DREAMSCAPES FALL/WINTER 2021
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TRAVEL SLEUTH - MASTER THE ART OF COOKING DURING A PANDEMIC
 
(2021 - Fall/Winter Issue)

Writer: ILONA KAUREMSZKY



During the pandemic, many of us ran to the kitchen, switched on the Wi-Fi, and some like myself made new friends with the spatula. Folks have turned to YouTube, TikTok and other social media for kitchen inspirations. We have found comfort in food.

Whether it’s virtually spending weekends at a country inn Zoom cooking class or honing our culinary prowess through a MasterClass tutorial by acclaimed chef Thomas Keller, we have become the accidental cook. masterclass.com/thomaskeller

Here’s Our Pandemic Cooking Guide:

HELLO COOKING CLASSES

In Edmonton, Pei Pei Chei Ow (pronounced “pe-pe-s-chew”), an Indigenous-inspired catering company, incorporates the marriage of contemporary and traditional Indigenous cooking methods, sharing food experiences. Learn how to make bannock, Indigenous tacos, and honour the whole animal of sisip (duck) via online classes. peipeicheiow.com

Eating Europe, a bespoke city food tour organization which leads tours in 10 European hubs, has rolled out fun online cooking classes along with earlier YouTube videos of colourful Italians who share their favourite dishes and drinks from Florence to Rome. Other European cities are spotlighted too. eatingeurope.com/online; Youtube.com/EatingEurope

Cooking magic is underway at The Lodge at Chaa Creek. This solitary oasis in the tropics of Belize schedules an “Open Hearth Hands-on Cultural Cooking Class.” Lucy Fleming, Founder of The Lodge at Chaa Creek says, “We recognize that guests will be seeking opportunities to give back and contribute to the communities they encounter, and in Belize, not only do visitor arrivals help to restart the tourism industry, but there are countless opportunities for visitors to get involved and make a difference, which is our mission and passion.” chaacreek.com/belize-tours/open-hearth-cultural-cooking-classes

Spice up your life at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Chef Vivian Ray and others conduct lively Zoom cooking classes, sharing chef secrets on favourite local dishes like Bananas Foster, beignets and shrimp étouffée. neworleansschoolofcooking.com/zoom-cooking-classes

LOCKDOWNS HAVE MADE PEOPLE WANT TO TRAVEL MORE

One travel industry professional maintains that travellers missing the joys of sussing out local neighbourhoods for authentic cuisine will see an upside to the lockdowns. “People are ‘hungry’ for food tours and we are expecting a big surge,” says Kenny Dunn, Founder of Eating Europe, on the epicurean revival.

In addition, G Adventures, a small group adventure travel operator, reports 51 percent of Canadian travellers say lockdowns have made them want to travel more than ever before. Their adventure tours often include food as an integral part of the travel experience. “We’re seeing an increase in local experiences, so you can live with a local, stay in a homestead and do foodie experiences,” notes David Green, Managing Director for Canada at G Adventures.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by Trafalgar, a leading brand specializing in guided vacations, has chronicled the pandemic foods we crave. Think go-to Japanese sushi takeaways, Mexican enchiladas, and yes, pizza. “These food trends and experiences will likely shape how we explore the world once travel fully resumes,” explains Wolf Paunic, President of Trafalgar Canada, and adds, “We identify a place to food.”

AMERICAN STYLE

In New Orleans, the gumbo simmers. As the state of Louisiana reopened this summer, the culinary exploits at one landmark downtown fixture underwent a total reboot, thanks to an ace chef. neworleans.com/restaurants

At the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, Executive Chef Alon Shaya works his magic at his new restaurant, Miss River. His pandemic cooking tips: Learn how to pickle preserves, make jams, cook in bulk, and don’t be afraid to freeze. Chef Alon, founder of Pomegranate Hospitality, offered takeout, created outdoor dining, and accelerated his online cooking classes from his home kitchen. With his wife Emily, he cooked 100–300 meals a day at the height of the pandemic for nurses and doctors when hospitals were filled. missrivernola.com

Around Palm Beach, foodies are lining up. Considered an under-the-radar foodie destination, its ever-evolving culinary landscape with world-renowned chefs, Palm Beach County has made major strides over the past year. “We have unveiled over 20 innovative restaurants ranging from Florida’s largest food hall and waterfront eateries to scratch kitchens and sustainable seafood,” says Nick Parks, Vice-President of Marketing for Discover The Palm Beaches, who predicts a surge in culinary tourism once international travel fully reopens. thepalmbeaches.com

