Mexican Street Food from Tres Carnales


In Mexican slang, Tres Carnales translates to “three sons of different mothers.” In Edmonton, Tres Carnales talks to the story of three close friends, Daniel (Dani) Braun, Chris Sills and Edgar Gutierrez, and their devotion to “tacos for the people.”

Located in Edmonton’s downtown core, Tres Carnales Taquería is all about traditional Mexican street food with an urban twist, and a focus on fresh ingredients. Just as it would be in small towns in Mexico, Chef Edgar Gutierrez works closely with local farmers and suppliers including Four Whistle Farm, Fin’s Seafood and el Mercado. From signature Pescado tacos (lightly battered and fried Pacific red snapper), to traditional Al Pastor (marinated pork) quesadillas—both served with salsas and sauces made fresh daily—there’s a reason why John Catucci claims, “You Gotta Eat Here!“.

Chef Edgar is a firm believer in bringing out bold flavours with ingredients in traditional ways. From taking the time to toast chilis to bring out the oils and deepen the flavours and roasting pineapples to caramelize the natural sugars for salsas, to saving avocado pits and serving them in the guacamole to prevent oxidization. These small details capture the essence of Tres Carnales Taquería that any foodie can duplicate at home.


Check out these authentic Mexican recipes courtesy of Tres Carnales!

“El Surfo” Sangria


Chef Edgar’s Guacamole


Tacos Al Pastor with Pineapple Habanero Salsa


Raspado de Horchata Con Fresas (Strawberry-Horchata Shaved Ice)




12 Truly Canadian Recipes

Alexa post

Whether you are spending July 1st in the backyard with friends, at a cottage up north, or spending a quiet evening at home, there is no better way to celebrate Canada Day than with a menu of truly Canadian food staples.

Check out these super Canadian recipes based on the nation’s internationally beloved regional foods:

1. Bacon

Smoked, fried, baked or broiled, this delicious, salty meat has become a go-to in Canadian cuisine. In fact, Canadians are so obsessed with the stuff that peameal bacon is known as “Canadian bacon” abroad. In America, it’s taken from the belly of the pork; in Canada it’s made from the side and back cuts, where there’s much more meat than fat. Bacon is no longer reserved simply for breakfast, burgers and sandwiches. This crispy meat is now used in conjunction with sweets to add a balancing savoury element. But for the sake of tradition, try some Canadian Cheddar Burgers with Peameal Bacon this Canada Day.

2. Poutine

Another Canadian staple is poutine, eh! Originating in rural Quebec, this decadent fast food dish consists of crispy French fries topped with cheese curds and then slathered in hot, rich gravy. Try a gourmet version of this Canadian junk food fave, with some Foie Gras Poutine.

3. Beer

If there’s anything rather useless that Canadians are especially good at, it’s brewing and drinking beer. Since most of us will be consuming a great deal of alcoholic beverages on July 1st anyway, why not try this super simple BBQ chicken meal that takes just two ingredients. The kicker? This recipe requires you to drink some of the beer! So give Michael Smith’s Beer Can Chicken a try.

4. Pemmican

If you want to make something truly Canadian to honour this great nation’s annual celebration, get your hands on some moose meat and dried cranberries. Pemmican is a concentrated mixture of fat and protein that was and is said to provide energy in times of transience, severe cold or scarce resources. Try this simple Pemmican recipe and get a taste of what helped our ancestors brave the harsh Canadian cold.

5. Venison

Venison is the meat of any game animal, stemming from the Latin venor, which means “to hunt or pursue”, but it most often refers to deer meat. Northern Canada is a popular destination for hunting enthusiasts, and before the introduction of farming animals, most traditional Canadian dishes consisted of wild game meat. Take a walk on the wild side with this meaty Canada Day delight; Vennison with Sweet Potato Dauphinoise.

6. Lobster

Canada is rather well-known for its seafood, and the most valuable Canadian seafood export is lobster; Eastern Canada’s offshore lobster fishery is one of the best-managed, sustainable fisheries in the world. Another Canadian favourite is Kraft Dinner. What happens when you combine gourmet sea fare with a comfort food classic? Try this Lobster Mac & Cheese masterpiece and you’ll find out.

7. Salmon

Canada is very well known for its saltwater fish, and the Atlantic salmon is one of the most highly sought after game fish on the East Coast. This fish packs a nutritional punch, so get a healthy dose of omega 3’s this Canada Day with our World-Famous Hot-Smoked Salmon Sandwich.

8. Arctic Char

Closely related to both salmon and lake trout (and similar to both in taste), this fish is found off of Canada’s northern coast. Because of their low-optimum temperature requirements, they grow well in Canada’s cold waters. Try this Roasted Arctic Char with Chickpea Ragu.

9. Goose

It doesn’t get much more Canadian than this. Geese are symbolic of Canada mostly for their high population within the country, but also for their bravery, loyalty and … delicious meat. Roast goose is an Old World tradition, typically eaten at Christmas or on a special occasion. We think July 1st is just as special an occasion, so try our Roast Goose with Currant Kumquat Compote.

10. Montreal Smoked Meat

In case the name doesn’t give it away, this North American favourite hails from Montreal! Beef brisket is smoked with fragrant wood chips, and rubbed with a special spice medley to give it a distinct flavor. Pile CC’S Montreal Smoked Meat on some rye bread with all your favourite fixings.

11. Apples

From Cortland and Spartan to Golden Delicious, Canada has no shortage of flavour choices with these tangy fruits. An interesting pairing that is unique to Canada is the combination of tart apple with sharp cheddar. Try it out—round up some of your favourite apple varieties and bake a Brunch-Style Cheddar-Apple Crisp for dessert.

12. Maple Syrup

This golden brown sauce practically lines the shelves of Canadian tourist shops. Made from the xylem sap of maple trees, it takes approximately 43 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup. Finish your long weekend celebration on a high note with a slice of this devilishly sweet Maple Pecan Pie.

In the Spotlight: Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie

A fourth-generation pâtissier, Thomas Haas was first introduced to the delicate art of handcrafting chocolates and pastries in the kitchen of Café Konditorei Haas, opened by his great-grandfather in 1918 in the Black Forest region of Aichhalden, Germany. After honing his craft as an apprentice in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, Haas was lured to Vancouver to take on the position of Executive Pastry Chef at the Four Seasons Hotel. Thomas later set his sights on New York, where he helped restaurateur and Chef Daniel Boulud launch his flagship eatery, Daniel, in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But Vancouver’s scenic beauty beckoned him to return, and it was there that Thomas and his wife Lisa, began the journey of realizing their life-long dream; to be independent, to make people laugh and to prepare the most delectable handcrafted chocolates and pastries imaginable.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Pâtisserie has evolved into a dynamic and stylish chocolaterie, pâtisserie and cappuccino bar. After launching in North Vancouver in 2004, it quickly became a destination spot for locals and visitors alike. In 2009, Haas and his wife opened a second location in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver. Haas eschews the notion of assembly lines and mass production, and instead trusting his talented team of 38 pastry chefs, chocolatiers, and staff, whose finesse and sensitivity is expressed in each and every hand-spun confection.

Haas remains committed to carefully selecting and sourcing only the finest, high-quality raw ingredients for his chocolate creations, including B.C. wine, oak barrel-aged maple syrup from Quebec, Tahitian vanilla beans, fresh citrus zest, loose-leaf teas and organic herbs and spices. His cakes and pastries also feature authentic accents such as Fraser Valley hazelnuts and berries, and Okanagan fruits infused with fresh-roasted coffee, as well as liqueurs from Alsace and the Black Forest region.


See the recipes below courtesy of Chef Thomas Haas:

Pineapple Carpaccio with Coriander



Asiago Lemon Thyme Scones


 Rhubarb and Quark Cheese Strudel


Pear Almond Tart with Blackcurrant




3 Ways to Cook with Apples


Whether you believe that classics are classic for a reason or you’re just trying to keep the doctor away, we can all agree the apple is constantly our first pick from the fruit bowl lineup.
Looking for an easy, energy-boosting snack on the go? Grab an apple! Can’t decide which dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth more? Go with the apple one. Every time. À la mode.
We only see one problem; if we like the fruit so much, why are using it solely for snacks and desserts?
Because we can totally use more apple-y goodness in our daily lives, we’re sharing savoury ways to cook with this yummy fruit for lunch and dinner.
From a refreshing chicken wrap to a hot, flavourful bowl of pasta, here are three apple-centred meals you’ll want to eat every day. That’s right, Doc, you stay away!

1. Looking for a healthy, delicious and filling lunch to bring to work? Try this recipe for Havarti Chicken Salad and Apple Wrap.

2. Update your classic dinnertime side dish with this Golden Potato and Apple Gratin.

3. We can all pretty much agree that our go-to dinner is usually a pasta dish. So why not switch up that basic spaghetti and tomato sauce recipe for something new? Trust us, it’s just as delicious and easy to make.


454 grams spaghetti, cooked
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1 crisp Royal Gala apple, cut into matchsticks
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup Bocconcini cheese, copped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper


Over medium heat in a medium skillet, heat the oil, and then add the walnuts, stirring often until lightly toasted. After about 5 minutes, add the apple and parsley, and then spoon over the spaghetti. Sprinkle on the Bocconcini cheese and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper.

headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.



Chef Paul Shufelt on Opening a Restaurant


So you want to open a restaurant, eh? As someone who has been through the process eight times now, let me share a piece of advice; sleep on it!
Still want to do it? Really? Alright, let me try to offer you some guidance.

The first thing that anyone needs to know about opening a restaurant, or being an entrepreneur in general, is this; it’s not nearly as romantic as it’s made out to be in the movies. When owning a business, you are responsible for the health and well-being of your patrons, the livelihood of your staff… not to mention your own well-being. It is up to you to ensure that not only the rent, but everything and everyone is paid every month. There are many other risks that weigh heavily on the entrepreneur, each and every day.

1. Before you invest your life’s savings, consider the narrow profit margin of the restaurant business; it is a 5% profit business, and that is if you do everything right. Take a second to consider what that means—if your restaurant soars and you manage to generate $1 million in sales that leaves you with $50 thousand in net profit. Then you have to pay taxes on that. You also have to consider it probably costs you about $500 thousand to open a restaurant. That is not a small commitment on anyone’s part, and could take a long time to pay back.

