Recap: Eat Alberta 2015

After four years on the organizing committee of Eat Alberta, Mack and I had decided to let a new group of individuals take the reins. One year later, it meant we could, for the first time, enjoy the day as participants!

Eat Alberta, started in 2011, promotes hands-on learning about how to prepare local food. Held at NAIT, the Eat Alberta model has always involved engaging instructors drawn from our community, initiating connections that can continue past the event itself.

As we knew from our involvement, certain tracks (tickets are sold for pre-set groupings of classes) tend to sell out right away, so we made sure to get a jump on our preferred track right away. We were rewarded with two tickets to the Foothills track. Priced at $150 each (unchanged from 2014), I know some still think tickets are steep. But given individual cooking classes at other venues are upwards of $100-$140, the fee, which covers the cost of four workshops plus two plenary sessions, breakfast, lunch and a wine down, is more than fair.

We started off the day with a keynote from Takota Coen of Grass Roots Family Farm. He spoke about his operation, which not only utilizes a permaculture philosophy for their vegetation crops, but also promotes the practice for their animals (for example, the cohabitation of cows and pigs ensures even the cow manure doesn’t go to waste – the pigs root through for nutrients the cows are unable to digest). To help finance some of their long-term perennials, which they hope will provide food for decades to come, Grass Roots employed an interesting multi-year Community Supported Agriculture model, where investors would reap their share not over one growing season, but over several years. Takota definitely piqued my interest – I’m sure exploring the farm in person would provide even more perspective.

Our first workshop was with Chef Allan Suddaby, who we were fortunate to work alongside with during our years organizing Eat Alberta. Since then, Allan has become the Executive Chef of Elm Café and all of its properties, which include District Coffee Co., Burrow and Little Brick. We’ve always known Allan’s passion for food and knowledge sharing, but we never had the opportunity to experience it firsthand until his egg cookery class.

Eat Alberta 2015

Chef Allan Suddaby

Allan shared tips and tricks on how to properly hard boil, poach and fry an egg – seemingly basic, but essential skills to master. To fry eggs on a less than non-stick pan, try using parchment paper – it’s better than Teflon! And perhaps most revelatory for me – Allan demonstrated how easy it was to make mayonnaise from scratch: whisk an egg yolk with a splash of vinegar, get it started with just a bit of oil, then work in up to a cup of oil. Magic!

Eat Alberta 2015

OMG, Mack poached an egg!

Next, we moved onto mastering dumplings with Ray Ma of Honest Dumplings. You may be familiar with Honest Dumplings from local farmers’ markets; they specialize in handmade dumplings with creative flavour combinations using local products. Although Mack and I have made our own dumplings before, we’ve never attempted creating the dough from scratch.

Eat Alberta 2015

Ray Ma and Chris Lerohl

Ray was a great teacher, and she made the dough recipe seem very approachable: 1 cup of water + 1 cup of all-purpose flour (instead of water, some vegetable juice can be substituted for colouring, or pliable ingredients, such as chives, to stud the wrappers). After kneading for 7 minutes, the dough will need to be chilled for 30 minutes or overnight. Then, using a pasta roller, working from 0 to 6 settings, the dough is rolled out and cut into rounds to be filled. That morning, we made vegetarian and meat dumplings, but the latter – a quinoa maple pork belly, were definitely our favorite!

Eat Alberta 2015

One semi-decent dumpling fold

After lunch, we headed back into the kitchen for a lesson on the ramen egg and miso broth with Chef Wendy Mah. Wendy is the chef behind the popular pop-up Prairie Noodle Shop (mark your calendars: she announced that the date of their next supper is June 20, to take place at NAIT/Ernest’s).

Eat Alberta 2015

Chef Wendy Mah

No doubt most in the class were familiar with the instant version of ramen, but it would have been ideal if Wendy started the class with more of an overview of ramen (different bases, composition, etc.). When Wendy was providing some of the ingredients for the soup or eggs, I know I didn’t know what wakame was, for instance. She also blew through the proportions for the ramen egg pickling liquid, assuming we would all find our own combination of the soy, Chinkiang vinegar, mirin and water, and was surprised to hear we all followed her recipe (given it was the first time for most, if not all, of us, it shouldn’t have been). That said, I liked that Wendy had an “Asian mirepoix” that served as the base of her vegetable broth – suey choy, Chinese chives and mushrooms.