Over at 1000 North, a waterfront restaurant in Jupiter, Florida, finding creative solutions was a mantra early on in the pandemic. “We designed new menus and found ourselves catering to people with to-go items curbside and dockside,” reflects Lee Morris, Culinary Director at 1000 North, who is a big believer in stepping out-of-the-box on cooking tips, and adds, “Try something new.” 1000north.com

CANADIAN STYLE

When it comes to trip planning Canadians are hungry for travel in their own backyard. Destination Canada, which was previously the Canadian Tourism Commission, has seen a spike in Canadians seeking food-related activities. “What this tells us is that Canadians are eager to rediscover their country with fresh eyes and that’s great news for Canada’s tourism industry,” says Gloria Loree, Senior Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Chief Marketing Officer at Destination Canada. destinationcanada.com/en

Travellers can lean in on Indigenous-inspired dining that helps connect people to the land and culture. “Now is an opportune time to expand travellers’ worldview on Indigenous cuisine and authentic Indigenous experiences. The intersection of traditional practices, profound history, and contemporary flair enables travellers to understand Indigenous culinary experiences better,” says Shae Bird, Chief Executive Officer of Indigenous Tourism Alberta. indigenoustourismalberta.ca

PANDEMIC LEMONS INTO LEMONADE

Across Canada chefs reclaimed basic tools but discovered the art of pandemic cooking fused creativity and scruples.

“We decided to do a little pivot,” says Jason Redmond, co-owner of the Raven Room, a new hangout in the Pan Pacific Whistler Village in British Columbia. Come this fall, diners can kick back and stargaze inside a private geodesic dome surrounded by mountain beauty. theravenroom.ca

At Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler, Executive Chef Eren Guryel launched a takeaway platform of delicacies diners could enjoy at home. “We also took time to reinvent some dishes and adjust cooking techniques and train the culinary team,” says Chef Eren. fourseasons.com/whistler

In Halifax, Muir, the new Autograph Collection Hotel in the Queen’s Marque District, had Anthony Walsh, Creative Culinary Lead at the property’s restaurant, Drift, recalibrate. He says, “The pandemic has made me resilient. I am tougher than I thought!” Chef Walsh tackled the “new normal” by offering grocery deliveries, takeout experiences, and virtual cooking demos. muirhotel.com; drifthalifax.com

GLOBAL GOURMET: CULINARY EXPERIENCES WORTH CRAVING

Things get rolling at Avital Tours, a virtual and in-person culinary tour company that has launched the world’s first bubble-ball food tour. Bubble Food Tours follow protocols (no handshakes) as guests get suited up in their personal bubbles and bring foodie fun back to iconic neighbourhoods in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. avitaltours.com/bubble-food-tour

Stay in your bubble and go for the sushi. Follow traditions at a Hagi Homestay in Japan and experience Japanese farming culture in this purposeful homestay program from G Adventures. planeterra.org/japan-hagi-elder-homestay

Connect with locals as you travel across Spain with a chef or a sommelier and indulge in a slow food experience with Aborígens, a Barcelona-based culinary travel agency established by two Catalan food writers. aborigensbarcelona.com

Anticipate Italy’s good life deep in the heart of Tuscany at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, a luxury 5-star hotel that promotes eco-sustainability from its organic garden to the nature estate’s virtual beekeeping program where you can adopt a beehive. castelfalfi.com

Eat more in Italy with Trafalgar’s nine-day Best of Italian Lakes tour. Head to the Lombardy region and join the Serenelli family for a farm-to-table feast, sample delicacies around Mantua, and loosen your belt for more foodie romps. trafalgar.comen-ca/tours/t/best-of-the-italian-lakes

KITCHEN HACK IDEAS

The Instant Pot – “My favourite household appliance because it can do so much. I love its safety features, digital timer and how easy it is to clean up.” –Devan Cameron, Chef and Owner of Braisedanddeglazed.com

A good stand mixer – “Life is too short to whisk for 30 minutes.” –Max Miller, Host of Tasting History on YouTube

Tongs – “A good kitchen tong is a third arm or an extension of your arm. You can turn, move, stir and mix without burning yourself.” –Chef Guillermo Eleicegui, Galley, Hilton West Palm Beach

Travel Planner

Cornucopia, Whistler’s annual fall food and drink festival, celebrates its 25th anniversary. November 4–14: whistlercornucopia.com

Bruges, Belgium will host the Sixth World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism Oct. 31–Nov. 2, 2021: unwto.org/6th-unwto-world-forum-on-gastronomy-tourism

World Vegan Travel: worldvegantravel.com

 
 
 
 
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