Celebrating the International Year of Pulses with Alberta Pulse

The UN General Assembly declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses, highlighting their affordability, nutritional value and sustainability. As nearly 10% of Alberta’s crop acres are dedicated to growing pulses, it is a good time to promote this commodity at home.

Mack and I were invited to attend a recent event hosted by the Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP) at NAIT celebrating this hallmark year for pulses. The CAFP is a national organization that represents chefs, hospitality representatives, food manufacturers and nutritionists, among others. Local branches host learning opportunities for their members, including visits to area food production facilities. In February, in collaboration with Alberta Pulse, the Edmonton branch explored the topic of pulses.

CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

CAFP at Ernest’s

It’s a subject I’ve been learning more about in the kitchen for a few years now. After reading Mark Bittman’s Food Matters more than five years ago (his mission was to encourage more conscious consumption of non-meat proteins), I was inspired to start including more beans and lentils in our diet. In 2011, Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan’s cookbook, Spilling the Beans, was released, becoming one of our go-to guides for meal inspirations. Now, pulses have just become a part of our regular rotation, both as a meat alternative but also to enhance soups, salads and mains, stretching the meal all while adding nutrients. At this point, our pantry and freezer would feel bare without having some variety of pulses on hand. CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

Allison Ammeter

That said, the presentations that evening were informative, especially to provide a local context. Farmer and chair of the Alberta Pulse Board, Allison Ammeter, shared the following:

  • Lentils fix their own nitrogen in the soil, meaning a reduced need for fertilizer when used as a part of a regular crop rotation;
  • Most pulses use less water, particularly peas and lentils, which is great for drought-prone regions; and
  • Pulses leave the soil better than it was – wheat grows better on pulse stubble.

Alberta grows a variety of pulses: primarily peas (green, yellow, marrowfat), but also beans (great northern, black, cranberry, pink, small red), lentils (red, green) and chickpeas. And though most are familiar with whole pulses, they can be purchased as flour products as well.

It’s also an unfortunate reality that it’s not easy to locate "product of Alberta" pulses. Unless it is packaged in the province, even locally-grown products end up with a broader "product of Canada" label. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if it lists the growing province, but it does make it more difficult for those hoping to source their food as locally as possible (thankfully in Edmonton, Gold Forest Grains does sell excellent organic red lentils). As the Minister of Agriculture was present that evening, I was hoping that some advocacy might have happened on the need for more production facilities in the province.

CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

Debra McLennan

Debra McLennan from Alberta Pulse shared some nutritional facts of pulses:

  • They are gluten-free and vegetarian;
  • They are low in fat, and protein-packed (curiously, in Australia, legumes are classified as a vegetable when a 1/2 cup is served, but as a meat alternative when 3/4 cup is served);
  • They are an excellent source of folate and are high in fibre; and
  • They are beneficial in reducing "bad" cholesterol.

Pulses are also relatively light on the wallet, costing significantly less when compared with meat sources of protein. In the context of rising food prices, affecting everyone from consumers at home to restaurant operators, this spotlight on pulses couldn’t come at a better time.

In collaboration with the chefs at Ernest’s, Debra designed the evening’s menu to highlight the many sides of pulses. To start, we enjoyed a duo of yellow split pea soup and a pork croquette which used a white bean purée to bind the meat.

CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

Duo of yellow split pea soup and pork croquette

The entrée was a pan-roasted chicken served with a lentil and rice pilaf. The chicken was very well-prepared, and the pilaf tasty enough, but it was a missed opportunity not to highlight pulses as the main event (Indian-inspired dal, or falafel, for instance).

CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

Pan roasted herbed breast of chicken

For dessert, we were treated to a lentil fudge pie. The pie incorporated a red lentil purée that could not be detected, taste-wise, and with the added nutrients, it’s almost a guilt-free dessert. That recipe can be found online at the Alberta Pulse website.

CAFP Alberta Pulse Dinner

Lentil fudge pie

If you’re interested in learning more about pulses, check out more recipes at pulses.org, and consider taking the pulse pledge – all it takes is committing to eating a half cup of pulses per week.

Thanks to the CAFP and Alberta Pulse for having us!

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!

Sobeys’ Apple Challenge at NAIT

Though apples are generally most associated with the fall, the time of harvest and going back to school, in the Prairies, their cellar longevity means they are one of the few fruits we can consider “seasonal” throughout our long winter. As a result, the BC Tree Fruits Association wants to bring apples top of mind at this time of year, and has declared February to be Apple Month.

