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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hot Chefs, Cool Beats, and a Good Cause with Alberta Pork in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Ode to The Chef

"My happiest place is when I am "in-the-moment". The world can go by when I am in the kitchen. Cooking makes me whole. It is my passion and purpose. It is what I am and what I do.

I am amazed by the chemistry and the intricate processes that take place when food ingredients are combined with energy. My knowledge and skill transform it into culinary perfection. I have no care in the world other than to watch steak grilling, sauce thickening, cake rising, and pork crackling transform into golden crispy bits of sunshine. 

My moments are complete when I witness precise olfactory, taste and visual symphonies of well-plated food. It becomes a magnum opus of culinary glee to see it, an experience that is only topped by the primal moans of pleasure coming from a loyal patron as they bite into a course I carefully prepared. 

This is what I am dedicating my life to. It is my vocation."



Hot Chefs Cool bEats

We recently attended the "Hot Chefs Cool bEats" event in Edmonton, courtesy of our partner Alberta Pork. It featured interactive food stations from Edmonton's top culinary talent. Attendees could also sample wine, beer, & spirits from Canadian wineries, local craft breweries and distilleries. If that wasn't enough, it included performances from DJs, dancers, street performers, and live musicians.

The initiative began in 2011 as a fundraiser for The High School Culinary Challenge's Canadian Culinary Fund, and after a short break, it was back with a new home at Edmonton's Mosaic Centre and a restricted guest list of 200 privileged patrons. It meant that not only was the food top-class, there was also enough so that you didn't go home hungry or thirsty. Most importantly, it introduced you to some of Edmonton's more innovative chefs and their talents. You could sample a variety of the best creations like litchi moose, mini ice cream cone tacos, pork on a bun, and more.

Some of the highlights for the Cowboys were the Pork Coppa and Prosciutto made by the young chefs Peter Keith (himself an alumni beneficiary of the scholarship) and Will Kotowicz of Meuwly's Charcuterie, Sausage and Preserves. They promised us it was only BertaPork! Then there was Scott Downey from the ButternutTree's deep-fried Canadian moss. If we knew that these vegetables were so delectable, we would forage our forests until they are empty! Apparently, the moss was from Back East.

However, the start performance of the evening was Paul Shufelt's (The Workshop Eatery, Edmonton) collaboration on a Wagyu Holstein Beefetta. It wasn't pork. However, it was BertaBeef, and so they were forgiven for rekindling our love for meat on a stick. You just needed a large stick for this one and a massive appetite! They did promise us a suckling pig for next year, to honour their loyal sponsor, Alberta Pork.

All proceeds from ticket sales and silent/live auctions benefitted the Canadian Culinary Fund and its main program, The High School Culinary Challenge, so it was all for a good cause.


Being a chef is not an easy job, and to venture into the culinary industry requires guts and you to be a little bit crazy. It is a lifestyle and a vocation that continues to draw attention for its opportunity, but also for the harshness, low wages, and extreme physical and mental demands on the individual.

Contrary to the glitz and glee of television programs like MasterChef, it is far from glamorous. Most of what chefs do is monotonously droned behind the scenes, in hot holes, spending long hours with equally weird and crazy people feeding the masses with basic fair. Only a few become "rock star chefs". Even less survive as small businesses and entrepreneurs.

However, the culinary industry provides endless opportunity for creativity, learning and mastery. These are the opportunities that the Canadian Culinary Fund attempts to unlock for young people when they introduce and lure them into the possibilities in preparing food.

We salute them for it and congratulate them on a Hot Chefs Cool bEats event that set the bar high. We look forward to the next one. We travel the world for food, and we are entitled to our opinions. Edmonton's chefs should get more attention. They surprised us. It will get more from the Two Cowboys for sure if this is the standard we can expect.

Now, if only there were more pork...

Alberta Pork's Cowboy

P.S. We thank our partner Alberta Pork for making this work possible. Now, go eat more pork!

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On a Plate

Moss Discovered

Canadian Ceviche

Double Trouble


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