Articles

Gail and her husband Jon travelled extensively, sampled various types of local cuisine, and documented the experiences along the way. We are pleased to share the personal thoughts and insights of one of the culinary world’s leading minds.

Categories

ChefGail Fund to preserve Gail Hall's legacy

Gail Hall was idolized by the Edmonton food, theatre and educational communities. Her passing on Nov 16, 2016 was deeply felt by her many friends, students, tour participants, and people who knew her through her television and radio appearances. To preserve her legacy and to extend her work with young chefs, a memorial fund has been established […]

Read More
Memorial Service for Chef Gail Hall

Gail (65) passed away peacefully from complications in her lungs resulting from breast cancer. The staff and doctors at the Cross Cancer Institute cared for her gently to the very end. A Red Seal chef, Gail Hall was an award-winning caterer, broadcaster, food writer, educator, cooking school owner and international culinary tour guide. She operated Gourmet […]

Read More
CHANGE Adventure Camp

Exciting Food News: CHANGE Adventure Camp Chef Gail Hall knew how important good food and active outdoor recreation activities are for a healthy lifestyle. Education of what you eat and your health is a growing concern, especially now that statistics show that no longer is 50% of the Canadian population overweight and/or obese. Current reports […]

Read More
Charleston voted top destination in the world!

Just back from hosting my 18th culinary tour -- this time to Charleston SC., October 11 to 15, 2012 and thrilled to read that it's been voted the top destination in the world by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. It's easy to see why this city is rated so highly. Its history is so diverse, the […]

Read More
Loft Hits the Press — Edmonton Journal Homes Section July 7, 2012

Check out Gail and Jon's loft in the Edmonton Journal.

Read More
Excellent Mojito at the Hard Rock Cafe

Las Vegas may be the stupidest town in America. Nothing is real and every public location wants to be a representation of some other place. You can be in Paris and step across the street into New York or Hollywood. Down the street is Egypt and Venice and ancient Rome. Yet there is history here: […]

Read More
Was I Really Away?!?!?

I look at the calendar and shake my head. Did Jon and I return from our eight week westfalia journey at the end of May? Was I really away? I must have been, because I'm into my third week of being back and I feel like I'm still on vacation. You know, that state of […]

Read More
Comfort food on rainy days

May 23, 24, 25 and 26 It’s been raining solid for the past two days. We stay overnight in Shelby, Montana. Not much to report, but we’re impressed with the tourist information centre. Of all the stops we had at tourist information centres (and there were many), this was the only one that gave us […]

Read More
Doing what's necessary to get by

In Montana there are less than one million residents. Considering the area of the state, that works out to be just 6.2 people per square mile on average. As you can imagine people are not evenly distributed around the state; they tend to clump up in the bigger cities like Helena and Twin Falls. That […]

Read More
The Reuben is a hit at the Corner Store Deli in White Sulphur Springs Montana

We arrived at the Connestoga campground yesterday and today we’re headed into town on our bicycles to do an historic tour. A highlight is the stone castle built by BR Sherman in the early 1890s of sandstone from the nearby Castle Mountain slopes. The house is now a museum, stocked with items of the era […]

Read More
Great Burgers in Jackson Hole Wyoming

The rain has caused havoc with highway travel and we finally get to Jackson Hole after a major diversion due to a mud slide. Jackson Hole is a western town indeed with a history of cowboys and gunslingers (Butch Cassidy passed through these parts). We stop in at the Wort Hotel for a bite to […]

Read More
Stranded in Ogden, Utah

For any of you readers out there who have gone on a vacation in your own vehicle and have had vehicle problems, you’ll be able to relate to this day’s tale of woe. We’ve had a few problems with our 1986 VW Vanagan on this trip and luckily, we’ve landed in cities were there are […]

Read More
It's a first for me -- biscuits and gravy!

