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Entries in Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance (2)

Thursday
Nov052015

Maclean's Magazine article: The world's finest avant-garde chefs descend on Alberta and find an underrated food wonderland

When some of the world's best chefs arrived in Alberta for Cook It Raw, the annual atelier of culinary creativity led by Alessandro Porcelli, I went along for the ride.

First there was the gathering of Alberta chefs in Lac La Biche, 2.5 hours northeast of Edmonton. There chefs who only get to interact in quasi-competition-style events and fundraisers got to camp together, fish, cook, and eat for four days without the distractions and obligations of their harried professional lives.

Connie DeSousa (co-chef / co-owner CHARCUT Roast House and Cam Dobranksi, chef, owner Brasserie Kensington, Kensington Wine Bar and Container Bar, with bison legSmoking meat and fish in Lac La Biche at Violet Cardinal's land on the Beaver Lake Cree Nation

In October, the troupe of chefs in Porcelli's orbit arrived to add some Michelin-star sparkle and international attention to the exercise. There was another camping trip, this time up in Kananaskis Country, in a WiFi free backcountry zone. It was like an episode of "So You Want to be a Canadian" (not a real show), with canoeing, fishing, moose- and bear-spotting, foraging, and lots of beers around late-night campfires. They also did some serious work, building up the seven dishes that they would reveal for a big media event on Saturday night in the SAIT professional teaching kitchens, and then again to the public on Sunday afternoon at Rouge Restaurant in Calgary.

Canoeing at Upper Kananaskis Lake, AlbertaTeam Root Vegetable presents their dish-in-progress at Mount Engadine Lodge, Kananaskis, Alberta

Team Red Fife's final dish at the Saturday night presentation at SAIT, Calgary

Honey-cured trout, Team Honey, final dish presenation at SAIT, CalgarySaskatoon dessert in a birch log, Team Saskatoon, SAIT, CalgaryL -> R Alessandro Porcelli, Blair Lebsack (RGE RD restaurant Edmonton) and Cam Dobranski, Jp McMahon, Aniar restaurant Galway, Ireland at SAIT Calgary

Here's the story (online as of October 30, 2015): http://www.macleans.ca/culture/the-worlds-finest-chefs-discover-alberta-food/

Appears in the November 9, 2015 print edition of the magazine.

Wednesday
May202015

Cook It Raw lands in Alberta: Edmonton, Calgary, Lac La Biche, Kananaskis

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.

 

We have Mr. #CookitRaw himself Alessandro Porcelli visiting us for some delicious Mexican eats

A photo posted by Tres Carnales Taquería (@trescarnales) on May 4, 2015 at 2:17pm PDT

 

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.

Read Liane Faulder's excellent article in today's Edmonton Journal on Cook It Raw in Alberta 2015.

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.

Shaping of a Culinary Frontier #rawAlberta #CookItRaw

Twitter: @cookitraw          Instagram: @cookitraw
Facebook: /CookItRaw     Tumblr: cookitraw

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).