2. Make sure you have a solid concept. This is a harsh business, where only the strong-willed survive, so do your homework. Make sure that what you intend to offer is enough to set you apart. Don’t just ask your parents or friends—people who are going to tell you what you want to hear—for their opinion. Rather, do your due diligence and thoroughly put your idea to the test before you take this kind of risk.

3. Do it on your own! Whenever possible, try to avoid taking a partner, or several partners for that matter. If there are more people involved, your initially small pie gets split into even smaller pieces. Another reason to avoid this is the more partners you have, the more opinions involved in every decision. It may sound like fun to go into business with a close friend, but silent partners never stay silent for long—especially if they are not making enough return on their investment.

4. Nothing comes before the menu! I’m not saying that you need to know exactly which lettuce you will serve on your burger, but you need to know the type of food you will be serving and what the menu is going to consist of. This will dictate the size of the space you require, the layout and look of the space, and it might even dictate which neighborhood you shop in for furniture. You can’t lay out your kitchen properly or know the type of equipment you need, before you know what’s on the menu.

5. Expect the construction will take longer and cost more than quoted. I have seen eight restaurants built, and have yet to have one be delivered on time or on budget. It’s imperative to set a firm due date with your contractor, but be prepared for some delays. Perhaps, more importantly, prepare to be over budget. No matter how well you plan, there are always surprises when it comes to building. Most people say it’s important to have a 10% contingency, I say 20% is much safer.

6. Don’t make the mistake of running out of money early on. I would encourage you to have at least two, if not three months worth of start up costs. More simply put, if your restaurant is going to gross $100 thousand a month in sales, and your forecasted profit is 5%, you will need $95 thousand per month for start up costs. This is being overly cautious, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. Don’t sacrifice form for function. It is important to have a good looking room, decorative furniture, and fancy plates, but they have to work with your concept and withstand the wear and tear of a busy restaurant.

8. Ensure you have adequate space to get the job done. I realize that seats equal sales, but if there is an insufficient amount of service stations, bar space, and kitchen space to work with, you are bound to run into trouble in the long run.

9. While I’m at it, consider your staff while building. I know, no one wants to give up too much space, but giving your staff a decent-sized washroom, a place to store their belongings, and even a break room, can really help the overall morale of the team (something that is seldom thought of when building).

10. Perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you is to do it for the love of it. This business demands extremely long hours, hard work, and a great deal of personal sacrifice—especially when it’s your livelihood on the line. Not to mention, you can truly taste the difference in someone’s food when they love doing what they are doing.

So, if you have made your way through this and still think the restaurant business is for you, then put your plan together, do the math, figure out what it is going to take to succeed, and then make it happen. Best of luck to you!

Chef Paul Shufelt is a business partner and executive chef of Century Hospitality Group. He’s competed in the Canadian Culinary Championships and Best in Chow Burger Wars, has been featured in Avenue magazine and is leading a fundraiser for the Canadian Culinary fund.



Buying Local from Chef Lee Cooper of L’Abattoir

There are so many reasons to support local farms that I hardly know where to start! Ultimately, for me, it comes down to flavour; food that is grown nearby arrives at our kitchen at L’Abattoir more quickly. There is no comparison between a fresh, Fraser Valley green onion, and one that’s been trucked up from California—a jet-lagged vegetable just doesn’t taste as good. Also, the further an ingredient has to travel to get to our restaurant, the more fossil fuels have to be burned, which is obviously something we want to minimize.

We are so incredibly fortunate here in B.C. that we don’t need to go anywhere else; we have access to sustainably-harvested seafood caught right off our coast, and fruit and vegetables from Fraser Valley. It’s truly a win-win situation because we’re able to get the best ingredients for our kitchen, but in doing so we also help to support local agriculture, which provides a boost for the local economy and possibly creates jobs in the process.

Finally, one of my favourite things about sourcing local ingredients is that you have to pay attention to what’s in season. When those first asparagus spears or pea shoots become available, it’s really exciting, and you want to use them in recipes that will show them off. Eating locally means switching up your menus, which wakes up your taste buds so you fully appreciate what’s on your plate.



Check out these recipes courtesy of Chef Lee Cooper of L’Abattoir (as shown in image and listed from left to right):

  1. Strathcona Cocktail
  2. Salt-Baked Whole Steelhead
  3. Baked Halibut with Peas and Lemon
  4. Berries with Shortcake and Whipped Cream



The Parker’s Chef Curtis Luk on Sustainable Cuisine

The Parker is a sexy and sustainable vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free restaurant, featuring the talents of Top Chef Canada’s Curtis Luk and renowned local barman Steve Da Cruz. We are heavily invested in building relationships with local farmers and produce, in order to acquire the most sustainable ingredients. At The Parker, we are extremely grateful for our suppliers, which include Sole Food Farms, Urban Digs Farm, Barnston Island Farms, Mikuni Wild Harvest, as well as the weekly Farmer’s Market just up the street.

We believe that supporting local farms is essential for food security and bolstering our own permaculture, but also to increase awareness of these vital resources to the public.
People everywhere are questioning where, how and why our food systems are the way they are, and how they can change them. The Parker by extension offers what we call, “Conscious Dining” as a link in this circle of community engagement.