To help celebrate this, Sobeys worked with a number of local institutions to help spread the word, which included a donation of 1500 apples to Prince Charles School to ensure students would have access to healthy snacks. Sobeys also partnered with the culinary school at NAIT for an Iron Chef-style challenge that invited students to contribute their most creative uses for the fruit basket staple. On the line: $1,000 in prizes.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Busy kitchen

A total of thirteen students in their first and second year of studies submitted recipes to NAIT Instructors for consideration, and out of that, eight students were chosen to compete. On February 11, 2012, students were given one hour each to prepare their dish which would be judged by a panel of food writers. I was lucky enough to be asked to join this panel, alongside Liane Faulder and Valerie Lugonja.

NAIT Apple Challenge

With Liane and Valerie

Prior to the tastings, we were allowed to interact with the students while they were creating their signature dishes. We were told that they were permitted to prepare some things ahead of time, such as sausage or pastry dough, but that most of the cooking would be done that day.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Paulina Klassen focused on her rugelash

Surprisingly, nearly all of the students had chosen to make savoury dishes, smashing my preconceived notion that we would be sampling a variety of pies and crisps.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Pan finishes up her soup vessels

NAIT Apple Challenge

Christina Schell tosses some brussels sprouts

Of course, I should have given the students more credit than that – after talking to a few of them, it was clear that the versatility of the apple was what drew most of them to the competition.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Ren Ping Pui works on his cheesecake filling

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to watch most of the students finish and plate their dishes, as we had to begin the judging process. Rapid-fire, we would be tasting eight dishes in forty minutes – the three of us were definitely up to the challenge!

NAIT Apple Challenge

Ashley Broad starts to plate her dishes

We were provided with a score sheet that would enable us to award each dish with up to 20 points: up to 10 points for taste, 5 points for presentation and 5 points for creativity. Valerie commented that other categories could have been added – such as awarding points for their verbal presentations – for some students, their ability to clearly articulate their cooking philosophy and inspiration provided a better background and context for the dish.

First up was Ashley Broad, who prepared a roast duck and apple tart. I appreciated the combination of the two flavours, which worked really well together. The pastry itself was a little too firm for my preference, but the apples were cooked really well.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Roast duck and apple tart

Second was Pan Pan, who happens to be Miles Quon’s wife. She presented a charming curried apple soup (served inside a cored granny smith!) alongside a grilled apple salad. The soup itself was a bit on the sweet side, but had a nice smouldering back heat. I found the salad to be overwhelmed by the prosciutto, but Valerie really adored the vinaigrette it had been tossed with.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Curried apple soup with grilled apple salad

Christina Schell’s apple stuffed pork tenderloin with an apple parsnip mash was a plate with many components. All of us really enjoyed the apple balsamic puree, but found the pork to have been overcooked. We also thought the dish could have used more focus on the apple and less on extraneous ingredients.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Apple stuffed pork tenderloin

Next up was a pork in apples with herbed chevre, cremini mushrooms and apple and peach puree from Chloe Lomas. Out of all of the students, Chloe was the most eloquent in terms of verbalizing how she was able to translate her vision onto the plate (she had wanted to represent an apple in nature, so replicated the “soil” using mushrooms). Her creation was incredibly layered, in terms of both flavours and textures.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Pork in apples with herbed chevre, mushrooms and apple and peach puree

Terry McNeil presented apple sausage with apple slaw, cheese crisps and cranberry apple compote. Terry had made the sausage herself (having arrived at Culinary Arts through the meat cutting program), but we found it to be a bit dry, and in need of more fat. That said, the slaw was quite refreshing, and I loved the crumbled cheese crisps on top.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Apple sausage with apple slaw

With the only pure dessert of the competition, Ren Ping Pui’s crispy pancetta cheesecake filling with apple compote, apple crumble, apple sorbet and berry kissel sauce was a welcome taste. Calvados (apple brandy) had been cleverly incorporated throughout the dish – in the sorbet, the filling and the compote, but it wasn’t evident, taste-wise. Without a doubt, the cheesecake filling was heavenly, whipped to a mousse-like consistency, though Liane and Valerie found that the pancetta overpowered the delicate flavour. Ren’s plate was the instructor’s favourite, because of the intricate technique that had been used.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Crispy pancetta cheesecake filling with apple compote, apple crumble, apple sorbet and berry kissel sauce

Krystle Duquette flexed her skills with molecular gastronomy by making apple caviar to serve with her glazed apple and frisee salad. Apple juice, maple syrup and agar were dissolved then dripped into freezing cold canola oil, to produce delicate pearls. They didn’t work as well as she had hoped, but it wasn’t the main component of her plate. Her cinnamon heart-candied apple absolutely popped (definitely appropriate for the forthcoming Valentine’s Day), and we loved the crisp frisee salad, brightened with a vinaigrette made with cider vinegar and honey.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Glazed apple and frisee salad

Last but not least was Paulina Klassen’s savoury apple rugelash. The pastry was amazing, buttery and melt-in-your-mouth, with a richness from bacon fat that had been added to the dough. The sweet, caramelized apples and an underlying layer of jam paired with the rugelash perfectly, though the addition of candied bacon didn’t hurt either.

