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English language Edition
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Misc
Wednesday
Mar062013

The Future of Urban Agriculture in the Alberta Capital Region

On February 12, 2013, I was one of three speakers at a presentation called The Future of Urban Agriculture in the Alberta Capital Region. It was part of the Regional Planning Speakers Series, The City Region Studies Centre.

The event was really well attended, the Alberta Art Gallery theatre was full! Regional Planning Speakers Series has just uploaded the podcast and slides from the event. So if you want to take a listen, here's the intro and the link.

 

"This event, held on February 12 2013, was forward thinking in nature. It looked at the future of urban agriculture in the Alberta Capital Region: What does it look like ? What are the implications on land – use planning? On the economy?  On policy making ? These and other issues were discussed by our panelists, Jennifer Cockrall - King (Edmonton based food Author and blogger), Candace Vanin (Agrologist, Government of Canada) and Dustin Bajer (teacher at Jasper Place High School and permaculture expert)."

Click here to go to the City Region Studies' page where the slideshows from this evening are archived.

Sunday
Feb102013

Talk at Guru Digital College Arts College

Monday, I'll be talking to at the Digital Media Production class at Guru Digital College. I will be talking to them about the pros and the cons of developing a personal brand in the arts. I will undoubtedly learn more from them than they do from me, here are my talking points:

- What is a personal brand?

- Why do you want one? Why would you not?

- Tool for building a personal brand:

  • YOUR WORK
  • website - multimedia
  • social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr, TEDtalks

From this:

 

 

Sunday
Jan272013

Vancouver's Draft Food Strategy just released

Vancouver, British Columbia, leads the way again in Canada. The city just released the draft of its Food Strategy, a 150-page document. Click here to go to the Vancouver Food Policy Council (which links to the report).

It seems that Vancouver city council is supportive of urban agriculture. One of the main goals of its "Greenest City" initiative is to become a global leader in urban food systems by 2020.  It already has a vibrant urban food scene thanks to very supportive city bylaws. And now it has a blueprint for an even more edible future. Congrats Vancouver.

Sunday
Jan202013

Why we need more dining events like the Mushroom Festival at Sage in Edmonton

The dirt-lovin' dozen mushrooms we'd eat at Sage Restaurant forr the Mushroom Festival Media PreviewLast week, my old friend Cam invited me and Mike to Sage restaurant at River Cree Casino and Resort. Cam, Mike, and I all went to high school together. Throughout the years, we’ve bumped into one another and enjoyed how much and how little changes, and this was another long-overdue opportunity to reconnect. (I am starting to appreciate these friendships more and more. It can be years between conversations, yet we just pick up where we last left off. Edmonton is very much like a village that way for those of us who have been here all or most of our lives.)

Anyway, back to Sage restaurant at River Cree. Cam put us on the list for the media preview of the Mushroom Festival. (The Mushroom Festival officially happens this week, January 24, and it’s only $60 per person.) Mike even got dressed up – sort of, in his own cheeky way. And we drove through the blizzard and ridiculous cold that is Edmonton in January to celebrate mushrooms. I’m so glad we did.

First, we hadn’t been out to dine at Sage since Christophe Ithurrize had been lured away from Las Vegas over three years ago. Ithurrize is a French chef, of Basque blood. Good cooking should be encoded in his DNA. He’d also spent a decade+ with chefs in Las Vegas, where I assumed he’d have acquired some flair for the dramatic. I had high hopes for this mushroom feast.

Second, I love the idea of menus built around a seasonal ingredient. It happens all the time in Europe. I can recall the exact flavours of an asparagus menu at a restaurant in Berne, Switzerland — tender, white asparagus with a vinegary Béarnaise, velvety asparagus soup, etc. — and that was over 20 years ago. Menus built around a specific's vegetable perfection are few and far between in Canada. Rod Butters, chef/owner at RauDZ Regional Table in Kelowna, creates tomato menus each summer when the Okanagan farms can hardly keep up with the production. And Dana Ewart and Cameron Smith of Joy Road build their “cuisine de terroir” and their al fresco vineyard dinners largely around is sprouting or fruiting that very week in the Okanagan. These meals always end up being more than the sum of their parts.

Chef Christophe Ithurrize of Sage at River Cree Casino and Resort

I knew we were off to a good start when chef Ithurrize brought out the platter with the 12 different mushrooms we’d be eating, in one form or another, that night. As the meal progressed, I realized why I was loved these types of meals. A typical dinner actually makes no sense: a random soup or a random salad, some starch and protein, and then a topper of gluttony at the end. But a meal like Ithurrize and his second-in-command Robbie Oram were creating was like going to an gallery opening of a favorite local artist. So much more interesting given the constraints and context. 

First course: sous-vide poached egg and yellowfoot and oyster mushrooms on toasted brioche with mushroom oil greens on top2nd course: org chick breast, mushroom bread pud, shreds of king mushroom and porcini jus 4th course: steak with enoki mushroom 'hay' and whipped mash potatoes w/ Poplar Grove 2008 MerlotCocoa nibs and porcini dust with meringue mushrooms for dessert

Ithurrize, Oram, and the rest of the kitchen at Sage came out to take a bow at the end. We applauded not so much because it was an extraordinarily good meal (it was), but because it was an extraordinary idea. Five courses in honour of a food that peaks in darkness and chill of winter. Strangers gathered around a table who become friends throughout a meal. This was exactly what we should be celebrating, especially in a place like Edmonton, on a -25 Celsius night like it was.

Monday
Jan142013

Food and the City named among January Magazine's "Best of 2012"

Though Food and the City isn't a cookbook, I'm very happy to be listed among January Magazine's Best of 2012 list in the cookbook category. Here's what reviewer Sienna Powers has to say about it:

 

The stories are real, abundant and powerful. Food and the City is not glossy or even beautiful, but it is well-researched, well documented and absolutely inspirational. A food writer, this is journalist Cockrall-King’s beat and it shows. She brings passion, knowledge and even inspiration to her topic. You may never look at a concrete schoolyard or a bunch of supermarket grapes 3000 miles from their home in the same way again. -- Sienna Powers