Below are recipes courtesy of The Parker:

Lentil Dip


Mushroom “Bi Bim Bap”


Braised Eggplant in Miso


The New Strathcona Cocktail




How Chopped Canada Winners Used $10,000 Prize

It’s a big deal for a chef to compete on Chopped Canada.
It’s an even bigger deal for a chef to win Chopped Canada.

Along with taking the title home and showing Canada their culinary skills, there’s a generous $10,000 prize. So, how does a talented chef spend their $10,000 winnings? We found that even when spending prize money, the Chopped Canada winners show us how hardworking and generous they are. Oh, and that they love to have fun, too.


Clockwise from top: Neil Dowson, Jessica Pelland, Stephanie Schoales with host and judges, Boris Rubtsov, Mark McCrowe (centre).

Some chefs used the prize to make life better for their families. Neil Dowson, who won episode 18, recently had a little baby boy named Charlie, and purchased a bigger car for his growing family. Stephanie Schoales, episode 22 winner, is now cooking for private events that mesh with her schedule better, letting her balance work with spending time with her young son. Winner of episode 15, Boris Rubtsov, bought a trampoline for his young kids (fun!) and is saving the rest for his young family. Jessica Pelland, winner of episode 19, used the winnings for a down payment on a family home. In her words: “It feels great to have been able to earn this for my family.”

“When you own two restaurants, there’s always something to spend money on,” says Mark McCrowe, winner of episode 10. He sensibly bought new bar stools for Aqua Kitchen + Bar and new coolers for The Club.

From left to right: Alvin Viguilla, Tammi McGee, Jayke Carter.

Alvin Viguilla, winner of episode 4, also spent some of his money on kitchen equipment: a brand new stove and refrigerator for his mom. What a nice son! The rest he’s saving for the day he opens his own eatery.

Jayke Carter, episode 16 winner, paid off some debts but also had some winnings left over to use towards a brand new beautiful car. That’s having your cake and eating it, too.

Tammi McGee is mixing business with pleasure when using her winnings. The winner of episode 11 is not only heading to Disney World this year but also bought a new cow!
Left: Trevor Ritchie with host and judges. Right: Matthew Pennell.

Some chefs have set aside their winnings for a trip down the aisle. Trevor Ritchie, who won episode 9, is saving his for his wedding day and Matthew Pennell, episode 21 winner, was able to treat guests from all over the U.S. and Canada to a great day when he got married.
You have to wonder – do caterers get nervous serving food at a chef’s wedding?

JohnRoss Woodland, winner of episode 20, took his girlfriend on a trip to Spain and Paris for ten days. His generosity didn’t stop there; he donated to an Alzheimer’s charity in honour of his grandmother and shared some winnings with his brother.

Left to right: Paul Lillakas, Whitney Mayes, JohnRoss Woodland.

Paul Lillakas, episode 5 winner, used some of his prize money to take an amazing food-themed trip through Europe. He had “the time of his life” on the trip and said he fell in love with Spain. What’s not to love, right?
We had to ask Paul about his favourite eats on the trip, so he gave us his top five:
1. Fresh baguette, apricot compote and fresh chèvre with champagne under the Eiffel Tower on his 25th birthday.
2. Escargot and beef tenderloin topped with seared foie gras in Paris.
3. Jamon Iberico at La Boqueria market in Barcelona. “The best ham in the world!”
4. Baby squid with garbanzo beans at Pinotxo, a tapas bar in Barcelona.
5. Butter poached frog legs in France – a dish on Paul’s bucket list.

Whitney Mayes, who won episode 8, has set aside a large chunk of her winnings for traveling next year. She should definitely get culinary travel advice from Paul Lillakas. He knows how to put together a deliciously fun trip!

The Chopped Canada season finale airs Thursday, June 26 at 10 ET/PT.




Top 5 Recipes for National Catfish Day

If you’re a fan of fish and chips, or anything deep-fried for that matter, you will love fried catfish! Now most people are scared off simply by the name, but let me assure you—if you don’t think you like catfish, someone didn’t do something right.

To celebrate National Catfish Day, we have found the top five recipes for you to try at home.

Check them out!

1. Catfish Po Boy


2. Cornmeal Crusted Catfish with Cajun Pan Sauce


3. Dark Ale-Battered Catfish and Chips


4. Pan-Fried Cajun Catfish with Stove-Top Hash Browns


5. Spiced Catfish with Rice and Beans





Cooking with Local Ingredients from Hawksworth Restaurant

My vision behind Hawksworth Restaurant has always been to serve seasonal and regional cuisine. We strive to use the best local and Canadian-made ingredients, with quality and excellence being the driving factor. My goal is to blend a range of culinary techniques to create a menu that showcases what it truly means to serve contemporary Canadian cuisine.

The importance of using local ingredients stems from my belief that food isn’t meant to travel far distances, and when it does, I feel it loses its quality and freshness—and this is something you are able to taste in the finished dish. At Hawksworth Restaurant, our goal is to provide a dining experience similar to one you would find in any large metropolitan city, whether it’s Boston, London or Hong Kong, while still using local produce, some of which is grown mere blocks away from the restaurant in downtown Vancouver.

