Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Women of SPOON dish it out right
This was SPOON. A gathering of some of the most talented women in the Ottawa food biz: restauranteurs, caterers, bakers and farmers, all together for an energized Tuesday night out at Side Door Restaurant. (Those delicious tidbits above were done by Kate Klenavic from Whalesbone Catering, Gabrielle Sexton from L'Ardoise,and the 3GreekSisters, respectively.)
It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to bend the ears of those working behind the culinary scenes, to hear about how so many of them left life as they knew it to follow a dream, or who were blessed from day one with a destiny to cook. As upscale as the event was, the women themselves were down-to-earth and eager to tell their stories.
There was Julie Broczkowski, proprietor of The Magic Fridge, who turned getting laid off into a launching pad for a brilliant idea: a personal chef service even the kids will love. Julie goes to her clients' homes, whips up two weeks' worth of meals, and tucks everything into the fridge and freezer. Cleans up after herself, too. Speaking as a working mom burnt out from the madness of the Evening Routine, I think I need to seriously consider this ...
Across the room was Barbara Schaefer. For years, she worked for various environmental causes, but at the policy-and-research level, where the intangible fruits of her labour didn't quite fill the need for something more hands-on. Now, she's elbow-deep in farming, with her 300-strong herd of heritage black pigs at Upper Canada Heritage Meat in high demand by local restaurants. These rare breeds cavort outdoors, eat like kings and don't have an ounce of hormones, steroids or antibiotics in them. No wonder they're so tasty ...
Natasha Kyssa was once an international model, living on bad coffee, worse food and patchy stretches of sleep. At the tipping point, she went vegan, turned her entire sense of being on its head and started the SimplyRaw movement. I was intrigued by the concept, and amazed at the samples she had on hand, like the "cheese" that was made from cashews. Utterly reDONKulous, it was so good!
The food was fabulous, across the board. No shortage of sweets, either: salted caramel doughnuts from SuzyQ; macarons of every imaginable flavour courtesy of Geek Sweets; Koko Chocolates (indeed, they are truly "what happiness tastes like"), The Cake Whisperer, Fultons Maple Products ... oh my. (Insert Twitter hashtag here: theregoesmydiet)
The one downside to this fab evening was the wine: Contarini Valsecco (Veneto, Italy) at the door, Cono Sur (Chile) viognier and pinot noir at the bar. A pretty good quaff, but where's the local stuff? I heard Roselyn Dyck of Cattail Creek Estate Wines had signed up to do the honours, but backed out at the last minute due to a scheduling conflict.
Pity they couldn't find a replacement. I think it would have been great to have the likes of Sue Anne Staff, Deborah Paskus or Lydia Tomek join in the fun (even if they aren't Ottawa-based.) Still, thumbs up to Catherine Landry for SPOON's successful launch; looking forward to next year's all-grrrl "garden to glamour" gathering.