Jennifer Cockrall-King | Jennifer Cockrall-King
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[caption id="attachment_16210" align="alignnone" width="456"] Aboriginal chef Shane Chartrand. Photograph: Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance[/caption] From the Aboriginal chef reinventing the restaurant industry’s idea of dinner to the baker changing the pastry business one pastel-coloured macaron at a time, Edmonton has hit its culinary stride. Jennifer Cockrall-King talks to the city’s top chefs to find out why us – and why now From Eighteen Bridges, Fall 2017 “What does it mean to be an Aboriginal executive chef in Edmonton, in charge of my own kitchen and staff?” Shane Chartrand only somewhat rhetorically asked me as we sat down to a table set with white linen, gleaming cutlery, and china for what is unfortunately a unique experience in Canada: a fine dining Indigenous restaurant. “What does it mean to have four different nations working for me, looking for guidance on how to express their ambitions, their dreams, and their identities through food?” These questions have been weighing on chef Chartrand’s mind for quite some time. Chartrand is 42 years old. His hair is shaved on the sides and he has a wide strip of thick black hair on top, which he wears slicked back. He’s usually upbeat but rarely smiles. His look is one of intensity. Chartrand has come...

On October 30, 2017, Food Artisans of the Okanagan won best Culinary Narrative at the Taste Canada Food Media Awards. The announcement was made in Toronto, and unfortunately I was not able to receive the award in person. But let me assure you, it's a large, heavy, doorstop of a glass trophy. I'm very grateful to my excellent publisher, Taryn Boyd of TouchWood Editions, and her entire team. This is great news for the book and for all of the food artisans who make the Okanagan and Similkameen Valley such a delicious destination.  ...

Editorial Note from Winter 2017, Cottage Life West It’s that time of the year again…when a woman’s thoughts turn to her woodpile. Or, at least, this woman’s thoughts do. Have I collected enough throughout the year to last me until spring? Did I split enough “small stuff” to coax a roaring fire until the hardwood logs catch, making coals to keep me warm until morning? And have I given it enough time to season, so that it’s dry when I haul armloads inside to burn? I obsess over firewood. It’s a habit  that I picked up eons ago at the family cabin. I love the scavenging expeditions when a tree falls. I get a ridiculous amount of satisfaction swinging an axe, splitting logs, and stacking wood like I’m prepping for the apocalypse. And then, of course, the payoff: that soft light and cozy heat saturating the room. (Ready to fire up your inner lumberjack? Turn to this issue’s Workshop section, starting on p. 29, for tips on cutting and season-ing your wood—and a handful of other projects to keep you warm and busy.)

From Issue #10, Eighteen Bridges, Spring 2017 Thousands of seeds are locked in a frozen mountain in Norway to protect our global food supply. Should we be worried? Our writer bundles up to visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.   Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Photograph: Crop Trust As my flight last spring neared its final destination of the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen—which is dogsledding distance from the North Pole—I was reminded of a BBC article I’d read listing the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as one of the world’s most secretive places, along with the Vatican Secret Archives and Area 51. The BBC stated the Seed Vault was impossible to get into. Period. Yet there I was, about to land at Longyearbyen airport, having been assured that if I made my way to the arctic archipelago of Svalbard in early March, I would be among a chosen few to gaze upon the frozen repository of the most important specimens of crop seed collections from around the planet. They were locked away in a mountainside on an island that is 60 percent glaciers and 100 percent in the middle of nowhere. Somehow, I had won the lottery, and had been received an invitation to tour the seeds...