Food Notes for June 7, 2021

Stump Kitchen’s Alexis Hillyard featured by Google

This week, local YouTube star Alexis Hillyard was featured by Google in a new YouTube video:

“Alexis, an LGBTQ+ and disabled chef, uses YouTube and Google Meet to help pursue her passion for vegan cooking. At the same time, she creates a safe space to celebrate the unique ways we move through the world. http://goo.gle/3fOYOxt

Hillyard, known for her popular Stump Kitchen series, has been producing videos on her YouTube channel for five years. Her videos highlight vegan and gluten-free recipes, often assembled using her stump as a kitchen tool. She uses her platform to celebrate limb differences, and more recently, after having a baby, focus on parenting with one hand.

The video came together quickly over the last few months. “Google googled me and said they were looking for creators to feature and they were looking for disabled or queer creators that were having a good impact,” said Hillyard. “They found my page and loved it and knew they wanted to feature me right away.”

Filming occurred over two days in April with strict COVID-19 protocols in place with Google staff in town from Toronto and Vancouver. Hillyard had a strong say in what content was filmed, including scenes with her partner and child. “I was called a creative consultant on the ground because I got to shape what they caught on camera,” said Hillyard. “It was not artificial.”

Stump Kitchen started as a side project but has morphed into a nearly full-time job for Hillyard, who, as a trained teacher, still teaches one half day a week at a junior high school. The rest of her time is spent hosting classes and workshops, conducting speaking invitations and social media gigs, and being a Canadian ambassador for the Lucky Fin Project. She also relies on her Patreon page for support.

The channel has grown its audience over the years, and while she has a significant fan base in the Prairie provinces, her reach is international including the US, South America, and Australia. “[My audience] ranges from people who are amputees themselves, to families who have members with limb differences, and random people who like cooking shows or have found a different way in – I burp and swear and don’t wear a bra,” laughs Hillyard. When restrictions lift, she hopes to resume travelling to continue to meet and highlight others with limb differences.

While Hillyard isn’t the planning type – she much prefers the joy of living in the moment – she does have one dream that she would love to fulfill one day. “I could open a small café or restaurant called ‘Stump Kitchen’ made up of staff with limb differences and we would sit on tree stumps,” said Hillyard. “It would be great to have a space to celebrate my local community.”

Hillyard credits a lot of her success to the city she is proud to call home. “The community here is so vibrant,” said Hillyard. “It’s so small but it’s so big; we have incredible local businesses and creators that I can learn from, and it’s the kind of city where you can have an impact and be known and not get lost in the rumble of a big city.”

COVID-19-related News

  • Stage 2 of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan is expected to start on June 10, 2021, and will increase outdoor dining to tables of 6, and will re-introduce indoor dining for the first time since April 9.
  • After a lengthy hiatus, Bundok will be re-opening on June 10, 2021.
  • Red Star’s patio is now open.

Openings

  • Black Box Hospitality has launched a new concept called Young & Restless Pizza, operating out of District Wednesday to Sunday. They have first come, first served picnic tables available. It’ll be great to see District bustling again after it’s been closed since January.
  • Italia Mia (operating out of the former Il Forno space at 14981 Stony Plain Road) is now open.
  • Cafe La Reine will be opening later in June at 8927D 82 Avenue, in the space formerly occupied by Amandine Cafe.
  • Downtown is getting another southern BBQ restaurant called Coals and Cleavers, set to open June 26, 2021 at 10318 100 Avenue. The restaurant is from the folks at the Alberta BBQ Collective and the team behind Pitt County BBQ.

Upcoming Events

  • The Al Fresco #on4th market with extended patios kicks off on June 12 and runs every Saturday from 10am-3pm until September 18, 2021. The closure of the street will also extend into Sundays to accommodate the extended patios throughout the weekend.
  • The Black Owned Market YEG is hosting a Dance and Coffee Cultural Experience on June 19, 2021. Tickets for the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, to be held at the Habesha African Market, are pay-what-you-can.
  • Noodle company Nai Nai Mie is hosting its first pop-up with Chef Doreen Prei on June 30, 2021. Guests will be treated to a 2-course dinner and the event promises to be ”hot, saucy and more than a little noodly. Maybe even a little naughty.” Tickets are $35 with location TBD.