Below are some of our recipes using the best quality ingredients for you to enjoy!

Dungeness Crab with Okanagan Apricot, Radish and Nasturtium Salad


Crispy Skin Salmon with Wild Murshrooms and English Pea Jalapeno Nage


Frozen Paleta Treats


Strawberry Sour




The Cucumber Sandwich Redux


So, here’s the truth; to anyone in the English-speaking world, cucumber sandwiches sound as appetizing as a saltine cracker. So why are they so popular? Some think they pair well with tea (they don’t), they’re definitely easy to make (obviously) and it’s almost a guarantee that no guest will be allergic to them (we’re really stretching here).
The bottom line is, the cucumber sandwich is in desperate need of a makeover. We know this veg is worthy of so much more than the filler between two slices of bread, so we’re sharing a recipe for refreshing, dill and cream cheese cucumber sandwiches. They’re just as time-effective as the original version you know and (don’t) love… not to mention way more delicious!
Whether you serve them for lunch or an afternoon snack, we’re sure they’ll be anything but dill—we mean—dull.

Makes 16 Cucumber Sandwich Bites

8 thin slices of organic multi-grain bread
1/3 large organic cucumber, thinly sliced
1/3 cup light cream cheese
1 Tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Juice from half small lemon
16 mini pickles
Salt and pepper



1. While toasting the slices of bread, prepare the rest of the ingredients by chopping the dill and (very thinly) slicing the cucumber.


2. In a small bowl, mix the light cream cheese, dill and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper if desired.


3. Lay the toasted slices of bread out on your prepping surface, and spread a little butter on one slice of each sandwich, then evenly distribute the cream cheese on the other slice.


4. Arrange the cucumber slices on top of the cream cheese and top with the buttered slice of bread.


5. Cut each sandwich into quarters and garnish with a mini dill pickle.


headshot Renée Reardin is a lifestyle writer and stylist living in Toronto. To learn more about her, visit, and follow her on Twitter @reneereardin.



Top 20 No-Bake Summer Desserts


When most people think of summer desserts, store-bought ice cream usually comes to mind. This refreshing, no-fuss frozen treat is always in demand and can be served in a flash. But there are countless recipes for yummy summer sweets that can be prepared with minimal effort, no oven (or stove top) required!

Check out these no-bake, no-cook desserts that you’ll want to serve all summer long:

  1. No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Bars
  2. The Best Blueberry Vanilla No-Bake Cheesecake
  3. No-Bake Wormy Cheesecake Cups
  4. Frozen White Chocolate Souffle
  5. Banana-Blueberry Frozen Yogourt Parfait
  6. Peach Frozen Yogurt
  7. Frozen Banana Bombe
  8. Cherry, Prosecco and Mint Granita
  9. Caramelized Banana Brownie Dessert
  10. Cheese Dessert Cream with Port
  11. Peanut Butter Bars
  12. Fieldberry Granola Parfait
  13. Quick & Snappy Ginger Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches
  14. Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Layered Pot
  15. Peach Blackberry Trifles
  16. Blueberry Slushie
  17. Peanut Butter Rum Balls
  18. Banana-Licious Split
  19. Fro-Yo Bites
  20. Quick Raspberry Mousse



Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook With Scallops


As the first season of Chopped Canada draws to a close, I was getting a little worried that another chef from my home base (Calgary) was not going to end up a Chopped Champion. Luckily, cookbook author and Top Chef Canada alumnus, Pierre Lamielle, stayed creative throughout last week’s episode and outlasted his competition. Phew!

This week, we’re working with scallops, a great ocean protein that always hits the spot regardless of the time of year. When you’re shopping around for these guys, head to a local seafood shop and chat with the monger to make sure you’re going to be cooking with something sustainable and fresh.


When scallops are going to be the star of a dish, they are going to need a good sear. A scallop without a good sear is like a lasagna without cheese. It just doesn’t work. Get your pan nice and hot, add a little oil that can handle the heat like camelina oil and then add the scallops. If you don’t hear a sizzle immediately, you didn’t let that pan get hot enough!

The apricot and caper salsa here would be great on any fish you might be grilling this summer as well. So, if you’re planking some salmon on the barbecue, try throwing a spoonful or two on top before serving.


Seared Scallops with Ginger Carrot Pureé and Apricot Caper Salsa
Yields: 2 servings
Total cook time: 30 minutes

Scallop ingredients:
1 tablespoon camelina oil
6 scallops

Ginger carrot puree ingredients:
3 large carrots, quartered
1 yellow onion, halved and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons grainy dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Apricot caper salsa ingredients:
1 fresh apricot, stoned and minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt

Ginger carrot puree directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place carrots and onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
3. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
4. Once carrots and onions are done roasting, transfer to blender along with remaining ingredients and puree until very smooth.
5. Pour into a medium pot and keep warm on stove until ready to serve.

Apricot caper salsa directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
2. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.

Scallops and plating directions:
1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat until very hot.
2. Sear scallops on both sides until a golden crust forms, approximately 1 ½ minutes per side.
3. To plate, spoon some of the carrot puree onto a plate, place 3 scallops on top of puree and top with apricot caper salsa.

Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Read Chopped Canada Mystery Solved: How to Cook With Oats
Watch episode online Chopped Canada: Some Skin in the Game

Blacktail Florist Spotlight

Tucked among Gastown’s trademark brick buildings, Blacktail Florist sheds some light on some of British Columbia’s most overlooked and humble ingredients. Outdoor meets indoor in the welcoming, woodland-inspired interior, where guests are encouraged to unwind over an adventurous and satisfying meal in a warm and delicate setting.

At the restaurant, we champion Canadian cuisine by gathering the finest ingredients from local fields, forests and farms that B.C. has to offer. Our chefs strive to educate, delight and surprise guests with explorations of forgotten favourites, hidden gems, micro-seasonal products and wild and foraged goods. Robust, flavourful plates based on pop culture and cross-cultural influences, give nod to Canadian-heritage dishes from coast to coast. We work closely with local suppliers and farmers to ensure only the freshest and finest ingredients are plated for our guests. Our trusted suppliers include: Hannah Brook Farms, Two Rivers Meats, Klippers Organic Acres, Lowland Herb Farm, Trout Lake Farmers Market, and Barnston Island Herbs.

Here are a few recipes to try at home. We hope you enjoy!


Grilled Asparagus With Smoked Cream, Mustard Seeds, Foraged Mushrooms and Greens


Duck Breast, Sunchokes, Rhubarb, Watercress and Onions


Elderflower Granita, Rhubarb, Crushed Berries, Wild Rice and Charred Sour Cream


The Fawn Cocktail





Top 8 Canadian Cocktails

There’s nothing better than sipping at a spicy Caesar or sweet martini while you’re lounging in the summer sun. Besides; what better excuse to knock back a few cocktails than the annual celebration of Canada Day?

To get the party started, we’ve found 8 great Canadian-themed cocktails for you to enjoy over the long weekend—or any day this summer!


1. The Canadian Rock Shot
Although inspired by Canadian winter sports such as hockey and curling, this party favourite is a hit all year ‘round. Serve this refreshing shot to your guests to kick off your Canada Day festivities.


2. Bloody Lobster
This bad boy isn’t as messy as it sounds. A unique spin on the traditional Bloody Mary, this cocktail makes use of lobster juice for a unique and delicious taste.


3. Pink Goose
This libation is another fan favourite that will have you feeling as loose as a Canada goose. This citrus-spiked punch can be served any hot day this summer and will have you and your guests relaxed and refreshed in no time.


4. BLT Caesar
This Caesar is like a meal in a glass. Lemony, lettuce ice cubes fill and chill this spicy, stout Caesar. But the prosciutto and pepper rimmer is the real feature here—although it takes some elbow grease, the tasty payoff is well worth the effort.


5. Adam’s Apple
This fragrant and fruity cocktail highlights the apple by pairing its tart sweetness with spicy ginger and aromatic thyme. To make this cocktail extra patriotic, use fresh apple juice from a local variety store and make sure to use Canada Dry ginger ale.


6. Ginger Rum Shandy
This dandy shandy contains some of Canada’s best ingredients; beer, apple and ginger make this cocktail extra special. The spicy ginger and tart lime cut through the sweetness, creating a perfect cooling effect.


7. Snow Crab Bloody Caesar
Another take on the Caesar, this one incorporates Snow Crab for a more luxurious presentation, while the Worchestershire sauce, horseradish and steak spice elevate taste. This sublime cocktail is a real crowd-pleaser.


8. Algoma Apple Martini
This martini is all about the apple. In fact, every single ingredient involved is an apple derivative, right down to the Calvados brandy. But the star player in this concoction is the fragrant apple cider.




Classic Combos: Grilled Cheese

grilled cheese

Grilled cheese is just one of those staples that never gets old. Soft white bread layered with ooey gooey cheddar cheese is simple but so delicious… and when you add butter? Pure magic. But there are many more ways to enjoy this cheesy classic!

Here are 14 delicious bread and cheese combos that will make you want to eat grilled cheese every night of the week!

  1. Cheese and Turkey French Toast Sandwiches
  2. Grilled Melted Brie Sandwich
  3. Triple Brie Melt
  4. Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onion Relish, Herbed Mustard and French Onion Soup
  5. Partridge Grilled Cheese
  6. Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich
  7. Cheesy Mac ‘N Rib
  8. Dark and Stormy Grilled Cheese
  9. Ham and Egg Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  10. The Smokin’ Pig Grilled Cheese
  11. Grilled Cheese and Pear Sandwich
  12. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  13. 4-Cheese Grilled Cheese and Onion Rings
  14. Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Onions



What Floats Your Boat?

I scream, you scream—we all scream for ice cream (soda)!

One of the tastiest summer treats, ice cream soda, is the perfect combination of sweet, creamy and fizzy—no wonder they dedicated one day to this awesome dessert.

So since today is National Ice Cream Soda Day, why not find out which flavour is best suited for your mood!


If you’re feeling nostalgic: This Gingerbread Ice Cream Float will make you feel like home.


If you’re feeling silly: Go back in time with the Shirley Temple Ice Cream Soda.