We depart Vegas on May 17 and head north overnighting in an RV campground in Beaver Utah (at over 6,000 ft above sea level). It's late and we're hungry, so I fix up a quinoa jambolaya -- not bad for a one pot camping dish. How can you go wrong with lots of sauteed onions, […]

Read More
There’s nothing I want at an Outlet Mall

Gail and I have visited half a dozen outlet malls in our travels through two provinces and six states. The only outlet I’ve seen that was of even remote interest to me was the Bose sound system store. Oh sure, I’ve picked up some shoes, pants, socks and shirts but that’s out of necessity not […]

Read More
Local strawberries are on their way

My favourite strawberries are locally grown ones. Their flavour and richness just doesn't compare to the store bought ones that are so large, white and flavourless. Once you taste a local strawberry (at room temperature preferably), there's no turning back. Yes, you have to wait each year until they are available to truly appreciate what […]

Read More
Excellent Mojito at the Hard Rock Café

Las Vegas may be the stupidest town in America. Nothing is real and every public location wants to be a representation of some other place. You can be in Paris and step across the street into New York or Hollywood. Down the street is Egypt and Venice and ancient Rome. Yet there is history here: […]

Read More
A Stunning View of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam

Yes, even a blog about food can sometimes substitute gorgeous scenery for gorgeous food and so it is for today. Jon and I flew out on a 19-seater de Havilland plane for a tour of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. Once I got over my nervousness, I let the scenery take over and it […]

Read More
To Vegas – for the food and entertainment (forget the casinos)

We arrive – I’ve been here before for a special events conference and this is Jon’s first experience with Las Vegas. We first find excellent RV accommodations at the Oasis RV campground at the south end of Las Vegas Blvd (complete with 2 pools!) and then we head into to town. We walk the strip […]

Read More
To Las Vegas – but first an overnight in Barstow!

Hmm…let me just talk about the food, as this is a US town that has seen better economic times. It’s really not, so rather than camp at a very questionable campground, we settle for a Motel 6 – with air conditioning. Remember, it’s hot….at the recommendation of the front desk, at the Motel 6, we […]

Read More
Santa Barbara – I really like it here!

We leave Hollywood and drive up the coastal highway heading to Santa Barbara. At Oxnard, the scenery changes from water and coast to inland agriculture. Strawberry fields forever! Here are some pics to give you an idea of what we drove through (I see a culinary tour to these parts...): Santa Barbara is a coastal […]

Read More
Where are those Hollywood Stars?

Must get to Hollywood to see the stars! But where are they? Hollywood Blvd. is not what I was expecting. It’s run down, seedy and pretty depressing. We did go to Graumann’s Chinese Theatre to see the where the stars have left their names and handprints or footprints forever cast in cement. We also walked […]

Read More
Snapshots of the past week or OMG I forgot I’ve got a daily blog to write!

One of the problems of being on vacation and keeping a daily blog going, is staying ‘on vacation’ while keeping a blog going. It has become work. So forgive me if there hasn’t been any news for the past week – I got caught up on vacation. I’ll make up for it now with some […]

Read More
A day of luxuriating by the pool, going to Billy Elliot the musical, and of course, eating

I could easily get used to the life of the rich and famous…. a day at the hotel, exercise room, pool and a theatre engagement at night – we splurge and buy tickets to see Broadway Across America’s Billy Elliot, the Musical, at ASU’s Gammage theatre. The theatre’s stage is smaller than the Jubilee’s, with […]

Read More
The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

Yes, that probably caught your attention. It’s because of a must stop at Shields Date Gardens (corner of hwy 111 and Jefferson) for a date milk shake – yes, a vanilla milk shake made with date crystals (small dried date pieces). Known for their cultivation of dates, the Shields started in 1929 and produced 119 […]

Read More
You Choose: Overnight in a VW Camper Van or the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Okay, so we pass up the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess….just kidding. I want to look up Chef Patrick Turcot, who is the Executive Chef of this magnificent resort. Chef Turcot was at the Hotel Macdonald and Jasper Park Lodge before coming here. Chef takes us on a tour of this sprawling campus style southwestern property – […]

Read More
Gail and Jon discover all things desert and conduct research for the culinary tour to Mexico along the way

