All posts in category “Beyond Niagara”

  • 100KM Foods connects farmers and chefs

    Paul Sawtell of 100KM Foods.

    I originally wrote this story for Edible Toronto Magazine. 

    There was a time when Paul Sawtell had an affinity for shiny, expensive items.

    Such objects still occasionally catch the former pharmaceutical sales rep’s eye. He gets excited, for instance, when he sees a newly washed delivery truck sparkling in the sunlight behind the warehouse of 100km Foods. These days he prefers his flash with substance – the kind that comes from trading a career with lucrative financial rewards for one rich in social benefits.

    100km Foods Inc. is a wholesale and distribution business bridging the gap between farmers and chefs and getting more local food onto our plates in the process. The venture, started by Sawtell and life partner Grace Mandarano nearly nine years ago, was admittedly “warm and fuzzy” at the beginning. But it has become an important link in Ontario’s food economy – by handling product marketing for farmers who’d rather be tending their crops, while sourcing the best ingredients for chefs who prefer to spend their time behind the burner.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Blogging for a cause: Meet Charlene Theodore

    Publish, get huge hits, land a cookbook deal.

    It’s the recipe for success for many food bloggers. And why not? That sounds pretty sweet. But there other places food blogging can take a person.

    I heard the stories of a few who broke the book deal mould when I was at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento in July. The conference (if you’re a food blogger, go!) included a session called From Blog to Business.

    I didn’t read the fine print beforehand, so I figured it would be about turning food websites into big money makers through sponsored posts, advertising and book deals. It was better than that. It was a panel of three Sacramento food bloggers sharing their story of how food writing launched them into spinoffs that bettered their community. Blogging for a Cause would have been a more accurate name for this inspiring session.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Chef John Ash, a sandwich, and his mentors

    Chef John Ash at IFBC 2016. (It's a much better picture if you click on it).

    He’s been called the father of Wine Country Cuisine. Chef John Ash might just be the inspiration for the panini press, too.

    Turns out, the storied culinarian from Sonoma County who introduced the concept of cooking with local, seasonal produce and pairing it with wines from that region has a knack for making great sandwiches — by sitting on them.

    It was a talent he discovered while visiting with M.F.K. Fisher, the first lady of food writing, who made him get comfy on a lunch she prepared. His buns were the finishing touch on what would become the most memorable sammie he’s likely ever eaten.

    The woman who could make a semi-colon appetizing knew the magic that the body heat and weight of a grown man could work. But the soft centre of her muffuletta belied her own unyielding ways with her protege, Ash.

    The man, certainly no myth, but a legend, recently dished on the people who inspired him in his career, causing him to give up copywriting for the kitchen. He was the keynote speaker at the International Food Bloggers Conference in Sacramento last month, and set the tone for a weekend of professional development that was nothing short of inspiring.

    Mentors was his theme and we all know his by name: Julia Child, Fisher, and Wendell Berry. They’re people who inspire us with their work, if not in person like they did with Ash.

    I recorded his address, keener that I am, and dubbed it Episode 4 of Grub: A Podcast about Food.

    Have a listen, a laugh, and a flash of insight and inspiration provided by one the greatest people to ever hoist a spatula. And feel free to drop me a line with a note about the people who you hold up as mentors and muses. I owe a lot of credit to many for kindling something in me to do what I do, so let’s trade stories.

    In the meantime, enjoy the sound waves on iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud and PodBean.

    Labels , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest

  • Peach Tree
  • Grub: A Podcast about Food digs into stir-fry techniques

    I learned how to make stir-fry in Grade 7 home ec class. Technically, it was family studies class. That’s what they called it back then for whatever reason.

    A life skills class by any other name is still a life skills class, and in the more than 25 years since walking into that kitchen at Stanley Park Senior Public School in Kitchener, I’ve never forgotten what I was told about how to make a stir-fry.

    Heat oil in a wok. Add your protein. When it’s mostly cooked, add your hardest vegetables — the carrots, broccoli stems and cauliflowers of the world. Then add the next hardest until you get to the softest; those that need the least amount of time cook. Douse with sauce, serve on rice and voila, you have dinner. Or something.

    Continue reading

    Labels , , , , , , , , ,
    Category Beyond Niagara

    FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest