainer and add pasta to the broccoli mixture in pan; mix all together. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
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T OP OF M IN D
CITY CULTURE By David Lennam
GOOD GOD! Victoria’s Mike Delamont delivers a divine comedy.
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o you finally get to meet your maker business student and Conservatory of and it turns out God is this 6'7", 350 lb. Music opera trainee didn’t imagine himself guy in a hideous floral dress, glasses in a flowery dress at the pulpit of the high halfway down the bridge of his nose and mass of comedy. He wanted to act. Do a few a bargain version of that black wig worn musicals. Broadway. Maybe a tour. by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. And he’s “In 2009, my dream was to be an Equity barking at you in a thick Scottish accent. actor. That’s it,” says Delamont. “That’s the For Victoria money right there. standup comedian And now it’s not the Mike Delamont, money [laughs]. I look becoming God isn’t at what I make doing so far removed my own silly shows from the timeand I make more in tested observational one show than doing — H.L. Mencken stand-up of Seinfeld. eight shows in an The shtick is how Equity house.” the 30-year-old absorbs this “big-boned Before the divine intervention of God and girl” of a character and holds up God before his standup chops were good enough as a megaphone in a sharply funny set, to pay the rent, Delamont did dabble in skewering Bieber, the Pope, cellphones, theatre (his Jud in Oklahoma! circumcision, homophobes, the Mormons at Chemainus remains a highlight) and, of and the Mayans! course, Atomic Vaudeville (AV), where he His act, God Is A Scottish Drag Queen, became the star attraction with the ongoing is on its third smash sequel — and local comedy cabaret. audiences familiar with Part I will get to “My character stuff came out of the fact enjoy Part II at the UNO Festival this May. I couldn’t really write dialogue. My brain The comic assures that the third part will doesn’t work that way. But I could write for eventually make it to Victoria — probably myself, so I started writing monologues.” after touring North America. It was his long association with AV The Vic High grad, one-time UVic and its creator Jacob Richmond that gave
“God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.”
divine birth back in 2006. God didn’t always carry the Scot’s brogue. There was a time when she was placed on the other side of Hadrian’s Wall. That’s when Richmond wrote God for Delamont as a one-off sketch. “The first night it just bombed,” recalls Delamont. That god-awful debut featured Delamont having a go with an upper-crust British accent and, he says, a very mean streak. “Very headmastery and very aggressive.” One night later, God became a Scot, changed wigs from red to black and ditched the Lady Gaga sunglasses. The changes, particularly the accent, warmed up the performance. As Delamont explains, “The (new) character wasn’t taking stuff so seriously so there’s a wink quality to the meanness. It opened the door to be accessible.” Richmond never wrote another one of God’s lines and Delamont’s been on a staggeringly popular eight-year run in that ugly dress. How popular? In 2014, combining God I and II with his regular standup act, Delamont did 122 days on the road, 40 shows in 18 cities and played God for more than 50,000 people. He did Vegas and New York, appeared on CBC Radio’s Laugh Out Loud and was nominated for a Canadian Comedy Award. And he made his TV debut with the Halifax Comedy Festival and Montreal’s Just for Laughs. There is a legend about patrons having to line up for eight hours to get a ticket to see him. And he remains the only homegrown comedian to sell out the McPherson Playhouse. Jan Munsil, producer of the UNO and Fringe Festivals, suggests the solo world of UNO has helped an amazing number of Victorians jumpstart their careers. Like Delamont, TJ Dawe, Charlie Ross and Andrew Bailey have all turned the monologue into money. “Presenting them in a festival gives our audience a chance to follow the careers and development of some of the most popular artists from the Fringe over the years,” says Munsil. “And having locally based artists with built-in followings helps bring attention to the festival itself and the other shows in it.” Now Delamont would like to see some of that attention shone on him and not just his star character. “More people know God Is A Scottish Drag Queen than know Mike Delamont, so I’ve been trying to rebrand it so they know my name.” But, really, when you’re God, who cares? God Is A Scottish Drag Queen II is at the UNO Festival, May 8 to 24. :: YAM MAGAZINE
G OO D E A T S By Shelora Sheldan
Italian immigrants introduced the pizza pie to North America in the late 19th century. Throughout the years, this versatile dish evolved from a Canadian Friday night treat into the perfect dish for any occasion, from Grey Cup parties to, yes, even weddings. It’s excellent served as a lunch or dinner main dish; relished cold from the fridge for breakfast; or even as a quick slice to satisfy a late-night craving.
900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria’s Rucola & Crudo pizza, with mozzarella, wild arugula and fresh-cut Prosciutto di Parma. Opposite page: Positano pizza, a cheeseless pizza with fresh anchovies, lemon slices, olive oil and thyme.
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
rom deep dish to thin crust, wood-fired to grilled, pizza’s popularity shows no sign of abating. Making pizza from scratch is very satisfying. You have complete control over ingredients — it’s basically just a marriage of flour, yeast, salt and water. With a little patience for rising times, and if you let go of the notion that pizzas have to be perfectly round, you’ll be a budding pizzaiolo in no time.
HOW TO “DO” DOUGH Thin crust or deep dish? Your choice is as personal as your favourite toppings. There is much debate on what type of flour produces the best crust. Pizzeria Prima Strada uses very finely milled Doppio Zero (00) flour, one of the requirements for their Italiancertified Vera Pizza Napoletana status. Aficionados say this flour’s high protein content produces a very soft dough and crust, great for long and slow rises, and suitable for temperatures above 700°F. For pizza Sundays at Fry’s Bakery, baker Byron Fry created his own blend of flours using Canadian heritage wheat varieties, some locally grown, some hand-milled on site. The freshness of the grains adds depth of flavour and a delicate natural sweetness. Fry recommends finding locally milled whole-wheat flour, sifting off the bran, then
blending it with Anita’s organic white flour at a 60/40 ratio. He also suggests making a sourdough or, failing that, to use 1/10th of the yeast recommended in a standard recipe and leaving it out overnight to ferment slowly. Both Fry’s and Pizzeria Prima Strada use a natural starter and a long fermentation process, which also develops a flavourful character, and a wood fire for toasty notes. I’ve experimented with different flours for my dough. I found bread flour too stodgy whereas a recipe using whole wheat, cornmeal and unbleached flours in combination provided a nice texture and was easy to roll out. My old reliable recipe uses 100 per cent unbleached white flour with regular yeast, olive oil and salt, and it only takes a couple of hours from start to roll out. Once the dough has risen, I punch it down and combine stretching and rolling it to the desired thickness and shape. I no longer worry whether it’s perfect. If you don’t want to make dough, pre-made flatbreads such as Indian naan or Mediterranean pita breads are easy to work with. For home cooks, the addition of olive oil to the dough creates crunch and flavour. Emily Lycopolus of Olive the Senses makes pizza once a week and adds extra gusto with many of the store’s fused and infused YAM MAGAZINE
oils. Her favourites include basil, Tuscan herb and garlic-infused oils, and the fiery Baklouti green chili oil.
Classical Roots • Contemporary Reach • Extraordinary Future
Saturday, May 30th 2015 Concert 7:30pm
Alix Goolden Performance Hall 907 Pandora Avenue Featuring the world premiere of our commissioned piano quintet, surprise guest musicians, and contemporary performances under the direction of Daniel Lapp.
General Admission $35 • Doors at 6:45pm
Jubilee Reception $85 • 6:30pm
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A hot oven is also key for pizza success. The recently opened 900° Wood-Fired Pizzeria features an Italian Ferrara oven, which heats to the titular 900° Fahrenheit. Owner Adrian Ortiz-Mena says because pizza is essentially cooking fresh bread with moist toppings, the higher temperature and fast cooking time ensures the pizza won’t be soggy. Of course, without an oven that can heat beyond 500° F, restaurant-quality pies are often out of reach for home cooks. But there are ways around it. Affordable pizza stones, available in round, square and rectangular shapes, produce a quick and even bake to the crust. Simply heat the stone at the highest setting in the oven, while you prepare your pies. I use a pizza stone at home with great results; I’ve also made pizzas over TASTY TOPPERS a charcoal grill. • Fresh greens like The key is to arugula, basil or baby have hot coals spinach contribute a only on one lively note. Add them side of the grill. just before serving Once you lay the along with a drizzle of dough on the hot extra virgin olive oil. grill for a minute • Grilled zucchini or or so, flip it and eggplant paired with transfer to the sliced black olives, non-coal side. roasted garlic, feta and fresh oregano. The toppings are then laid • Sautéed leeks and on in reverse: roasted red peppers paired with crumbled a slick of olive fennel sausage, sliced oil, cheese, ripe tomatoes and meat and, lastly, ricotta. tomato. Quickly • Ready-made transfer the rotisserie chicken, pizza to the hot shredded and paired side of the grill with roasted, peeled again and within Anaheim or poblano minutes it’s peppers, or sliced done. There are pickled banana peppers, along with also grill stones queso fresco, a fresh made especially cheese with a saltyfor barbecues sour kick. and box “ovens” • Duck confit, for larger grills.
THE TOPPINGS First, the sauce. A good tomato sauce base begins with good tomatoes. Quality canned varieties are fine, especially 22
shredded, sautéed onions, just-wilted spinach and an egg on top. Add grated Parmesan and freshly cracked pepper just before serving.
• Roasted sliced pears with gorgonzola blue cheese and walnuts.
Italian San Marzanos — another important ingredient for VPN status pizzerias. I buy them canned and whole, then hand-squish them and cook them down with a sprig of basil and a glug of olive oil. And you don’t always have to include tomato sauce! White pizza, or pizza bianca, might seem sparse, but it’s equally delicious. One of my favourite combinations is freshly chopped rosemary in tandem with sliced cooked potato. A drizzle of good olive oil, salt and a snowy topping of fresh Parmesan is all that’s needed. When it comes to toppings, anything goes, from traditional Italian — think classic pizza Margherita — to local and seasonal ingredients. Here’s the key: don’t overload the pie with toppings; you want everything to cook evenly. Par-cooking helps in the case of ingredients like caramelized onions and sauteéd mushrooms. Your toppings, including cheeses, should be at room temperature.
THE SECRET INGREDIENT I asked Cristen DeCarolis Dallas, coowner of Pizzeria Prima Strada, to tell me the hallmarks of a great pizza. “My short answer for all pizza,” she says, “is a passionate commitment to quality ingredients and a willingness to take the time to make the best product you can.” And that, as they say, is amore! ::
EASY PIZZA DOUGH Courtesy of Shelora Sheldan Makes approximately two 10-inch or four 6-inch pizzas • 1 /4 cup warm water • 1 envelope active dry yeast • 1 tsp sugar • 4 cups unbleached white flour • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 1/4 cups cold water • 1 tbsp olive oil
In a bowl, add the warm water, yeast and salt and stir to combine. In a food processor, mixer, or by hand, add flour, salt and stir to combine. Add the yeast mixture, cold water and oil. Mix until a ball is formed (careful not to overwork the dough!). Scrape dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for several minutes until dough is smooth. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for about one hour. Punch down dough, divide into two or four balls and let rise for another 30 minutes. Heat up pizza stone in a 500°F oven. Stretch out dough and quickly roll out to form pizza crusts — don’t worry if they’re not a perfect shape. Place on a piece of parchment or pizza paddle. Add toppings. Place on top of hot stone and bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
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D I V I NE DRINK S By Adem Tepedelen
The modern versions of the classic cocktail bitter will sweeten your mood.
