Category Archives: Cooks I know

#Foraging and the morel of the story – my latest @CityPalate feature article

morel mushrooms - photo - Karen Anderson

morel mushrooms – photo – Karen Anderson

I love the chance to spend time in nature and living in Alberta, Canada gives me great opportunities to do so. I love hiking in The Rocky Mountains, cycling, skiing or sometimes just getting in a raft and floating down the big wide Bow River.

Eventually, all that time in nature makes me hungry though and that’s when it’s good to spend a little of my time in the great outdoors with a cadre of culinary instructors from SAIT Polytechnic’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Once a year we go on a hike that turns into an episode of Bounty Hunter. The bounty in this case is food and the hunting is part of the gathering we do on their annual foraging day in the foothills of The Rocky Mountains.

You might be a confirmed “urban forager” but in case you’d like to take a walk on the wild side of food read on…
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Food news #Calgary #Canada – famous @BestofBridge brand has new cards up their sleeves

Shuffling the deck for new winning hand of Best of Bridge - LtoR - Mary Halpen, Sue Duncan, Val Robinson, Helen Miles, Joan Wilson, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Julie Van Rosendaal - photo - Karen Anderson

Shuffling the deck for new winning hand of Best of Bridge – LtoR – Mary Halpen, Sue Duncan, Val Robinson, Helen Miles, Joan Wilson, Elizabeth Chorney-Booth and Julie Van Rosendaal – photo – Karen Anderson

Publishers Robert Rose held a quiet dinner at Rouge Restaurant in Calgary last night to make the announcement that the iconic Canadian cookbook brand Best of Bridge would be shuffling their deck of authors. Calgary Herald reporter Gwendolyn Richards broke the news in an exclusive interview.

Winners of a contest that asked for favourite recipes and stories about Best of Bridge were invited to the dinner under the guise of celebrating an intimate “retro evening” with the four remaining original authors – Mary Halpen, Val Robinson, Helen Miles and Joan Wilson. I was one of the fortunate winners.

I entered the contest because I am a long-time fan of the success of the eight (now four) Calgary stay-at-home Moms and savvy entrepreneurs.  They were everything I hoped they would be – happy, passionate, completely loyal and fond of each other, funny (just like their famous one-liners) and great businesswomen.

Here’s a bit more about them and the new plans for Best of Bridge with Julie Van Rosendaal, Sue Duncan and Elizabeth Chorney-Booth.

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The Gastronomic Meal of the French – #recipes from my friends @SucculentParis

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta - photo - Kim Irving

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta – photo – Kim Irving


My friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris food tours are wonderful cooks who love to share their passion with visitors to their city. This post will highlight a day where I booked them for a private gourmet tour. We met for coffee, shopped on Rue de Levis near their home and then prepared a seasonal multi-course gastronomic meal.

Cooking with Willard and Mahoudeau is a joyous occasion. Sitting down and sharing a meal together even more so. I hope that you’ll see that in the photos I’ll share here and that you’ll try some of the recipes as well. If they all seem a bit too much skip ahead to the next post where I share a ridiculously easy and fun Mug Cake that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s all good.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cooks I know, food tours, Great ingredients, Heritage cooking skills, Recipes, Travel

#LongTableDinners – my @AlbertaatNoon column for April

the table is set for a season of long table dinners - photo - Karen Anderson

the table is set for a season of long table dinners – photo – Karen Anderson

The Guinness World Record for the longest of long table dinners is 1.286 kilometres.

The record was set in August of 2014 in Finland where the long table dinner was measured with three decimal precision to eek out Spain’s record of 1.258 kilometres. This record has toppled more than once in the last few years proving that long table dinners are “a thing”. But are they truly a new phenomenon or are they an exaggeration of an age old tradition?

This post will look at this trend in dining and the list of long tables setting up for an exciting season of outdoor dining in Alberta this year. Check out a holiday menu inspired by this phenomenon here.

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Taste and memory blend in Mahabilapuram #Tamilnadu – South #India

tropical Tamilnadu - photo - Karen Anderson

tropical tamilnadu – photo – Karen Anderson

Mahabalipuram lies about an hour south of Chennai in the state of Tamilnadu in South India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the sixth to eighth century temples carved in great detail from rock and sand. They’ve withstood time. They’ve withstood Tsunamis.

The beach here is long, curved and cascaded upon by never-ending wave chasing wave. They’ve arrived in this little crook in the Bay of Bengal in a chaotic but somehow predetermined rhythm. They seem to collapse exhausted on the shore after realizing the futility of racing each other across the breadth of the Indian Ocean. Plunging into them at dawn you feel the strength the moon lends them in tidal force. They want to pull you to the ocean’s depths with them but just in time a bigger stronger wiser wave floats you safely to shore.

Temples and beaches are impressive attractions but my reason for being in Tamilnadu was to see a dear friend and meet and cook with his family. Read on for a crispy Tamilnadu lamb fritter recipe and a few photos from my recent visit.

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#Coconut goodies for #Christmas – recipes for my December @AlbertaatNoon column

A little while ago an invitation to meet the executive pastry chef at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency hotel crossed my desk. I had to delay that meeting until after my annual trip to India and since I knew I would be jet-lagged on my return and that I would have a column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon due shortly after my return, I thought it would be a great idea to have this profession chef help me with a recipe to share with Albertans this Christmas.

I knew that in the two weeks I would spend in South India I would see coconuts everywhere so I asked if chef might be willing to create a great Christmas inspired coconut dessert.

I specifically mentioned that the recipe should be fairly easy.

Here’s something I learned from this experience; what a classically trained executive pastry chef from Austria whose lived and worked all over the world thinks of as easy, might not be as easy for you and me.

Ah well, it was a delight to meet chef Sabine Gradauer and if you read on you’ll see how I fared in translating her professional chef’s notes on this recipe for Coconut Snowball Cake-pops into something you can make at home. Hopefully all was not lost in translation.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cooks I know, Great ingredients, Recipes

Cooks I know – @knifenerd Kevin Kent on the Japanese knives he sells at @knifewear

There’s so many reasons Calgary is Canada’s Chowtown.

The fact that our chefs can access Japanese knives at Knifewear to make all the chopping they do easier – and therefore make the long hours they spend cooking for us more enjoyable – must surely be one of the reasons the food in this town rocks.

The motto of Knifewear is “sharp knives rocks”. I think the chefs using them and their food also ROCKS.

If you live in Calgary – come out tonight and see Knifewear’s Springhammer documentary about the Japanese blacksmiths that hand forge the knives they sell. Details are here.

SAIT Polytechnic Culinary School Alumnus Kevin Kent cut his cooking teeth with Fergus Henderson at St. John in London, England and at River Cafe in Calgary. He started selling knives to chefs in Calgary from his backpack and now owns five Knifewear stores across Canada. He’s one of Calgary’s culinary mavericks.

Japanese knives help me savour it all. Right now I’m savouring the idea of … buying myself another one.

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