Blind Tastings – Chefs Up Close at EAT! Vancouver: Lynn Crawford

Continuing my love affair with some of my favourite chefs at last week’s EAT! Vancouver, I thought I’d feature one of the most popular celebrities of the weekend – Chef Lynn Crawford, world-renowned chef, author and star of Pitchin’ In.

She was a joy to shoot – funny, spontaneous and very giving. I think she’d get a bit of an #EyeOpener seeing these pics. I hope she does.



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Blind Tastings – Chefs Up Close at EAT! Vancouver: Chuck Hughes

I love Food Network. That’s partly because I don’t have a talent for cooking – Dave was the family chef for sure. But I also love chefs. I admire their creativity, their passion, and their zest for life that shines through the food they produce for us to enjoy.

When I got the opportunity to attend this year’s EAT! Vancouver Food and Cooking Festival a week ago, I was determined to capture some of my favourite chefs in action – and I must say, I did!

Here’s your #EyeOpener for the day, folks – forget your typical head and shoulders shots – these are living, breathing, funny, human people under those chef’s jackets. And that’s how I’ll remember them.

First, Chuck Hughes, Iron Chef America winner, and host of such popular programs as Chuck’s Day Off, and Chuck’s Week Off.

More chefs to come…





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Blind Tastings – Still Life with Food at EAT! Vancouver

I adore food and the talented chefs who create magic with it. I also love wine and spirits and the mystery of cocktails, though I’m not an expert. I was fortunate to be invited to attend this year’s EAT! Vancouver show this past weekend and had an amazing time!

This is the first of several Blind Tastings posts that will showcase my unique experience. I hope you enjoy them.

First, food as art. It may be an #EyeOpener to you, but despite my extremely limited vision, I am very visual!

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Blind Tastings – It’s Not Always About Food. It’s About Comfort

Just a thought prompted by a conversation I had with a lovely friend a few days ago…

A restaurant can be so much more than a place to eat a favourite dish, or grab a few drinks with friends. It can be a sanctuary, a refuge, a source of warmth.

Three and a half years ago, my husband Dave was very ill in hospital with heart and kidney failure. Everyone, except he, knew he would’t make it this time. And every day, I was there, for five months. And every evening, tired, drained, I would stop by one of my Yaletown haunts to grab a little something to eat before I went home to the cats and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

I had three favourites – Hapa Izakaya, where I could satisfy my nigiri fix when I felt the need to eat extra healthy; Cactus Club, where I could sit in one of their cosy little booths in the back and silently cry and no one would notice; and Society, where the staff treated me so kindly, they would stealthily take my dinner off my bill and I’d only pay for my wine. They all gave me solace when I needed it most – and I never really thanked them, or acknowledged their kindness. I regret that.

I remember one night so vividly. It had been one of those hard days, when nothing went right, nothing was good and everything looked grim. I was so tired, so sad, that all I wanted to do was grab a bite and go home. I slipped into Hapa, was greeted warmly, and ordered a light meal. It didn’t take me long to notice that the young man sitting beside me was ordering some interesting dishes.

Naturally, I thought he must have been a food writer (I know a few!). But when I asked him, he laughed and said no. He just knew the chef and was a kind of guinea pig. Then he asked me if I lived in the area and if this was one of my local places. So, I told him that this was one of my go-to places on the way home.

He was still well into his meal when I finished, so I said good night and called for my bill. And he laid his hand on mine, and told me to go home. He was taking care of the bill.

I almost fell to the ground in gratitude. And I hugged him, in tears. I’ve never forgotten.

Why is this memory so strong this week? Because I’ve again been blessed with kindness from a variety of people, and again, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

I think we forget sometimes how fantastic humans can be to each other.

Let’s not forget.

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Blind Tastings – Finger Lickin’ Goodness at Earls Yaletown

“Some 30 years ago, Leroy Earl Fuller and his son Stanley Earl Fuller had a simple idea: a laid-back burger & beer joint. When the restaurant started, there was no question about what the name would be. It had to be called Earls.”

Until I read the history of Earls Kitchen and Bar, I had no idea how this iconic chain got its start. And, until this week, I hadn’t eaten dinner at an Earls, ever. Well, that will change. I’ll be going back for the food, the atmosphere and the service. And for another reason, which I’ll save for the end…

So, what drew me to Earls on a pleasant spring evening? Ribs. Succulent ribs. Intriguing cocktails. All part of Earls’ #ThisCallsForRibs promotion.


And a wonderful group of people brought together by Host Extraordinaire Marc Smith.


My dining companions also included Dianne ChowMary SheridanBrian Webb, Adrian and Jeremy AKA The Food Gays, Christa Leigh and the awesome Cate Simpson of Earls.

Cate introduced us to the cocktail of the evening – the Mad Hatter. The presentation was fantastic and would have been a perfect addition at Alice’s Tea Party, with a warm vodka-based brew poured out of individual smoking teapots. It was delicious! (And I’m not a cocktail drinker.)



And as for the main course…what do YOU think??

CAB_5433A full rack of pork ribs, meaty, tender, just the right combination of sweet and heat, served with some of the best cole slaw and warm potato salad I’ve had in ages. And I love eating with my hands!


And until June 17, you can get this delicious meal for $25. An extra $4 will get you an Alexander Keith’s IPA.

Normally after a feast like this I don’t even have the capacity to even THINK of dessert. But I did take a piece of Key Lime pie home and had it for breakfast the next day:-)

We all obviously had a ball. Thanks to Marc and to Cate – and to Megan, our awesome server.






There’s another, important reason I’ll go back to Earls. When I was looking at their web site, I came across something that made me very happy. An #EyeOpener for sure.

Earls posts its own Guest Accessibility Policy.

How can you not love an establishment that uses words like ‘dignity’ and ‘independence’ when talking about disabled people? We don’t hear them often enough. Thank you, Earls.