We arrived in Indio, CA (just east of Palm Springs) in time to watch the Royal Wedding at Sun City Shadow Hills the home of Edmonton friend Dennis Goddard. Jon and I have to get used to the space – what luxury compared to the room in our VW. It’s a treat! Thank you Dennis! […]

Read More
Touring a land where the 100 mile diet is meaningless

Gail is a locavore; someone who eats food provided by local producers, growers and suppliers. She promotes local products in her classes and radio shows and uses local products in her recipes whenever possible. The extreme end of locavorism is “100 mile dieting” which means that all products must originate within 100 miles of the […]

Read More
The best latte in the land and re-discovering daikon rice cake

VW van requires a bit more work today (new clutch). The weather is beautiful and Jon and I decide to take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from Berkeley to San Francisco. To the Ferry Plaza Market for breakfast. I wait in a long line at The Blue Bottle Coffee Co. (there’s always a line […]

Read More
Jon and Gail attend Berkeley and dine at a deli

It’s get the van fixed day (tune-up, oil change and muffler repair followed by four new tires) and at the suggestion of the guys at Buslab (specializing in VW Westfalia repair) we go to La Note for breakfast. I admit; breakfast is one of my favourite meals of the day. I love eating breakfast out […]

Read More
Wine makers fail to present their wine in the best light

If your only tool is a hammer then every problem is a nail. I think about that all the time because I am a marketing guy and every issue is viewed through a marketing lens. I have been considering the wine industry for the past weeks while visiting a couple of dozen wineries. Winemakers spend […]

Read More
More research for my Sonoma Sip `n Spa tour

It’s Easter Sunday and some kids from a nearby camper are on an early Easter egg hunt. We get up, shower and enjoy a camper breakfast of Greek God’s honey yogurt, a banana and the alst of the Three Sisters Bakery Granola (it was mighty fine granola). We head to the Fairmont Sonoma Mission and […]

Read More
Dining in Berkeley including Chez Panisse wows Jon and Gail

Drive to Berkeley in rush hour traffic and head to Peet’s for a latte. Busy place and Peet’s is celebrating 45 years in business. Did you know that Peet’s was the learning ground for Howard Schulta, the founder/owner of Starbucks?...It's less structured than Starbuck's, but just as busy. Lunch at Slow, a small bright spot […]

Read More
Fun facts and details from a wandering lifestyle

Travel is broadening. Despite the fact that we both intend to loose a few pounds on this trip as a result of good eating and increased exercise and therefore decrease the width of our beam, the trip has widened our minds. I already have a head full of unrelated and generally useless trivia but after […]

Read More
Rutherford wineries and Yountville

Hearty breakfast at Gillwoods café (multi-grain blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon for Jon and a breakfast sandwich – bagel, egg, cheese and bacon –for me). It’s off to the Rutherford area to tour some wineries: William Harrison, purchased a bottle of their cabernet franc; Rutherford Ranch, purchased their port and zinfandel; and St. […]

Read More
Seghesio and wineries along the Russian River

We continue touring wineries along the Russian River: Mill Creek (produces about 8,000 cases per year); Hop Kiln (a beautiful historic building that had been used to dry hops); Thomas George winery with a new cave that opened in 2010; and lastly Porter Creek winery (we had to stop here as Jon’s sister and family […]

Read More
Gail and Jon head to Sonoma wine country

Continue down the coastal hwy to Ft Bragg and purchase some smoked products (turkey and pork chops) from a local deli. We decide to head east on Dry Creek for Healdsburg (the north part of Sonoma). It’s a good thing we did this in daylight, as we climbed up to elevations of 2000 ft on […]

Read More
Life without media – Jon and Gail survive

I am not addicted to media! Although it is different to be out of touch with the world outside my immediate realm, it has not been difficult to turn off the news, information and useless flotsam that drift through my life when I am constantly wired to the media. While Gail and I are on […]

