Individual Chefs & Restaurants

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Calgary Eats

Calgary Eats

Signature Recipes from the City's Best Restaurants and Bars
edition:Hardcover
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Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse
Excerpt

Prologue

I love restaurants. Everything about them. Always have.

A restaurant is both a superficial and deeply profound experience. Restaurants can leave an existential mark on your life though you’re essentially just sitting down in a place to eat food and drink booze.

A restaurant is built on a foundation of broken hearts, failed relationships, trips to the hardware store, the clinic, extended credit and the goodwill of people who care about you. Writing a book and building a restaurant are deeply personal acts. They require everything of you, your passion and your spirit. You can meander in fits and starts for months, years even, down the wrong path, all to get to the right one. Books and restaurants, the best ones in my estimation, are built on unworkable rewrites and failed ideas, and let me tell you: that body count is high.

Writing a book or opening a restaurant can make you lose your mind.

Until you haven’t.

And then it clicks. And that’s Day 1. That’s where you start.

Building and then maintaining a restaurant is about loyalty. And this is why Joe Beef thrives. Because it is a deeply personal restaurant. That is not to say the food made in this tiny French restaurant isn’t technically on point (it is) or that the old cottage influence of Maine or Gaspé won’t fill you with nostalgia (it will), or that the care of the staff doesn’t enchant you (they do).

The attraction to Joe Beef is due to its authenticity. You cannot bullshit people with an inauthentic voice or cooking.  Well, you can. But it won’t last.

“Deeply personal” is the beginning and the end of Fred and David’s playbook.

***

The point of a prologue is to make overarching sense of the chapters, to lay out the sequence of what you’re about to read. To pop the hood and preview what’s inside. But I’m not going to do that. Because this book is simply about where we are now.
Surviving the Apocalypse was a theme we dreamt up in 2014. We’re well aware there have been a few instances (some extreme weather, more-than-extreme elections) over the last couple years when it seemed survivalism and talk of impending doom had jumped the shark. The cars were packed and the E.T.  suits were zipped. The zeitgeist seemed to be closing in on us. Maybe the world was actually going to end. But this book was never about the headline.

This book is about how to build things for yourself.
This book is about how to make it on your own.
We don’t expect anyone to build a trout pond that doesn’t work, like our pond at Joe Beef. Or to create your own makeshift cellar to house 31 bunker-friendly foods (though it would be prudent). But maybe you’ll write a poem about the Laurentians. Or make wine in a Yeti cooler. Or cook up a Pot-au-Feu in the autumn for your girlfriend, and then a baby for the spring.

We set out to write a book about shutting out the noise, because that was the problem in our own lives. We vowed there would be fewer recipes than in our first book (The Art of Living According to Joe Beef henceforth referred to as Book One), because recipes are time-consuming to write, but… we found inspiration in our weird theme and are giving you even more this time around (158!). So, the joke’s on us.

After 12 years of Joe Beef, and seven years after our first book, we think you know us by now. And so, in the pages to come, you’ll find good ideas, less good ideas and other ramblings. You’ll find etiquette on how children should behave at dinner, quick tricks for cheat sauces, a chapter devoted to the weird and wonderful Québec tradition of celebrating Christmas-in-July, a recipe for soap, and a towering cake made of rum balls.

I waitressed at Joe Beef on Day 1. We never thought we would make it to Week 2.

We never imagined people could love the restaurant as much as they do.

We never dreamt of writing a book.

We never thought anyone other than maybe our moms would buy the book.

And we definitely didn’t think we would have the opportunity for a second.

With gratitude and tremendous love, this book is dedicated to our city of Montreal.

—M. E.