NAIT Apple Challenge

Savoury apple rugelash

In the end, though our scores didn’t match, our ranking of the dishes was consistent. We awarded first prize to Paulina’s rugelash, second to Krystle’s glazed apple and frisee salad, and third to Pan’s curried apple soup and grilled apple salad. The winning recipes will likely be printed in a Sobeys publication in the future, such as the fall issue of Compliments.

Thank you again to Sobeys for the invitation to be a part of this competition! It was the richest breakfast that I’ve had in some time, and the most enjoyable, too. Best of luck to all of the students in their studies – their creativity and energy was inspirational and contagious. Long live the apple!

You can see the rest of the photo set here.

The “Element of Taste” with Chef Susur Lee

For three years now, the NAIT Hokanson Chef in Residence program has brought world-renowned chefs to Edmonton, for the purposes of mentoring students who are training in the Culinary Arts program. This year’s Chef in Residence, Susur Lee, not only brings extensive restaurant experience – with establishments in Toronto, DC, New York and Singapore to his credit – but also the most diverse cooking influence thus far. Chef Lee is known for his fusion cuisine; he first rose to fame with his Chinese fare blended with French techniques and ingredients. In recent years, he has dabbled in other styles – inspiration that some lucky diners were able to experience firsthand this afternoon.

NAIT hosted a special luncheon dubbed the Element of Taste at Ernest’s today, with Culinary Arts students tasked with preparing a three-course meal under the tutelage of Chef Lee (recipes for all of the dishes served today can be found in Chef Lee’s book, Susur: A Culinary Life). I was fortunate enough to be invited to an event mostly filled by Edmonton’s hospitality community, alongside a few other local food writers and bloggers including Valerie, Kevin, Evonne, Maki, Mary and Liane.

Element of Taste with Chef Susur Lee

Chef Susur Lee

The meal began with a spicy lobster tart with bonito. It was no doubt a bold introduction to Chef Lee’s cuisine: puff pastry adorned with tomatoes, lobster, olives, bonito flakes, goat cheese and a spicy tomatillo sauce. The presentation was gorgeous, a decorative arch of red draped artistically over the tart. There were mixed reviews around the table, and I had to agree with some of the opinions that there were too many elements at play – the briny olives overpowered much of the other flavours for me.

Element of Taste with Chef Susur Lee

Spicy lobster tart with bonito

Our entrees were much better received: rack of lamb with chickpea puree in a sweet olive and spicy cumin tomato sauce. The dish had a vibrant quality about it, and perfumed the air with a cumin-scented fragrance as soon as the plates were delivered. The lamb, cooked medium rare, had been treated with an intense curry and coriander spice infusion that paired perfectly with the mint chutney. There were raves about the hummus, heady and rich. We later discovered (with Allan’s help) that the chickpeas had been individually shucked before preparing the puree – talk about attention to detail.

Element of Taste with Chef Susur Lee

Rack of lamb with chickpea puree

Dessert arrived like spring, a taste of warmer climes. A bright, fresh passionfruit sauce enlivened a vanilla-speckled panna cotta. I particularly loved the adornment of thinly sliced pineapple and the tang of the raspberry paste. It was a beautiful end to a lovely meal.

Element of Taste with Chef Susur Lee

Vanilla panna cotta

At the end of the meal, the students, deservedly so, received a standing ovation from the dining room. The service staff were also fantastic today – each course was delivered with a flourish fit for royalty.

Element of Taste with Chef Susur Lee

Allan (who helped prepare the entrees), chats with Valerie and Kevin

Thanks again to NAIT for the invitation. It was a wonderful afternoon to be a part of.

Date with David Adjey @ NAIT

When Diane, the Communications Specialist at NAIT, told me about her plan for a “Date with David”, an intimate gathering of local food bloggers with their 2010 Hokanson Chef in Residence, I thought it was a great idea. Unlike last year’s media blitz, when I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview the 2009 Chef in Residence Rob Feenie, a group gathering would allow for more people to be a part of the excitement, and of course, to meet a well-known chef.