Read More
Artisanal or commercial - the debate rages

Purists seem to think that there is a clear line between what is considered a local, artisanal product and therefore desirable and a mass produced, commercial product that is not so desirable. I can tell you that the two worlds are just shades of grey with lots of light to be shone on both sides […]

Read More
Jon explains how he lives with two women at the same time. #yeg #yegfood #yegtravel

I am living with two women at the same time. No this is not some sister wife arrangement. One of them is fully aware of the situation while the second or newest woman is blissfully unaware of the other woman; and she doesn’t seem to care. Both women comment about my driving and provide invaluable […]

Read More
Gail and Jon eat seafood on the wharf at Port Orford - delish

Our stop in Port Orford included a dinner at Griff's by the water. If a picture could tell a thousand words, it would tell mariner's tales I'm sure. Right on the water, this restaurant/shack claims that it serves the freshest seafood on the Oregon Coast and uses fresh catch of the day including some flash […]

Read More
Gail and Jon discover Portland’s food carts

The food cart phenomenon is well worth the visit. Food carts are scattered throughout the city. We head to Alder and 10th Street following the recommendation of neighbouring eaters last night at The Little Bird Restaurant. Carts/wagons/booths of all shapes and sizes are situated on perimeters of parking lots (oh what we could do with […]

Read More
Jon and Gail disappear in a sea of RVs

I am not used to being insignificant. At six foot four I usually stand out in a crowd (except when I go to basketball reunions) so it is a bit of a shock to run under the radar at campsites. Gail and I are travelling in a 15 foot camper and when we pull into […]

Read More
Discovering food and other things in Portland, Oregon

We’re really impressed with Portland. Like Edmonton, it’s a city that is divided by a river. But unlike Edmonton It’s an easy city to drive around (with triple the bridges) and for a city of half a million people, they have great bike paths and a well-designed public transit system that includes low-profile streetcars (similar […]

Read More
Gail and Jon have reflections on travel

Reflections on Travel We are blessed by the thoughtfulness of our predecessors who have since the early 1900’s developed a network of roads linking one community with another. Since the middle of the last century the highway network has developed with more pavement, interchanges and roadside amenities. We can zip from one community to another […]

Read More
Woodinvale wineries en route to Seattle

We stop at two wineries that were on our original culinary tour to Seattle, way back in 1999: Columbia and Chateau Ste. Michelle. Since our tour, wineries have increased from about 70 to well over 200. The route definitely looks different…A wine passport event is taking place, so at 11 am, it’s very busy with […]

Read More
At the Pike Market in Seattle – where else would we be?

We rise early, and after tuning up our blog at a coffee shop, head to two wineries that we visited on our culinary tour of Seattle in 1999 – Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia. Both wineries are extremely busy at noon as they are part of a 40 winery passort program. People everywhere are pulling […]

Read More
Jon and Gail experience the Irony of Simplicity

Our eight week journey in a small camper van requires simplicity and thrift. It does not, however, require us to be miserly or uncomfortable. We are also loath to give us some of the elements of our lives in an electronic age. So our baggage includes cell phones, GPS, computer, I-pods and other electrically powered […]

Read More
Gail and Jon encounter Americans

It’s time to leave the Hamilton’s and head to the Black Ball Ferry, stopping at Discovery Coffee in Oak Bay at the recommendation of Allan Thimot, a former fan of Credo coffee in Edmonton. He’s right – it’s very close to the latte served at Credo and that makes me very happy! We arrive at […]

Read More
Gail and Jon Playing Tourist in Victoria

Bill drives us downtown and we tour the Royal BC Museum, taking in the Emily Carr exhibit (which focuses on her youth) and visit the history of BC (one of my favourite features of this museum, showing things like the history of the salmon canning industry). We grab a bite at Sam’s Deli (owned by […]

Read More
Gail and Jon are forced into a life of simplicity

Enforced Simplicity Gail and I have embarked on an eight week journey without a schedule or an agenda. We will be living out of a 15 foot camperized vehicle with no fixed address. We each have a small bin for clothes and a bag of shoes. Our food fits in a refrigerator smaller than a […]

