Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your guide to the best locally crafted fare

Available in Canada and the US, April 5, 2016 (TouchWood Editions)

Friday
Jan012016

2015 Published Writing in Review

2015 was a steady, busy year.

 

NEW BOOK:

It began with a contract from TouchWood Editions to write Food Artisans of the Okanagan: Your guide to the best locally crafted fare. This is a 320-page, full colour book about the best culinary craftspeople in the vibrant Okanagan and Similkameen food scene. This includes farm-to-table chefs, bakers, beekeepers, orchardists, farmers, market gardeners, butchers and charcutiers, fisherpeople, coffee roasters, distillers, craft brewers, chocolatiers, millers, foragers, cheesemakers, fishmongers, and producers of fine craft food products. Published by TouchWood Editions.

We're just finishing up the last page proofs and it will available widely, for sale, in April 2015. Food Artisans of the Okangan is available for pre-sale already.

MAGAZINE ARTICLES:

"What's New on the Okanagan Food & Wine Scene," City Palate Calgary, March/April 2015 PDF

"Waste Not, Want Rot," May 2015, Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences magazine Greenhouse.

"An Audience with the Duchess," Western Living Magazine, April 2015. (Retitled "Why We Love Edmonton's Duchess Bake Shop" for the web.)

"Okanagan Spirits Pioneering the Craft Distillery Boom," Western Living Magazine, June 2015.

"Green Soul," enRoute magazine, July 2015.

"The world's finest avant-garde chefs descend on Alberta and discover an underrated food wonderland," Maclean's, Nov 7, 2015 edition. (Online October 30, 2015)

"Living Like a Local: Kelowna," WestJet Magazine, November 2015.

"Three-Ring Dining: Grasping the novelty of modern dining," Eighteen Bridges, Winter 2015.

 

Monday
Nov182013

Nights at the Long Table, Western Living magazine, September 2013

Click to go to article online at Western LivingBest chefs in Canada right now? I think so...yet they don't have a restaurant. It's all about Okanagan cuisine de terroir, dining outdoors on a cliff over Okanagan Lake, and eating not just what's in season, but what is best that day. Here's my article in September 2013 Western Living magazine on Cameron Smith and Dana Ewart, owners / chefs of Joy Road Catering in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia.

Tuesday
Jul022013

Return of the Okanagan Sockeye

In the current issue of Canadian Geographic, The return of the sockeye salmon, is a story I worked rather hard to get into print.

I have to give credit to a wonderful fishmonger in the Okanagan Valley, Jon Crofts of Codfather's Seafood Market. He tipped me off to the story that was developing, and provided some very useful background and contacts about a year ago to this day. He not only spent time on the phone getting me up to speed on various fishery-related issues, we met a few times in person, and he patiently answered my naive questions about how ocean-dwelling fish could end up in a fresh water lake system 1000-km from the Pacific.

As I pursued the story, there were some challenges just getting to the right people who would facilitate a visit to the fishing camp on the north end of Osoyoos Lake, in the Okanagan Valley (British Columbia, Canada's, southern interior). After a month of back-and-forth on the phone with various people at the Okanagan Nation Alliance, I was invited to tag along on the purse seiner on the very last day of fishing for 2012. I immediately called up Bruce Kemp, an award-winning photographer in the Okanagan Valley, Bruce  cleared his calendar on a moment's notice, so he could join me and we were able to capture the story together.

A year later...here's the story. I'm pleased that Bruce and I could bring this story into being, in a major national publication like Canadian Geographic. It's a rare, good-news fishery story in Canada. There are still some major hazards and roadblocks in the way in the salmon's complicated journey back to this once-abundant terminal fishery in the Okanagan, but as an optimist, I choose to believe that the salmon have returned to the Okanagan, to their First Nations communities, and to our lakes and streams.

The Return of the Okanagan Sockeye Salmon

Click to go to Canadian Geographic July 2013 / Return of the sockeye salmon

Saturday
Apr072012

FarmAid: How Alberta’s Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators Can Help Feed the World, Alberta Venture magazine, April 2012

Alberta Venture magazine, April 2012 issue / Agriculture / Jennifer Cockrall-King

Project: Transform Alberta – How Alberta’s Farmers, Entrepreneurs and Innovators Can Help Feed the World

On October 31, 2011, the global population reached seven billion. It’s predicted to grow by another two billion by 2050. At this rate, we’ll have to grow and raise more food in the next 50 years than we’ve produced cumulatively over the past 10,000

 

In the chill of the spring dawn, an Alberta livestock farmer waits nervously for a pregnant cow to give birth. As soon as she does, the farmer swabs the inside of the newborn’s cheek. The sample is quickly shipped to a lab in Edmonton where the calf’s DNA is extracted and analyzed. Three weeks later, the farmer knows if the calf has won the genetic lottery. Does it have the genes to make it a great producer of milk? If it’s a beef breed, will it produce AAA steak years later? Plainly put, it doesn’t make sense to bring that calf to age if genetics aren’t on its side such that it can be healthy and productive and contribute to a profitable enterprise.

Screenshot from albertaventure.com / llustration Pierre-Paul Pariseau
 

Welcome to the brave new world of farming. Primary agriculture in Alberta is a $7.7-billion industry, with crops accounting for $3.7 billion of that number and livestock bringing in $3.5 billion. But while our role as a volume producer of raw exports may be significant, our greatest contributions to helping solve global hunger could yet be ahead. Perhaps our role in the global food economy will be one of innovation and contributions to technological leaps. This future will be one where soil is enriched with “biochar,” where farmers earn as much through their efforts to offset carbon dioxide emissions as they do from crops, and where every animal is scanned, analyzed and barcoded.

Read the full article on Alberta Venture magazine's website.

Friday
Nov182011

Arctic Cuisine, enRoute magazine, The Food Issue (November 2011)

I am a contributing panelist to enRoute magazine's Best New Restaurants issue, which appears every November. In this issue, I also have an article about what I consider Canada's last culinary frontier: Northern Foods. Yes, as in Canada's North. The Arctic.

Here is a link to the article.

The article, really is about a series of "Northern Night" dinners that have been going on in Edmonton thanks to two amazing foodies, Twyla Campbell and Steve Cooper, who travel in the North a lot. Their enthusiasm for the exotic ingredients they find in the Arctic is infectious and their Northern Night dinners are now the hottest tickets in the Slow Food Edmonton calendar.

By the way, Twyla is the CBC Radio One Edmonton restaurant critic, writer, blogger, food lover and wanderer. Her blog is http://weirdwildandwonderful.blogspot.com/.