Scott Lansdowne of Cenote Restaurant & Lounge uses a range of housemade bitters. His Dirty Old Town cocktail, shown here, has Knob Creek bourbon, Creme de Cassis, Fernet-Branca and his sweet cedar bitters; it is garnished with grated nutmeg, bitter chocolate and a lemon twist.
alt and pepper are rarely the stars of fine dining, but without them, any meal tastes bland. So it goes with bitters, the unsung but absolutely necessary heroes of the cocktail world. If you’ve tried to make even the most rudimentary cocktails, chances are you have a bottle of Angostura bitters in your liquor cabinet and you’ve likely added a dash or two to an Old-Fashioned, Sazerac or Manhattan.
IN THE BEGINNING The use of bitters in cocktails, in fact, is directly tied to the invention of the cocktail in the early 1800s. A cocktail (or “bittered sling,” in the slang parlance of the day) was defined as having the following ingredients: distilled spirit, sugar, water and bitters. However, bitters predate the invention of the cocktail. Before they were added to mixed drinks, they were sold as health tonics. “Historically, bitters were medicinal,” says Victoria Spirits master distiller Peter Hunt. “That’s why they were bitter, because they were primarily made with herbs that will have some physiological benefit. There were all sorts of claims that they could cure pretty much everything that could go wrong with you, short of a broken leg ...”
JUST A DASH Solomon Siegel, general manager of Pagliacci’s, and a key figure in Victoria’s recent cocktail renaissance, offers these tips for using bitters: • Treat them like spices in cooking. Angostura is the pepper of the bitters world. It works so well with so many things. • Taste bitters on their own first so you’ll know what they are and what they actually taste like before you put them in a drink.
• Keep in mind that bitterness can bring out sweetness and acidity in a drink. • Make sure that when a recipe calls for a “dash” (or two) of bitters that it’s not a wimpy dash. Don’t dribble. Fully invert the bottle and give a good dash motion so you get a consistent amount. • Consider using Fernet-Branca or absinthe in a dasher bottle as an alternative to bitters. Absinthe is made with wormwood which is a bittering agent used in a lot of bitters.
Modern bitters, like Hunt’s own Twisted & Bitter line and Bittered Sling Extracts from Vancouver, have little in common with traditional Angostura bitters other than being bitter. Gentian root is frequently the WHAT YOU CAN’T SAY ABOUT BITTERS main bittering agent — as it is in Angostura Bitters are made by soaking or macerating bitters — but that’s perhaps one of the few similarities. Twisted & Bitter makes a combination of aromatic botanicals classic Orange bitters, as well as Rosemary (herbs and spices) in a neutral distilled Grapefruit and Black Pepper. Bittered Sling spirit. The botanicals are strained out and Extracts, started by chef what remains is an intensely Jonathan Chovancek and concentrated, alcohol-based TREACLE DE LUX bartender Lauren Mote, tincture. While 19th-century features a greater array, with bitters were made to cure Recipe courtesy of food-centric flavours, such as Solomon Siegel your ills, modern bitters Autumn Bog Cranberry. makers are not allowed to • 1.5 oz Zacapa Rum Not just any aromatic tout the cure-all aspects of • .75 oz Pommeau de herbal tincture can be sold as their product (though they Normandie a “bitter.” “You actually have may well have medicinal • 2 dashes Chartreuse to submit your bitters and the benefits). Elixir Vegetal recipe to the Canada Revenue The U.S. Pure Food and • 2 dashes Bitter Truth Agency and they are analyzed Drug Act of 1906 mandated Peach Bitters against other types of bitters that claims on labels must Stir ingredients together to make sure they are bitter be proven for a product to gently with ice and enough,” explains Hunt. legally be sold, and that, along strain into a cocktail glass. The new artisanal bitters with Prohibition in the 1920s, Garnish with a lemon twist. aren’t just for mixologists, severely impacted bitters’ they’re for chefs too. popularity. It’s only been the Bitterness added to food, just as in cocktails, recent resurgence of cocktail culture makes sweetness and acidity sing, enhancing that has brought bitters back in a big way. flavours. As Hunt says, “They are essentially a liquid spice.” A BITTER REVIVAL Not every cocktail needs bitters, but with a “People are starting to realize again that good selection on hand, you can experiment not only do bitters have a place in cocktails,” and see how, for instance, Twisted & Bitter’s Hunt says, “but they make drinks really Black Pepper bitters spice up a Caesar or interesting and you can do a lot with them. Orange bitters add a zing to a Champagne As cocktail culture is revived we’re getting cocktail. You’ll be amazed by how a dash or back to a lot of those things that aren’t really two perks up the flavour and aroma. :: new things.”
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TR A V E L By Kathryn McAree
Buenos Aires THE PARIS OF SOUTH AMERICA
Buenos Aires is such a fascinating city; it even inspired the usually practical Lonely Planet to gush, “Sexy, alive and supremely confident, this beautiful city gets under your skin. Like Europe with a melancholic twist, Buenos Aires is unforgettable.”
The lively speakeasy, Frank’s Bar
ome to nearly three million people, Buenos Aires doesn’t feel like most South American cities. Here, residential blends beautifully with local businesses (don’t miss the great leather shops!) along cosmopolitan streets, and the city’s old world. Euro-influenced architecture transcends time. From the wildly colourful La Boca barrio to palatial Italian Renaissance-style palaces, Buenos Aires is a feast for the eyes — and the palate. Discover a foodie paradise with its own unique cuisine, enhanced by Argentina’s famous wines. And then there’s the tango. If you don’t know how to tango before you go, the birthplace of this famously sensual dance is the place to learn. STAY > Fierro Hotel is a hip boutique hotel in the city’s Palermo Hollywood district. The mod-minded will love the sleek furnishings, textured walls, abstract art and ultraplush beds. Fierro is home to UCO, one of Buenos Aires’ trendiest restaurants. In contrast to Fierro’s trendiness, the Alvear Palace Hotel exudes an elegance and palatial old-world charm that placed it on Condé Nast’s Gold List for 2015. It’s conveniently located in the Recoleta district near several “must see” destinations including the cemetery where Eva Perón is buried. EAT > Don’t miss Buenos Aires’ closed-door restaurant scene, the perfect antidote for travellers pining for a home-cooked meal. In Argentina, such an experience is known as an asado, a gathering of friends and family, with beef grilled over flames fuelled by Quebracho hardwood. At Adentro Dinner Club, you’ll be welcomed into the home of Chef Gabriel Aguallo and his American partner, the convivial host Kelly Brenner. You’ll feel at home in true 26
ON THE MAP Buenos Aires is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata estuary on South America’s southeastern coast.
Intriguing Nightlife Secrets Buenos Aires’ secret bar scene is a portal into a side of the city many tourists never see. At Frank’s Bar in Palermo Hollywood, the city’s food/entertainment district, you’ll feel cool and covert as you knock on a nondescript door and whisper a password. Next, you’ll come to a dark room with a phone booth. Step inside, pick up the phone and enter the code. (It’s a secret, but the doorman might help you.) The booth’s back panel will open to an opulent twofloor bar where the hippest hang out under crystal
chandeliers. In the Retiro district, Florería Atlántico appears to be a florist shop from the outside. So why do staff ask if you have a reservation? If you can get past the “florist staff,” pull on the handle of what appears to be a walk-in refrigeration unit and head down the stairs to find a packed, narrow bar. (Try the G&Ts from house-made ingredients.) It’s worth dining at this funky hangout for the flavourful fish and meat coming off the wood coals. Yes, grilling with wood in a basement … only in Buenos Aires!
Sidetrip to Argentina’s home of malbec The city and province of Mendoza is home to over half of Argentina’s 2,000-plus wineries. This is the place for malbec, Argentina’s signature wine. Your first stop in the city of Mendoza should be The Vines of Mendoza Tasting Room to sample flights from the best of Argentine boutique wineries. Try The Vines’ Recuerdo brand and enjoy tastings from a menu of hundreds of wines available by the glass. Plan a day at the estate of Familia Zuccardi, one of the most influential families of the Argentine wine world. Picnic in their garden, learn to make empanadas or take a vineyard cycle tour. For a luxe retreat, stay at Posada at Bodegas Salentein in Finca La Pampa, an hour and a half from Mendoza city. Relax and sip wine, surrounded by vineyards and stunning views of the famous Andes mountains. See the sites on horseback and tour the ultramodern winery where, surprisingly, they craft a late-harvest sauvignon blanc amongst the malbecs.
Argentine style with cocktails and traditional empanadas in the couple’s living room, an asado in the backyard and an incredible multi-course dinner in the dining room. Enjoy tira de asado (ribs), lomo (tenderloin), the adored mollejas (sweetbreads) and more. You may begin by dining with strangers, but you’ll likely leave in the wee hours having made new friends from around the world. Adentro Craving a modern take on traditional Argentine Dinner Club cuisine? Puratierra is divine. Chef de Cocina Martín Molteni describes the dining experience as “a tour to discover our cuisine style” with “Argentinean flavours and Aboriginal influences.” While most Argentinean menus are meat centric, Molteni’s fish dishes are superb. Try the beautiful white salmon with potato-like tubers and grilled vegetables. You might even find stuffed, succulent quail on the menu. Learn about traditional Argentine cuisine during exclusive afternoon seminars with the chef, followed by a delicious lunch. TOP 5 THINGS TO DO IN BUENOS AIRES > 1. Tango is synonymous with Buenos Aires culture. Catch this sultry dance at cafés, dance halls or dinner theatres. 2. Visit Cementerio de la Recoleta, where Eva Perón is buried amidst the incredible artistry of the mausoleums. You’ll be singing “Don’t cry for me Argentina,” the song made famous from Evita, the musical about Eva’s life. 3. Choose a window seat in one of Buenos Aires’ many cafés, drink fabulous coffee in small cups like the Italians do and people-watch. 4. Experience La Boca, a neighbourhood with buildings painted in bright colours and streets that are alive with tango and music. 5. Attend a fútbol game because there is no greater Buenos Aires cultural experience Tango performers than a soccer game. :: in La Boca
Italian immigrants in the 19th century brought their cuisine influence to Buenos Aires, so at times the city can seem more Italian than Spanish, especially if you’re in one of the city’s many gelato shops. At Helados Jauja at Cerviño 3901 you’ll find 13 variations of chocolate, 10 kinds of dulce de leche (a yummy caramel-like concoction) and a huge selection of native berry flavours.
I N P E R SO N By Athena McKenzie
Two words keep reoccurring when Cosmo Meens describes his evolution as a chef: “play” and “fun.” This appreciation of the lighter side doesn’t distract from his serious accomplishments. Victoria’s culinary landscape is dotted with his projects, including Mo:Lé and the Hot & Cold Café.
