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Journalist. Food Writer. Producer.

Filtering by Tag: Have A Seat

Symphony In Blue

This week's episode of Assis Toi might as well be subtitled, In The Basement

That's where Lyndell Findlay, owner and cheesemaker from Blue Harbour Cheese plies her trade.

Since she launched her Urban Blue cheese, a gorgonzala-esque double cream blue cheese, Findlay has been amping up her production, as tasters and buyers seem to be following her wherever her cheese is sampled. She has been chronicled in The Globe and Mail, and is currently working on a few more cheese products which have yet to reach the market.

You can listen to the latest episode of Assis Toi by streaming it here, or downloading it here. I also invite you to Have A Seat with Lyndell, down below.

Park-ing it in Nova Scotia

This week’s episodes of Assis Toi and Have A Seat wouldn’t have happened without the help of social media. 

I was at the CBC working on an episode of Assis Toi, when I checked my Twitter feed. And this is what I saw:

I was a little confused... what was one of the biggest names in Canada's culinary world doing in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia?  So I tweeted at him, asking what he was doing in the province.

Turns out he has family in that area of southwestern Nova Scotia, and was paying a visit. He was really impressed by what he saw in the area and wanted to share things with people on his social media accounts. Things like this video of sword fishing that he posted to his Instagram account. 

Clockwise from top left: Park and Neil Patrick Harris, a selection from Park's restaurant, Park and his fellow judges on Chopped Canada, down at the wharf in Yarmouth, NS. All images from  Antonio Park's Instagram feed , which you should check out.

Clockwise from top left: Park and Neil Patrick Harris, a selection from Park's restaurant, Park and his fellow judges on Chopped Canada, down at the wharf in Yarmouth, NS. All images from Antonio Park's Instagram feed, which you should check out.

For those of you who don't know Antonio Park, here is the Coles Notes version: 

- He is the brains behind Park Resto and Lavanderia, two very successful restaurants in Montreal.

- He is of Korean heritage, raised in South America, came to Canada as a teen, and trained as a chef in Japan.

- He is a judge on Chopped Canada. 

- People go ape for his sushi. Especially celebrities.

- He brings in fish from Japan. But not just any fish. Fish that is, in layman's terms, acupunctured

I sent Park a message and asked him if I could interview him about his time here in Nova Scotia, and he happily agreed. You can listen to that interview in its Assis Toi version, by streaming or downloading it. Or check out Have A Seat for an extended interview with Antonio, where he tells me how his time with the men and women who work the waters in this region have changed the way he looks at fishing.

Through the aisles and into the kitchen

I'm always fascinated by the books that line people's shelves. But the ones I find the most interesting are their cookbooks.  I keep my cookbooks in plain view in my kitchen, so if I am standing at the counter, or looking into the refrigerator, I only have to cast my eyes slightly to the left for a little inspiration.

I learned to cook through cookbooks. Correction: I learned to cook through cookbooks I borrowed from my local library.  For the latest episode of Assis Toi, I tracked down the person responsible for many of the current selections that line many a shelf in the various libraries of Halifax, Kristina Parlee from Halifax Public Libraries.  Kristina is a food lover, and she and I have often suggested places to eat - and books to read - to each other. I also met up with Lindsay Cameron Wilson, a Halifax-based cookbook author, TV show host, recipe developper, mother, and much more. Lindsay also used to live in London, and for a time worked at the famous Books For Cooks store in Notting Hill.

In case you missed it when it was on the air this morning on your local CBC Radio station here in the Maritimes, you can stream it here, or download the podcast here. And don't forget to check out this week's episode of Have A Seat - where Kristina, Lindsay, and I continue our chat about all things culinary AND literary.

For those of you who were wondering about those titles mentioned in this week's episodes of Assis Toi and Have A Seat, here are some of the cookbooks - and their authors -  mentioned by Kristina, Lindsay, and myself. 

Hot Sour Salty Sweet, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. This is THE book that started it all for me as a writer, as a home cook, and as a lover of food writing. 

In Have A Seat, Kristina and I talked a little bit about japanese cookery, and she mentioned Japanese Farm Food, which looks wonderful. I mentioned that she should check out Kansha and Washokuby Elizabeth Andoh. I even did a piece for Assis Toi last year about Washoku, with the help of Ami Goto. 

Kristina mentioned that she came to understand indian cooking techniques thanks to Madhur Jaffrey. Jeffrey is essentially THE person to talk to if you want to learn about the intricacies of indian cookery.  She also suggests checking out some of the titles put out by America's Test Kitchen, and is also a big fan of The Flavour Bible. As for restaurant cookbooks, she was also instrumental in making sure that there are copies of Andy Ricker's Pok Pok cookbook. And for those of you who can't afford to buy a copy, you can always borrow the Noma cookbook. 

As for Lindsay Cameron Wilson, you can check out her cookbooks on her website. Wilson is also a fan of Skye Gingell's A Year In My Kitchen (a book that I also enjoy), but most importantly, she talks about Family Life by Elisabeth Luard.

Happy listening, reading, and cooking. 

Mas Tacos, Por Favor

Sometimes you experience something and you want to share that with as many as possible. That's how David Parks felt about the taco stands and cantinas that dot the streets in in Mexico City.  

La Catrina greets you over at La Cantina.

La Catrina greets you over at La Cantina.

That's why David Parks started La Cantina, a small taco stand that operates on the patio of Pat's Kitchen on Kaye Street in Halifax's Hydrostone district. The menu is small, but mighty, with two specials served every Tuesday and Thursday, weather permitting. 

In the latest episode of Assis Toi, David explains the nature of taco stands and cantina culture in Mexico City, all while doling out tasty tacos to his customers. You can stream the item here, or you can download the podcast here.

In the meantime,  have a listen to David explain the necessity of hand chopping your salsas, and the ubiquitousness of flor de jamaica/sorrel/hibiscus as a drink in Mexico and beyond in Have A Seat.