Read More
On to Victoria - Gail and Jon on the road

We drive down island and stop at Averill winery in Cowichin. A lovely stop; owned by Andy and Wendy Johnson (former Edmontons who owned the Medi-Centres). We have a wine tasting and fall in love with their blackberry dessert wine. Bottle in hand, we continue on and arrive in Oak Bay to the home of […]

Read More
Gail and Jon head up the Sunshine Coast

We leave Osoyoos and head to two wineries Crowsnest and Forbidden Fruit. I purchase Sauvignon Blanc, a Cabernet Merlot and an award winning Iced Apple wine. We arrive in Burnaby BC to Adam and Thomas’s – friends from Edmonton who moved to Saskatoon and then Burnaby a few years ago. Adam, a former Gourmet Goodies […]

Read More
Gail Hall gets recipes from Chef at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos

Osoyoos at the south end of the Okanagan is the warmest place in the valley. It attracts a year-round vacation crowd who enjoy the sights, recreation and wineries in the area. For a destination resort town it is lacking in fine dining. The Watermark is attempting to fill the void and there are remarkable restaurants […]

Read More
Gail Hall leaves Nelson and arrives at the Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos

We leave Nelson, but stop first at Au Soleil Levant, a French Canadian bakery in the alley off Baker Street behind the BMO. They’ve been in Nelson for 10 years and word has it that they make the best challah (only available on Fridays). I buy a brioche with cranberries, raisins and walnuts and a […]

Read More
Gail Hall heads to Nelson to experience their food

Now, Nelson has a population of 10,000 and I’m sure they have more independent coffee shops and restaurants than most cities that size. There are some hidden gems to satisfy hunger and soul. We had breakfast at the Full Circle Café. I go for the healthy choice, granola with yogurt finished with mango puree. Shannon’s […]

Read More
Gail Hall travels through Southern Alberta and BC on her big road trip

April 6, 2011 We leave Edmonton at 4 pm and head to Calgary to stay with friends Vic and Cathy Close. The van sputters a bit, so our aim is to get to Calgary and get it checked out in the morning. We are still in urban, working mode but as we head down the […]

Read More
Two Months on the Road with Gail Hall

From April 6 to May 29, check in with me as I travel with Jon in our Westfalia van to the west coast and down the Pacific Coast Hwy, writing about all things food along the way. Once we get through the first week of visiting friends and family along the way, we’ll stick to […]

Read More
Empanadas

Our culinary tour to Argentina and Chile was amazing. Memories of fantastic grass-fed and finished beef in Argentina paired with lots of Malbec wine. Chile's seafood and Carmenere wines were delightful. One of the cooking classes we did was an empanada cooking class. These beef filled turnovers paired with a salad make a great meal […]

Read More
Gail Hall - Seasoned Solutions in Edmonton - an introduction

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 […]

Read More
Panzanella Recipe -- My Favourite Way to Use Leftover Bread

Good bakeries seem to be sprouting up all over town -- as they should. We are on the prairies, known for our fields of grain. Breadland Organic Whole Grain Bakery in Oliver Square is a hidden gem. The bakery was started by husband and wife, Csaba and Agnes Nemeth, both European master bakers who came […]

Read More
Pasta Recipe with Alberta Smoked Salmon and Broccoli

It may be the prairies, well-known for its fields of grain and grazing cattle. But did you know we do first rate smoked salmon hre as well? The recipe I've created uses gorgeous smoked salmon from Sgambaro’s Signature Foods. This Edmonton business specializes in producing fresh, never frozen, smoked salmon. It’s owned and operated by […]

Read More
The Best Pesto Recipe -- My Favourite Pantry Item Using Locally Sourced Herbs

Did you know that even in the cold of winter, Alberta's local producers are growing greens and herbs in greenhouses. The next time you reach for a package of herbs, why not source out some local ones? One of my favourite producers is West Country Herbs and Morinville Greenhouses. This business is about 5 miles […]

Read More

Learn more about the book and fund.

CONTACT US
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram