Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Pop Up Chef’s Table hosted by Chef Rob at Winnipeg’s New “Kitchen Sync”


Our foodie family had watched the transformation of a downtown lower level space with interest when we had heard that a brand new concept was arriving in Winnipeg dubbed Kitchen Sync. We were interested for a variety of reasons including Sister #3’s as she is always on the lookout for space to conduct her Zest Cooking Solutions events.


I was blown away when I stepped inside the restored space!


The plastered walls had been chiselled back to the natural foundation and original beams were treated to shine anew.


The commercial kitchen space is a dream come true. The space can be booked for events large and small. I hope that Sheila, my new Facebook friend, won’t mind my sharing all those details through this link so I can get on to describe our amazing culinary evening.

Since Winnipeg put restaurant pop ups on the international map with Raw Almond, I for one am happy to see the pop up craze expanded with a Chef’s Table concept. Chef Rob, known to most Winnipeggers, was the guest chef. Private Chef and world traveller, Chef Rob had recently spent a month of cooking and noshing in South America. He had a bevy of dishes and stories to share with us that evening. Included was the tale of dining at Astrid Y Gaston on a 17 course wine pairing dinner, which Rob simply stated was “the best dinner of my life!”

The extended group of friends of Rob, Sheila and her boyfriend John (whom I know from another career) and an entire book club were assembled around the chef’s table. Of the many things I learned that evening was this: book clubs are just as much about the wine and food as they are about reading! Who knew? I gotta join one.

We started the evening with a welcome cocktail, reminiscent of the ones that I enjoyed when I used to travel to Cuba, many years ago. Called a “caipirinka” it was sweet and tart at the same time, made from a fine Brazilian rum.


Ceviche, a dish I love from time spent in the Yucatan is said to have been “invented” by the Peruvians. In this case, snapper was skilfully marinated in leche de tigre, (Sister #3 shared her Spanish speaking skills and whispered  “tiger’s milk” to me), lime juice, rocoto pepper, cilantro and chopped red onion. To scoop up the fare we shared yucca chips (called cassava in Brasil) and a delightful flat fritter made by frying a green plantain, smashing it and frying it again.

Glasses of Argentinean Torentes Riesling, a Leyda Reserva Carminere and  a refreshing water of watermelon and mint were continually topped up by Sheila and John, who were amazing hosts.


Collard greens adorned crispy pork belly perched atop Feijoda-a black bean stew. Not typically fond of beans, I LOVED this dish!


Chef Rob explained that Peruvian food melds the cuisines of the Chinese, Japanese and the Inca and suggested that we focus on trying to detect these influences in the next course:


Loma Saltado, a beef stir fry served over hand cut French fries! Heaven, I’m in heaven……


Not “needing” dessert but happy to indulge, we watched Rob assemble caramelized bananas served with a coconut dolce de leche, a flourless chocolate/chili cake with shards of white chocolate. Every taste was so good; I even ate the pansy garnish!

Chef Rob made a statement over the course of the evening, that I found particularly profound and I think can be used to describe many aspects of life: “the best food comes from poverty”. Thinking back to my Polish Grandma’s suppers of prune dumplings with melted butter and cinnamon sugar, I am confident that Chef Rob is correct. Think too of tough times that you have walked through and the sweet blessings that came as a result…

The evening was an absolute treat and I understand that they are planning another pop up very soon-June 25th to be exact, check out details here:


Sister #3 and I predict that Sheila’s concept will do very well and that Chef Rob is going places. Actually, he has already gone places…

Kath’s quote: “Any healthy man can go without food for two days — but not without poetry.” –Charles Baudelaire, French poet (1821-1867)