How a pair of sneakers launched his culinary career > Meens admits he never made a conscious decision to be a chef, calling his profession “the path of least resistance.” His first job was as a dishwasher at the Overtime Café, a position he acquired when he was only 12 and coveting a pair of Air Jordans. “My dad said he’d give me $30 but he wouldn’t pay $150 for shoes,” Meens says. “I think he was messing with me, but he told me to go talk to Kenny at the Overtime. And I think Kenny was messing with me a bit too, but he brought me in on a Saturday to see what I could do. I worked there until I was 17.” As dishwasher and prep person, Meens would “fool around” and make meals for the staff. He credits the time there as teaching him a lot about play and the potential for creativity with food. “I made just tons of horrible stuff, but also some really great stuff too,” he recalls. What he would do if he wasn’t a chef > After high school, Meens travelled to Asia, then spent a few years in the kitchen at Pagliacci’s working his way from dishwasher to head line cook, which he says was fantastic training. “It really gave me the confidence to do anything in a kitchen because it was really busy,” he says. “But I never once thought about going to culinary school or thought ‘this is what I want to do with my life.’ It was just what I did to go snowboarding.” Meens thought he wanted to be a filmmaker, so after Pagliacci’s he stopped working in kitchens and starting doing odd jobs and making movies. “At the time, I was just learning how to make anything,” he says. “They ended up being dramatic comedies. Also my partner, Big Sleeps, and I had a pilot on CBC for our hip hop show called Urban Lounge. We would go around and shoot different hip hop artists and then interview them and then edit it all together. We were basically using it as an excuse to go to a lot of hip hop shows and use the skills that we were developing.”
But Meens realized that being a filmmaker would be a “really hard go” and found that cooking was presenting itself constantly as a viable profession. Who he credits with turning him into a chef > Following another stint of travelling — this time to South America — Meens found himself back in Victoria. A chance encounter with Chef John Hall, founder of the much-missed Cassis Bistro, led to a gig helping to set up the Victoria Estate Winery. “He took my history working in kitchens and my natural interest in food and basically turned me into a chef,” Meens says. “He gave me the skills and the confidence.”
“WHEN I FIRST CAME INTO THE BUSINESS, A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE LIKE, ‘WHO IS THIS KID?’ BUT NOW ON MY SIXTH PLACE I FEEL I’VE EARNED SOME RESPECT HERE.”
When Meens and his partners opened up his first restaurant, Mo:Lé, in 2004, Hall came in to help out, doing dishes and working in the kitchen. “To me, he is one of the best chefs who ever worked in Victoria. I feel that way to this day.” Meens eventually sold his shares in Mo:Lé and the neighbouring Bliss (a health café he helped open) to pursue other projects. Currently, he runs the popular Hot & Cold Café in Cook Street Village. He also consulted on the opening of Fresh Coast, which he describes as a “healthy fast food joint” that could potentially expand to five locations.
Why he decided to follow recipes > Because Meens never went to culinary school, he says he learned “everything by doing it. By breaking every rule possible and figuring out why you shouldn’t break rules — or why you shouldn’t break some but maybe it’s okay to break others.” Once he opened his first restaurant, however, he knew that if something was on the menu, it had to be consistent. “That’s when I made a shift and started tutouring myself,” he says. “I bought my first Culinary Institute of America professional book and studied that like I was at school. In that sense, I worked backwards. I learned a bunch of stuff and then learned why I was doing it.” Meens believes his journey is one of the best things he brings as an instructor at Cook Culture, where he has been teaching for the last few years. “I feel it adds a lot of depth. It’s not just what I was told, but rather what I learned and often messed up. Learning what not to do is almost more important than learning what to do.” Why he loves teaching > After running kitchens for a dozen years, and having to constantly show new people how to prepare recipes, Meens says teaching wasn’t a big leap. With his classes, he likes to demystify cooking and give back something that might be missing in our modern lives. He encourages his students to take the skills home and “play with their families, make the food and clean up after themselves; the whole process, whether it be picking the food out of the garden or out at the grocery store. I think it’s a really important part of our sanity that is lost.” His time at Cook Culture is also what led him to finally adopt the title of chef. “Because as a teacher that’s what you get called,” he explains. “Otherwise, I don’t know if I ever would have used it — I just thought of myself as a cook.” ::
COOKBOOK OF CHOICE
The Professional Chef
“It’s about loving to be creative and staying true to your craft ... and then trying to make that a business ... LOL.”
by The Culinary Institute of America
“It’s pretty much what I eat when I go out — and I don’t go out a whole lot. I really like the ones at the food truck down by Finest at Sea.”
“I have used this book a lot ... I’m on my third edition.”
OUTSTANDING HOMES By Shelora Sheldan Photos by Joshua Lawrence
COLOUR From the hand-painted tiles and azure-blue appliances to its citrustoned walls, dramatic cathedral-style ceiling and rustic wood accents, this Canadian hacienda is a true fiesta of colour, texture and light.
Soft archways were added to the home to define each room. Faux wood beams, made from polyurethane and stained dark to match the real wood entryway door, adorn the homeâ€™s ceilings. While real wooden beams are a feature of hacienda architecture, they would have proved too heavy to accommodate the homeâ€™s existing structure. Large floor tiles inset with smaller hand-painted tiles were hand-tinted on site; the diagonal placement adds visual interest. For symmetry, the wood flooring in the dining room matches that of the living room.
hat began as a simple kitchen renovation in Monica and Michael Miller’s 1950s bungalow in Oak Bay, evolved into a six-month-long labour of love. The resulting first-floor expansion truly celebrates the couple’s passion for colour and Mexican colonial architecture. “We interviewed four or five designers,” says Monica, who was born and raised in Mexico City. The project truly came to life when they talked to Ines Hanl of The Sky is the Limit Interior Design Concepts. Having owned a home in Merida on the Yucatan peninsula herself, Ines was familiar with the 18th-century hacienda style the couple wanted. “It was love at first sight!” Monica says of their creative collaboration. Coming up with the design for the home’s interior was “a little like creating a theatre set,” Ines recalls. Her design included archways to bring architectural interest to the entryway, living room, kitchen and new dining room. Barrel ceilings were used in the entryway and kitchen to add height in order to accommodate wrought iron lighting fixtures. The expanded patio accommodates outdoor cooking and dining, and windowed patio doors maximize natural light and showcase the south-facing views of the garden and mountains beyond. Colour infuses this home, from the hand-painted Mexican tilework to the azure-blue appliances and painted built-in niches, which are all offset by hand-distressed wood cabinetry and textured walls. “Even on a grey day,” Ines says, “the colours are so vibrant and emanate so much heat.” The home is a perfect balance of old world meets new world with just the right amount of wow factor. “It’s our sanctuary,” Monica says. “Our happy place.” 32
Top right: The dining room features a cathedral-style ceiling. The use of wrought iron sconces, chandelier and grille work in the windows provide hacienda authenticity. A wood-burning fireplace adds warmth and its smooth finish mimics adobe. The mango-coloured wall picks up the tile colour in the kitchen and offsets the fireplace. Bottom right: In order to accommodate the archways, some wall space and storage were lost; so the mudroom was converted into a pantry to hold small appliances and extras, and to keep the kitchen clutter free. A wooden door keeps the pantry and its contents out of sight.
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Ines Hanl designed a Moorish-inspired framework to give the dark-stained walnut door in the main entranceway further emphasis. The barrel ceiling and the large hand-painted floor tiles give an overall feeling of grandeur when one enters. The placement of a water feature at the end of this long hallway imparts a calming effect. Although only one colour is used on the walls, the play of light gives the walls the tones of “a warm fruit salad,” Hanl says. Wrought iron hardware on the hallway closet adds a whimsical touch.
RESOURCES General Contractor: Abstract Developments Interior Design: The Sky is the Limit Millwork: Hobson Woodworks Countertops: Vetrazzo recycled glass countertops from Floform Appliances: Trail Appliances Plumbing: Victoria Speciality Hardware Windows & Exterior Door: Pella Windows & Doors Interior Doors: Masonite through Slegg Lumber Painting: Amira’s Painting Tiles: Decora Tile in Victoria, annsacks.com, aventetile.com, artobrick.com
Dubbed by the Millers as the “calla lily room,” this powder room features dark blue-stained cabinetry, which is complemented by the dark blue in the handpainted tile work. The use of columns on either side of the mirror adds a regal note.
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JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
Pacific salmon and summer â€” talk about a match made in heaven. YAM takes a close look at this revered fish and asks three amazing Vancouver Island chefs to share their favourite recipes. By Mike Wicks
almon is the iconic West Coast fish. Its culinary versatility and species diversity means you’ll find it equally delicious in a fine-dining restaurant, a local pub or a street-side food truck. It is ingrained in coastal culture; what would our lifestyle here be without salmon? Since time immemorial, salmon has been a provider of life, an indicator of prosperity and a staple food source for First Nations peoples of the Northwest coast. It is depicted in their art: in woodcarvings, paintings, jewellery, sculptures and on drums. The subject of many legends, it is, in short, revered. In nature, salmon provide food for our bears, our eagles and other wildlife — it is vital to the balance of land and sea.
WILD VERSUS FARMED B.C. commercial salmon fisheries harvested 17,300 tonnes of wild salmon in 2013. This may sound like a lot of fish, but it’s only 18 per cent of the province’s total harvest of 98,800 tonnes. More importantly, it’s only five per cent of the landed value. Cultured salmon, the new ‘trying to be more palatable’ name for farmed salmon, is worth over half a million dollars annually to the province, so it economically eclipses its wild cousin. If you buy farmed salmon, it’s most likely Atlantic; only 10 per cent of farmed salmon in B.C. are Pacific salmon. Pacific and Atlantic salmon are not closely related and cannot interbreed. This, of course, may be a blessing. Finding a chef with a good word to say about farmed salmon is like trying to find hen’s teeth. To quote Dan Hudson of Hudson’s On First in Duncan, “Don’t talk to me about farmed salmon!” In fact, all of the chefs we interviewed were vehement in their dislike of the product. They all purchase wild fish from local fishermen directly, or from sustainable suppliers.
SALMON FIVE WAYS
Pan-fried salmon with Saskatoon maple glaze, nettle greens and wild rice, prepared by Art Napoleon. The recipe can be found on page 44.
Pacific salmon are from the genus oncorhynchus, which derives from two Greek words onkos (hook) and rynchos (nose). If you’ve ever seen salmon during mating season, you’ll see the reason for the name: their lower jaw or “kype” becomes extremely prominent. Here in B.C., the five main species we find in seafood markets, or that we catch, are Pink, Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Chum. Pinks are the most readily available, making
up 75 per cent of the B.C. catch. Averaging four to six pounds (although 15-pound specimens have been caught), they are the smallest species and the only one with a fixed two-year life span. Many people spurn Pinks, otherwise known as Humpback or Humpies, as being a lesser fish, but most chefs agree that’s unfair. As Dan Hayes at The London Chef says, “It’s fresh, ocean-run, sustainable, versatile, delicious and so inexpensive — why aren’t we using more of it? People should open their minds beyond Coho and Sockeye and embrace Pink salmon.” At the other end of the spectrum are Chinook, also known as Spring, King or Tyee. These are big fish. An 83-pound Goliath was caught off the B.C. coast a few years ago! Chinooks can be recognized by the small, round spots on their backs, dorsal fins and tails. For Dan Hudson, White Springs are the ultimate salmon. “… they’re a super, super fatty, firm fish …,” he says. “When you get them and they’re pure, pure white, there’s nothing like it. It’s not something you can buy at the grocery store. It’s like halibut with a suntan — almost opaque. For me it cooks up better than any fish I’ve worked with. You get a nice golden crust on it when you cook it.”
