Last year we had an awesome group of presenters. Take a look at who they were and keep an eye out for who will be presenting this year at Eat Alberta 2015:
John Schneider (Keynote) – Farmer, Gold Forest Grains: John is a sixth generation Canadian farmer. He and his family farm organic, heirloom grains and a bit of livestock just west of the town of Morinville, ten minutes north of St. Albert. John and his wife Cindy also operate Gold Forest Grains, where they stone-mill grains into farm-fresh flour products that are sold in various retail locations in the city as well as at a permanent stall at the famous Old Strathcona Farmers Market. Well known bakeries like Dauphine and Bon Ton use Gold Forest Grains flour in many of their baked goods. John’s interests have always included heirloom and ancient species of grains, vegetables, and livestock. The focus for him will always be the preservation of heritage varieties of food. An advocate for organic growing practices and local sustainable food production, John spends a good deal of time discussing, learning, and sharing experiences that can forward the progress of a more sustainable and healthy food system.
Kris Armitage – Store Manager, Everything Cheese: Kris has an abundant knowledge of food and cheese, and is passionate about quality and artisanal foods. He trained at NAIT and graduated from the Culinary Arts program in 2002. Over the next ten years he worked as a chef at various local restaurants, including Red Ox Inn and The Marc. During the winter of 2007-08 he worked in Victoria learning about cheese at the Brasserie L’école. You’ll find that Kris is extremely personable, energetic, and loves to share his enthusiasm for great food and cheese.
Allan Suddaby – Sous-Chef, Elm Café and Catering: Allan has worked at local restaurants like Nomad, Jack’s Grill, and Dadeo, and has done shorter stints in Calgary and Semmering, Austria. Allan is an avid brewer, charcutier, and gardener. He has a blog called Button Soup, where he writes about his unique ideas on local food.
Chad Moss – Shovel and Fork: Chad is the head instructor of all things food related at Shovel and Fork. Chad’s really good at cooking with local heritage pig breeds, nerding out on charcuterie curing chamber mods, and curing fine pig products. Oh yeah, and he’s the president of Slow Food Edmonton. And he’s taught culinary school in Canada and Australia. He’s now your teacher.
Elaine Wilson – Chef: Elaine’s perspective on food and cooking is to keep it real. Creating delicious food using local products and a wide range of fresh ingredients, she has long been one of the local food community’s strongest supporters. From cooking classes to in-home dining experiences to food & culture tours, Elaine brings to the kitchen a sense of fun, humour and a passion for great food. Who says you can’t play with your food!
Elyse Chatterton – Butcher, Sangudo Custom Meats: Elyse is a classically trained English butcher who started her trade under the guidance of her family in Out Rawcliffe, England, when she was just seventeen years old. Since moving to Alberta in 2011 Elyse has worked with the Sangudo Growers Association, Sangudo Custom Meat Packers, and Shovel and Fork, where she has brought a touch of English butchery to Edmonton.
Nevin Fenske – Owner/Chef, Drift Food Truck: is a Red Seal chef and graduate of the Culinary Arts program at NAIT. In 2011 he and his wife opened Drift, a food truck located in downtown Edmonton. Nevin has worked in kitchens for over eighteen years and has an incredible passion for cooking. The journey of becoming a business owner has been an exciting one, and has linked him to other entrepreneurs in and around Edmonton. Supporting fellow local businesses and farms is a big part of his focus.
Neil Herbst – Co-owner, Alley Kat Brewing Company: co-owner of Alley Kat Brewing Company, grew up on a farm in southern Alberta. He attended the University of Lethbridge where he received a bachelors degree in political science and developed a passion for beer. In 1982 Neil moved to Edmonton where he worked at the Alberta Legislature. In 1994 Neil opened Alley Kat Brewing Company. Three years later, his wife and partner, Lavonne, joined in the adventure. Alley Kat Brewery produces four standard brands of beer as well as a number of seasonal brews.