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Today I am 60-Part 4


The decade stretching between 40 and 50 was a busy time of keeping up with school lunches, suppers on the run, swimming lessons, bocce practices and tournaments (travelling to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver on numerous occasions with Beep), soccer games, gymnastics and dance. Both J1 and Boo fell in love with dance. By this time I had ventured into my second career in the advertising business and D had taught high school, did private consulting, ran a huge cafeteria and catering business, finally following his sense of social justice as Operations Manager at Winnipeg Harvest. D and I renewed our wedding vows on the eve of the new millennium. He had blessed me the year prior with a trip to Israel and Jordan. We were able to afford another little piece of real estate-the beach house on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, just north of my precious Grand Beach. This could only have been accomplished with the help of Sister #2 and her husband. There were nine of us and two big dogs in a 500 square foot cabin. During the glorious summers we raised our kids as one family and loved our beach times, bonfires and brunches on the deck. Joy though was tainted with sorrow again, as D had lost his Dad the decade prior and then my gentle Daddy died as well.

This past decade has been the sweetest yet. We welcomed three new family members: J2 who we had known and loved for years married J1 and then gave birth to the Wee One two years ago. The Frenchman wed Boo this past fall. All three kids pursued secondary education: J1 receiving his Brewing credentials, Boo her honours degree in International Studies and Beep her BA in Creative Writing and Literature. She is currently back at university for her Masters degree in Disability Studies.

I opened my own media consulting business and have focused on teaching. I have trained myself to blog and have venture into many other social media realms. I have found pleasure in writing and am surprised that I am actually being paid to do so. I love my long time media acquaintances as well as my new blogging friends.

D and I are traveling more often visiting New Orleans, New York (both on our bucket list), Ireland and Italy (Sicily, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre), Nice and Paris for our 25th wedding anniversary. Isla Mujeres was discovered by my two sisters and I and now all my siblings and our kids and spouses have been smitten too. Even the Wee One has visited. But sorrow entered in again when one of my devoted older brothers died at a too young age.

Our wee house is now the perfect size and D and I love cooking together, fixing simple nutritious meals, sharing coffee and the newspaper on Saturday mornings or a glass of wine at the end of our day. The kids join us every Sunday evening for dinner (mandatory) and we love to be invited to their beautiful homes for special occasions. We love the beach house which has recently become ours alone. We love to watch Jets games (especially live), watch our reality shows and dramas on Netflix. We love to entertain and spend time over long dinners with good friends. This October we return to Italy, this time Tuscany and I am dreaming of the rolling country side and the exquisite light (not to mention the wine and FOOD)!

And so it is that I am 60.  I am healthy, active, stimulated, busy, content and still madly in love with my husband of over 30 years. My life is good.



Today I am 60-Part 3


My next decade between 20 and 30, I finished my degree and took off on a European vacation with Melinda, her Mom and my roommate Steph who I met at my second job. In six weeks I visited London, Greece, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France with a side trip to Majorca, Spain thrown in for good measure.

That second job mentioned above was as the Assistant Studio Programs Co-ordinator at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. My love of the arts took me more behind the scenes in arts administration as I was pretty disillusioned about the lifestyle of an actress. I really enjoyed the artists that I got to work alongside, but my real love was actually the hospitality business. I had been offered a position as a Marketing Co-ordinator at The Keg because they were opening second (and then a third and fourth) Winnipeg location. At this time, I was smitten by a different travel bug. This one was called “the winter vacation” and I journeyed to Varadero Beach in Cuba on a number of occasions.

We worked hard and partied hard and these were pretty crazy and wonderful days. But, more and more of my friends were getting married and I decided that my wild oats were successfully sown. Finding my true love turned out to be a difficult task as I was looking for love in all the wrong places, as the song goes. Right under my nose was another of my good friends. D as he is called in this space was younger than me and off studying Hospitality and Tourism at Ryerson University in Toronto. “He couldn’t possibly be the ONE, could he”? I remember asking myself. At 29, D and I wed (he was 22). We had a beautiful little wedding reception at Brandy’s night club where we and so many of our restaurant friends had spent many happy hours.

We headed east for our honeymoon, as D had the urge to travel, as strong as I, experiencing Quebec City, Rockport, Maine, Boston, Rhode Island, Vermount and Montreal with extended time wedged in between at Cape Cod. I had already suspected and then known absolutely that I was my happiest, walking a beach. But our travelling days were put on hold for a number of years. By this time, D and I had moved to a gorgeous town house in St. James near The Keg where he was General Manager.

