People have made many positive comments about the book Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup. I am really pleased when readers get inspired to try the recipes. Here are a few recent comments:

Still reading and enjoying the book so much! I just read about the borsch and the recipe looks soooo good! I’ll definitely make that this winter with family!

She brought love and cheer to so many!!! 💖💖💖

Loving reading it Jon and Twyla.

Dinner tonight - Green Chile Stew a la ChefGail Hall with homemade sopapillas and Mexican beer. Yum!

I made Matzo Ball Soup for the first time ever tonight -  legacy of Gail Hall! I have nothing to compare it to but I thought it turned out pretty well.

Many people think that Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup is a recipe book. The memoir does contain recipes but it also includes business insights. ChefGail operated two very successful businesses and worked in retail and for the government. She was a highly regarded business person and served on community boards and committees. Some of her business practices are highlighted in the book. If your business club would like to book a speaker in the new year, Jon Hall would be delighted to review some of the business practices in the book. Here is one of them.

#1 Live life as if everything is tilted in your direction  - Rumi, 13thcentury Persian poet

Very few people can recall Gail ever complaining. She got frustrated sometimes but immediately took a breath and moved on. She took daily missteps in stride and just got the job done. That level of commitment takes a lot of time and energy and Gail’s hands-on leadership style required her to be “on deck.” But as the company grew, Gail came to realize that she needed a vacation to “re-create”. However, like many entrepreneurs, Gail was plowing every dollar back into the company.

Gail loved to travel. She had been to Europe and toured western Canada with friends. We drove our VW camper around western Canada and into the Yukon and NWT. So we sat down and discussed how to build vacations and travel into her job. The answer was culinary tours. As you know, that became the backbone of her career with 35 trips in just 20 years. Her clients signed up for tour after tour and reveled in the immersive experience.

Culinary tourism may not be a part of your enterprise but there are many ways to take advantage of work experiences that will enrich your life and help you “re-create”. Attend conferences relevant to your business and stay over for a day or two after the event to play tourist. While on family travel take a side trip to visit a supplier or competitor. Stretch your imagination with a visit to an art gallery or museum; they often have days or evenings when admission is free. Host a visiting expert by offering them a bed, a meal, or just a drink. You’ll grow from the conversation and extend your range of influence. You may not see it at first but with just a little extra effort you’ll find that the world seems to be tilted in your direction.

We enter December on a high. Twyla Campbell and I are delighted with the sales of her first book, Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: the inspiring life of ChefGail Hall. With over 1000 copies available in the marketplace at bookstores, retail stores and on-line, the book made the Edmonton best seller list for three weeks. Without the support of a big-budget promotional program this is a real achievement.

Many people have eagerly read the book and several book clubs have taken it on as their discussion choice. The comments are all positive with even guys admitting that they had tears as they read it. It is an inspiring look at a life well-lived.

Our hope is that in January every friend, client or follower of ChefGail has two copies of the book: one that they bought themselves and a second copy they received from a thoughtful friend. If you have ten or more friends who should receive this book for Christmas you can get a discount by buying them through the website Orders will be delivered locally in a prompt manner. Requests from further afield will be mailed.

And cooks on your gift list will appreciate the accompanying recipe book. It contains all the recipes in the book (plus two extra) and is printed with a coil binding so it lays flat for use in the kitchen. Not available in stores you can order the recipe book at the on-line link.


If you enjoyed the recipes in ChefGail's memoir Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup, you might be looking for more. Another of ChefGail's recipes is posted on the website every Monday morning.

You can also scroll through previous posts to find something interesting for dinner. This week the recipe is Phyllo Strudel with Chicken, Smoked Bacon, Pine Nuts and Goat’s Cheese with sun-dried tomato sauce. Click on this link to review it.…ied-tomato-sauce/

Here are some suggestions for discussion topics for your book club. We would be interested in your comments and suggestions coming out of the discussion. E-mail them to me at

  Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: The inspiring life of Chef Gail Hall
Book Club Discussion Topics
1. Twyla wrote: (page 21) “The more Gay (Spiegel) revealed of the Silverberg family history, the more I began to understand that Gail’s career in the food industry shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone.” In the same way that Gail’s early life foreshadows her career as a chef and entrepreneur, are there any clues to your future career contained in your childhood memories?
2. What is your earliest food memory? Do you have any fond memories of favourite foods or events featuring food?
3. Twyla identifies three facets of Gail’s life in Parts 5 (as mentor/mentee, page 71), 7 (as friend, page 105) and 9 (as crusader, page 171). Were any of the facets surprising to you? Why or why not? Can you identify multiple roles and/or identities in your life?
4. Gail is remembered fondly by so many people. What part of her legacy is most precious/unique/inspiring to you? What do you want your legacy to be?
5. Which of Jon’s business Insights resonated most deeply with you? How are Gail’s values and ideals reflected in her business practices?
6. Which of the culinary tours described in Part 9 (page 139) do you wish you could have gone on? Why? What appeals to you the most about that style of travel?
7. Gail’s story is shaped by the places she inhabited: growing up in Toronto, moving to Alberta, travelling to many countries. How did these places shape her life and career? How has “place” been significant in your life journey?
8. Gail’s cooking classes and entertaining style demonstrated her advocacy of good food served in the presence of good friends (page 225). Has good food, shared with good friends enriched your life? How?
9. Gail had many valued friends and colleagues but shared a special relationship with the KTG (Part 7 page 105). What role did those women play in her life? What did Gail do to nurture their devotion/support/loyalty? Who are the people in your life that might play this role?
10. Gail maintained that she “lived with cancer” and “scheduled cancer into her life” so as to minimize the disruption to her busy life. On page 196, Twyla expresses that “a relationship with cancer is a solitary and user-specific one.” How does this compare with the way that you, or people in your circle, have dealt with serious illness?
11. As her career evolved, Gail became more passionate about local, healthy and sustainable food. How has (or might) her philosophy influence your food choices? Where can you find information locally about the causes Gail advocated?

Twyla Campbell is a freelance scribe who has been writing about food, drink and travel for 14 years. Her articles have appeared in local, national and international publications. Twyla’s knowledge and experience has made her a sought after panelist and culinary competition judge, and CBC Edmonton AM’s restaurant reviewer (since 2010). When she’s not writing, she’s exploring——by car, foot or mountain bike. She’s an urban dweller but a farm girl at heart with an unwavering commitment to champion those who produce good, honest, conscientiously raised food.

Twyla’s curiosity and writing served her well as a research writer for a law firm for a decade as she travelled throughout the Canadian Arctic interviewing residential school survivors for a class action law suit, and Inuit elders involved in forced relocations that took place in the 1930s-1950s. She also travelled to communities and into the jungles of Colombia, South America, to document stories of indigenous people in conflict with companies over the use of their land for mining purposes.

You can find her blogging at blog and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @wanderwoman10