Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Bi) Weekly Linkage! People's Food Policy, Wine and an App for Stratford

Ugh...so the last 2 weeks have been a little hectic/crappy as I've started a new job/been sick off and on.  Sick days in the restaurant industry are kind of frowned upon, despite the obvious and valid reasons why it's probably the one industry that you should never show up sick to work for.  Alas, tight profit margins lead to tight labour costs, which lead to cooks and servers working with the sniffles.  What it's meant for me is less blogging as, alas, I am not a professional blogger (despite the suggestions of some), and need to favour real-life commitments over the blog sometimes.  I'll definitely do my best to restore this to a weekly post over the next few weeks, apologies for missing last week.
Enough whining!  On to the links!

A question that likely wasn't asked on yesterday's Savour Stratford Industry Wine Tour: "Is there fish bladder in this wine?"  The answer is: "Probably not."  It is commonly used in the final stages of wine filtration though and Health Canada wants it to be listed as an ingredient.  The trouble is, they're stupid.  The reason for that is, none of the bladder (or egg-white or milk solids) used actually remains in the wine.  Think about a consomme, which chefs often use egg whites and other protein-rich items which collect the fat and other impurities at the top, allowing the clear consomme to be drained out the bottom of the pot using a spigot.  Same basic idea.  Health Canada is being paranoid.

 Ramps are almost done, but asparagus is here!  If you want to learn how to forage (likely not for asparagus), go here this weekend.

Have a million bucks?  Then you can buy this anonymous person's sweet wine collection.  (Sweet as in 'awesome', not 'sugary').

A mouth-watering recount of one man's dinner at Noma, the top restaurant in the world (according to San Pellegrino).

When religion and food collide: a Toronto Star article on a few chefs who create delicious food while conforming to some strict religious beliefs.  A very interesting read, regardless of your beliefs.

10 Things That You're Doing Wrong at Restaurants.  Adam Roberts speaks the truth!

I believe one of our fine chocolatiers and The Milky Whey should get together and do this.  Or something like it.

Have you ever heard of the People's Food Policy?  No?  That's a shame and you should read this.  Why?  To help us avoid things like this.  Skip down one screen after you click on the link and read their 'context', 'process' and 'proposal' sections.  Then go sign their pledge.

The James Beard Foundation Awards happened on Monday.  Jose Andres won outstanding U.S. chef.  Here are some cool clips of chefs being interviewed all Oscar-red-carpet-style.  There's something funny about chefs in fancy suits.  I don't know exactly what it is.  It doesn't seem natural, like if you patted them down, you'd unload a bunch of Sharpies, a thermometer, a peeler and some spoons (just in case they need to taste a sauce at the James Beard Buffet).

A STRATFORDIAN WAS INVOLVED IN A DOCUMENTARY THAT WON A JAMES BEARD AWARD.  Sorry.  Just wanted to make sure you kept reading.  Seriously though, the winner for Television Special/Documentary was called Milk War and was narrated by Stratford's own Colm Feore.  It's a film highlighting some of the controversies surrounding the Canadian government's regulation of locally produced foods.  Pretty darned cool.  (Tying into an earlier link: what's Health Canada's problem?)

Sticking with exciting local news: Stratford's Slow Food Market will be outdoors in the market square this summer.  Apparently there were some questions, but I think there is no question that this is a great idea to get people into the downtown and to enhance the sense of community in general.  Now, if only I could wake up before 2 on Sundays....

Last but not yeast: Stratford has an app!  It's called Visit Stratford and it's available on iTunes, totally free.  It has a handy GPS locator to help you find all the cool stuff in our fair city.

Bonus video just because, it's Anthony Bourdain talking about celebrity chefs:

As always, feel free to friend the chew on facebook, or follow on twitter (unless you're Steve Walters, he hates me).


  1. Thanks for another great post. As a strict vegetarian the process of wine preparation is as much of a concern to me as the actual content of the finished product. I appreciate that this information will be disclosed. If having fish bladder as a filter doesn't bother most wine drinkers than it shouldn't be a problem to put it on the label.

    I also hope that when I ask my server if the soup is vegetarian that they consider the process and not just the finished product.

  2. Thanks for the comment Catherine! You're right, that as a vegetarian, you should have the right to know what they use to filter wines (especially if it includes some of this stuff). The reason they are doing it, however, is for potential allergens, which really is not an issue (the residues are literally undetectable using commercial kits). What is probably going to happen is that wineries will be forced to switch to other substances (which might not be a bad thing), or be forced to cover their bottles in labels. I get frustrated a bit just because we already have (in my opinion) over-regulation of wine in Canada, and this just seems to be one more example of that. Furthering that, if you notice at the bottom of the article, they explain that beer is exempt from these allergen labels, despite beer being a significant risk to those with celiac disease. Seems kind of hypocritical to me.

  3. Good points! All of them! I would hate for this to deter people from drinking Canadian wine. This is a great site which lists veggie wine and beer selections: http://barnivore.com/wine?company[region]=Canada

    If a person has serious allergies to consider, they may not want to take the chance with the filtering process. Although, I do agree that a beer exemption, where the allergen is in the finished beer, should have a warning label!