If you’re feeling relaxed: Sit by the fire and enjoy a sweet Caramel Apple Cider Float.


If you’re feeling discouraged: Revive your day with an Orange Soda Float.


If you’re feeling sad: Brighten up your day with an Adult Cherry Coke Float.


If you’re feeling bitter: Sweeten up your mood with this Ginger Beer Float with Eggnog Ice Cream.


If you’re feeling stressed: Take one sip of this Rum and Coke Float and all your worries will fade away.


If you’re feeling whimsical: Skip reality and have a taste of this Vanilla Dream Float.

dream float

If you’re feeling sleepy: This Firecracker Float will wake you right up!

fireworks edit

If you’re feeling excited: Take date night to the next level with this Dirty Dr. Pepper Float.

dirty dr. pepper

If you’re feeling mellow: A Mint Chip Ice Cream Soda will be sure liven up your mood.


If you’re feeling flirty: Have a Cupid Float and hit the town with your friends.


If you’re feeling gloomy: This dark Guinness Float will have your spirits up in no time.


If you’re feeling optimistic: This S’mores Float with Chocolate Soda is the key to success.

Smores Ice Cream Float 047em




Seasonal Cooking from Chef Giacomo Pasquini of Vertical Restaurant

Born and raised in Senigallia, Italy, Chef Giacomo Pasquini knows the benefit of using fresh, seasonal ingredients in his dishes. Growing up along the Adriatic Coast in the Marche region of Italy, cooking with local ingredients from both the land and sea was customary for Giacomo and his family. This passion for food came at a young age with Giacomo starting an apprenticeship at 14 at a local seafood restaurant in his hometown. His culinary journey brought him through different regions working with some of Italy’s top chefs and also traveling through Spain before ultimately ending up in Toronto. At Vertical Restaurant, located in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District, Giacomo focuses on fresh cooking by staying true to his philosophy of using seasonal and local ingredients. This includes herbs that are grown in the restaurant’s own garden located right outside the restaurant. Giacomo’s seasonal menu is inspired by the different regions of Italy with a focus on simplicity and freshness.

Giacomo uses familiar ingredients from his childhood that are also prominent seasonal ingredients in many parts of Canada. In his appetizer below, Giacomo uses scallops from Digby Nova Scotia, and red Ontario beets for a zesty and tasty Scallop Crudo. Digby scallops are a representation of the fine seafood that could be found off the Adriatic Coast where Giacomo grew up, and beets are a bright and healthy farm fresh ingredient grown right in Ontario.


Inspired by his time in Spain, this refreshing and cool gazpacho can be your summer substitute for a warm tomato sauce. Fresh Ontario Roma tomatoes were used for a tomato gazpacho to create delicious cold pasta for the beach or the patio. This dish reminds Giacomo of lunches on the beaches of Senigallia he used to enjoy with his family while growing up. Using Barilla Spaghettoni, dungeon crab and herring caviar, Giacomo creates a fresh, elegant entrée that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. Nasturtium leaves are used in his Spaghettoni Barilla “Freddo” to open up the palette with a peppery flavour. Giacomo is also keen on using every part of his ingredients whether it’s produce or meat. When using a plant, or flower like Nasturtium, try using the stem in addition to just the leaf.


For his desserts, Giacomo is a lover of dark chocolate. Using Ontario strawberries, Giacomo creates a decadent Chocolate Tortino soaked in bottlegreen Elderflower Cordial with chocolate truffles and basil. Elderflowers bloom in June, making then a perfect addition to summer recipes like this chocolate dessert. Traditionally, this recipe would often incorporate apple slices as opposed to strawberries, but Giacomo says that recipes are never recreated, just modified to fit with the local produce and ingredients available.


Using seasonal ingredients isn’t just important in what you eat, but also what you drink. Good quality liquors, mixes and garnishes can make the cocktail something worth drinking. Vertical’s General Manager and mixologist Stefano Scodellaro creates this signature cocktail using bottlegreen Pomegranate & Elderflower Sparkling Pressé and distilled Ontario-family owned Dillon’s Rose Gin. Garnished with organic grapefruit mint leaves grown in house at Vertical Restaurant and a thinly sliced cucumber garnish, A Rose is A Rose is a truly memorable summer beverage.



Photos by pomoBoho Media




Spotlight: Aura Restaurant

Savour the farm-to-table experience at its freshest at Aura Restaurant. Ingredients are sourced daily from local farms, foragers, and Nita Lake Lodge’s own rooftop garden with over 30 types of herbs and 40 different vegetables. Fresh ingredient-driven, vegetable-forward recipes, showcasing local produce from Pemberton Valley, are featured on Chef Moran’s reinvented menus.

This spring, Nita Lake Lodge welcomed new Executive Chef Paul Moran. A Vancouver native, Chef Moran has traveled the world, cooking in some of the finest restaurants from Paris to Montreal. Most recently, Chef Moran beat off fierce competition from across the country to win the inaugural Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition, and completed his international stage at Restaurante Pujol in Mexico City.

Chef Moran will be running foraging classes and dinners at Aura Restaurant every Wednesday this June, September and October. Guests can join a three-hour foraging class ($30), five-course foraged Chef’s dinner ($50), or combine both to enjoy a foraging expedition and a special Chef’s dinner ($70) at Aura Restaurant.