Hudson gets his White Springs from Mad Dog Crabs in Duncan. Owner Scott Mahon says, “Only five per cent of Springs are white and you can’t tell until you cut them open. They come from the Columbia and Fraser rivers and are mostly caught off Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlottes. They’re called Ivory Springs in the U.S.” Mahon explains that fishermen used to throw them back as they were hard to sell, but restaurants in New York and Los Angeles began putting them on their menus at a premium; now they are highly sought after. “They are oilier, have more Omega 3s — a nice, tender fish,” he says. White Springs are not Spirit Salmon; while Spirit Salmon are that rare occurrence where the salmon’s exterior and internal flesh are almost colourless as the result of a recessive gene similar to that of the Spirit Bear, White Springs are thought to have a recessive gene that allows them to process carotenoids (natural pigments found in their diet of shrimp, krill, etc.) differently than normal Springs. Chef Kunal Ghose, former Top Chef contestant, founder of Red Fish Blue Fish and now chef/owner at Fish Hook, also favours Chinook “… because of its higher fat content, especially in the belly area, it holds up to just about any cooking. I also love Sockeye for its colour and the way it turns
CAMPFIRE SALMON, 2 WAYS Courtesy of Art Napoleon
1 PAN-FRIED SALMON Using a metal grill over a fire, heat a cast iron skillet and add any high-temperature oil until it splatters then add salmon steaks or fillets and fry them up with some wild onions or wild celery cut into 1-inch diagonals. If you are not a forager, thyme sprigs and a bit of butter added to the oil adds a nice flavour. Cooking over medium-high heat, the salmon steaks/ fillets only take about two minutes per side depending on thickness. Baste with the oils in the pan while frying. Serve hot over wild rice.
2 BOILED SALMON Simply bring a pot of water or fish stock to a boil in an outdoor cooking pot over the fire. You can use a grill to place the pot on or hang it from a hook. Once the water is boiling, add potatoes cut into halves and boil for five minutes before adding hearty salmon chunks that have
been cut diagonally with the bones still intact (approximately three inches thick). A medium-sized Sockeye should be cut into at least six chunks, including the head). Allow to boil over medium heat until salmon is cooked (20-30 minutes). Serve fish with potatoes, salt and pepper. The stock can be used in soups and chowders or frozen for later use. Salmon heads contain delicacies like cheeks and eyeballs so “we do not waste them,” says Napoleon. Long ago, northern peoples boiled fish in waterproof birch or spruce bark vessels and added hot stones.
out when you make it into lox.” Sockeye, with their deep blue-green back and silver sides, were the first salmon species to be harvested commercially in the Pacific region. They are probably the fish most people seek out on menus and at markets. Between five to eight pounds, it has deep red, firm flesh and is rich in flavour. Art Napoleon, former tribal chief, bush cook, singer-songwriter, film producer and star of Moosemeat and Marmalade, says, “Everyone knows Sockeye’s the best.” Napoleon, a Cree from northeastern B.C., told YAM he didn’t know much about salmon until he moved here and became friends with many Coast Salish people. Today, he cooks salmon much the same way as he would trout back home: simply. “I like to bake it whole. I wrap it in tin foil and I put butter, onions and whatever else in the cavity and wrap it up tight, throw it in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes at 350°F. It keeps all the juices inside.” He says the key to preparing any fish is to cut the gills out right away, otherwise the meat is tainted. “When people forget to cut the gills out, they will spoil the fish quicker than the guts.” Coho, also known as Silvers, are favourites with sports fishers for their fighting spirit, and with foodies for their vibrant red-orange firm flesh, offering both
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flavour and good texture. They average seven to 11 pounds, but can reach 36 pounds. This is a fish that takes well to grilling, as it doesn’t lose its vibrant colour. Probably the least favoured of all the species for eating are Chum salmon, also known as Silverbright and sometimes less flatteringly as Dog salmon. They have less fat than other species, which gives them a milder flavour. Chum range between 10 to 20 pounds, although larger ones have been caught. Chum are the preferred salmon for cold smoking due to their low fat content.
BUYING SALMON The best place to get salmon is undoubtedly straight from a fish boat, preferably one on which you have just spent several hours fishing for your own. If you’re at the local grocery store, however, and looking at the display, avoid salmon that looks brownish at the edges. Look for firm flesh — ask the person serving you to press the flesh and watch to see if it bounces back easily. If it looks mushy or it’s breaking up, avoid it. Buy fresh, not frozen, although “frozen at sea” is fine. When buying a whole fish, the secret is to look for clear, not cloudy, eyes.
COOKING SALMON There are many ways to cook salmon: poaching (in water, broth or even olive oil), baking, pan frying, broiling, grilling, barbecuing, or even sous vide (cooking in an airtight plastic bag in a water bath). Whatever your preference, one of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking salmon is to overcook it. In the past, many 40
of us were taught to cook our fish all the way through, but salmon especially should be served medium rare. Once that white, gunky, foamy stuff starts to seriously ooze from the salmon, you’ve overcooked it, or you’re cooking it too fast. The white stuff is albumin, a protein forced out of the muscle fibres of the fish. You may not be able to stop it altogether, but following Chef Hudson’s advice will minimize it. “Depending on the thickness,” he says, “I try to sear salmon two-thirds to threequarters on one side to crisp it up … so it’s primarily cooked on one side, and not too fast. Then I flip it at the last minute and baste it with a bit of butter and lemon, maybe add a few herbs. If it’s a really thick piece, once it’s seared, I’ll throw it in the oven for two or three minutes.” Hudson says Sockeye and Coho have their own cooking gauge. “You see the ‘cook’ coming up the side … it goes from red to opaque, once it’s two-thirds to three-quarters up the side of the fish I flip it, turn off the heat and leave the residual heat to finish it off.” Pan-frying fish is a scary business for many home cooks. Hudson points out his team doesn’t use non-stick pans, as it’s harder to get a decent sear on the fish.
“ LEAVE IT TO DO ITS THING.” — DAN HUDSON
They use stainless steel pans and make sure they’re good and hot. The secret is to not be tempted to move the fish. “It’s like any protein,” he says. “Leave it to do its thing and it’ll come off on its own accord … get a nice hot sear, then turn the heat down a bit … not so low you’ll stew the fish, not high enough to burn it.” Cooking on the barbecue is another test for many people, as the fish tends to stick to the grill. Here’s how chefs handle it. Ensure the barbecue is hot, but not at full temp. If you’re cooking a fillet, slash the flesh side with a sharp knife and push lemon zest, garlic and whatever herbs take your fancy into the incisions. Rub both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper — heavier on the skin side, as a lot of it will burn off. Place the salmon skin-side down and then leave it — really leave it. Don’t be tempted to prod and poke; just leave the blessed thing alone until the skin is crispy, about four minutes. Then carefully flip and cook the other side for a couple of minutes. If you enjoy crispy salmon skin — a real delicacy — ease it off the fillet while the flesh side is finishing cooking and place the uncooked side on the barbecue to crisp up.
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A SYMBOL OF DETERMINATION We are blessed to have an abundance of salmon; they are amazing creatures and deserve the reverence our First Nations people bestow on them. They migrate from the ocean to freshwater to reproduce, sometimes swimming as far as 3,000 miles, homing in on the place where they were born and where most will die, returning lifesustaining nutrients to the coastal ecosystem. The epitome of West Coast spring and summer flavours — the guest of honour at many glorious summer barbecues. With that in mind, here are some recipes to celebrate this local delicacy. Here’s to the mighty salmon!
HOME-SMOKED SALMON AND WATERCRESS SALAD WITH CREAMY WASABI DRESSING Courtesy of Chef Dan Hudson, Hudson’s On First
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• 1 side fresh skin-on salmon (any kind will do) • 50g fresh watercress • 50g green salad mix
Brine: • 100g kosher salt • 50g brown sugar • Zest and juice of 1 lemon • 2 bay leaves • 1 litre water Dressing: • 2 tbsp mayonnaise • 1 tsp wasabi paste • 1 tsp lemon juice • 1 tsp water Combine the sugar, salt, lemon, water and bay leaves to create brine. Place salmon in the brine and leave for two hours. Drain fish and pat dry. Smoke for 90 minutes in a hot smoker, using apple chips. If you don’t have access to a smoker, you can buy a small smoking box and place this in a pan with the salmon and cover with tin foil. To make the dressing, add all the ingredients together to form a loose mayonnaise that you can drizzle over the top. To plate, combine greens with flakes of the smoked salmon and drizzle the dressing over the top. At the restaurant we finish with crispy onions, but anything with some crunchy texture will do.
FLASH ROASTED WILD SALMON TIKKA ON CHARRED GOBI PILAU Courtesy of Chef Kunal Ghose, Red Fish Blue Fish • 1.5 lb. wild salmon fillet
Tikka Glaze: • 1 tsp canola oil • 1 tbsp crushed garlic • 1 tbsp minced ginger • 1 tbsp minced onion • 1 tbsp Achiote paste (Mexican or Latin grocery) • 1 tsp lime juice and zest • 3 tbsp minced cilantro stems • 1 tsp pepper, salt • 1 tsp red chili powder • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce Gobi Pilau: • 1 small cauliflower (in smaller florets) • 1 tsp canola oil • 1 tsp pepper • 1 tsp salt • 1 tbsp minced onion • 1 tbsp crushed garlic • 1 tbsp minced ginger • 1 tsp toasted cumin seed • 1 tsp toasted coriander seed • 1 tsp toasted black mustard seed • 1 can coconut milk • 4 cups golden basmati rice (cooked or leftover cold) • 1 cup crispy onions (Asian market) • 3 tbsp minced cilantro leaves Food process or hand-blend all Tikka Glaze ingredients. Preheat the oven to 500˚F on convection (if available) and toss the cauliflower (Gobi) in canola oil, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Put florets on a baking sheet in the oven and roast until very dark golden, about 15 minutes. Then sauté onion, garlic and ginger with spices in a large fry pan. Add coconut milk, rice and crispy onions. Finish by tossing in dark roasted cauliflower and cilantro. To finish dish, use already super hot oven to flash-roast salmon, preferably in four thinner fillet portions. Spoon Tikka Glaze over fillets and roast for three minutes or until rare to medium rare. Serve salmon on top of Pilau.
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PAN-FRIED SALMON WITH SASKATOON MAPLE GLAZE, NETTLE GREENS AND WILD RICE Courtesy of Art Napoleon • 2 large salmon fillets with skin on • 1 lemon • 1 tbsp canola oil • 1/3 cup butter • 1 tsp salt • 1/4 cup maple syrup • 1 tsp liquid smoke • 1/3 cup Saskatoon berries or other firm-skinned berries • 1 cup blanched nettle leaves • 1 cup boiled wild rice
Always a good sign. 44
Boil wild rice until it is almost finished (about 40 minutes). Blanch fresh nettles in boiling water for two minutes then strain, pat dry and remove leaves from rough stalks. Squeeze some fresh
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
W I S D O M + W E A LT H
Dinnerware and placemat provided by Penna & Co.
lemon juice over nettle leaves and set aside. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat then add salted fillets, skin side down. Nettle sea salt adds a nice touch if you can get it. Add half the butter to skillet for extra flavour. In another pan, heat some oil and butter over high heat and quickly stir fry the nettle leaves the same as you would spinach or chard. Pull pan off heat leaving nettles in. When salmon is seared and starting to caramelize, turn over gently and cook the other side. Use any extra melted butter to baste the fillets. Add the berries, maple syrup, liquid smoke (optional) and rest of butter, and stir fry gently next to the fillets. Once the salmon is done (do not overcook), immediately plate along with the rice and sautĂŠed greens. Pour the berries over the salmon and the glaze over the salmon and nettles. Sprinkle a bit more lemon juice over the fish and serve while steaming hot!
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C ultured CABINETS A Recipe for Design Satisfaction
IAN CHAPMAN/LARSEN GROUP
This custom kitchen, built in place by Ian Chapman of the Larsen Group, has poplar cabinets with raised panel doors, sprayed in a creme lacquer. The contrasting island was built from natural cherry. The cabinetry features under-counter, in-cabinet and crown-up lighting.
