Baa is the new moo

Their name says it all – Lambtastic! Ray and Nancy Nolan, partners in life and business, own and operate Lambtastic Farms near Vulcan, AB. Lamb is low in fat and full of protein so you can actually feel good about what you eat! Their lambs are raised in a healthy environment without the use of hormones or animal by-product feeds.  Lambtastic is presenting with Grainworks on Friday, July 15, 2016 at 3PM on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage BMO Marketplace, Hall A.
Lambtastic sheep

Calgary StampedeBriefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Ray Nolan:  Born and raised on a sheep farm in Ireland, where the family farm still operates today. Before returning to the a agriculture career, I was a chef for over a decade cooking in Ireland, England and finally Canada. During my culinary career I was fortunate enough to work at some great establishments. meeting some great people and cooking for the likes of HRH Queen of England at her royal state banquet to Nelson Mandela which was my personal favorite. Also during that time I met my wife, Nancy while working at the Dorchester hotel on park lane London.

Today we reside in Vulcan AB with our two boys Brayden 4, Charless 2. We run a flock of 350 ewes and grain farm. Our typical day is never a dull one varies from meeting chefs to butchers and the daily business of running a farm which is highly demanding. Our livestock require care 7 days a week, a farmers work is truly never done.
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Combining two loves – cooking and firefighting

Jean-Pierre Galli wears two hats – a firefighters helmet and a chef’s hat. A Calgary firefighter who is also a classically trained chef, J.P. is competing in the 7th annual Police and Firefighter cook-off Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 7PM on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage BMO Marketplace, Hall A.

JP and fellow firefighter Todd Nabozniak will meet Constables Karen MacLeod and Dean Moody to determine which team takes home the coveted Police and Firefighter Cook-off cup.

Angela Knight of the CBC Eyeopener is the MC, Jon Cornish, former Calgary Stampeder is joining the panel of celebrity judges and Mayor Nenshi will be dropping by to show his support for the competitors.

Group shot 2015Pictured from 2015 Competition: Sean Lynn, Karen MacLeod, Angela Knight, Barry MacDonald, Jean-Pierre Galli

Calgary Stampede: What came first – firefighting or cooking?

J.P. Galli: I grew up in South Africa and left for Switzerland when I was 18 to do a three year culinary apprenticeship. When I came to Canada I worked at Emerald Lake Lodge as a chef and became involved with the Field, BC volunteer fire fighters.  I moved to the Alberta Wildland Firefighting Rappel Crew and then the Calgary Fire Department. Firefighting is my profession but I still love to cook.
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Kitchen Theatre’s 30 foot long kitchen island

Those of you who have visited Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theater may have been wondering about our wonderful 30 foot long cabinet island where our presenters cook and our dueling chefs compete.


It came to us courtesy of Kim Lund at  Silver Bow Woodcraft who became involved with Kitchen Theatre through Stampede director Jill Cross. Initially it didn’t seem like too big an undertaking until Kim discovered we required a 30 foot long cabinet island – perhaps the longest in Canada!  Working with committee members and Fabio Centini Silver Bow got a good idea of how the kitchen was supposed to function.


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It’s never a good thing to have your food all over the front of your shirt

Words to live by courtesy of Emily Richards, a professional home economist who has a passion for all things food. Emily, presenting for Canola! Eat Well, was on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage Monday night.

Emily Richards

This is going to make you hungry when you read what she cooked and served to the lucky crowd who watched her show:

  • a crostini with ricotta cheese and roasted red peppers, garlic, Italian parsley red wine vinegar and basil on top
  • ricotta cheese with a wonderful honey drizzled over it
  • a variety of olives heated in the frying pan with some canola oil and fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme.

Fortunately for us she provided the recipes for everything she cooked during her 3 day visit to the Calgary Stampede. Emily Richards Recipes

Don’t miss her next 8:30PM shows  Wednesday, July 8th, following the 6PM Police and Firefighter cook-off, and Thursday, July 9th, following our 6PM 2nd Dueling Chef competition, in the BMO Marketplace, Hall A.