Thirteen bloggers, Diane, a cameraman (an unedited video of the evening will be posted here at a later date) and David Adjey assembled around a dining table set up in one of the teaching kitchens. Over the course of the hour, we were served a tasting menu prepared by NAIT’s Culinary Arts students, with all of the recipes taken from David’s latest cookbook, Deconstructing the Dish.

Dining with David

Bravo to the students for an excellent meal – I was expecting appetizer share plates, and instead, we were treated to five exquisitely prepared dishes. My favourite two courses were the halibut, perfectly cooked and served with a notable crab hash (the inclusion of plump kernels of corn was genius), and the beef tenderloin so flavourful and well prepared that it melted on my tongue like butter. Diane was also thoughtful enough to provide each of us with a copy of the night’s recipes.

Shrimp with spoon bread stuffing, kick-ass tartar sauce and wilted chicory

Arctic char with fennel braise and Yukon gold dumplings

Halibut with crab hash, saffron aioli and “angry” fritter garnish

Pork chop rubbed with “stir-fry” paste, baby bok choy and kumquat-garlic sauce

Beef tenderloin with red wine jus, lobster butter and a buttermilk onion ring

In between bites, David fielded questions from the bloggers and from Twitter users that had joined in on the conversation online. It was difficult to get a handle on Chef Adjey – between his facetious responses and constant references to money and women, I wanted David to cast aside the crude jokes for a moment to provide some serious answers.

David Adjey

Though his responses were wound through some pretty gratuitous anecdotes, we did end up with answers nonetheless – where he had dined in Edmonton so far (Hardware Grill, where he thought the portion sizes were too large), his thoughts on the locavore movement (he is in support of a diet sourced from nationwide ingredients, aka the “bullseye diet”, even though many of the ingredients he mentioned are imported), and his opinion on a lasting trend (varied portion sizes). David’s favourite chef is David Burke, he loved the food at Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico in New Orleans, and though he respects Gordon Ramsay’s business sense, says that his on-screen demeanour is just the tip of his real self.

David said he might use his exposure in the future to help advocate for an increased pay scale for cooks (which is a very worthy battle to take on), as well as pushing the need for people to reduce their food intake. Between his new television show (which casts him as a restaurant consultant guru) and appearances as a keynote speaker, it remains to be seen if he utilizes his platform to promote such causes.

All dates with bloggers involve cameras, right?

In all, it was an interesting, if not enlightening evening. Thanks again to Diane for putting everything together, and to NAIT’s Culinary Arts program for being such a great host!

You can take a look at Mack’s photoset here, and watch for the full video of tonight to be uploaded here. Other recaps: Cathy at Walsh Cooks, Twyla at It’s a Weird, Wild and Wonderful Life, Bruce at Moments in Digital, Maki at In My Element, Chris at Eating is the Hard Part and Valerie at A Canadian Foodie.

One-on-One with Chef Rob Feenie

Thanks to the Communications department at NAIT (and particularly to Diane Begin), I had the opportunity to sit down with Chef Rob Feenie last week during his whirlwind three days as the NAIT Culinary School of Hospitality’s first ever Chef in Residence. He will be back in the spring to open an Edmonton branch of Cactus Club Cafe in West Edmonton Mall around April 24.

I arrived about an hour and a half prior to our scheduled interview time, and was able to watch Chef Feenie conduct a few cooking demonstrations with a group of pastry students. In between starting recipes for an apple galette, white chocolate creme brulee, and ice cream, he actively sought out questions from students. In my opinion, it was rather unfortunate that Chef Feenie wasn’t able to choose the recipes he would create, as he made it clear it had been a few years since he had made ice cream. The NAIT instructional team behind him was great, and ensured, as on well-oiled cooking shows, that he had the needed ingredients and tools behind him, as well as finished products ready to dole out.

Putting the galette together


Most of the questions centered around his Iron Chef America win against Chef Morimoto, and Chef Feenie was more than happy to talk about his experience on the show. During his demo, however, he was clearly flustered, and continued to reference how much more stressful this was than his Iron Chef experience. Still, he was able to impart several nuggets of information to the rapt crowd in front of him – that the students must love cooking, the customer is always right, minimize wastage. Throughout the session as well, he mentioned the names of so many other chefs that it made my head spin – I hope the students knew who he was referring to.

Chef Feenie’s constant media circus

At the end of the demonstration, the students were given some apple galette and creme brulee to taste, and Chef Feenie made sure to point out the texture they were to look for. He also handed out $20 Cactus Club gift cards to all of the students, and offered to give any of them a tour of the kitchen if they were to drop by in April.