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The Noma Guide to Fermentation

The Noma Guide to Fermentation

Including koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments, and black fruits and vegetables
edition:Hardcover
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Earth to Table Every Day

Earth to Table Every Day

Cooking with Good Ingredients Through the Seasons
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

Our Story

The steel town of Hamilton, Ontario, was where we became friends and colleagues, and where we found the creative space and support to fashion an earth-to-table experience that set us apart and started us on our inevitable course towards building our first restaurant, Earth to Table: Bread Bar. (We refer to it, in this cookbook as in life, simply as Bread Bar.) In 2005, as the executive chef and the pastry chef at a local establishment called the Ancaster Mill, we started hunting for farmers to buy local food from. Soon after, Chris Krucker of ManoRun Organic Farm approached us about ordering his produce for our kitchen. Chris appeared at a moment of synchronicity—we had long wanted to pro­vide a dining experience that would illustrate the journey of food from farm to restaurant. ManoRun would supply our kitchen with delicious locally grown, seasonal produce, and we and our staff would have the opportunity to dig in the dirt by working at the farm. What followed was a deep lesson in the differences between restaurants and farms, and farmers and chefs, and it was the inspiration for our first book, Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm.
 
Earth to Table followed a year-long journey of food from Chris’s farm to our restaurant tables at Ancaster Mill, and celebrated the glorious benefits of eating seasonally. For us it was a watershed moment. Much has happened since Earth to Table was published in 2009. Back then, farmers’ markets were just beginning to wedge themselves into urban spaces in towns and cities across the country. Today, throughout spring, summer, and autumn, you can find local farmers, both new and old generation, selling hormone- and antibiotic-free meat and free-range eggs alongside locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh-baked goods, and artisanal honey in urban parking lots and disused spaces between buildings. All that delicious growth affected us in powerful ways and was the motiva­tion behind long-held dreams.
 
As chefs tend to do during punishing restaurant hours, we fantasize about opening our own place: Jeff wanted to open a pizzeria; Bettina, a bakery. Push led to shove led to leap and—with some outside encouragement—Bread Bar was born. We were astonished at how quickly the res­taurant became a popular hangout on the local dining and take-out scene. When we first opened, we needed a single 50-pound bag of flour a day to make pizza dough. Now we go through many, many more.
 
At first, we planned to offer counter service only, but the overwhelming demand for food made with “good ingre­dients that matter” led us to add a bar and more restaurant seating a year or so later, and the basement eventually became baker’s central for all our operations. It wasn’t long before we opened another Bread Bar restaurant, this time in Guelph, and as we write this there are plans for a third. Our restaurants embrace the earth-to-table philosophy that permeates our seasonal menus and our approach to food. Customers immediately welcomed our fresh, seasonal dishes and supported us as we experimented to find a balance between food that was familiar and comforting and a menu that changed with the weather.
 
One of the lessons we learned through our relation­ship with Chris Krucker and ManoRun Organic Farm is that we are not farmers. Just like the restaurant life, farming is gruelling work and not for the faint of heart or body. Nature can bless and damn you in the same year. Thankfully, there are more young farmers willing to dig deep and take on the challenge so that we can focus on cooking good food.
 
But one thing we noticed is that for many new farmers, the greatest barrier to living their dream is a lack of access to land. This challenge was one of the reasons we decided to purchase some farmland with our company Pearle Hospitality in 2010. There, in partnership with an amazing organization called Farm Start, we set up an organic “incu­bator farm,” at the time one of only two in Canada. We set aside fifty acres to rent out to budding farmers who practise organic agriculture, and each farmer gets four years to make their efforts work as a complete business. Rowena Cruz, a computer animator who originally showed up at the Ancaster Mill’s kitchen door selling her tomatoes, was one of those incubator farmers. Today, she is one of our field managers and probably the most successful farmer to come out of the Earth to Table farm. For Bread Bar, we currently plant six acres, on which Rowena is growing cucumbers, squash, lettuce greens, tomatoes, and much more for us. Every winter our chefs meet to pore over seed catalogues and plan for the spring planting.
 
Something else that became apparent was that through our connection with local farmers, we connected even more deeply with the community around Bread Bar. People came to us for coffee, business lunches, pizza runs, family dinners, and celebrations. Even the core contingent of recipe testers for this book hail from the neighbourhood. They are committed to our food and what it represents.
 
That community goodwill made us realize it was time to write another cookbook—one that celebrates how good food can enrich your life every day. We are a duo of food hedonists: Bettina nurtures the authentic connection with the community and delights customers with her delicious and thoughtful approach to baking. Jeff is always seeking and exploring fresh flavours to create new favourites. You’ll find all that salt-and-pepper goodness in this book’s recipes because there is no pretense when it comes to Bread Bar’s motto, “Good ingredients matter.”
 