We pour our hearts into every cup

What is latte art? Always up on the latest food trends,  Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre welcomes Latte Art Love, a pop up coffee catering and café to our stage in the BMO Marketplace, Hall A. on Saturday July 11th at 8:30PM. Their hand crafted coffees are almost too beautiful to drink!  Elle Nguyen and Allison East are co-owners of Latte Art Love.

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Latte Art Love cowgirl

Elle Nguyen: A Latte Art Love day varies depending on the day – sometimes Allison & I are popping up with a full service espresso bar at Arche Loft; some days we are delighting coffee lovers with freshly made drinks at a local event. Allison and I experiment with coffee grind size and milk foaming technique – changing temperature and pressure from the weather have an effect on the coffee and the equipment needs to be adjusted to ensure perfect espressos are pulled from the machine every time.

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With only a few days until the start of Stampede, Executive Chef Dale is probably everywhere  on the grounds but on Monday he dropped by Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre to  check out our new digs in the BMO Marketplace, Hall A. Chef Dale is doing two special event cooking shows for Kitchen Theatre during Stampede. Derek and Suzanne

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Calgary top chefs prepare for their Stampede duel

The Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre Dueling Chefs are back!  Sharpening their knives are Rogelio Herrera, Owner and Corporate Chef Alloy Restaurant and Candela Lounge, Ceci Gutierrez, Chef de Cuisine, Pasta at Centini Restaurant & Lounge, Kelly Palmer, Executive Chef, Vintage Chophouse and Tavern, and Pierre Lamielle, Illustrator and Chef. It’s fun, it’s inspirational and you will be amazed at what these local chefs can create when the heat’s on.  Don’t miss it!


For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

The endless topic of food

Chef Darren Nixon has been a regular on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage and this year he will be back presenting for Grainworks, a family-owned farming operation which grows, mills and distributes certified organic, non-GMO grains and legumes near Vulcan, AB. As the former chef/owner of the aptly named Divine Restaurant in Okotoks, AB, Darren knows the importance of great and wholesome food.

Come by and see Darren on the Kitchen Theatre stage Friday, July 3 at 7PM and Saturday, July 4th at 1PM.

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.


Darren Nixon: My day starts early. At 5 am. I manage the seafood and gourmet department in a local grocery store. My day is filled with good production and talking with customers about food ideas and general foodie conversation. When it comes to food I have a gift for gab. In the evenings I teach in home cooking classes for 6 – 12 people. This allows me to continue to research and develop good ideas and feed my passion. Previously the chef/ owner of Divine restaurant in Okotoks, AB.

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For all things chocolate

As everyone knows you can never have too much chocolate so once again Barbara Forster of Sweetly Speaking will be presenting on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage. Her beautiful chocolate creations and the heavenly smell of chocolate can be experienced on Thursday July 9th and Friday July 10th at 2PM. Sweetly Speaking was the recipient of the 2015 Top Choice Award – Mark of Excellence.

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Barbara Forster Headshot

Barbara Forster: I am the owner of Sweetly Speaking Inc. We are a chocolate company that really specializes in the corporate market and we make custom molds using the corporate logos of our clients. We make a higher end Belgian chocolate and each of our orders is considered a custom order where we put together a package that the client wants. We also think outside the box and stay away from traditional chocolates – no ganaches, no truffles.

When we are not doing the logo’d products we just have fun-  Dipped Licorice, Dipped Oreos, Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Squares, Wonky Marshmallows – all sorts of fun stuff.

A typical day for me is never typical – I might be contacting new prospective clients in the corporate sector or I might be meeting with existing clients or I could be in the kitchen making the product or I might be designing a wrapper or working with plaster and plastic making molds. Every minute brings something new, fun and different. I try to designate half my week to making the chocolate and half to sales and admin but it doesn’t always come out that balanced.

