A Foodie’s Serendipitous Life

November27

The last 24 hours have been a long, winding strand of spaghetti.

The first time I ever ate a fresh oyster was when a friend and co-worker (actually my boss at that time) taught me the fine art on a Saturday afternoon at the Norwood Hotel here in Winnipeg. Now this was some 30 years ago so imagine my surprize when I went to create the link to the hotel above to see that Seafood Saturdays are still going on (from September to June) at the hotel dining room.

My instructor that afternoon was an oyster aficionado, showing me how to douse it with various sauces (my favourite being lemon and Worcestershire), how to cup the shell in your hand, how to tip it into your mouth but first tilting your head back slightly, so as to open the back of your throat.  I have enjoyed many an oyster, ever since.  My oyster mentor was Doug Stephen creator of Wow! Hospitality and many wonderful Winnipeg restaurant institutions.

Last evening, he greeted us at the door of Terrace in the Park in his robust manner.  Together with Chef Simon, the story unfolded that WOW! believes that the city needs a fish and seafood house and that the beautiful atrium which holds the restaurant formerly called Terrace 55, is just the place.  When the room was filled with invited guests who are friends and suppliers of WOW!, sipping on fine wines and sampling little tastes from the new menu, the room was literally vibrating with warmth and enthusiasm.  If last night was any indication, the concept will be a resounding success.

I limited myself to a single glass of wine because I knew that I had to get up very early this morning to work as a food stylist for The Best of Bridge Slowcooker Cookbook tour.  The publicist is a fellow that I have know even long than WOW!’s Doug, having met Rorie over 35 years ago when we both worked in the book department at Eaton’s.  Ron Robinson (of McNally Robinson fame), another “bookie”, worked there as well.  Years later when I was full time at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar, Rorie and his bride Sally asked The Keg to cater their wedding reception (not something they were asked very often) as they had sentimentally enjoyed many favourites from the appetizer menu together.  (Gord Howard, the owner of the Winnipeg Kegs was at the reception last evening too).

Sally Vaughan Johnston, who is the cookbook author, has been touring Canada to promote the book and when she and Rorie were chatting (as I put together the food set) they found that Sally’s stylist in Regina was a Chef by the name of CJ Katz who I will be food styling for next week when she starts her tour for the cookbook entitled Taste-Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table.  If she were to include Edmonton on that tour, Sally would style for her!

Shortly, I will head out the door to meet Sally and Rorie again, this time at the Prairie Ink Restaurant at McNally Robinson Booksellers (there, it is happening again!)  I have had a long and lovely career in the restaurant and food business and in the last 24 hours I can see so clearly how it is all woven together into a never-ending loop.  I love my work and my life as a foodie.

Kath’s quote: “Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table.”
Charles Pierre Monselet

Love-that is all.


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