According to Lenore Newman, author of Speaking in Cod Tongues, Canadian cuisine has several defining features: wild food, indigenous food, and seasonal food, with a focus on ingredients ahead of recipes. All these elements are in tangible evidence at Bread Bar. Bettina has foraged for garlic ramps for topping pizza and hauled a bumper crop of rhubarb from her backyard to the restau­rant to use in pies and scones. Wild rice in a spicy lentil salad and rainbow trout cooked campfire style embrace the indigenous element. And the summer heat floods us with sweet tomatoes from local farmers for our Heirloom Tomato Salad (page 58), an homage to the seasonal along with many other fruits and vegetables.
 
The tricky thing about eating seasonally is that it’s much harder to achieve in a four-season climate where the growing season is unpredictable. By the time spring’s bounty starts to arrive at our doorstep, people are wearing shorts in anticipation of summer’s heat and may not be interested in eating asparagus or ramps. August is one of those months where we simply can’t keep up with the amount of fresh produce arriving daily at the kitchen, though we do our best to preserve as much as possible for use during the dreary days of winter.
 
Bread Bar excels at showcasing good ingredients in simple dishes that keep drawing customers back. For us, delicious, good food is the priority. And that begins with the choice of ingredients. When you read a menu, your cravings often guide your choice of meal, and often that means locking on to an ingredient that you know and love, whether that is beets or arugula, steak or chicken, vanilla or chocolate. And when that familiar ingredient is prepared and presented with creativity and thoughtfulness, it can become something new and exciting, familiar and fresh simultaneously. That is the essence of good food.
 
For us, ingredients are paramount, but not just the ones that ripen on vines or are hidden in the soil, or live in the fields and on farms. The ingredients of goodness, community, comfort, taste, and joy are interwoven in every dish that graces our tables. That sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It’s essentially what we all hope for when we sit down at a family meal. We encourage home cooks to visit the farmers’ markets rather than the grocery store and not only rediscover where their food comes from but experi­ence the fun of doing so. Above all, this book insists on experiencing the flavour of joy.
 
Good food is neither simple nor uncomplicated when you consider the chemistry of flavour and texture. But it can be simple if you take the time to savour it. Eating a meal isn’t supposed to mimic speed-dating. In an era where mindfulness is marketed as an antidote to the “fear of missing out,” the case for enjoying good food is
not an opportunistic public relations gimmick. You will miss out on something good—and miss out on joy—if you treat a meal as immediate rocket fuel, ingredients as a medicine chest, and cooking as a chore.
 
This book explores familiar ingredients and dishes in a fresh way, and encourages you to respect the flavour inherent in good food. Enhance it, but don’t overwhelm it. That’s part of Bread Bar’s secret to success, and what we want to share with you in this book. This is our version of seasonal, fresh, delicious food.

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Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson

Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson

Recipes to Bring Comfort and Joy: From Starters to Sweets, for the Festive Season and Almost Every Day
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

THE MAIN EVENT

You get the call . . . this year it’s YOUR turn to host the big family dinner. No pressure, just make the best meal your family has ever had! I still remember the very first big family holiday dinner I hosted. It was my first Thanksgiving out of university, years before I studied to become a chef, and I was proud to have an apartment with a decent kitchen (even then, it was a priority for me!). I can’t recall the turkey and stuffing, although I’m sure there were phone calls home to Mom to guide me through it, but I do remember being immensely proud of the pumpkin pie—my first ever attempt. It was only as I was bringing it to the table that I realized I had completely forgotten to add any sugar to the filling! I made a 180 back to the kitchen, poked holes into the filling with a skewer and poured maple syrup overtop, hoping it would seep in. It didn’t.

On that note, I now share with you the wisdom accumulated over the years that have followed that very first festive meal. I’ve included three menus, one of them a vegetarian option, that will help you tailor the dinner to Thanksgiving or Christmas. I offer traditional preparations and some more unconventional ones, or combine a couple if you have both vegetarians and meat eaters in your group. This is your year!

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Ship to Shore

Ship to Shore

Straight Talk from the Seafood Counter
edition:Hardcover
also available: eBook
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