A little bit about me:
I’m a chef, writer and educator and I admit; food was my life. My apprenticeship in the wonderful world of food began at the age of five when my mother let me cook with her. I have great memories of cooking and baking under her watchful eye: everything from homemade strudel dough to knishes, kugels, roast brisket, fabulous soups and the best chocolate marble cake. She could make something delicious out of nothing. Both parents worked and I was the youngest of three children (two older brothers). I learned early on that with both parents working, helping to make lunch and dinner was much appreciated and there’s nothing like that feeling of gratification when you get thanked for making good food. We had dinner on the table every night, both parents worked and convenience food didn’t exist back then. Why can’t two income parents can’t do it now?…..
It wasn’t until my mid-thirties when I realized that my career as a government consultant wasn’t as fulfilling as it could be. I always loved to cook and entertain and cooking was a way of relieving stress after work. My husband, Jon, helped me to understand that a career in food might be the direction I needed to find fulfillment. It took a bit of coaxing, but I did it. I quit my well-paying job and started Gourmet Goodies in 1985: a customized catering company in Edmonton that won many awards over its 18 years. At its height it employed 85 staff and grossed $3 million per year, operated a state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot production kitchen and retail-to-go store, as well as evening hands-on cooking classes. It was one of the top catering companies in Canada. If you’ve ever catered, imagine catering up to 50 functions per day; functions that could include food, dishes and staff. Yes, it was a lot of work and worth every sleepless night! Gourmet Goodies is still fondly remembered as one of the best catering companies in Edmonton.
In 2005, I started Seasoned Solutions, a company of one, which provides seasonally-inspired, hands-on cooking classes using local ingredients. Classes are offered to the public and are also available for private celebrations and corporate team-building. I also host culinary tours – something I started with Gourmet Goodies in 1997 as a way to travel with a culinary focus and take people with me to explore the culture of an area through its food. We discover food from the ground up: visits to farmers and producers, wineries and vineyards, markets, restaurants and cooking schools. Culinary tours have included: Santa Fe, Louisiana, Seattle, New York (twice), Italy, Sicily, the southwest of France, Greece and Turkey, New Zealand, Chicago, San Francisco, Argentina and Chile. In the fall of 2011, tours were scheduled to the south Okanagan in September and the Eastern Townships of Quebec in October. Tours in 2012 included Cambodia and Vietnam in March, Charleston and South Carolina in the fall. Scheduled tours in 2013 included Mexico in March and Piedmont and Burgundy in the fall but never took place. However, we did go to Turin for Slow Food’s Terra Madre. Local tours in Edmonton and Alberta were planned for the summers of 2013-16.
I also spoke at conferences and workshops on eating well and eating local; cook up a storm regularly on City TV and CTV in Edmonton and had a live weekly radio food column on CBC Edmonton AM.
For the full story of Gail's inspiring life read the memoir written by Twyla Campbell called Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup; The inspiring life go Chef Gail Hall.