Believe it or not, the story of how Sarah Louise Foster fell in love with cooking started at a truck stop diner in Strathmore. Not because of the food, but because the owners were her parents. Sarah now runs a vegan baking business and teaches vegan food classes in Edmonton, but for this self-taught cook, that experience helped inspire many important decisions in her life.
While we are thrilled people took advantage of our early bird promotion, we understand that others prefer to wait for us to announce our program. If you're one of those people, then we appreciate your patience, as it took some time, but we are now ready to announce not only our Eat Alberta 2018 program, but also when general tickets will be going on sale!
February is approaching, which means that we’re getting closer to the start of the Organic Master Gardener (OMG) program. Whether you’re an aspiring green thumb or want to pick up a new skill, the OMG program is a certificate program that provides adult learners with enjoyable learning opportunities in gardening.
The program is offered through the Stony Plain Heritage Agricultural Society at the Stony Plain Multicultural Heritage Centre, with co-operation from GAIA College and the Society of Organic Urban Landcare. Students study three times a month from February to October each year, and while there are no exams, students are responsible for completing projects throughout the year.
The first class this year will be on February 7, 2018, but tomorrow (January 17) is the final information night at the Multicultural Heritage Centre at 7:30 p.m. If you’re looking to learn more about gardening, this information session is the perfect opportunity, so check out their Facebook event for more information.
Also, to learn more about the OMG program, please visit http://multicentre.org/education/organic-master-gardeners/.
As we finish up our holiday leftovers, we prepare ourselves for the excitement of a new year... and for Eat Alberta 2018! We are thrilled that some of you have taken advantage of our early bird tickets and we plan to put together a fun and informative program for our next flagship event.
However, we need some time to finalize our program and to ensure everyone gets into their ideal classes, so we wanted to let everyone know that Eat Alberta 2018 general tickets will go on sale in early February.
We will continue to provide updates through our mailing list, blog and social media, but if you're planning to get early bird tickets, Sunday is your last chance, so don't miss out!
We are excited to announce that April 29, 2018 will be our date for Eat Alberta 2018: More with Less! By finding new uses for the items you already buy or exploring less common ingredients, Eat Alberta 2018 invites you to cook some creative dishes and learn some tips that could lead to reduced food waste and potentially reducing your grocery bill!
While we are still confirming our chefs and keynote speaker, we will be continuing our partnership with NAIT, as the day will start once again with a tasty brunch at Ernest's. We are also proud to announce that chef, blogger, and self-described lady butcher Elyse Chatterton will be joining us for Eat Alberta 2018 as one of our session chefs. Some people may see offal and think "Liver, brains and hearts! Oh my!" but Elyse is a master at showing the uses, value and benefits of these cuts. We're so glad to have her back!
However, that doesn't mean we're not exploring changes this year, as we will be doing an Early Bird promotion all December.
In this case, you really get more with less, as you save $25 on tickets and get first access to classes once we confirm our chef line-up. Whether it's a Christmas gift for you and a special someone, or a well-deserved gift to yourself, we really hope that you take advantage of this opportunity, so head to Eventbrite starting December 1 to get your tickets!
Of course, if you prefer to "sleep in" and have more knowledge about the classes before buying, no worries! We expect to have more details soon, so stay tuned to the blog and social media for updates!
We can't wait to see you at Eat Alberta 2018: More with Less!
When it comes to the food industry, there are many initiatives that help ensure we produce enough food to feed future generations, especially with a growing world population. This includes maintaining populations of pollinators, including bees, as they play a crucial role in our food system through supporting plant reproduction.
Edmontonians are stepping up to do their part, as permits for urban beekeeping have increased dramatically since the City of Edmonton amended the by-law in 2015. Among those permits was the one that led to the launch of MacEwan University’s Urban Beekeeping Project in 2016, which is led by its Office of Sustainability and Campus Services.
Our last stop was Happy Acres, a U-Pick in the Spruce Grove area with a wide variety of chemical-free fruits and vegetables. As with any U-Pick, availability of items are dependent on season and time of maturation, but there was certainly no shortage when we stopped in with nearly 20 fruits, vegetables and herbs to chose from! They have a sales centre with farm fresh eggs, honey and ice cream (with peanut-free options, which makes me happy) and a gift shop with unique home and garden novelties.
Irvings Farm Fresh Ltd. is owned and operated by Alan and Nicola Irving and located near Round Hill, Alberta. Although both were very experienced in agriculture, they had no idea when they moved their family to Canada in 2005 that they would be raising pigs! When they arrived here, they realized that many of the British pork products they loved in England were not available in Alberta, so they purchased a batch of Berkshire pigs and decided to make their own sausages for family and friends.