In many homes, the kitchen marks the place of creation. It’s a sanctuary for self-care: a refuge to focus on food, nourishment, togetherness. Nestled into the heart of that haven are the walls that hold a treasure of tools: the kitchen cabinetry. BY DANIELLE POPE
hen your kitchen cabinetry starts to illicit sighs of discontent over chipped wood, squeaky doors and worn paint, it’s time to look at a makeover. Given the plethora of options crowding the design catalogues, we’ve narrowed down the latest in cabinet trends, styles, materials and colour options to get you on your way to a creative solution that’s one part intuition, one part expert advice and a generous dash of fun.
A QUESTION OF STYLE Erik Larsen of the Larsen Group has an exhaustive understanding of style when it comes to Victoria’s kitchens. For three generations, he, his father and his grandfather have worked with an elite team of the region’s master tradesmen to create custom kitchen cabinetry. Larsen says the most important element of style comes through quality, which is sometimes found in places you don’t see. Choosing materials, joiners and woods that last affects the longevity of your kitchen. “With specialty cabinetry, we spend a lot of time in the details,” Larsen says. “You see more woodwork along the sides, attention is given to the joiners, the boxes match the doors. Those are the details that show up long-term.” When selecting materials, lifespan is just one consideration. Soft woods, like firs and pines, offer beautiful colours but wear quickly and loosen when the wood expands and contracts. Harder woods are ideal, and have a bevy of colour choices — think eastern maple, walnut, hickory, teak, paint-grade poplar, or mahogany with African tiger grain. While some woods lend themselves to shapely styles, colour is the deciding factor for most selections. If a sleek look is what you’re after, Larsen doesn’t hesitate to recommend mediumdensity fibreboard (MDF). It has flexibility in its modern applications — either paint-grade or veneer wood grain — and is in high demand for many contemporary kitchens. But watch out for cheap knockoffs that offer the look without the quality.
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If one-of-a-kind is your preference, you aren’t alone. Reclaimed lumber is one of the most popular trends Larsen is seeing right now in kitchens around Victoria. Bob Ganner, designer at Harbour City Kitchens, says it’s important to detail the pros and cons of each material choice. Constructions made out of high-gloss PVC finish, for example, are easy to clean, but are highly susceptible to finger prints, grease marks and corrosive liquids. While they may not be the right choice for every kitchen, it all comes down to preference. “The benefits are in the eye of the beholder, and everyone’s choice is different,” says Ganner, who has been in design and construction with Harbour City Kitchens for 13 years. “Sometimes, people fall in love with a kitchen that may not look like it truly belongs in their house. You have to consider design, resale value or if this is a part of other renovations.”
SHOW THEM THE DOOR Next style choice: the look of the doors. Shaker is the classic standby, with its clean lines, utility and versatility. Shaker doors have a four-piece frame around a single flat centre panel. Don’t be deceived by the simplicity: this style can shift from exquisite bevels to a bare panel prairie look.
SHAKER DOOR STYLES 1 This Jason Good Custom Cabinets kitchen features panel moulding finished with a painted lacquer in antique white; 2 Louvered-style doors allow for plenty of ventilation; 3 Vertical beaded grooves give a cottage-like feel; 4 Plank-style cabinets make for clean, simple lines.
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You can add a few lines to your kitchen by selecting a plank, beaded or louveredstyle door. The louver look mimics window shutters and offers the benefit of ventilation. Plank-style doors line up one panel atop the next horizontally, while beaded doors take the lines vertical and add a cottage feel. Keep in mind, extra details mean extra edges to clean. Flat panel or glass doors will streamline your desires for a modern chic look, with minimalist details. These can turn art-deco or new age with the right hardware. Inset doors are another option. This style is costly due to its technical superiority — set inside, rather than outside, the cabinet frame, with exposed hinges — however, inset panels add modernity to any kitchen. Fully customized cabinets pull from materials and styles of every variety, like shaker doors with corrugated metal panels, or inset distressed planks. The choice is all a matter of preference, says Larsen. What if you can’t decide? Jonathan Poppitt, owner and CEO of Thomas and Birch Cabinetry, says the key is to find one thing you love about your current house, and build on that. “The choices can drive you crazy. I hear many clients saying, ‘How will I choose?’ and I encourage them to pick an item they love — maybe it’s a tea pot, a blanket, a plate — and use that as their clue,” he says. “A great designer will coach you through the process, but keep in mind this is a decision only you have to live with.”
The alder veneer cabinets, with their rich Navajo colour stain, give this kitchen by Thomas & Birch Cabinetry a sleek modern look. The Vista doors are perfect for individuals seeking a Zen-like look of contemporary simplicity; and the plywood dovetail drawers have Blum’s soft-close system, meaning there is a minimum of noise.
THE RIGHT SHADE FOR THE JOB Since quality cabinetry should last upwards of 15 or 20 years, Poppitt says the timeless looks remain the most popular in Victoria. That means white — from antique and cloud to off-white and ivory. While greys and dark woods have surged in popularity, classic white shaker doors are still a top pick. These are also the chameleon of kitchen cabinetry. Throw on a pair of oilrubbed bronze handles, and you have an aged look. Shift to a crisp chrome and you’re back to modern. While natural woods offer another timeless choice, heavy lacquers and glazes are less popular, says Poppitt; in part because of the intense work involved in recovering, and because of the dated appearance. Poppitt suggests the best way to choose colour is to think of the atmosphere you want to create. Do you need to pull in warmth with creamy whites, or brighten the area with a soft yellow? Do you long for more nature and wood in your environment, or do you dare add vitality with a modern mint? Perhaps you are looking for a dark sanctuary with blacks, greys and walnut. Maybe your cabinets are to become a bold accent in striking red.
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TO REFACE OR NOT TO REFACE? When it is time to redo the cabinets, designers overwhelmingly reiterate the same point: it’s best to go all the way. Refacing is an expensive and time-consuming option that can leave owners with less-impressive results than purchasing new units. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s never the right choice. “For a cost difference of maybe 10 per cent, you could get entirely new cabinets,” says Poppitt. “Though, there are times when refacing makes sense, such as if you’ve just completed a kitchen within the last five to 10 years.” Poppitt says other reasons include a sentimental attachment to the cabinets in place, or if the units were highly customized to fit the space. While a professional paint job might give you the colour alteration you are seeking, refacing is a better choice when cabinets are showing significant wear. A rule about refacing: you need a solid base. For the expense, only high-quality wood or other materials should be considered. This isn’t just for the longevity of the cabinet, but for the feasibility of working new material into the structure. Over time, joiners can loosen, seams can separate and hardware can become unreliable. Depending on the severity of cabinetry distress, replacing may be the COSM_8970_COSM201_Yam_X1a.pdf 1 2015-03-20 only option.
THE RIGHT HARDWARE FOR YOUR LOOK
Changing the hardware on your cabinets can shift the look completely, and even create unique mixes for your style, says Jonathan Poppitt, owner and CEO of Thomas & Birch Cabinetry. Looking for something modern? Try brushed nickel pulls or stainless steel squared knobs. Popular antique looks include oil-rubbed bronze knobs, wrought iron pulls or black hammered pyramid pulls — especially if country chic is your aim. Cup pulls in any varnish give an industrial newage or old-age look, while customized Art Deco handles add funk. For a classic feel, find oval knobs finished in antique English gold or in vintage glass or ceramic. Key pulls are highly decorative and offer a historic touch to any modern style. Don’t forget about function, says Poppitt — whatever you select should give you a small thrill of satisfaction each time you touch it. 1 Asbury polished nickel cup-style pull from Top Knobs (line available at Urbana Kitchens); 2 Du Verre oil-rubbed bronze argyle pull, and 3 Oil-rubbed stacked pull (line available at Cantu); 4 Ashley Norton 1376 traditional bronze appliance pull (line available at Victoria Speciality Hardware); 5 Antique-finished square knob, and 6 English gold round knob (both available at Harbour City Kitchens)
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“Refacing isn’t as easy as undoing a door and clipping it back on,” says Poppitt. “In order to match everything you want the entire structures to be redone. And refacing means you can’t change the layout, the placement of the valance or the toekick. It’s a limited way to change the aesthetic.”
THE FUN IN FUNCTION
Functionality is one of the main reasons Larsen sees people redoing their cabinets. A client may no longer wish to get on their hands and knees to search through a cupboard, or the drawers may no longer move smoothly amid new appliances. Your cabinetry makeover should take into account storage, accessibility, layout and drawer movement — and there’s plenty to choose from. Corner drawers prevent that awkward deep-cupboard search by twisting out from the side of your counter. Pocket doors are great for small spaces and become a surprise space saver by sliding back in on themselves. Track doors eliminate their swinging-door counterparts by sliding along a track. Flip-up
This clear-finish walnut cabinetry from Jason Good Custom Cabinets features lift-up doors with continuous handle hardware for easy overhead access.
drawers use a hydraulic mechanism to raise the door up, rather than out. Sliding doors use a similar mechanism to pop out, and are great at hiding high-use areas. Tambour doors offer another chance to camouflage daily clutter by sliding down like a garage door while glass doors give you maximum viewing. By considering these factors, your cabinet makeover can restore your kitchen as the heart of your home — that welcoming santuary where design meets function. :: YAM MAGAZINE
n the West Coast, we get a head start on the rest of the country when it comes to welcoming summer. So why not get a creative head start when it comes to changing up your home décor for the season? It seems that when it comes to decorating for summer there are two distinct personalities: the maximalist and the minimalist. Each is a unique expression of style. See which one resonates with you and find out how to indulge your inner decorator.
› Bring home the beach
THE MINIMALIST When it comes to home décor, Belgian designer and curator Axel Vervoordt advises “minimum use of materials for maximum results.” In fact, minimalism has been the standard in contemporary decorating since the 50s, but it’s a relatively new concept for the traditionalist. (Yes, you can be a minimalist traditionalist!) Minimalism isn’t just about removing objects; rather, it’s about giving purpose to each object that remains. And it isn’t the absence of sentiment but the focus of it. You know you’re a minimalist if you’ve ever said something like, “quality never goes out of style,” or if you have a bare tabletop or a blank wall somewhere in your home. Here are some minimalist tips for summer decorating:
Bring home the beach › Driftwood, beach stones and seashells don’t need to stay in the holiday cabin. Bring them into your home for a beachy, light feel. Group them en masse in boxes, bowls or vases. Experiment with propping and stacking large rocks or pieces of driftwood as sculptural elements. To bring out the vivid colours in rocks, apply a matte tile enhancer. 52
› Well-travelled table Minimalists tend to love things that are light and airy, but those glass tables don’t hide clutter. So, for the summer months, add an antique (or antique looking) trunk-style coffee table or end table. Trunks give off a summery, well-travelled vibe and do double duty for stashing your winter throws and pillows. Shown here: Mitchell Trunk from Urban Barn.
JAN C BRETTSCHNEIDER/JALAG-SYNDICATION/LIVING4MEDIA
Minimalist or maximalist? Infuse your home interior this summer with these designer décor ideas tailored to your unique style. By Lana Lounsbury
Specializing in homeS throughout greater Victoria
› Chandelier change-up Trade your contemporary crystal piece for a summery wood chandelier — they’re everywhere right now and at every price point. Hint: this is the perfect time to give crystal and chrome a good cleaning. Shown here: Wood chandeliers from Illuminations Lighting Solutions.
