Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Personal Chef at Work! A Pre-Renovation Party at The Piggott Building

A good friend of mine decided to renovate her fabulously located apartment in the historic Piggott Building, on James Street South in downtown Hamilton. Lacking in period features and looking like a very plain space in need of updating, the amazing Ruth Chen (an assistant professor at McMaster University and Locavore extraordinaire) undertook renovations that began this month.

Her plan is pretty cool. The invitation that she sent out to her guests sets the scene:

It’s exciting because I’ve realized how this project is shaping up to
reflect several of the things that are really important to me: environmental
sustainability, recycled products, local artisans, aesthetics and design... what
I value even more than those things are community engagement and good food! and soooo, I’ve decided to hold a two-part party. Part I will be *pre-reno.* It will
be a catered affair ...and will showcase the skills of a wonderful personal
chef/foodie/founder of Slow Food Hamilton, Karen Burson, who was recently (just yesterday!) featured in the Hamilton Spectator . She will be incorporating local and/or organic products, producers and food from community gardens into her offerings for the evening.

Our very busy day started with a trip to Simpler Thyme Organic Farm (documented in photos shown a few entries below this one). The hostess arranged for a friend to be both DJ and photographer that night, so that Ruth could concentrate on entertaining her guests, which proved fortunate for me: all photos taken while the party was in progress are by Tala Strauss. Thank you, Tala! And I really like your photographic style!

Thanks most of all to an Ruth for inviting me to cook for her friends -- Ruth, you are an incredibly attentive, kind and caring hostess. I always appreciate your support and encouragement as I do my best to demonstrate how tasty and exciting local cuisine can be.


Tala Azar said...

What a privilege to be mentioned on your blog. I just read the list of things you're responsible in Hamilton and beyond, and I am thoroughly astounded. I hope I get to take advantage of your incredible cooking again soon.

Do you have any pointers for young people thinking about how to budget and eat healthily? Healthy food is infamously expensive, and while when I go to university I expect to eat at the cafeteria (where I hope there will be organic/healthy options, if it's any type of caf' at all), there will one day be a time when I buy my own food and prepare it. I would love to support local farmers, slow food movements, and not go bankrupt. What would you suggest for teenagers who know nothing about purchasing their own food, for when they have to think about that type of thing?

Long comment and many questions... hope they aren't tedious.

- Tala

*karen b said...

Wow, those are some tough questions, and I haven't looked up the comments in ages, so I'm just finding this now... in January!

I hope you've found lots to eat in the meantime.

To eat well on a budget I advise eating local foods in season, and learning to make the most of them: cooking and freezing in big batches, etc. I also advise visiting farm markets later in the day... sometimes you can pick up some great bargains!

If you are a student at Mc Master, look into the off-campus cooking club sponsored by PEAS (through OPIRG). It's a sociable way to share resources and build community in a way that also allows you to eat well on a budget. I also understand that there is now a Good Food Box now available, also through PEAS. You should be able to find their blog online.

I hope that helps!

*karen b

Rizzy said...

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