The Tomato


Gastronomic happenings around town

at long last alta

Alta (10328 Jasper Avenue, 780-244- 3635, is now open. The core team is chef/owner Ben Staley, who started his career with Darcy Radies at the Blue Pear; chef de cuisine Spencer Croteau (Rge Rd, Little Brick); general manger Jillian Fonteyne, who is a graduate of the Royal Roads hotel management program and mixologist around town Natasha Trowsdale is the bar manager. “I’m looking forward to having the whole thing over, the doing stuff I’ve never done before,” says Ben, referring to the delays and construction challenges that plagued the space; “and getting back to cooking.” We’re looking forward to dining there. Preservation is the cornerstone of the menu—many of the dishes are designed around the products of last summer, freeze-dried, pickled, dehydrated and salted. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11-1am, no reservations. Its sibling, Alder, opens next door later this spring.

diners at ALTA with chef/owner Ben Staley (back to window)

Daniel Wood photo

feast on this

Feast: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip by Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller, Appetite by Random House, $35. One car, two friends, five months, 37,000 kilometers. The result? Over 100 truly Canadian recipes sourced from across the country including the Great White North. Feast has garnered recipes from over 80 contributors—farmers, chefs, grandmothers, First Nations elders, along with 25 recipes by the authors, from bannock to spot prawn ceviche: maple-braised pork belly to Haida Gwaii halibut. Armchair travel at its best, Feast tells a rollicking story of a large country from a culinary point of view. Meet Lindsay Anderson and Dana VanVeller at a book signing at Audrey’s, March 7.

Anderson/ VanVeller co-authored cookbook Feast

50 shades of grey

Oyster, a moody, colour of the winter ocean, subdued silvery grey is the newest Le Creuset shade to lust over. Inspired by, you guessed it, the inside of an oyster shell, the new colour is available across the line in cast iron, stoneware and all the accessories. If you were thinking of going grey now is the time. Available at the Pan Tree, Heart of the Home, Bella Casa and other fine housewares shops.

Le Creuset’s oyster shell-inspired cookware

live like massimo

One of the most memorable personalities in cuisine, Massimo Capra, is at the Edmonton Home and Garden Show (March 23-26). “You know what I like the most about doing a show like that?” he says. “I get to connect with people. They want to talk and I pick up little ideas and quirks. Because you can’t remember everything.” Something else chef Capra likes: “I love those sandwiches at the Italian Centre. We modeled our sandwich at the airport (Boccone Pronto at Pearson), a deconstructed mufaletta, after them. Ask them to toast it for you.” His newest project is Capra’s Kitchen, a casual restaurant located in an old bakery building in downtown Port Credit. “I couldn’t just stay home and develop recipes for the restaurants. I want to be in the kitchen and cook. I cook because I enjoy it. It makes me happy.”

Massimo Capra

branching out

Alison Phillips, the co-owner of Aligra Wine & Spirits has the travel bug. The former travel agent has dived back into the business as a travel consultant with The Travel Agent Next Door. “My goal is to manage our wine groups and offer this to others in the liquor industry, as well as help people realize their exotic travel dreams,” says Alison. Her latest travel adventure will be the Viking River Cruise Portugal’s River of Gold, June 15-24.

Alison Phillips

manage your events

The NAIT event management program offers several courses for working event management professionals. “People in the field want to learn new strategies, harness new developments and get up to date with technology,” says Nancy Milkovic, program manager. “The courses are part of the event management professional development certificate but can be taken individually as well.” The Technology for Event Administrators weekend course o ers hands-on training in new software and apps for events. Top Creative Concepts offers a way to problem solve using creative thinking. If you plan events or want to learn more about the courses, visit

NAIT tablescape
NAIT photo

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