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› Wreaths of summer Wreaths aren’t just for winter, so don’t forget to change up your foliage. You can make your own summer wreaths with eucalyptus leaves and branches. Eucalyptus has a silvery green hue and a soft, bright scent that screams summer — and it grows well in our climate. Hang your wreaths with a bright, wide ribbon in a summery colour or pattern. Shown here: a locally foraged fresh wreath created for YAM by Platinum Floral Designs.
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Roll up the rugs › For instant results, roll up those heavy area rugs. (Hint: Always store rugs rolled flat on the floor, not leaning against a wall, which tends to crush them on one end.) If the acoustics in your house won’t tolerate going rugless, try indoor/outdoor stain-proof runners and rugs for hallways and entrances. Go vibrant in your colour choices to add that pop of colour that says summer.
Remove & Reconsider › For the aspiring minimalist, try refreshing your décor by removing something — maybe a piece you dislike but felt obligated to keep, such as that table someone gave you when they moved. If you can’t part with it completely, stash it in the basement until Labour Day.
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› Create a driftwood and rock sculpture
› An antique
› Pack up and
trunk to replace your glass coffee table
store wool rugs
› A painted
› Make a summer wreath
THE MAXIMALIST Putting the word “max” in front of any word always makes it sound larger than life — it worked for Roman emperors and it can work for your decorating! The maximalist never does anything half way and takes every trend as far as it can go. It’s not about clutter; it’s about the celebration of objects. You know you’re a maximalist if your home feels incomplete without two Christmas trees or if you have a box of décor labelled “St. Patrick’s Day” in your storage. Another giveaway? Knowing the names of the sales clerks at your favourite home furnishing store. Here are some ideas to bring your inner maximalist to life this summer:
Cotton slipcovers › Nothing changes a room like a new sofa, but if you don’t want to invest in one, a custom cotton slipcover makes your old sofa look like new at about half the cost of reupholstering — plus, you now have two looks and have reused the same frame. Ask the person making the slipcover to pipe the seams for a Nantucket look; or to incorporate flat, top-stitched seams for a more modern look. Shown here: Bemz slipcover in Absolute White Rosendal pure washed linen.
› White or grey cotton linen is the perfect summer fabric — and it’s washable.
LO C A L LY H A N D C R A F T E D D E S I G N E R K I TC H E N S
DREAM KITCHENS REALLY DO COME TRUE
JOB # JGOF-15756 CLIENT: JASON GOOD CUSTOM CABINETS PUBLICATION: YAM MAGAZINE
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â€ş Linen drapery Gauzy linen drapery is one of the most romantic and summery additions you can make to any room. So take down your patterned or velvet curtains and hang unlined linen instead. Buy pre-made drapery panels or invest in custom panels with seven-inch French pleats. YAM MAGAZINE
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Take all of your indoor/outdoor electric candles and put them in lanterns outside to decorate your walkway, entry or patio. Remove the candlesticks and displays you had indoors and replace them with white pottery. Groupings of three work well for tables, but clearing entire bookcases or mantles and filling them entirely with assorted white pottery (10 pieces or more) is stunning.
› Mirror, mirror Reflect the green outdoors into your house with mirrors. Round, oval, square, big, small, ornate, contemporary — why choose just one? If you’re planning on more than one mirror in a room, mix it up. Just replace a piece of artwork with a mirror, using a hanger that’s already in the wall. TIP: Salvaged wood makes excellent mirror frames. Shown here: Mansard and Trumeau frames from Restoration Hardware.
You knew I was going to bring wallpaper into this and here it is: Nothing says maximalist like patterned, coloured wallpaper. Choose something vibrant and summery in your favourite shade, then go ahead and wallpaper a hallway. Not just the walls but the ceiling as well! The effect will delight guests. (Shown here: Cole & Son Jubilee Stripe.) If your hallway is filled mostly with doors and doesn’t have space to show any pattern, you could also paint the ceiling in the hallway in a vivid summer shade. Come down about two inches onto the wall to achieve a coved effect. 15.VictoriaYAMAd 15-03-26 2:19 PM Page 1
Layer tablecloths › You can turn any room from winter to summer by adding a fun coloured or patterned tablecloth. My favourite look is a round tablecloth (to the floor) on a round table. Layer the cloth with a smaller square of cotton, linen or lace that falls halfway to the floor. Then layer that with a bright silk round that hangs just over the edge. The multiple draping effect is fun, casual and maximalist.
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DIY › Swap some
› Cotton slipcovers
artwork with mirrors
› Linen drapery
› Paint the hallway ceilings
› White pottery › Wallpaper for the hallway
› Put your candles outside › Layer your tablecloths
THE TWO SIDES OF SUMMER Whether you opt for minimalist touches that say summer, or “max” out for a total seasonal makeover, your efforts will enhance the ambiance of your home interior and the mood of everyone who enters. So have fun lightening up your décor and welcoming summer. ::
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LET ART AND ARCHITECTURE BE THE STEPPING STONES TO BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE DESIGN.
By Erin Renwick
successfully artistic landscape delivers. It was the same feeling that great art evokes in many of us — my limbs tingled, my heart sped up, my breath caught in my throat. It was in Berlin many years ago and I was with my husband and not-yetone-year-old son. We had walked and walked that day with our little baby in his stroller, and as we wound our way back to the hotel in the afternoon, we came across these landscapes sculpted in a way that I had not seen before — serpentine rusted steel fences made only of slender vertical posts, so that you could imagine slipping through, but of course you never could, huge tilted blocks of concrete, unexpected and whimsical changes in grade, expansive urban ponds just a few inches deep with smooth swaths of concrete for walkways, and spaces that paid homage to the history of their sites through the repetition of shapes and materials. The landscapes I was seeing looked like they had been played with, re-imagined and newly defined. There were no petunias spelling out Willkommen in Berlin in a flash of hot pink, that’s for sure. Yes, I thought, or rather, felt. This is art. There is a question that sometimes hangs over landscape design: is the product a work of art? What we do know is that art in general can be defined as human creativity expressed in a visual form, to be appreciated for its power or its beauty. We think of paintings, sculptures or photographs, for example, but we 58
For this project in the Cadboro Bay area, shown above and right, landscape designer Jonathan Craggs looked to extend the architectural grid of the house into the landscape to create an interesting juxtaposition with the natural setting. Plantings were used to either break into the grid or act as a visual interface between the completely natural shoreline and the built elements.
I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I felt that punch-in-the-gut awe that a
don’t often think of the built landscape as art — it is, simply, a garden. And sometimes it is just that, and of course a garden is a lovely thing, but I believe that, yes, a designed landscape can also be a work of art. The takeyour-breath-away kind of art. And what makes good, breathtaking art? None of us really seem to be able to put that into words, exactly, though we know it when we see it. Like most art, there is an unknowable quality to what will and will not be successful in artistic landscape design, and there is a certain risk in reaching for something unique. There are, however, a few ground rules and techniques to help us along the way. First, before a shovel is put in the ground or a pencil is put to paper, creating an artful garden begins with inspiration. Explore your own passions by thinking back to any form of art that has inspired you. Can you translate that inspiration to your own garden through form, shape or colour? For example, Victoria landscape architect Bev Windjack talks about gaining inspiration from modern dance, in which the body is seen as form. She says that she is inspired by the “juxtapositions of voids and solids … and some of the abstract geometries,” and inserts some of those elements into her own designs.
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I BELIEVE THAT, YES, A DESIGNED LANDSCAPE CAN ALSO BE A WORK OF ART. THE TAKE-YOUR-BREATHAWAY KIND OF ART.
YOUR GARDEN MAY REFLECT ELEMENTS OF YOUR OWN PERSONAL JOURNEY, GIVING THE LANDSCAPE A DEEPER MEANING.
Duane Ensing of Landscape Solutions created this space for the homeowners to have solitude and a place to unwind. The seaside plantings complement this oceanfront property, which is full of complex and inspirational grading. A central fire feature sits above a water feature, created in the separation between the concrete border stones.
Victoria-based landscape designer Jonathan Craggs sees things from a more practical standpoint, and his position is also an essential early step: an artful garden must take cues from the architecture of the existing home. It cannot be seen as a separate piece, but instead as a cohesive part of the whole. If the style of the home is contemporary, for example, a picket fence or traditional pergola will look out of place, and will essentially take the viewer out of the experience. As another locally based landscape designer, Duane Ensing says, when you are walking through a cohesive landscape, you’re not picking out certain elements that you like or dislike, but you notice instead that the garden “feels right, and it feels successful.” Homeowners can take some of their best inspiration from landscape architects who work on commercial buildings — this is often where the cutting edge ideas are. A good example of cohesive landscape architecture here in Victoria is the landscape design at the Atrium (by D’Ambrosio architecture + urbanism and Murdoch de Greeff), especially in the courtyard. Just like the warm wooden waves of the floors above, the rounded wooden benches and tables are contemporary and inviting in style, and seem to fit perfectly together.
Imagine how this space would look if the benches were traditional in style, and the tables and chairs were plastic, like those of a food court in just about any mall you can name … well, it becomes not just an unremarkable space, but an uncomfortable one as well. Not only should your chosen style and materials be consistent with existing architecture, according to Ensing, successful artscapes should also draw the visitor outside and through the garden in a thoughtful, specific way. He says that “there are architectural elements that you see from the patio, there’s maybe a small informal seating area somewhere else, so what I always try to do is have something that draws you into the yard, so you’re actually invited to go out into the space and then from that space, you’re going to see something different.” Creating smaller spaces within the garden sets up specific views and experiences that allow emotions and feelings that are like those felt when viewing a beautiful painting, for example. This kind of controlled experience plays itself out in the beautiful Japanese Gardens at Royal Roads University, designed in 1909 by Isaburo Kishida. Each turn of the path opens a new view; here is the lake, and now here is the bridge, and then we are drawn
ARTFUL ADDITIONS Incorporating sculpture can enhance and enliven your garden, with your choice of art augmenting the mood and atmosphere.