By Tianna Albrecht
Although it was a bit cooler than the August summer weekend many were hoping for, it was perfect for an Alberta farm road trip! Alberta Farm Days had been written on my calendar for weeks and we were excited!
As their website states, Alberta Open Farm Days is a collaborative, province-wide, two-day event that gives Albertans an opportunity to experience the farm and understand where their food comes from. Open Farm Days started over 10 years ago in the Maritimes, but 2017 marked the fifth annual Open Farm Days in Alberta. This year, over 100 farms participated and featured 16 culinary events, so we had to be selective on our tour (especially since taking the scenic backroad to Ponoka got us lost, decreasing our farm-visit efficiency).
Rock Ridge Dairy and Irvings Farms may be familiar to many Edmontonians, with their products available for purchase at places like the Strathcona Market and Blush Lane Organic Market, or popping up on menus, such as Cafe Linnea. Since we personally consume these products on the regular (5% whole Jersey milk elevates our Nespresso cappuccinos to gourmet levels), we wanted to see exactly where they come from and learn a few things along the way.
From August 28 - September 2, the Eat Alberta blog will be home to Tianna’s Open Farm Days road trip adventures. Monday's post features a tour of Rock Ridge Dairy from one of our newest members.
We are looking for someone to run Eat Alberta’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. From strategy building to implementation to content creation to sharing other content, we are hoping to find someone passionate about local food and about helping us grow our social media presence.
So if you’re all about sending posts, shares, tweets and likes, we would love to hear from you. Please provide us with an email detailing your social media experience and why you want to volunteer with Eat Alberta. Submissions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 12, 2017. We follow up with interview times for selected candidates shortly after.
We look forward to meeting you!
Brieanne, Clarin, Golnaz, Jens, Jon, Loretta and Nathan
Eat Alberta Board of Directors and Organizing Committee
We're looking for volunteers!
After a successful Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics, we are looking forward to expanding our event repertoire for the rest of 2017 and planning our flagship Eat Alberta 2018 event. To help us realize our future vision, we’re looking for some food-loving, engaged, energetic and team-player volunteers to join our board.
We are an entirely volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to get the word out about Alberta’s diverse foodscape. Naturally, this means celebrating the food itself, but it also includes championing the hard-working producers and the people who work just as hard to prepare it. The food grown in our lovely province has so many stories to tell and we want to help tell them in a fun and hands-on environment.
If this sounds like an opportunity that you can get excited about, then we would love to have you apply to join our board by emailing us at email@example.com by June 9, 2017.
We are currently looking for new members with the following skillsets:
- Event planning
- Securing sponsorships
- Volunteer coordination
Please provide a short description of your relevant skills, your previous volunteer experience and why you are interested in being a part of Eat Alberta. If we feel that you could be a great fit with our team, we’ll get in touch to arrange an interview.
Thank you for your interest in Eat Alberta. We look forward to meeting you!
Brieanne, Clarin, Jens, Jon, Loretta and Nathan
Eat Alberta Board of Directors and Organizing Committee
On April 23, we hosted Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics at the NAIT Hokasan Centre for Culinary Arts. So much good food was made, shared and enjoyed, while attendees learned more about the history of Alberta foods.
Since we were coming back after taking a year off with a new format, we were hoping to return stronger than ever, so it was so encouraging to see so many people looking forward to our sixth conference. However, we were most proud to see how full everyone’s tote bags were at the end of the day and we hope that everyone enjoyed what they made at Eat Alberta 2017.
If you’ve read the FAQ for Eat Alberta 2017, you know that an apron is part of the dress code for NAIT’s kitchens. However, the apron will play a special part in this year’s conference, as we encourage you to leave the plain aprons at home and spice up your apron life on April 23!
If you do, then you have a chance of winning our “Best Apron” contest!
We are so excited to partner with Archive Magazine for this contest, as this new Alberta lifestyle magazine explores handmade creations, Canadian destinations and, of course, Alberta food and drink. Not only will the winner receive a one-year subscription to Archive magazine, he or she will also get a bundle of Archive’s first four issues!
Judging this competition will be our Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics Master of Ceremonies, Mark Connolly. If you got up early to hear his radio show this morning, then you have a jump-start on the clue that he gave for the contest. However, we want to level the playing field and tell you here as well.
The hint is: self-expression.
Interpret that how you will, as we hope to see some unique aprons at Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics.
And if you haven’t registered yet, act fast so you don't to miss out!
Our final entry for the Eat Alberta 2017 session blog entries is “Tasty Tourtière.” When we decided to highlight French Canadian food for this year’s conference, we initially called this session “Pass the Poutine.” However, Steven Brochu, the head chef of Chartier was quick to help us look past the poutine when it came to this kind of cuisine.
