Cook It Raw

Alberta Chefs Meet To Explore Local Food Culture

The 2015 edition of the annual international Cook it Raw gathering is taking place in MRCA’s home province of Alberta, with our own Chef Cam Dobranski participating in an immersive retreat this week.

Cook it Raw is working with the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance (ACTA) to produce the multi-stage gathering, which runs May to September. In addition to a local event in May and an international event in September, there’s a component that seeks to draw the general public into the conversation.

The first stage runs this week, with a team of 14 local chefs gathering on pristine Lac La Biche in Northern Alberta for an intensive retreat. The group will forage for local ingredients, explore wild game and fish and visit with farmers and producers. First Nations traditions will also be featured.

Of the local meet Chef Cam says, “It’s a great opportunity for Alberta chefs to network and collaborate as they connect with the local food movement. He say’s he’s also looking forward to September when the Alberta crew will “collaborate with international chefs to explore what we do in this part of the world."

Confirmed participants for this week’s retreat include a who’s who of Alberta chefs, among them:  Brayden Kozak (Three Boars. Edmonton), Shane Chartrand (Sage Restaurant/River Cree, Enoch), Blair Lebsack (Rge Rd, Edmonton), Cam Dobranski (Brasserie/ Winebar, Calgary), Darren Maclean (Shokunin, Calgary), John MacNeil (Black Pig Bistro, Calgary), Connie DeSousa (Charcut Roast House, Calgary), Paul Rogalski (Rouge, Calgary), Scott Pohorelic (SAIT, Calgary), Duncan Ly (Yellow Door Bistro, Calgary), Liana Robberecht (Winsport, Calgary), Andrew Winfield (River Café, Calgary), Justin Leboe (Model Milk, Calgary) and Eden Hrabec (Crazyweed, Canmore)

The September gathering will see invited international chefs collaborating with their local peers to create a series of iconic final dishes representative of Alberta traditions and terroir.

Working with ACTA and its local partners, Cook It Raw will also be launching a public campaign from May through September that will ask people to submit their favourite Alberta dish, ingredient or recipe via social media each week, with a committee choosing a ‘Pick of the Week’.

In September, an overall winner will be chosen from the 10 weekly choices, and profiled on Cook It Raw’s website and social media, as well as invited to the final dinner where they will experience the collaborative creations of local and international chefs.

Founded by Chef Alessandro Porcelli and Launched in 2009 to coincide with a climate change summit, Cook It Raw brings together international thought leaders in food, food culture and food systems, to discuss and explore the politics of food through four guiding principles – environment, tradition, creativity and collaboration. The gathering provides an arena for true exchange and encourages innovation on the plate, while at the same time addressing environmental, social, and cultural issues.

Porcelli’s first book, Cook It Raw, is a compendium of the first four gatherings, featuring contributions from leading food writers and ‘Raw’ supporters such as Anthony Bourdain, Jeffrey Steingarten and Andrea Petrini. Published by Phaidon, Cook It Raw was launched in April 2013 and is available online through the Phaidon store and Amazon