The diverse array of Paul Harder’s bronze creatures range from West Coastinspired fauna, such as timber wolves, grizzlies and Great Blue Herons, to more exotic offerings, such as Komodo dragons and Galapagos tortoises. paulharder.com Local sculptor Birgit Piskor draws her inspiration from the natural world, creating sensual, curved pieces in concrete that work in perfect harmony with an outdoor setting. birgitpiskor.com
to the pergola, and beyond, as one view after another is exposed. Even though, as head gardener and unofficial historian Barrie Agar explains, the garden is not strictly traditional, it is still a wonderfully calm place to be, and can most certainly be viewed as an artscape. Another element of successful artistic design is seen in landscapes that “have a particular twist on them” that make you “pay attention,” says Bev Windjack. She describes the landscape that her firm, Ladr, designed at Ship Point Plaza in downtown Victoria: “We have the five oceans represented and the brass from the ships, and the more you look and the more knowledge you have about ships, the more you’ll get out of it.” Perhaps the most poignant of Ship Point’s elements are the red honour bricks, which are inscribed with names of members of the Canadian Navy. This site is successful as an artscape because of the subtle way it represents and honours its site and its subject. In a home garden, similar elements can be incorporated into the site by researching the history of your neighbourhood and taking cues from what you find there. Alternatively, your garden may also reflect elements of your own
personal journey, giving the landscape a deeper meaning. Not only do artistic gardens express personality through their unique sites, they can also express energy and mood through movement, light and colour. Artful garden design will always take advantage of plantings that bend and sway with the wind, for example, such as the mass of sedge grasses in the expansive rain gardens at Murdoch de Greeff’s renovation at Fisherman’s Wharf Park in James Bay. When the wind blows through this large swath of grasses, the blades move and seem to dance together, visually expressing the patterns of the wind, and adding another element to the richness of the landscape. Designing a successful artscape is a complex and mysterious process, but the results can be worth all of the thought and effort involved. After all, the kind of richness, beauty, meaning, and inspired creativity that went into those oh-mygoodness landscapes that I saw in Berlin so long ago has stuck with me, and I can see those spaces still, all of these years and gardens later. This is where we experience the true power of the artful landscape — it enters our imaginations and stays there, changing us for the better. ::
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THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS IS PAVED WITH JOY, HOPE AND, YES, PAIN. THE SECRET OF CONTENTMENT LIES IN WHETHER YOU LET THE NEGATIVE OR ACCEPTING PART OF YOUR PERSONALITY TAKE THE WHEEL. By Alex Van Tol
s s e n i p p a h
THE ART OF
Are you the type of person who can see a fresh start behind the dark cloud when, say, your relationship breaks down, you lose your job or you are forced to deal with any of the other life crises that can come our way? If you can take the grey stones that life hands you and turn them over until you discover the spot where they shine just a little, you’re in a good place. You might just be happy. Believe it. Truly happy people know that life is more work than play. It’s not about the things that happen, but about the way you view those things. “A while back, I did a talk about bliss,” says Carolyne Taylor, community connector, event planner, founder of YoUnlimited and host of the annual Victoria Yoga Conference, who is herself known to be a fairly happy sort. “At the same time I was talking about bliss, my son and his wife and two granddaughters were getting on a ferry to move to Alberta. In that moment, I wasn’t unhappy. My heart was breaking and I was sad, but I wasn’t unhappy.”
“Learning to separate ‘happiness’ from ‘spending money’ is the quickest and most reliable way to a better life.”
You will begin to succeed when you begin to realize that you are worth it.
A CLOSER LOOK AT HAPPINESS In defining happiness, it helps to look at what it is not. By now most of us know — if not at a practicing level, then at least at an awareness level — that we can’t get there by chasing the next promotion, a bigger house, a more far-flung vacation, fuller lips or a faster yacht. Acquiring these only leads us to want more. That path is actually a never-ending treadmill. And it’s also remarkably ungratifying. A Princeton study a few years back showed the fiscal contentment “ceiling” to be around $75,000, at which point, extra money doesn’t really add happiness. “Learning to separate ‘happiness’ from ‘spending money’ is the quickest and most reliable way to a better life,” writes budgeting rock star Mr. Money Mustache. His eponymous blog has flipped CAN NATURE hundreds of BRING HAPPINESS thousands of AND HEALING? lives around Everything in nature has a unique for the better relationship within by redirecting the natural system people’s focus and we often forget away from we are part of this. spending toward “Consciously what really cultivating that matters. We can all relationship — our think of someone ecological identity — is critical,” says who’s got money Dr. Hilary Leighton, oozing from every eco-psychologist and pore yet who never director of Continuing seems satisfied or Studies at Royal content. Roads University. We’re all likely The patterns we see familiar, too, with in nature mirror the the end-of-life patterns in our own worlds, Leighton stories where says, and this people on their knowledge should deathbeds look calm us. Part of back and reflect wellness is to realize on what they wish that while we may they could have be experiencing done differently. depressing events With a fair degree in our lives, like of consistency, everything that is of nature, the cycle people say they will eventually spin wish they hadn’t us back up into worked so hard, a place of light. that they had Spending more time made more time outdoors, in nature, for friends, and is a powerful way to that they had let reacquaint ourselves themselves be with this knowledge. happier.
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WHAT’S IN A NAME? “Happiness isn’t an end state, but rather a potential,” says Human Nature Counselling co-founder Dave Segal. “Yes, we can have a life with less suffering, more ease and more joy, but still with its ups and downs.” A happy state is one in which we develop the resilience to accept and weather those ups and downs. And maybe we shouldn’t even be calling it happiness, anyway, because most experts come at it from the angle of wellness or contentment, rather than happiness. “Happy is such an interesting word,” muses Taylor. She echoes Segal’s words when she points out that happiness means allowing space for the sad. “To be happy, you have to have that full range of everything, and really feel it all.” So really, happiness includes sadness, anger and fear because, well, it must. Whether you call it happiness, contentment, wellness or just plain balance, what we should be seeking is the knowledge that, no matter what arises, we can deal with it. On the road to happiness, gratitude is the key that starts the engine, meditation provides the horsepower, and mindfulness keeps you out of the ditch.
how to be happy Ditch busyness. Figure out how little you can get away with doing and still do a good job, says sociologist and happiness expert Christine Carter in her new book The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work. Let’s drop “I’m so busy” as a point of pride in our culture. Take it outside. Go hiking. Paddle. Surf. Sit on a beach. Leighton recommends her patients cultivate a site-sitting practice, where they return to the same place in nature every day, to reacquaint themselves with the cycles of day/night, the seasons, birth/death/ rebirth, and to reflect on how everything in our human experience is cyclical. And remember, turn your phone OFF! Take it off. Go barefoot as much as you can; recent research into the practice of “earthing” indicates that the
electrical energy exchange between our feet and the earth reduces inflammation and cortisol levels, and promotes healing. Practice gratitude. It’s not just an Oprah-ism. The more you can be thankful for, the happier you’ll be. Instead of blowing a gasket over the driver who cut you off, be glad you’re fast on the brake. Give happy things more space to overpower the negativity bias. Build your tribe. As much as you go “inside” to meditate, devote just as much energy to connecting with others. “Few of us are really connected to a tribe, if you will,” says Segal. “A sense of community and connection and gratitude is a brake on the anxious mind.” Eat. Sleep. Repeat. If you fill your car’s gas tank with Diet Coke, you won’t make it to
Tofino, right? So why fill our bodies with food that doesn’t optimize our performance? Figure out how to recalibrate what you take in, because we are systems, and everything that enters the system is processed. And since we’re in the detox chamber, let’s talk about sleep, the grand dame of system renewal. You need it to consolidate learning, metabolize food, manage anxiety and renew your cells — and that’s just scratching the surface. Meditate. As little as five minutes twice a day has been shown to create positive changes, says Tamara Lechner, a happiness expert and Chopra-certified meditation instructor who starts each day with 30 minutes of meditation and tacks on another 20 minutes later as space allows. Don’t think you can find time? Return to the beginning of this list and start over.
HAPPINESS BOOTCAMP FOR YOUR BRAIN You can absolutely train your mind to become happier, says happiness expert and Chopra-certified meditation instructor Tamara Lechner. She would know: she’s done it herself. “On all the measures for happiness, I am at the ridiculously high end,” she says. “But that’s not my natural set point. I used to be very different. This is learned.” Turns out you can change your happiness set point. Here’s how Lechner explains it: We all arrive in this world with a preordained set point for happiness, which forms about 40 per cent of our total happiness pie. Another 10 per cent comes from where you land in life: where you live, how much money you’re born into, how much you’ve got now. The final 50 per cent is entirely under our control. “We get to effect that much change in our thought patterns,” she says. And changing thought patterns is as simple — and as disciplined — as strengthening the neural pathways that lead us to focus on what’s good, instead of what’s not. “We have a negativity bias,” adds Lechner. “Anything we see that’s negative, we notice in a stronger way. So, for example, if I’m teaching a class of 20 people and 19 are totally engaged and hanging on every word I say and one person is looking down, I will remember that one person despite the majority of those people being happy.” Our natural negativity bias leads us to notice the bad, she notes. Emotions like fear, anger and anxiety pack a bigger chemical and physical charge than do the happier emotions like joy, serenity and hope. So you have to experience the happier emotions more times to have the same kick. Feeling the happier emotions more, she says, requires noticing the great things more often (that’s the gratitude piece), but it also demands a learned perspective shift. “Examine your process of how you greet stimulus every day so that whatever comes into your world — positive or negative — you learn to see it as, ‘Wow, this is exciting, I wonder what I’m going to learn from this,’ as opposed to getting stuck in those negative patterns of thinking.” True happiness requires you to remain open to life, to look on what enters your life with curiosity, and to discipline your brain to run the “feel-good” neural pathways far more often than the “this-sucks” pathways. And it is a true discipline. As any truly content person will tell you, it takes time and practice to learn to rewire your thinking habits. But you can do it. And you’ll be a lot happier for it. :: YAM MAGAZINE
STYLE WATCH Fashion Stylist: Janine Metcalfe
True West Coast chic embraces layering and this seasonâ€™s hottest combination is sophisticated streetwear paired with a swimsuit in a classic silhouette.
POP OF YELLOW Smythe boy blazer in dandelion ($495) and Lizzie Fortunato earrings ($238), available at Bernstein & Gold; Anne Cole Signature bathing suit (Beach Rags, $90); Orgreen Florence sunglasses (Maycock Eyecare, $501); Floral lei available at Thorn & Thistle
IN THE SWIM Lord & Taylor essential cardigan (Hudsonâ€™s Bay, $39); Paradise Boutique Betty bikini top ($79) and Ginger bathing suit bottom ($55), both available at Paradise Boutique; Gentle Souls sandals (Footloose, $225); Turkish Towel (Pigeonhole Home Store, $42-$55)
MOODY BLUE La Blanca blue bathing suit (Swimco $146); Judith & Charles coat (Bagheera, $525); Naot sandals (Cardino Shoes, $190); Will Leather Goods bag (Hughes, $290); Oliver Peoples sunglasses (Maycock Eyecare, $465)
IF BY SEA Tommy Bahama pants (Fabrications, $148); Seafolly bikini top (Beach Rags, $118); Turkish Towel (Paradise Boutique, $48) On page 6: Andre Diffusion visor ($18), Seafolly bikini top ($118) and Seafolly bikini bottom ($56), all available at Beach Rags; Eileen Fisher Pants ($245) and Manson Scotch Jacket ($275), both available at Tulipe Noire; Echo Designs bag (She She Bags, $109); Turkish Towel (Pigeonhole Home Store, $42$55); Lizzie Fortunato earrings (Bernstein & Gold, $168)
Photography: Jeffrey Bosdet/YAM magazine Model: Kim Noseworthy Hair & Makeup: Melodie Reynolds Assistant: Ali Loughton Styling Assistant: Brooke De Armond Shot on location at Point-No-Point Resort
J OE DANDY By David Alexander
ARRIVE IN STYLE
A man’s guide for packing smart, dressing well and travelling in comfort.
