Save the date –Bacon Day at Workshop Eatery is on Saturday, September 15, 2018.
This year’s event, the 9th annual Bacon Day collaboration, will feature Chef Tony Le, Chef’s Andrew Cowan & Matt Phillips of Northern Chicken, alongside Chef Paul Shufelt. Last year, the event raised just over of $25000 for Edmonton’s Youth Empowerment & Support Services (YESS). This year, the culinary crew would like to raise $30,000, and 100% of the $95 ticket price will be going directly towards the charity.
I’ve been a number of these Bacon Day collaborations over the years, and each time I find myself experiencing new dishes and innovative bites of Alberta pork throughout the evening. I asked Chef Shufelt a few questions about this year’s event, how he keeps it creative in the kitchen, and why you won’t want to miss this year’s event.
1. How did Bacon Day in Edmonton get its start, and how has the event evolved over the past 9 years?
Bacon Day began when a regular client, Jerry Aulenbach
wanted to host a couple dozen friends for a bacon themed dinner on International Bacon Day (the saturday before labour Day). Actually Andrew and Tony Le cooked most of it, but I had heard that Andrew was saying he would do a bacon dessert. I said I could do a better one, and next thing you know we had a competition. Everyone had a good time, so much so, that we thought we would do it again the next year. Jerry suggested that we raise funds for the Royal Lepage Shelter Foundation, and so we did. In year four we changed the focus of the charity to YESS
. Since then we have raised over $100K for YESS. Oh, and I am beating Andrew 5-3.
2. How do you keep coming up with new bacon dishes to serve? And what can guests expect to taste at this year’s event?
It’s not easy to keep it fresh and exciting, something I think any great event faces as the years go by. This year we are bringing back some favourites, like the whole roasted pig, and the long boards of house made charcuterie. The bacon dessert cook off will be back again. We will also be filling our deep fryer with bacon fat and it sounds like we will be featuring bacon fried Northern Chicken. As for the other food surprises, you’ll have to wait and see, as the menu constantly evolves as we get closer to the pig day…er, I mean big day.
3. Do you have a favourite dish from Bacon Days past?
That’s a great question. We have served so many that I would be hard pressed to pick one. I would say I am probably most proud of our charcuterie board last year, as it really showcased the use of the whole animal and our evolution from being just about bacon.
4. Who benefits the most from the event?
Again this year we will be raising funds for YESS (Youth Empowerment Support Services), with the goal of raising $30K for them. 100% of ticket sales, auction sales, and drink ticket sales will go to YESS. Our staff even volunteer their time for this cause. We have a MAJOR announcement to share with everyone this year, one that I hope will really help our peers in Edmonton’s food community, and I can’t wait to share the news.
5. How important is the bacon day dessert challenge for Chef Cowan and you?
What started as pretty fiercely competitive has mellowed out a little bit in recent years. After all, there are only so many new and exciting bacon desserts you can make. I still hate losing though, and always want to see more chips in my jar.
6. What do you love most about the event?
There are so many things I enjoy about this event. I definitely love that it brings our food community together. This year I am especially excited to be sharing the kitchen with Matt, Andrew and Tony, something we haven’t done together in maybe four years, or more. I love how we just get together and cook. We aren’t stuck on a menu, or pigeonholed into specific dishes. We are inspired by pork, but we just get to have some fun with it. Perhaps the best part though, is the chance to give back to the community of Edmonton. While our work is hard, we are truly blessed to be able to do what we do, thanks to those that help support our businesses. It’s a great feeling to give some of that love back!
Tickets for Bacon Day at The Workshop Eatery September 15, 2018 are available now on Eventbrite