Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chatting with Chef Craig Flinn

It seems like yesterday that I chatted with Chef Craig Flinn of Chives Canadian Bistro for, but actually it was back in December, 2007 when he was writing his first book Fresh & Local (which had a second printing in less than a year).
Back in early December, 2009 (seems so long ago) I happened to stop at Ciboulette (the little breakfast and lunch cafe which is also a Chef Craig creation) for a cup of cappucino and the best muffin on earth! I'm not kidding and I do hope it makes it into another book...but I'm getting ahead of myself. When I was there I noticed that he's authored a second cookbook that looks fantastic....with recipes from top Canadian Chefs across the country...Fresh Canadian Bistro ...more about that later. And I knew I had to catch up with what's been going on and to get a copy of the book for myself.

Even though he seems to have been unbelievably busy since the last time we met up, not to mention that it was just before Christmas and Chives Canadian Bistro (the restaurant) was packed every night plus tons of catering jobs too, so things were hectic to say the least and, as if that wasn't enough, he was also doing book signings for Fresh Canadian Bistro, Chef Craig still managed to meet up with me for a quick coffee at 4pm (which was his lunch!).

(Note: Since we met I did get my own copy and it's wonderful to see recipes from famous chefs across Canada. Check out my review. )

But I digress....and, by the way, before I actually share some of our chat, Chef Craig has been voted Best Chef two years running by The Coast readers - and rightly so. He's involved in the Slow Food Movement here in Nova Scotia, promoting local farmers, fishermen, and producers of local beef, chicken and lamb as well as artisan cheese and bread makers and incorporating all those local delicacies onto his menu.

Finally on to his current project - the Fresh Series of Books, with number one Fresh & Local in second printing and Fresh Canadian Bistros,on the shelves at bookstores across the country (you can even order it on line at Amazon.Com Fresh Canadian Bistro: Top Canadian chefs share their favourite recipes) he's now writing book number three which will be called Fresh & Affordable and focuses on the home cook. I'm told that, like the first two, the focus is on seasonal fare with fresh regional ingredients. I really can't wait for that one...I'll keep you posted.

Naturally, I had to ask how he came to write Fresh Canadian Bistro and here's what I found out. Back in the Summer of 2008 he was invited to join 500 of Canada's Best Professional Chefs for the first Canadian Chefs' Congress hosted by Chef Michael Stadtlander of Eigensinn Farm in the heart of Ontario's famed Fruit Belt. Add a road trip across the country in 2004 trying to understand what "local" meant from coast to coast, working in the kitchens of many like minded chefs, who shared their stories and their recipes. Stir in a pinch of what all of these chefs call "Bistro" and you have the makings of a great book, and more delicious menus to savor at Chives Canadian Bistro, if you happen to be (or plan a visit) to Halifax.

All that travelling in Canada has given Craig the desire to check out other parts of the world and since serendipity has led a hand, he's now enjoying (or just back from) a month long trip to China. As I said....a very busy guy! And as I said, I'll keep you posted about the third book once it hits the shelves.

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