If you visit Chartier in Beaumont, you will find poutine on their menu, but you will also find many French Canadian favourites that have been modified for modern food lovers. This includes tourtière, beef bourguignon and a smoked meat sandwich that made the Tomato’s 5th Annual Top 100 Best Things to Eat or Drink in Edmonton (check out #36)!
However, the principles behind the dishes remain the same, as they are still inspired by the combination of local seasonal ingredients to make hearty meals. For Eat Alberta 2017, we are excited to have Steven come to teach session participants about how to use Alberta ingredients to make tourtière.
There are still a couple of slots open for this session, so act now to ensure your attendance to “Tasty Tourtière” for Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics.
Next up for our Eat Alberta 2017 session blog entries is “Chop Suey on the Prairies” and we are excited to announce that our session presenter will be Kitty Poon.
Kitty has over 30 years of experience cooking Chinese and Western food in Edmonton and attained her Journeyman Red Seal from NAIT Culinary School. She has cooked at The Creperie, Walden, various hotel restaurants and the Edmonton General Hospital café, Rendez-Vous.
Chinese restaurants have a strong presence in Alberta and the food has a very interesting history spanning all the way back to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. At the session, participants will learn how a couple of Canadian-Asian favourites, Kung Pao Chicken and Chicken Spring Rolls.
Session participants will also get something a little extra, thanks to session sponsor Alberta Chicken Producers, as at the end of the session, each participant will get a cookbook and recipe card.
To take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about Chinese food in Alberta, while getting some free stuff, make sure to pick “Chop Suey on the Prairies” as one of your sessions when you register for Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics.
Once you’re done, check out our recent blog post about the history of Chinese Food in Alberta, Early Chinese Settlement in Alberta and How Chinese Restaurants Helped Establish Community>>
This week, we are highlighting our “Indigenous Workshop” session, which is presented by Shane Chartrand.
Agriculture and food are a key part of Alberta’s history and economy. For the First Nations, their cuisine heavily relies on resourcefulness and creativity to make hearty dishes that are still enjoyed today. As the Executive chef at Sage Restaurant at the River Cree Casino and Resort, Shane creates dishes that refines indigenous cuisine through local foods and using food trends from around the world.
However, while First Nations are an important part of Alberta’s history, indigenous foods are not as prevalent in Alberta restaurants compared to other types of cuisines. Therefore, Shane’s vast knowledge and passion about indigenous foods provides a great opportunity for participants to learn more about the history and secrets behind this culture’s unique dishes.
If that sounds like something you would be interested in, then make sure to mark “Indigenous Workshop” as one of your preferred sessions when you register for Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics.
Still not convinced? Then we encourage you to check out, “The Food of Our Land,” a recent article by Avenue Magazine that interviews multiple local chefs, including Shane Chartrand, about what indigenous cuisine is and the importance of keeping these foods relevant in Edmonton.
An entrepreneur, community activist and enthusiastic eater are a few ways to describe Jon Hall, our keynote speaker for Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics. With his wide involvement in the provincial food community and the passion shown to multiple organizations, we thought his expertise was a perfect fit for celebrating the history and culture behind some of Alberta’s favourite foods.
Alongside his wife of 34 years, chef Gail Hall, Jon supported local food and producers through his role as a founding director of the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market Association and helping out at Gourmet Goodies and Seasoned Solutions Cooking School.
That experience has filled him with knowledge that he is excited to share with Eat Alberta 2017 participants, so we encourage you to register now so you don’t to miss out on Jon’s keynote address.
Also, don’t forget that Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics is the perfect hands-on opportunity to learn about the history of various cuisines in Alberta. Check out our Sessions & Presenters webpage to learn more about Jon Hall and our session presenters, or our FAQ page if you have any questions.
First, we are so grateful for the support Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics has received leading up to our ticket release a few days ago. With over 40% tickets sold already, we are thrilled that people are excited for this year’s conference.
For the next few weeks, the Eat Alberta blog will highlight our conference’s session presenters and keynote speaker.
First up is Allan Suddaby, who will help people make food “just like baba used to make.” A very involved chef in the Edmonton community, Allan Suddaby provides creations as the Executive Chef of Elm Café and Catering and educates people through classes and his food blog, Button Soup. We are excited to bring him back for Eat Alberta 2017, as he will explore the rich history of Northern European and Ukrainian foods in Alberta and teach participants valuable skills and secrets to cook these dishes.
Interested? Then don’t miss your chance for “Just Like Your Baba Used to Make” to be one of your preferred sessions at Eat Alberta 2017: Back to Basics.