Eat Alberta 2015

Our ramen eggs and miso soup

Our final session was the perfect cap to the day – a cocktail presentation with Evan Watson of Three Boars. It was only fitting that we started the class by making a drink to sip throughout – an Old Fashioned, made with a dash of spring cherry bitters that Evan had created for us to take home, and Alberta Premium whisky (known for being 100% rye).

Eat Alberta 2015

Mack’s reaction when he learned we’d be making his favourite cocktail

Although the class deviated from its promised focus on how to use local ingredients, it was still a very informative session. Evan is an encyclopedia of cocktail knowledge, and obviously takes his role as an educated bartender very seriously. The session was not only a primer on the history of cocktails, but also on many of the spirits that are mixed into cocktails. If you have a chance to sit at Evan’s bar, make sure you do.

Eat Alberta 2015

Tools of the trade

The afternoon plenary featured Jennifer Cockrall-King and Eva Pang, who started a discussion about the role of food writers in the Edmonton food scene. Mack thought it was a topic that felt out of place within the context of the day, but it did generate some interesting questions from the audience.

We had been looking forward to the wine down, as we knew Allan was still involved in producing the tasting boards. He didn’t disappoint, putting together another varied and beautiful celebration of local bounty.

Eat Alberta 2015

2015 tasting board

Given Mack and I know how the sausages are made, so to speak, we have to commend the organizers for what looked to be a seamless event. Everything was well-organized, and the attendees we spoke to were having a great time. I would say the classes I attended could have been improved with handouts of some sort, containing tips, recipes, or resource lists, as I only walked away with the notes I made on my own (and I know I probably missed some key points). Alternatively, as one presenter said, the content may be shared online at some point.

But overall, we’d have to say bravo! And given the direction Eat Alberta is looking to move in the future, we want to wish the team the best of luck. Thanks to the organizers, volunteers and presenters who made it a great day.

Recap: Eat Alberta 2014

On April 26, 2014, Eat Alberta hosted its fourth annual conference at NAIT. It was a day to get your hands dirty, have your palate refreshed, and of course, to learn and be inspired by members of our local food community.

Eat Alberta 2014

Michelle Peters-Jones leads a session on curry with Alberta pulses

Since 2011, Eat Alberta has carved itself a niche in Edmonton, offering a value-driven one day event that brings together some of the most respected and knowledgeable farmers, chefs and food activists in our city. We’ve always been fortunate these folks have been eager to donate their time to share their passion and skills.

Eat Alberta 2014

Elyse Chatterton (rockin’ an unexpected hat) demonstrates nose-to-tail butchery

Like last year, we implemented a track system for tickets, which seemed to work reasonably well. Given the range of sessions offered – from basic biscuits to jowl bacon to composting – there really was something for everyone.

Eat Alberta 2014

Potato tasting with Nigel Webber

MC Jennifer Crosby returned to host Eat Alberta for a second year in a row, and we were grateful for her enthusiasm and deft ability to handle changes to the program we threw at her.

Eat Alberta 2014

MC Jennifer Crosby

To end the day, participants were invited to mix and mingle over a glass of wine and a tasting board. Created by fellow committee member and chef Allan Suddaby, this was his best board yet. More whitefish salad? Yes, please.

Eat Alberta 2014

Beautiful presentation

In many ways, this was a bittersweet event for me because it was my last. Along with several others, I’ve chosen to step down from the Eat Alberta organizing committee so that I can focus on other things. It has been nothing short of a wonderful experience to work with a group of people who also believe in furthering food skills and local food appreciation in the city.

Eat Alberta 2014 

Imitation is the best form of flattery

Eat Alberta 2014

No one said Eat Alberta is always serious

That said, I am confident that the future of Eat Alberta is bright in the capable hands of the committee members carrying on the torch. Best wishes, and I look forward to attending as a participant in 2015!

If you’re interested in learning more about Eat Alberta, sign up for the mailing list here.

Join us at Eat Alberta 2014: April 26, 2014

It’s hard to believe Eat Alberta is four years old! I still remember our first event, held in the basement of Enterprise Square downtown. Though it was a less than ideal facility for a hands-on cooking conference, all of our presenters rocked it out, and those who attended found it to be a really worthwhile day of learning, connecting, and of course, eating! Fast forward to 2014, and I’m happy to say we’re still going strong!

Eat Alberta 2011

Pasta making at Eat Alberta 2011

For those of you who aren’t aware, Eat Alberta is a one-day, workshop-style conference that teaches participants how to use and source local food. We’ve since relocated our event to NAIT, with kitchens and classrooms designed for sessions ranging from bacon making to beer tasting. This year, Eat Alberta is scheduled to take place on April 26, 2014.