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There’s never a boring day in the kitchen

Chef Matt Davidson of Añejo Restaurant will be introducing us to Mexican style food on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage Monday July 6th at 3PM and Tuesday, July 7th and 5PM. in the BMO Marketplace Hall A. This won’t be your typical taco as Añejo prides itself on “handcrafted recipes cooked to perfection in Mexican style with a flair for contemporary flavours. Vibrant, boisterous, and bold. Spanish for “aged”, Añejo is not just a type of tequila, it is a way of paying homage to the roots of Mexican culture.”

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.


Davidson: I am a young Chef from Calgary and work at Añejo Restaurant as the Chef de Cuisine. I graduated from Culinary School and have since worked at numerous restaurants around Calgary and under some amazing Chefs to hone my skills.

My typical day usually involves checking over the prep for the day and communication with my sous chefs around the daily issues of the restaurant. Then lunch service and then preparing for dinner service. I will generally oversee dinner service and ensure quality standards are met, and help wherever I am needed on line. In between all this, new menu research, and the occasional inspirational trip to Mexico need to be done as well.

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Live, love, cook!

Live, love, cook! is Emily Richards philosophy and we are very fortunate to have her return to the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage. Many of you know Emily from Canadian Living Cooks on the Food Network and during Stampede Emily is presenting for Canota! Eat Well on Monday, July 6th, Wednesday, July 8th and Thursday, July 9th at 8:30 PM in the BMO Marketplace, Hall A.  Emily loves teaching people how to cook so make sure you come by and experience her passion for food.  She will also be putting her expertise to work when she judges the Calgary Police and Firefighter cook-off Wednesday, July 8th at 6 PM. on the Kitchen Theatre stage.

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Emily Richards in the Kitchen

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A Thai family that loves to cook and always cook

Thai Charm Eatery, located in Airdrie, is a first time presenter on the Kitchen Theatre stage. Owner Pung Nya and Executive Chef, Steve Thibodeau will be on stage Sunday July 5 at 1PM in the BMO Marketplace Hall A preparing their delicious swimming rama chicken. Thai cuisine is designed to stimulate and excite the five senses: sour, hot, sweet, salty and neutral so it will be an amazing experience to watch them cook and sample their dish. For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

Thai_Charm_Swimming_rama Continue reading

And the Dueling Chef Winner Is

Chef  Xavier Lacaze, Concept Chef Briggs Kitchen and Bar!

Xavier winner 2014

It was a very close competition with Ian Smith, Executive Chef Swine & Sow Wine & Ale House within a point of Xavier when the judges completed their tally.

Dueling chef 2014 Ian Xavier

Consider this:  you have invited 5 guests for dinner, you don’t know what ingredients you are going to have on hand to make 5 courses and you have 75 minutes to prepare and serve.

Also your food plating has to be artistic, you’re not working in your own kitchen and if you are given Orange Crush and Nutella to use in your black box of ingredients you have to make them taste delicious. Without the benefits of recipes you will have to create dishes using pomegranates, cod filet, lobster, whole duck liver, prime rib, dandelion greens, butternut squash, Canadian maple cheddar, Kefir lime yogurt, dried ancho chilies, Wonder bread, espresso sea salt and Barbados rum.

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And of course you have 200 strangers in your kitchen watching you make everything and your 5 guests are going to fill out a scorecard judging your meal.

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Pictured:  Garth Brown, Chef Xavier Lacaze, Chef Ian Smith, Dave Rutherford

If you have not had an opportunity to see one of the Dueling Chef competitions put it in your Stampede planner for next year.  This is the 5th Annual Dueling Chef competition and the Kitchen Theatre team, which does a fantastic job, is already planning for 2015.

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Thank you to all our competitors (Ian Smith, Nicole Gomes, Robin Bowen) and congratulations Xavier Lacaze!