Shaping of a Culinary Frontier
This year Cook It Raw will host its 8th edition in Alberta. Drawing inspiration from First Nations traditions and reverence for the land, Cook It Raw will act as a conduit for discovery, discussion, collaboration and creation, bringing local and international chefs together for a full immersion into the landscape, customs, and culinary culture of the region. Our gatherings will take place in two stages – the first gathering is to be held in May for local chefs, and the second in October when the invited international chefs will collaborate with local chef teams to create the iconic final dishes.
Fourteen local chefs will stay on a campsite in Sir Winston Churchill Provincial Park, an island on the eastern basin of Lac La Biche where the group will forage for local ingredients, hunt wild game and fish one of the most pristine lakes in the province. Upon arrival, the group will build a sweatlodge where we start our adventure with an ancient healing ritual to leave the stress of daily chores behind. During the course of the retreat we will visit local farmers and producers, watch the birth of an animal, forage and learn about edible plants and the flora and fauna unique to this specific area.
Knowledge sharing and mentoring is at the core of the encounter. Using a collaborative approach, we will establish how our group of local chefs envisage to enter into a dialogue with their international counterparts.
Kananaskis Country in the heart of the Rocky Mountains will provide the stunning backdrop for the second retreat. During this September gathering, local chefs will meet with their international counterparts to explore the ancient lands and immigration history.
Themselves representing a mosaic of cultures with different knowledge and experience to draw from, our chef group will learn about the life of cowboy settlers, ingredients from that time (1870s), the impact of cultural edges influencing food systems, and the evolution of flavours and dishes through the influx of various waves of immigrants up until today.
Through concentrated discussion, the group will share their own knowledge of local food traditions, techniques and ingredients and determine how these elements, along with new information they are acquiring will synthesize on the plate.