Eat Alberta 2012

Bread making at Eat Alberta 2012

It’s been wonderful to work with local chefs, farmers and food advocates who are keen to share their passion with others. I’m continually amazed that we continue to expand our Eat Alberta family, though in a community as knowledge rich as ours, this really shouldn’t be a surprise.

Eat Alberta

Sausage making at Eat Alberta 2013

This year, among others, we’re happy to welcome Erica Vliegenthart, the head baker at District Coffee Co., who will be teaching a session on basic biscuits, and Shovel & Fork’s Elyse Chatterton leading hands-on workshops on how to break down a side of pork. I’m also excited about Michelle Peters-Jones’ class on making curry with Alberta pulses – vegetarian cuisine sometimes gets the short end of the stick in this province, so I’m excited to see the flavours she will bring to the table! Check out the rest of the session descriptions here.

Eat Alberta

Bacon making at Eat Alberta 2013

Besides the four workshops, participants can also expect two plenary sessions, including a thought-provoking panel we’ve dubbed “Seedy Business”, which will present varying viewpoints on several controversial food issues: urban beekeeping, backyard chickens and raw milk.

Like last year, attendees will select from one of ten tracks. Although we know most people would prefer to choose their own itinerary, we’ve found this method allows for a more equitable distribution of hands-on classes, and potentially exposes participants to topics they may not have sought out initially.

Eat Alberta

Perogy making at Eat Alberta 2013

Tickets to Eat Alberta 2014 are $150, and include a light breakfast, lunch and a wine down. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 10 a.m.

Hope to see you there!

Recap: Eat Alberta 2013

On April 20, 2013, we held our third annual Eat Alberta food conference at NAIT. It was our biggest event ever, with 120 registered attendees.

Eat Alberta

Perogy making with Chef David Omar of Zinc

We know changes are never embraced by everyone, but for the most part we think the implementation of a set track registration system (as opposed to attendees being able to select from all available workshops) was a success! It guaranteed every attendee at least two hands-on classes, and we hope the tracks facilitated some deeper connections with fellow root-ers as well.

Eat Alberta

Maki makes ricotta!

I have to say I didn’t end up stepping foot in many of the classrooms this year, so while I don’t have personal account of the sessions, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive!

Eat Alberta

Artisan sausage making with Allan Suddaby

We tried to achieve a balance between new and returning presenters, knowing that our attendees would be made up of those both familiar and unfamiliar with Eat Alberta. For new presenters, we were thrilled to have many members of the food community answer our call, including Nevin Fenske of Drift, who taught the finer points of butchering a whole chicken, and Chad Moss of Shovel and Fork, who inspired many on the merits of homemade bacon.

Eat Alberta

Nevin teaches The Whole Chicken

Eat Alberta

Bacon making!

To end the day, we were certain a concept like “lightning talks” would be the perfect way to connect attendees with resources beyond our annual event. But we never knew how effective it could be until the presenters blew the doors off the place! The nine speakers were engaging, funny and informative, though it was hard for anyone to top Mark Stumpf-Allen (aka “The Worm Guy” of the Master Composter Program), who threw packages of worms out into the audience during his address.

Eat Alberta

The Worm Guy!

One of the highlights of the day for me was the unveiling of the tastes, to accompany the wine down after the lightning talks. Allan Suddaby, a chef and one of the organizers, crafted a brilliant board of seasonal, local bites. The icing on the cake was listening to Allan describe each of them! We also poured exclusively Albertan fruit wines, a first for us. Given our provincial mandate, we expanded the selection and brought in Field Stone Fruit Wines, based out of Strathmore, but currently unavailable for purchase in Edmonton. After hearing the comments around the room, however, I think we should lobby for their sale locally!

Eat Alberta

Tasting board

As a whole, it really helped that we were at the same venue for the second year running – we were able to tighten up some things, partly because we were more familiar with the building, but partly because we worked with staff rock stars, led by Toby and Josh, who made meeting any last minute needs seamless.

We also managed to fill the void of a host this year, one person who could tie the day together and provide some cohesion. Global’s Jennifer Crosby filled those shoes with grace and humour to spare.

It takes a village to put on an event like this. Thank you to the presenters who stepped up to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, to the volunteers who generously donated their time and to the sponsors who believed in what we are trying to achieve. To my fellow organizers – it has been a pleasure and a privilege to work alongside you.