Local News

  • The Journal has more details behind Calle Mexico’s taco carts and their connection to the godfather of Edmonton’s food carts – Fat Franks. The carts may debut on city streets as soon as this week.
  • CRAFT Beer Market will be debuting their new rooftop patio on Rice Howard Way on June 21, 2021.
  • Kitchen by Brad is open for “Meatball Madness” this summer, offering take-out on Fridays over lunch through their take-out window.
  • The Butchery made the Canada’s 100 Best list of  “things to savour right now” across Canada. It’s also worth noting that Chef Shane Chartrand also made the list, but in a composite item that included several Indigenous chefs that the list creators didn’t feel warranted their own individual features.
  • EDify released their 2021 patio guide. The Downtown Business Association (DBA) created a Google map of patios in the neighbourhood.
  • Also from EDify – they will be sharing Best Things To Eat as chosen by prominent Edmontonians throughout the summer. First up – the DBA’s Puneeta McBryan highlights the chocolate olive oil cake from Rosewood Foods, and Oilers play-by-play announcer Jack Michaels selected the chorizo tacos from La Patrona.
  • Uproot Food Collective will be the first long-term tenant of the new Ag-celerator at the Edmonton International Airport, a new federally-certified food production and contract packing facility. Also from Uproot, they now offer frozen bulgogi from Edmonton favourite NongBu.
  • The accommodation and food services sector continues to be the hardest hit in Alberta with a loss of 57,000 jobs from February 2020 to May 2021, based on analysis of Statistics Canada data.
  • Home-based bakery Söta Saker YEG that started early this year has continued to gain patronage.
  • Malaysian-style jerky business Dai-Lou has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise $35,000 to help launch a food truck and increase stockists in Edmonton.
  • Luxe picnic experiences continue to crop up; the latest from YEG Picnic and YEG Scoot combines a boho picnic experience with scooter transportation, and costs $130 for two.
  • That’s Food, a food-focused podcast from CJSR, returned in May with new episodes. Their latest this week features a blind taste test of $5, $12, and homemade cake, and an interview with The Art of Cake’s Gloria Bednarz.
  • Congratulations to Tamara Vineberg, the chair of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization bagels fundraiser, who helped to raise over $14,000 this year with the sale of 17,280 bagels.
  • Some people are hopeful that the bigger bees that have been spotted around the city might mean a more healthy population this year.

What I Ate

    • I finally felt ready to sit on a patio for the first time this year – mostly because we were the only ones on it! Mack and I had a quick breakfast date at DOSC as we had been meaning to try their combo deal for some time: a bacon, egg, and cheese cruffle sandwich + a coffee for $8. I liked the sweet and savoury flavours of the sandwich, and it was a nice way to start the day.

DOSC

Cruffle date at DOSC

    • Our day trip out to Wabuman Lake required some sustenance from Farrow – namely, some sweet treats and sandwiches!

Farrow

Treats from Farrow

    • Our summer of picnics continued after we picked up some pastries from Shan Shan Bakery in Chinatown after some other errands in the area. We enjoyed them in Little Italy – there were no excuses not to eat outside this weekend!

Shan Shan Bakery

Shan Shan pastries in the park

    • Though Popeyes has been in Edmonton for some time, we’d only had take-out once before. Now that it’s in #yegdt, it seemed like a good excuse as any to try it again for a picnic! The food held up pretty well on our walk over to the Leg Grounds, and I ended up enjoying the chicken sandwich more than I expected. While it won’t be a regular stop for us, I’m sure it will be a popular spot in the ‘hood.

Popeyes

Popeyes picnic

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