Was it only a two weeks ago? I got a phone call confirming a rumour that Cook It Raw founder, Alessandro Porcelli, was flying into Edmonton and that the local chefs and avant-garde thinkers of the international culinary world-alike would be focussing on Alberta in 2015.
It was a lot to grasp, my schedule was already über-packed, but this was a big deal. Edmonton and Calgary chefs were going weak at the knees. It was a big opportunity for Alberta's largely underappreciated chefs, our still-forming sense of culinary energy, and our various culinary communities to be presented with a watershed opportunity. I hoped knew we were up to the challenge.
I dashed off to meet Alessandro and Ute Werner of Cook It Raw at Tres Carnales Taqueria for lunch that Monday (May 4). I had NO IDEA they had both just arrived from Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, the night before. I guess it was a soft culinary landing. Daniel Braun, one of Tres Carnales owners, immediately recongnized Alessandro, when he strode through the door. Daniel gave me a why didn't you tell me THEY were coming? look and then proceeded to treat us to a feast of flautas, totopos, salsas, and tacos. At lunch, hours into their trip, Alessandro and Ute unleashed their boundless energy on my brain. It was unforgettable.
I'll be unpacking my notes in blog form over the next few weeks. For now, I'm heading up to Lac La Biche where 14 Alberta chefs and culinary activists have been building an earth oven, catching Northern pike from the shore, chopping wood, spit-roasting pigs, and talking about what the present and future of Alberta's culinary potential is. #rawAlberta is the hashtag du jour.
Here's a small taste on Instagram.@cookitraw (and then follow all the other accounts posting amazing photos about #rawalberta or #cookitraw).
From the press release from the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, who have been working on this culinary happening for a while now:
Cook It Raw – the annual, international gathering of culinary luminaries that explores possibilities of cuisine – has partnered with the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance to announce its eighth edition, unrolling from May through September in Alberta, Canada for 2015. The first gathering will be held in Lac La Biche, Alberta from May 19th to 21st and will feature 14 of the region’s most innovative chefs. Conceptualized and directed by Alessandro Porcelli, this year’s program will focus on the discovery and collaborative shaping of the culinary identity of Alberta – a corner of the world with a burgeoning gastronomic scene, ready for global exposure.
Confirmed chef participants are: Brayden Kozak (Three Boars. Edmonton), Shane Chartrand (Sage Restaurant/River Cree, Enoch), Blair Lebsack (Rge Rd, Edmonton), Cam Dobranski (Brasserie Kensington, Calgary), Darren MacLean (downtownfood, Calgary), John MacNeil (Black Pig Bistro, Calgary), Connie DeSousa (Charcut Roast House, Calgary), Paul Rogalski (Rouge, Calgary), Scott Pohorelic (SAIT, Calgary), Duncan Ly (Yellow Door Bistro, Calgary), Liana Robberecht (Petroleum Club, Calgary), Andrew Winfield (River Café, Calgary), Justin Leboe (Model Milk, Calgary) and Eden Hrabec (Crazyweed, Canmore).