If you are interested in being a part of Eat Alberta, let us know! We’re looking to expand the organizing committee, so just send me an email!

Thanks Valerie for letting me use your photos!

Discover Your Roots: Eat Alberta 2013

I can’t believe we’re already on our third Eat Alberta! The hands-on food conference, an opportunity for consumers to learn about how to grow, forage and prepare food from some of Alberta’s most knowledgeable food personalities, will be taking place again this April.

What: Eat Alberta 2013
When: Saturday, April 20, 2013
Time: 8:30am-5:30pm
Where: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, 11762 106 Street

We are thrilled to be returning to the kitchens of NAIT, which turned out to be a brilliant venue for the event last year.

Eat Alberta 2012

Owen Petersen and his Sourdough 101 class

Our keynote speaker this year is Jeff Senger of Sangudo Custom Meat Packers. Jeff will be sharing his story of transition from an urban to a rural lifestyle, one that pulled him from his desk-bound accounting job to a labour-intensive career as a butcher.

We are happy that some of our former instructors are back to share their wisdom with a new group of students this year, including:

  • Sourdough 101, led by Owen Petersen of Prairie Mill
  • Knife Skills, led by Kevin Kent of Knifewear
  • Cheese Making, led by Chef Allan Roote of NAIT
  • Artisan Sausage Making, led by Allan Suddaby of Elm Cafe
  • Vinaigrettes: More Than Just Salad Dressings, led by Chef Elaine Wilson of Allium Foodworks

Eat Alberta 2012

Kevin Kent of Knifewear

But of course, we are also welcoming many new presenters, who will be teaching some exciting sessions, including:

Eat Alberta 2012

Making gnocchi at Eat Alberta 2012

Undoubtedly, hands-on sessions are the most popular, and past feedback has indicated that we needed a better system of ensuring a fair distribution of these sessions. So this year, we have organized different “tracks” made up of four session each, the majority of which include two hands on sessions, one guided tasting and one presentation. We know that all of our presenters are passionate and engaging, so we are confident that no matter which track you choose, you will not only learn a lot, but will have a great time in the process!

We have also added an MC to help facilitate the day, none other than Jennifer Crosby of Global TV. Jennifer is a farm girl from Northern BC, and is a regular contributor to Taste Alberta. And in place of a plenary panel to end the day, we are introducing a series of two-minute “lightning talks” as a way to connect attendees with other food-related resources and organizations in the community. At the end of the day, although we have changed a few elements this year, we stayed true to our commitment to highlighting food skills and connecting consumers with local and regional products.

Tickets are $135 each, and include 2 plenary sessions, 4 concurrent sessions, breakfast, lunch and a wine down. Tickets for Eat Alberta will go on sale next week, but in the meantime, make sure you sign up for the mailing list on the website. We will be sending out a notice to let you know when the tickets go live!

I hope to see you out at Eat Alberta!

Eat Alberta 2012

The vision of Eat Alberta is simple: to create interactive opportunities for people to learn how to source and prepare local food directly from the experts in our community – producers, chefs and local food advocates. We were also hoping that participants would connect with one another and perhaps foster relationships that would extend beyond one isolated event. Because after all, there are only so many farmers’ markets to visit and shops and restaurants to patronize that showcase local food in Edmonton!

I had great intentions to write a post to sum up our inaugural Eat Alberta conference last year, but it fell by the wayside. I regret it now, because it would be nice to have a reference point, since our second Eat Alberta was so different in many ways.

On April 14, 2012, we welcomed over one hundred attendees and eighteen presenters at NAIT. In comparison to Eat Alberta 2011, we had nearly doubled the number of participants and sessions offered, so our classroom footprint had to grow accordingly as well. Although there were many positive attributes about our previous base venue of Enterprise Square, it did not contain kitchen facilities, and for a hands-on cooking conference such as ours, it became clear that they were a necessity. So we were thrilled when NAIT agreed to allow us to book their kitchens and adjacent classrooms as a venue, as this was the first time they have opened their doors to an external group.

Eat Alberta 2012

The sandwich spread from NAIT

Eat Alberta 2012

Lunch also included this wonderful stout cake

The NAIT staff did a wonderful job in taking care of many tasks –from setting up meals to dishwashing – that had fallen to the organizing committee and volunteers last year. Of course, that did mean the cost of putting on the conference increased (and as a result, heightened the attendee fee), but from an organizer’s perspective, it allowed us the time and space to manage other things, and for a few of us, even the opportunity to take in a few sessions!

