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Eat Alberta celebrates homegrown culinary feats and practices

Food heroes undeservedly receive little publicity on a daily basis, since the media favours flash and drama. These heroes include restaurateurs who use local meat and produce, importers of fair-trade coffee, as well as educators and family members who perpetuate unique culinary traditions. In Edmonton, these heroes—consciously or not—help to preserve and propagate the rich heritage of prairie food. Edmonton's national (and international) image as a culinary locus, however, is still growing. In addition, many people lack an “in” with Alberta's food community, but wish to learn new cooking techniques and become educated in the realm of local food. Local educator and foodie Valerie Lugonja recognized these issues as an opportunity to create a hands-on, all-day conference and Eat Alberta: A Celebration of Our Local Food Heroes was born.

Eat Alberta will be held in Edmonton on April 30th, and tickets have sold out quickly. Lugonja explains, “We had room for 60 participants, but hope to include more in subsequent years.” Lugonja and a host of other local food bloggers decided to start small and invited a handful of local chefs, farmers, bakers and educators to share their knowledge. “In the end, we settled on 16 sessions and each participant may attend four of them,” relates Lugonja. Four of these sessions—including pasta making and home coffee brewing techniques—are hands-on. “Tasting is central to understanding our food,” adds Lugonja. Hence, Eat Alberta will feature five sensory sessions; among these are wine and cheese pairing, honey tasting and goat cheese tasting. Additional educational sessions include urban foraging and forging personal connections with food sources.

“We've been so fortunate to include these skilled presenters and there are so many more that we wanted to include but could not, due to space restrictions,” notes Lugonja. She adds that those who cannot attend need not worry: “We don't intend this to be a one time affair,” she says. Lugonja hopes that Eat Alberta will provide information about where to source local food. “We want to dispel misconceptions that good local food is hard to find or is too expensive.” In addition, Eat Alberta will provide a significant venue for networking among Alberta's food community. “There is such a strong tradition of food-making on the prairies and we need to preserve it,” Lugonja states “I love the fact that we can learn so much from one another—that's what community is all about.” V

Sat, Apr 30 (8:30 am)
Eat Alberta
Various locations, Sold Out

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