Beep as she is called here was born 10 months after we were married, with J1 coming along 2 years later. Boo arrived four years after that. Some say upon the arrival of babies that our “joy was complete”. There was joy all right, but despair and sadness too, as Beep suffered a catastrophic illness at age five.

D had entered into a partnership and owned and operated a number of family style restaurants. I took an extended leave from The Keg (they were so kind and gracious to me) and then everything turned upside down and I was laid off. At that time I was the Regional Marketing Director for Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Chicago. I loved my work but took a couple of years to be home with my little ones. We moved from our big old home in Wolseley, which no longer worked for Beep and moved to our present house in River Heights. Considerable smaller, we somehow made it work with five of us and an enormous dog. We did manage to travel just a bit with a trip to The Big Island in Hawaii and two to Cozumel. I was definitely smitten by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

To be continued……


Boston’s Freedom Trail



This morning a friend on Facebook indicated that he was on his way to Boston. I did a search here to note some restaurant highlights for him and I noticed that I still have not published this post. The day was our 30th wedding anniversary and for reasons known to my immediate circle, I am having trouble writing the narrative for this day. As a result, I have just now decided to make this post a pictorial essay-beginning of course with a Starbuck’s (in front of Paul Revere’s home)!


















Today I am 60-Part 2


So much happened between 10 and 20 as is the case with many of us. I attended John Henderson for junior high and Miles Macdonnell for high school. I still LOVED school, especially the addition of Home Economics to my class load.  I ran for school president in junior high and lost to my best friend Lynne McCarthy. Her dad worked for Cadbury’s and I comforted myself by concluding that she rallied so many volunteers to get her elected by serving them all chocolate bars at their house. I remember junior high as an emotional and mixed up time (hormones?). I got one vote for sure, from Gord Howard. Still my friend today.

During this time, my Dad had been transferred to Brandon and would live there during the week and come home on the weekends. It was a tough time for my Mom because even though my two eldest brothers had married and left home, there were four of us who needed to be driven to hockey practices, swimming lessons, dance classes, etc. etc.  We spent summers at Nutimik Lake which I wasn’t as fond of as my beloved Grand Beach and so I immersed myself in books again-this time Harlequin Romances!

By high school I had discovered the “the-a-tre” and spent much of my free time, at the theatre school that was affiliated with the Manitoba Theatre Centre. We were housed in an old warehouse across the street from MTC and my instructor was the handsome and talented Colin Jackson who I had a mad, mad crush on. This led in a circuitous way to  landing my first job-as a performer on a national kids tv show on the CBC entitled “Drop In”. I was permitted by the school administration to miss a lot of days of school to host the TV show. When my high school chemistry teacher would not permit me to be tutored as did my math teacher, I had to make a life-changing decision and was forced to give up my dream of becoming a Home Economist who hosted cooking shows on TV. Instead, I enrolled in the Dramatic Arts degree program at U of W.  That is where, when we were both 19 years old, I met my bestie Melinda (the friend that is flying in to celebrate with me). We were both theatre geeks and hit it off like wildfire.

The family couldn’t resist the pull of Lake Winnipeg and we again spent summers at Grand Beach. I also caught the travel bug after traveling to Halifax on a student exchange program in grade 11. Having some disposable income and being confident enough to fly on student standby tickets, I visited Halifax again in addition to Ottawa twice, Toronto and Vancouver.

Since the longing to travel hit me hard and by this time I was sharing a vintage downtown apartment near the U of W, I took a chance on a part time job at a new restaurant that was opening up in town. Called The Keg ‘n Cleaver, I was one of the hostesses the evening that the doors opened (40 years ago this week) and took the names of people lined up down the block. As you likely know, my tenure with The Keg Steakhouse + Bar (which it was eventually renamed) continues until this day.

To be continued…

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