Clockwise from top: Tilley City Travel blazer ($325) and Tilley cotton shirt ($129), available at Tilley; camera, photographer’s own; ProtoXype trolley bag ($459) and computer bag ($299), available at ProtoXtype; Native Apollo Moc ($85) and Happy Socks Stripes Dots socks ($13), available at Still Life for Him; Cole+Parker green socks ($25) and Diesel sunglasses ($216), available at Mango’s Boutique; Bellroy Carry Out wallet (Still Life, $180); Ted Baker Cables and Clobber bag (She She Bags, $60); Tilley Raffia Fedora (Tilley, $105). Shot on location at Tilley Endurables, Victoria.
ou’re going on vacation. Great, lucky swimwear you need (remember Speedos are you, fun in the sun and all that. You’ll generally only appropriate in North America throw a bunch of stuff in a bag the if you have the body of a god), undies, PJ’s, a night before (or for some of you, the morning pair of decent jeans for evenings, a selection of), grab something from your closest, board of polo shirts, a hat for the sun plus your a plane and that will be that. toiletries — and those can go in small plastic Sorry, that will not be that. containers picked up at the pharmacy. Voilà, Without thought and a little bit of planning, tons of room for duty free on the way home. all that energy you spend manufacturing IN-FLIGHT SKIN SAVER your particular brand of style will go out Flying can play havoc on your body so the window. Instead of arriving as a debonair here are some tips to keep you looking explorer you’ll get off the plane as a dorky refreshed when you walk off the plane. tourist. Joe Dandy is here to help ensure Prep your face > Bring a moisturizer to that doesn’t happen. use on the flight, preferably one designed for Palm Springs, Ibiza, Maui? Wherever you dry skin to counter the dry air of the plane. go, you want to turn heads as you saunter off And lip balm is a must. The last thing you the runway, so what should you wear on the want getting off the plane is lizard lips. plane? Flying used to mean dressing up and Hydrate > Drink water, lounging beside a sky bar. lots of it — before you leave, Sadly, those days are over, FLIGHT UPGRADES in the airport and on the but you don’t need to dress Dreading that long plane plane. You’ll be visiting the down to fly. trip, with its multiple loo often but consider it an Business casual for the connections? From keeping opportunity to stretch your plane seems like overkill all your gadgets in easy legs. Drinks like coffee and but it has value: it allows reach, to helping create a tea will dehydrate, as will you to wear some of the soothing quiet sleep zone, those cute little bottles of larger items you might these travel must-haves booze. otherwise have to pack, it will help make the journey Power nap > Losing sleep keeps you warm on overa breeze. won’t just make you look air-conditioned planes and tired, it will impact your it ups your chances of being Cocoon Grid-It! accessory organizer (Simply Computing, immune system. Grab a re-assigned to first class. $25) power nap while flying — 30 Chinos or a decent pair minutes will do. If you find of dress shorts along with flying stresses you out, bring a cotton, collared, nondecent noise-cancelling iron shirt will keep you headphones — they’ll also comfortable during the cancel any boring seat mates. flight. Finish with a light Eating > You have an blazer and a V-neck sweater. internal clock, so if you are You might think the latter is going on a long-haul flight, too much for the beach, but Bose try tricking it and consume it will work for evenings. QuietComfort food at times that match Shoes are important. They headphones your destination’s local time. (Atlas Audio, need to be functional because $329) It isn’t always easy; airlines you may be walking — or regulate food breaks fairly running — between planes strictly, but being friendly in the airport. You need Black Cat Stitches Sherlock with the flight attendant ones that are easily kicked Holmes sleeping mask always helps. off under the seat while (etsy.com, $14) Perk up > Flying isn’t flying to give your toes a bit great on hair what with of freedom. Consider boat the dry air and the headshoes or slip-on loafers with rest microbes. Despite not some bright socks to keep having a shower, you can your fellow travellers — and still clean your locks with a perhaps Security — amused. dry shampoo, found at any pharmacy (make This gives you a decent evening outfit sure you use airplane-friendly brands that for the trip, as well as loads of extra room won’t explode!). Spray in and comb out. At in your suitcase. Enough room to consider the same time, pick up some facial wipes; using a carry-on instead. Deep breaths, I they’ll get rid of shine and perk up your know a carry-on is small but it also offers complexion. tremendous ease: no waiting at baggage With a little pre-planning, your vacation carosels, no fear of lost luggage. Just pack a will be all about the heads you turn rather couple of mix-and-match outfits. than the jet lag you suffer through. :: It can be done, really. Pack all the
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BO O KM A RKS
By Carolyn Camilleri
THE OCEAN WISE COOKBOOK 2: MORE SEAFOOD RECIPES THAT ARE GOOD FOR THE PLANET
A TASTE OF HAIDA GWAII: FOOD GATHERING AND FEASTING AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
Edited by Jane Mundy | Whitecap Books
Susan Musgrave | Whitecap Books
Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program, this edition continues where the first left off, in that it aims to educate everyone toward making sustainable seafood choices to help prevent overfishing. And making better seafood choices is easy when the options are so delicious and come from culinary stars like Kunal Ghose of Red Fish Blue Fish and Morgan Wilson of The Fairmont Empress. Links to videos, such as “How to Shuck an Oyster” or “How to Clean a Squid,” are an impressive addition, along with a comprehensive list of Ocean Wise fish and ample expert advice. It’s a fish lover’s treasure trove. Not a fish lover? That may change.
To call this a cookbook is doing it a disservice — it is so much more. Yes, there are mouthwatering recipes that make me want to go to the Copper Beech House in Masset, where Musgrave has been proprietor since 2010. But it is also a peek into the heart and mind of poet and novelist Susan Musgrave. Full of food and life wisdom, Haida Gwaii history and lore, quips and commentary, and humour — lots of personalityrevealing humour. Foodies will want to cook everything, people interested in Haida Gwaii will love the cultural insight and literary types will enjoy the down-to-earth look at the person behind the literature.
THE JAGUAR’S CHILDREN
THE DEAD HAMLETS Peter Roman | ChiZine Publications, 200 pages, softcover
John Vaillant So, I was scrolling through Facebook, where friend of a friend mentioned a book coming soon. Intrigued by the title, I scooped a review copy. Oh, lucky day! This is wackiness of the highest order! Cross is immortal, a drunken but charming rogue who survives the centuries by killing angels and taking their “grace.” I am tempted to tell you whose body he traipses around in…. OK, I will because it’s on the author’s website anyway. It’s Christ’s. (Get it? His name is Cross.) Cross is solving a theatrical mystery so he can rescue his daughter Amelia from Morgana (yes, the nasty Queen of Camelot). Other characters include the witches from Macbeth, Christopher Marlowe, and even Shakespeare. One third in, I learned that this is part two of the Book of Cross; part one is The Mona Lisa Sacrifice (2013). Though I kind of resented being torn away to read book one, I’m glad I did because it meant a double feature of fun. While these dark fantasies are laugh-out-loud crazy, they are also well written with solid plots and luscious characters. It’s clear the author (who is really Vancouver journalist Peter Darbyshire) knows his stuff when it comes to literature, art and history. Fingers “crossed” that book three is coming soon.
“... these dark fantasies are laugh -outloud crazy ...”
Knopf Canada, 288 pages, hardcover
I couldn’t put this novel down. It is both a breathtaking thriller and an in-depth look at life in Oaxaca, Mexico. Here is the jaw-dropping setting: a sealed water truck stuck in the desert at the border between Mexico and the U.S. Hector, the narrator of the story, is one of 15 migrants trapped inside. Hector starts sending texts to AnniMac, the only American-sounding contact he can find in his friend Cesar’s cellphone, hoping someone replies. Talk about suspense. The intensity of the horrific, claustrophobic situation and the desperation of the migrants — it makes for a gripping read. But before you start thinking that, obviously, they are rescued, think again.
While they wait — without food and water in temperatures that fluctuate between intensely hot during the day and freezing cold at night — Hector records the story of his life and his ancestors as a sound file. You don’t know what happens until the end. Hector’s story is a stunning exploration of contemporary life in Mexico and why so many people risk death to leave illegally. I did skip ahead a bit a couple of times, mostly because I felt such panic for these people and Hector’s story is very detailed. If you do flip forward, do not read the ending — let the ending come when it comes.
IF I FALL, IF I DIE Michael Christie
May 21-23, 2015
Victoria Conference Centre
Social Media Camp brings together the brightest social media minds in North America for 3 days of social media exploration, sharing & teaching with a large dash of networking. Join 800+ people from across North America for Canada’s social media event of the year featuring some of the world’s top Social Media experts.
McClelland & Stewart, 328 pages, hardcover
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After his collection of brilliant short stories, The Beggar’s Garden (2011), Christie has followed with a novel offering the same touching insight into human frailty. In this book, 11-year-old Will has been raised almost entirely “Inside,” in a world created by his mother, Diane, who has mental health issues — agoraphobia on top of a paralyzing fear of anything that could hurt her or her son. But everything changes when Will ventures “Outside.” The relationship between mother and son, as well as the life they live, is fascinating, especially because it comes to us mostly through Will. Some chapters are told from Diane’s point of view, providing background, as well as insight into her illness. I loved Will’s sensitive perspective, his joyful and fearful discoveries, his innocent but astute observations, and his friendships with Jonah and Angela. I also loved the gritty depiction of Thunder Bay. I even loved the skateboarding and have gained a new appreciation for it as a sport and, dare I say, a culture. I was less impressed with the plot. Okay, I accept that an 11-year-old can turn just about anything into a mystery, but that part read more like teen fiction than a convincing adult thriller. That said, I liked Will and his story so much that I easily let that criticism slide and focused on the novel’s virtues.
For more Information and tickets to the event visit:
@SocMediaCamp YAM MAGAZINE
JEFFREY BOSDET/YAM MAGAZINE
THAT SWEET SLICE OF LIFE The key to a sweet summer treat is a medley of fresh, local and organic fruit. Erin Patrick of Sweet Things Bakery showcases the joys of summer baking with her Chocolate Butter Cream Cake. Enticing layers of rich butter cream filling are topped with mouth-watering berries and chocolate shavings for that perfect pairing of sweet-tart juiciness. Patrick’s credo is to use simple, natural ingredients for a cake that’s both scrumptious and nutritious. “It’s about comfort foods, those familiar flavours from mom and grandma,” she says. Find cookies and pastries from Sweet Things Bakery at the Moss Street Market this spring and summer.
Cake stand and tablecloth provided by Penna & Co.
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Best Prices. Best Seats. The World’s Best Dance.
Subscribe now to Dance Victoria’s 2015/16 Dance at the Royal series BALLET BC | 30
November 13 + 14, 2015 14 breathtaking dancers in an exuberant triple bill. Celebrate Ballet BC’s 30th birthday! “…things got off to such a great start on opening night that the audience was on its feet whooping and applauding long before the show ended.” – Georgia Straight
LES BALLETS JAZZ DE MONTRÉAL
February 26 + 27, 2016
12 incredible dancers inhabit the diverse works of three international choreographers. “exceptional technique, mind-blowing athleticism, intriguing choreography.” – Halifax Herald
KIDD PIVOT | ELECTRIC COMPANY
Betroffenheit March 11 + 12, 2016
Victoria’s own Crystal Pite joins forces with the exceptional theatre artist Jonathon Young to tell a story that is deeply personal and profound. “a work of astonishing beauty and thoughtfulness [filled with] visual and aural wonders.” – The New Yorker (review of Tempest Replica)
ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET
Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation April 1 + 2, 2016 An important Canadian story danced with sensitivity. “might well be the most important ballet produced by RWB in its 75 year history.” – Globe and Mail
With the Victoria Symphony December 4 – 6, 2015
Extravagant costumes, beautiful dancing and a live orchestra make this a perennial favourite. Only available to subscribers until August 15.
“There’s a magic and whimsy to it that bewitches the children in all of us.” – Georgia Straight
Subscribers save more than $60. It’s like seeing 4 shows for the price of 3! McPherson Box Office 250-386-6121 Video trailers and online subscriptions DanceVictoria.com
Medical Laser + Skin Clinic Suite 101 – 1830 Oak Bay Ave. DermaSpa.ca
Ballet BC’s Rachel Meyer. Photo © Michael Slobodian
ALBERTA BALLET The Nutcracker