Handing out gift cards

As is standard for me, I recorded my interview with Chef Feenie. I thought about putting it together in a coherent article, but as the majority of my readers likely already know his backstory, I thought it better to let his words speak for themselves.

On competing with Edmonton’s chain-happy market:

“The effort that we put into Cactus the last few years has been great. If you look at our design – how our restaurants look, the food, the service, the vibe in our room, it’s not any one particular thing. In regards to how we see coming into this particular market, I know I don’t know Edmonton that well, but in regards to Cactus and what we do – we do what we do well, and people in Edmonton will be surprised and impressed. Our company is about giving a little bit of everything to everyone and creating a great experience. Don’t forget, the company has been around for over twenty years, and over the last twenty years there’s been a long time to think about who we are. We’re feeling really good about being here, and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t have come. We’re not coming with the sense of being overconfident, but we feel good about what we can offer.”

On the failure of Edmonton’s Cactus Club in the 90s:

“In that point in time, a lot happened really quickly. It’s a different thought process now. And the restaurants look completely different now. The restaurants we had ten, fifteen years ago – there’s no comparison. We’re hanging unbelievable artwork in our restaurants. Not just that – the decor looks different, it’s completely revamped in terms of where we were ten, fifteen years ago. A completely different look, completely different feel. For anyone who’s ever been [to the former Edmonton location], they will be shocked and will be in for a different treat.”

On the potential of sourcing ingredients locally:

“With us, when you look at the primary proteins – fish, meat – because of consistency, have to be sourced out through our big supplier. But having said that, yeah, for myself, obviously in our two Calgary locations, we sell a lot of meat. Here, we’ll have to wait and see and look at our sales. Richard [Jaffray, Cactus Club President and Founder] and I talked about this when I started – we’re definitely getting into a scenario where some of the stores may be promoting local product. Right now is obviously not the time of the year for produce [in Edmonton], but when the produce starts in the summer, I’ll be out checking out who’s there because it’s a big part of what I do and a big part of the people I work with in the test kitchen. For example, if there’s a tomato supplier in Edmonton that can supply me with tomatoes for a month, we might do something on the menu that will go on our feature sheet. It’s a big part of what we do and important for us.”

On food bloggers:

“The thing that I’ve loved about the evolution over the last few years of food and wine…something I was telling the students this morning or this afternoon – whether it’s an opinion or a comment about food – it’s subjective. Whether its bloggers or writers, everyone should understand that people have the right to their opinion and the right to talk. The importance of it is getting the voice out, and it’s the extended part of the media of any kind of city. Bloggers in some cases are just giving their two cents worth and sometimes you’ll have bloggers making comments that make more sense than some of the food writers. It’s important for everyone to have an opinion.” [And yes, Chef Feenie does read blogs, courtesy of a media company that supplies him with daily reports.]

On photography in restaurants:

“You’re not going to stop them. If you’re not going to stop them I don’t think you should worry about them. It doesn’t bother me. It’s one of those things you ask…but why, what are you going to do? Go home and copy it?”

On food trends:

“I don’t think anyone is going to look at their prices and downgrade their prices, but I think you are going to see people streamlining things and making menus that are a bit more approachable for people. I think you’re still going to see those high ticket items, but I think you’re not going to see as many of them – more mid-price range. It gets back to Cactus – this is what we do. We really offer a wide-range of products – I’d like to think that we are leading that.”

And an abridged Culinary Q & A –

What did you eat today?

“I ate here. Cioppino for lunch. Ice cream for dessert. Three pieces of my galette, which I shouldn’t have. Three little chunks. And tonight, we’re going to Hardware Grill.”

What do you never eat?

“Things that are moving before you put them in your mouth. There has been the odd things that I’ve had. I won’t be specific, but I eat what I’m familiar with, and what I’m not familiar with I try to avoid.”

Where have you dined out in Edmonton?

Sorrentino’s, which I thought was good; that was last time I was here. Hardware Grill tonight. I would imagine that between now and the end of April I will have gone to every single restaurant that I’ve been told to try out. I’ve been asking everyone to get an idea. I’ll definitely be getting to know the restaurants.”

Complete this sentence: In my fridge, you will always find:

“Wine. Mushrooms. Lettuces – romaine, red leaf, green leaf, iceberg – tomatoes, cucumbers. Free range eggs. We shop almost every day so we don’t keep a lot of stuff in there. That’s the bulk of what we keep, nothing overly exciting.”

What is your family’s favourite dish that you prepare?

“Carbonara and roast chicken.”

What is the one ingredient you cannot live without?

“Olive oil. Good for you – but only a tablespoon a day.”

My small photoset from the day is here. You can be sure that as soon as CCC opens, I’ll be there.