Check out these recipes courtesy of Chef Paul Moran and Senior Bar Supervisor Jan Madsen!

Yellow Fin Tuna Tostada

Tuna Tostada

Roast Sablefish

Roast Sablefish

Sorrel Sorbet with Rhubarb, Strawberries, Elderflower and Raspberry Meringues

Sorrel Sorbet

Veruca Salt Cocktail

Veruca Salt Cocktail



Chopped Canada Winners Share Advice on How to Win

With only two new episodes left, the countdown clock is ticking down on the rest of Chopped Canada‘s first season!

To look back on the first season of this hit series, we asked some of our winners to share advice on what it takes to take home the Chopped Canada title.  Their answers came back with common themes throughout – and some of the advice was eerily similar.  Great minds DO think alike!

Here are some highlights of what they said:

Take Care of Yourself
“Wake up really early on competition day and go for a good run, then eat a real breakfast. It will cool your nerves and wake you right up.” – Paul Lillakas, episode 5 winner

“Get a good night’s sleep.” – Episode 26 winner (can’t reveal the name just yet!)

Top: Paul Lillakas with host and judges. Bottom left: Stephanie Schoales. Bottom right: Jessica Pelland.

Practice Makes Perfect
“Do a mock Chopped trial and time yourself to learn how to manage your time.” – Stephanie Schoales, episode 22 winner
“You must practice cooking anything in 20 minutes or under. If not, that clock will go by way too fast.” – Jessica Pelland, episode 19 winner
“Spend time training for speedy conceptualization: go through mystery ingredient baskets from previous episodes and give yourself 30 seconds to conceptualize a dish.” – Paul Lillakas

Have a Plan:
“Plan ahead. Have some general dishes in the back of your head that you can fit different ingredients into and practice them.” – Jessica Pelland
“Have two ideas of dishes, in your head, that you can execute no matter what the ingredients are.” – Jayke Carter,  episode 16 winner
“…when faced with the unknown it can never hurt to have a plan.” – Missy Hui, episode 12 winner

But You Don’t Have to Keep to the Plan:
“Go in with a game plan but be ready to throw it out the window right away. The only way to prepare for this is to be open minded and really use your experience in the kitchen to guide your way.”  – Mark McCrowe, episode 10 winner

Keep Calm and Carry On:
“Don’t let the cameras get to you. Put your head down and cook, stay calm and be precise.” – Jessica Pelland
“Try not to be nervous or scared as food that’s cooked with those emotions usually doesn’t turn out the greatest.” – Boris Rubtsov, episode 15 winner

From right to left: Boris Rubtsov, Tammi McGee, Matthew Pennell.

Stick to It:
“Commit to a dish and stick with your gut feeling!” – Tammi McGee, episode 11 winner
“Do not start adding components to your dish half way through, stick with the plan unless something goes horribly wrong.” – Matthew Pennell, episode 21 winner
“Stick to what you know will work. When working in a timed competition, in an unfamiliar kitchen with some unfamiliar ingredients is a great risk on its own.”  – Alvin Viguilla, episode 4 winner

Battle Tactics:
“Always be planning your next move.” – Mark McCrowe
“Make sure that you highlight the items in the basket with the pantry items and not the pantry items with the basket.” – Trevor Ritchie, episode 9 winner
“Remember that you are only making four plates. When chopping cut what you need and make small batches of sauces.” – Boris Rubtsov

Left: Jayke Carter. Right: Mark McCrowe with host and judges. 

Stand Tall:
“No BS and own your mistakes. If a judge gives you criticism, take it. If you don’t agree with what they are saying, take it anyway. Make it clear as to what your dish is supposed to be and taste like. But if they tell you something is burnt, overcooked or otherwise not of great quality, apologize for your mistake, own it and carry on.” – Matthew Pennell
“Be confidant with yourself and be proud of your food.” – Mark McCrowe

It’s Supposed to Be Fun!
“Have fun! It’s an amazing experience and no matter what the end result is, just enjoy every second!” – Jayke Carter
“Enjoy the experience.  You get to meet three other great chefs from across Canada and you’re already lucky to have been chosen, so enjoy it.” – Stephanie Schoales
“Have fun with it and don’t think about the prize money too much. I went into the competition knowing I was the underdog so I told myself I’ll just have fun with it, try not to embarrass myself and maybe I’ll learn something. And I did all that and came out on top.” – Alvin Viguilla

Centre: Missy Hui. Clockwise from top: Trevor Ritchie, Neil Dowson, Alvin Viguilla with host and judges, Whitney Mayes.

And The Obvious Advice:
“Don’t focus too much on the clock…but move your ass!” – Tammi McGee
“Don’t cut yourself (or try not to)!” – Whitney Mayes, episode 8 winner
“Never give up no matter what happens. Everyone else is in the sh**s, too!” – Trevor Ritchie

“Get all your components on the plate. You may not have the best dish but you may not have the worst either.” –  Matthew Pennell

And The Obviously Canadian Advice:
“Be nice.  If someone needs something you’re using – share it. It’s just like being in a professional kitchen, you help each other out.” – Neil Dowson, episode 18 winner