I was invited to this meal as a guest – and there’s no question it was expertly prepared by NAIT Culinary Arts students, under guidance of super-celeb-chef Susur Lee. Others have covered the lovely lunch experience here, here, and I’m sure elsewhere.
What’s interesting here to me is that the lobster wasn’t from here [clearly, we’re roughly 5000km from the Atlantic], nor the goat cheese [our local artisan producer should forgive them this time], and even the lamb was from New Zealand, which I’m sure hurts the feelings of local lamb producers [and carbon-footprint-trackers]. The dessert was a lovely visit to tropical islands – 5000km+ the opposite direction from the lobster. I know. I’m hardcore about my local food. The 8500km stretch between first course and last was hard to get my head around. What can I say, I don’t get out much.
Given the title of the post and content thusfar, you may think I’m being facetious, but I’m not. The point here is that a few days later I received an email from the cooking school, asking if I would consult, speak, and otherwise work with them as an ‘expert’ in local food. They have a mandate to source more local ingredients for their demos and menus. Fantastic. I’m meeting with them in a few days to see how I can help. I’m proud that our local culinary school has the gumption to challenge conventional institutional buying practices in an effort to embrace local foods. Good on them. May other large organizations follow their lead.