Kathryn Joel – Founder, Get Cooking: Kathryn founded Get Cooking in 2011, and has been busy teaching her home-based cooking classes ever since. In the summer of 2014 Get Cooking will be moving to a new commercial location within the campus of Grant MacEwan University in downtown Edmonton. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, Kathryn’s love of cooking has inspired travels around the globe experiencing and exploring diverse culinary traditions. Her classes draw on this passion for ethnic and global cuisines as well as her commitment to supporting local producers and suppliers with the use of fresh, local, artisanal ingredients. Kathryn’s classes focus on her belief that with some basic cooking skills and a good local knowledge of where to source the right ingredients, anyone can bring flavours from around the world into their own kitchens.
Michael Kalmanovitch – Owner, Earth’s General Store: Michael started composting in England in 1971 after deciding there must be something better to do with the weeds and plants that came off his garden than send them away with the dustmen. Through the 1980s he researched composting extensively, and in the early 1990s he started giving workshops at the Muttart Conservatory, Environmental Resource Centre, Canadian Tire, Edmonton Public Library, as well as some community leagues. Michael loves to share his knowledge and passion about composting and does this through his business, Earth’s General Store, where he offers several workshops each year, as well as worms for vermiculture.
Blair Lebsack – Chef/Owner, RGE RD: Blair Lebsack was recently named a Top Forty Foodie under Forty by Western Living Magazine and Top Forty under Forty by Avenue Magazine. Blair is busy with the opening of his new restaurant RGE RD. RGE RD has been chosen as Best Restaurant and Best New Restaurant in Edmonton by Avenue Magazine and Best New Restaurant in Edmonton by Where Magazine. Driven by a passion for Alberta’s terroir and the abundance of quality produce, Blair has made it a priority to cultivate relationships with farmers and farms. This relationship with food producers has led to RGE RD dinners, a series of outdoor farm dinners that have developed a cult following. The philosophy of local, healthful and ethical food is the backbone of his restaurant concept-an urban gathering place where the farm dictates the menu. Having had an accomplished career as an executive chef for both large operations and smaller, boutique hotels, Blair took on a role mentoring future chefs as a culinary instructor at NAIT. As the chef and owner of RGE RD, Blair is passionate about continual mentorship and community engagement.
Megan Miller: has been a foodie for as long as she can remember. She enjoys taking long walks on the beach with her sourdough and always packs kefir in her carry-on. Megan began fermenting in 2010 as a way to create nutrient-dense raw food from Edmonton’s local ingredients. She brings over five years teaching experience and years of study in nutrition and neurobiology together with a passion for all things local and homemade.
Michelle Peters-Jones – Food Writer, The Tiffin Box: Michelle is a food writer and photographer. She writes for The Tiffin Box, a food website where she chronicles the history of Indian food, her childhood memories, and cooking from India and beyond. She has recently returned from a long stay in India, where she trained with local chefs and home cooks and attended several classes on Indian cooking and the history of food and culinary traditions of India. Michelle also works as a food writer and recipe developer for the popular online website The Kitchn, and teaches private Indian cooking classes.
Erica Vliegenthart – Baker, District Coffee Co.: Erica attended culinary school and pastry school at the North West Culinary Academy in Vancouver. Afterwards she spent a few years working in Vancouver restaurants, then lived and worked in Mexico for one year, and then did a one year stage at Mugaritz in Spain [Editor’s Note: consistently rated one of the best restaurants in the world…]. She has worked many different positions in the kitchen, but always gravitates towards pastry, where her heart is. Erica spent a year working, learning, and falling even deeper in love with the magic of pastry at Duchess in Edmonton. She has recently made the exciting move to District Coffee Co, a small intimate open-kitchen bakeshop.
Nigel Webber – Chef Instructor, NAIT Culinary Arts Program: Nigel is a chef instructor for the NAIT Culinary Arts program. He has built an impressive track record as an international award-winning chef. Nigel began his culinary apprenticeship under Austrian-trained chef Erwin Blumert and graduated from the NAIT apprentice-cooking program with top honours. Since then, he has amassed an award-winning resumé of experiences. Nigel has a passionate commitment to food, wine, and the hospitality industry. His attention to detail and contemporary vision, combined with an adherence to traditional classical cooking, serves his students well.