Eat Alberta 2012

Mack learning how to make spring rolls from Elaine Wilson (a lot of the photos I’ve used in this post were taken by Maki, our volunteer photographer – she did a great job!)

The keynote from Danny and Shannon of Nature’s Green Acres was a great way to start the day. They shared their farm story – how labour intensive their methods are, how their children are involved in the day-to-day chores. I think it set the tone for the conference – one of humble appreciation for producers like the Ruzickas and the hard work involved in bringing consumers a quality product!

Eat Alberta 2012

Danny and Shannon Ruzicka

Afterwards, I did a quick walk-through of a few of the hands-on sessions in the kitchens, and it looked like people were having a blast.

Eat Alberta 2012

Cheesemaking with Alan Roote

Eat Alberta 2012

Knife skills with Kevin Kent

Eat Alberta 2012

Pasta making with Kathryn Joel

Much of this can be attributed to the stellar presenters that volunteered and took it upon themselves to plan practical and insightful workshops, and were able to impart both their knowledge and their passion in the limited time available. I think there was a lot more tweeting going on this year than last, so it was neat to see some of the real time comments of participants – talk about immediate feedback!

Eat Alberta 2012

Owen Petersen’s class making sourdough babies

I was also able to sit in on two sessions that day. The first was with Martin Osis of the Alberta Mycological Society who addressed the topic of Foraging for Mushrooms. I’ve heard Martin speak before, and he certainly hasn’t lost his sense of humour about fungi. There was no doubt attendees were engaged, and had Martin not warned the crowd numerous times about the exceptions to the edible mushroom rules, I’m sure people would have wanted to start foraging for mushrooms right outside the walls of NAIT.

Eat Alberta 2012

Martin Osis

In the afternoon, I joined Chef Blair Lebsack’s session on how to prepare bison. Blair was among three NAIT Culinary Arts instructors we were fortunate to have, as they are the mentors behind the next generation of the city’s culinary talent.

Eat Alberta 2012

Blair Lebsack

Blair didn’t show us just one, but three ways of cooking bison so we could taste the difference between different cuts and preparation methods. He started with a roast from First Nature’s Farms, seasoned it, then placed in a hot oven (it reminded me that I need to get myself a probe thermometer!). Blair then pointed to a brisket he had started earlier that day, having cooked it low and slow for several hours. It was fork tender, surrounded by the aromatic bath it had been prepared in.

Lastly, Blair divided up a striploin into individual steaks so participants would be able to cook it up on their own to their liking. Many chose to pan-fry their steaks, but I went with the grill, mostly because the barbecue isn’t something I get to play with all that often!

Eat Alberta 2012

Seasoning up my steak

The plenary panel was something we had great fun designing. “How to survive a zombie apocalypse” was an off-beat way of asking some really important questions about how one would be able to fend for themselves in our Prairie context. I think Allan did a great job moderating the panel, though I know we had some minor clarity issues for those seated at the back.

Eat Alberta 2012

Zombie apocalypse panel

Valerie and Allan deserve all of the credit for the tasting boards served at the wine down. They were a sight to behold, all lined up in Ernest’s, and yes, they were as lovingly prepared as they appeared to have been. My favourite taste was similar to my favourite last year – the Cheesiry’s pecorino with a drizzle of Lola Canola honey.

Eat Alberta 2012

Valerie preparing the boards

Eat Alberta 2012

Maki’s beautiful shot of a tasting board

In all, I think it was a really successful event. We achieved what we set out to do, and hope everyone thought it was a worthwhile day as well (you can check out what others said here). That said, we know there is always room for improvement, and for the future, there will be some minor adjustments (for example, ensuring that all attendees have the opportunity to participate in at least one hands-on course). And if you have any other suggestions, please get in touch with us – we’re all ears!

In reflecting back on the day, I feel indebted to so many people. Thanks to everyone who attended, and took a chance on our event. I want to thank the tireless volunteers – the event truly could not have taken place without your energy and hard work. Thanks also to the Italian Centre, Mighty Trio Organics and Gold Forest Grains for sponsoring us – it means a lot that small local businesses believed in our vision as well. Last but not least – so much of the feeling I am left with now is an intense respect for my fellow committee members – it was such a pleasure to work with you, Allan, Mack, Ming, Nicole, Su and Valerie. Here’s to Eat Alberta 2013!

If you’re interested in finding out more about future Eat Alberta events, make sure you
sign up for our mailing list.

