General Life Update…If You’re Interested…

Author Dan Category Magazine Highlights Tags #yycMNSC, Avenue magazine, blogging, calgary, Canadian Living, Metro News, writing
Alright folks, I don’t do this very often, so just bear with me. As usual, I have been leading a busy, hectic life trying to balance work, writing, social activities and, last, but not least, learning how to do cart-wheels (to no avail). Naturally, with all these different adventures I have on the go, I feel like it’s only fair that I provide a little bit of a life update…

Summer seemed to blow by with amazing swiftness this year, but doesn’t that always seem to be the case? With the end of summer comes my birthday in early September. And, as written about by my friend Gwendolyn, I spent it in a park with friends eating food that was shaped like cakes. You know, the regular things that late twenty somethings do on their birthday. (pictured below, my disastrous attempt at a potato salad moulded into cake form…)

As a present to myself, I decided to abstain from alcohol for one month. During the summer I had been a bit too, um, ‘nonchalant’ with my alcohol consumption. Pub patios and barbecues with friends are all too common during the warm weather and sometimes it’s just too hard to say no to a cold beer on a sunny day. Thus, the 28 day ‘No booze for Dan’ experiment began. I now have only four days remaining in the challenge and feel nothing less than fantastic. This is not to say that I am not looking to having a glass of wine again next week, but it really puts things into perspective. This cleanse also came at a good time as I am attending a wedding in Hawaii in four weeks and need to look good in a bathing suit!

My cooking initiative, Start From Scratch, has just started up again. This year we’re taking thirty university students (fifteen from the University of Calgary and fifteen from Mount Royal University) and helping to inspire them in the kitchen. Since the program has doubled in size this fall, I have found a foodie partner in crime, Jacinthe Koddo, who will be teaching the Thursday night group. With the first week of classes down, it’s looking like the remaining nine weeks are going be a great ride.

I’m fortunate enough to have some great partners with this program including Calgary Co-op, Yelp Canada, Steam Whistle Pilsner, as well as some awesome local food personalities. We’ll be doing a farmers’ market tour with the students in a few weeks with Conne Desousa from Top Chef Canada! Yes, you should be jealous…

In the past month, I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to start writing regularly for two local publications. The first is Avenue magazine. I’ve started doing a series of pieces where I get to go partake in hands-on foodie ‘adventures’, then write about the experience. How fun is that?

I actually just finished but butchering a lamb yesterday with Chef Rogers at Home Tasting Room, so stay tuned for that recap! I’ve never butchered anything before, except a chicken (kind of?), so it was definitely a learning experience. Good thing the chef was patient with me…

It’s bloody work, but someone’s got to do it!

The second opportunity is a weekly restaurant review column in Metro News Calgary. Each Tuesday, starting on October 18th, you’ll be able to read my short review of a local lunch spot in their ‘Lunch Rush’ column.

The focus of this column is finding great establishments in Calgary to have a tasty, yet affordable lunch. I’m always up for discovering new delicious dishes around the city, so I very much look forward to this challenge. The majority of this challenge will lie in expanding my comfort zone beyond the downtown core, in which I work and live. I just may have to exercise a bit more each week now…but, on a mildly unrelated note, I did recently join a swim club, so maybe that will balance out the extra calories?

If you are a regular to the Food Network Canada site, you’ll notice that they’re making some great changes on there. One of the new features at is the addition of their ‘Food Network Canada Blog Network’. I am excited to say that my website is officially part of the Food Network family now. The network’s primary focus will be recipes, so I’m more than happy to share my creations and be an integral part of this new extension of the Food Network brand. The new feature to their site is set to launch in a few weeks, so you’ll be able to check it out in full functionality very soon!

Another great new online project I’ve become a part of is Food Bloggers Of Canada. Set up by three dedicated, as well as prolific, food bloggers Mardi, Ethan, and Melissa. This site is meant to be a hub for all Canadian food bloggers. A place where you can share information, find how-to guides, as well as food events happening in your area.

I was humbled when the trio asked me to contribute to their site by means of a series of recipe development posts. I’ll be posting monthly, give or take, touching on everything from basic salad dressings to roasting koala…Ok, maybe not that random. Anyway, you can check out my first piece, 5 fundamentals for recipe development here…

Almost done with the life updates here…This week I got a special holiday issue of Canadian Living in the mail. About six months ago, the magazine had put out an open call for recipes to be featured in this fall issue. I submitted a few of my favourites, and, luckily enough, two made it into the magazine. I was notified of this via email back in July and, from there, eagerly awaited the print copy to land in my mailbox.

Now, I was excited enough that a couple of my own recipes would be this issue, but I was floored when I received the print copy, flipped through it and saw that my Tandoori Carrot And Apple Bisque had a two page colour spread. Actually, I pretty much had a heart attack. I mean, this was kind of like the food version of a Playboy centerfold, right? My recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken Pot Pie made the cut as well, and it actually shares a page with my friend Ethan Adeland’s recipe! Small food blogger world, ain’t it?

(aforementioned recipe feature in Canadian Living!)

I’ve been bad about posting recaps of my Monday Night Supper Club. Life often gets in the way. Rest assured, the supper club is still going strong and it is always a great way to spend a Monday night. With my significant workload as of late, you may see some guest writers from the club doing the recaps. Consider them to be a nice break from my sarcasm…

With all of this going on, I’ve decided to dedicate Sunday to working solely on my writing and website. I think I will also dedicate it to a delicious brunch prior to working the day away. What do you think?

I do have one more exciting project in the works, but can’t mention it quite just yet. I think you’ll love it though! I might drop a hint or two in the next month or so…Until then!

Ok, that’s all.


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8 Comments to “General Life Update…If You’re Interested…”
Cheryl Arkison October 1, 2011 at 9:16 am
No wonder you seemed so tired last week!

[email protected] October 1, 2011 at 9:47 am
We’re so happy to have you on board with FBC! (although I don’t recall editorial approval for Koala… however, I may have missed that meeting…). congrats on all the good things you have happening right now!

Jennyldubs October 1, 2011 at 12:07 pm
Wow! To say your busy would be an under statement but with success comes hard work and you are clearly doing something right! Loved the update!!!

Vincci October 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm
Congrats on your new Avenue and Metro gigs, Dan! Can’t wait to read your work!

jacinthe October 1, 2011 at 9:27 pm
you’re awesome! so happy that all this is happening for you. life is good, if not a little crazy!! 🙂

Susan October 2, 2011 at 11:57 am
You really need a hobby.

Stephanie October 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm
That is an insane amount of fun and interesting projects on your plate all at once! I love the new project with the foodie adventures, that is going to be really cool. We ordered a whole lamb earlier this year and just picked it up this weekend. After I read your article I’m going to know exactly how they cut it all up.

Dan October 3, 2011 at 9:17 am
Ha, ha, ha. You think Susan?