Announcing Eat Alberta 2012: Your Real Food Survival Guide

It feels like our inaugural Eat Alberta conference was only a few months back, but it took place almost a year ago! Based on the response we received the last go around, we knew there was an appetite in the city for more opportunities to learn about local food and to connect with other like-minded individuals, so a second incarnation was definitely something the organizing committee wanted to offer.

Eat Alberta

We also took the feedback we received from the first event very seriously; the most common response was that future conferences should be held in a professional kitchen. We’re very happy to announce that this year’s conference will be held at NAIT, which features some of the best culinary facilities in Edmonton. Attendees also made suggestions about the type of sessions they would have liked to have seen on the schedule, and as a result, we have done our best to invite chefs and producers to match the requested content.

Eat Alberta 2011

Kathryn Joel is back again this year with another pasta making session

Valerie took the lead on developing the schedule, and has made sure there are a variety of both hands-on workshops and tastings for participants to choose from. I think there is something for everyone, and more than a few classes that I’d like to slip into if I had the chance! This year’s sessions include:

  • Keynote from Shannon and Danny Ruzicka from Nature’s Green Acres, who will be sharing their farming story and addressing why grass-fed meats are better;
  • Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton’s Amy Beaith will be sharing her knowledge on preserving fruits and vegetables;
  • Patty Milligan (aka Lola Canola) will be returning with her fabulous bee education and honey seminar (it was the only session I had time to partake in last year, and I can say from firsthand experience that it is not to be missed);
  • ever-energetic Prairie Mill’s Owen Petersen will be showing aspiring bakers how to farm their own yeast; and
  • Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear, is travelling from Calgary for sessions on knife skills and sharpening.

You can take a look at all of the session descriptions here.

Eat Alberta 2011

Tasting honey with Patty Milligan

Tickets were released to the public this morning, and I know some of the sessions are filling up fast! Tickets are $135, and include the keynote and panel, four sessions, breakfast, lunch and a glass of wine.

Eat Alberta 2011

Allan Suddaby (who is also on the organizing committee) is passionate about sausage!

So to get your first choice of sessions, head over to the registration page soon – we’d love to see you at NAIT for Eat Alberta 2012: Your Real Food Survival Guide, on April 14!

For the Love of Food: Eat Alberta 2011

Eat Alberta Logo Last summer, Valerie approached me with the idea of organizing an Alberta-wide food conference. Given the rising interest in buying local and the burgeoning online food community, she thought it was the perfect time to arrange a more formal opportunity for people to connect with one another, and learn more about the bounty we have in Alberta.

For many reasons, the province-wide aspect was dropped in favour of focusing on what we knew – Edmonton and its surrounding areas. We also downsized our original attendee target, realizing that the quality of the conference would be most important, especially because our hope was for this event to continue on an annual basis.

In the fall, we asked several other members of the local food community to join us in this endeavour – Sherene, a food blogger, Allan, a chef and blogger, and Mack, a social media guru. We also realized that the goals of this conference very much aligned with those of Slow Food Edmonton (of which Valerie, Allan, Mack and I belonged to already), and that it made sense for the event to come under their banner of promoting good, clean and fair food.

As a result, with Valerie’s leadership and through our discussions, Eat Alberta was born.

On April 30, 2011, the inaugural Eat Alberta conference will take place in downtown Edmonton. Through a mix of hands-on and demonstration workshops, tasting sessions, and presentations from some of the leaders of our food community – farmers, chefs and local food advocates – we hope that participants will learn how to use and source local food as well as develop nurturing and ongoing relationships with one another and with those that produce our food.

Here are a sampling of the sessions participants can look forward to:

  • Wine pairing workshop with The Tomato’s Mary Bailey
  • Hands-on artisan sausage making with chef Allan Suddaby
  • Goat cheese making demonstration with Holly Gale of Smoky Valley Goat Cheese
  • Honey tasting with Patty Milligan, aka Lola Canola
  • Slow-rise pizza dough lesson with Yvan Chartrand of Tree Stone Bakery
  • Home coffee brewing tips from Josh Hockin of Transcend Coffee
  • Keynote presentations from Jennifer Berkenbosch and James Vriend of Sundog Organics and Kevin Kossowan, who will share learnings from his “From Local Farms” project

Registration for the conference opens March 14, with early bird registration closing on March 31. Conference fees will include a small continental breakfast, lunch, and a glass of wine. Be sure to register early for the best selection of sessions!

I hope to see you there!