Bacon Day at Workshop Eatery, Sept 15, 2018

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.

Chef Andrew Cowan Launching New Menu at Packrat Louie

Chef Cowan's Pork rillette and chicken liver pate at Packrat Louie
Chef Cowan’s Pork rillette and chicken liver pate at Packrat Louie

Chef Andrew Cowan started as the new executive chef at Packrat Louie on Tuesday April 14, 2014. I had heard through Alan Irving that Andrew had ordered one of his Irving Farms Berkshire pigs for following week, but I couldn’t wait. I gave him four full days at the helm of his new kitchen before I came calling for whatever Alberta pork treat he had ready. 

IMG_0247I have been a loyal fan of Andrew’s since I met him at 100 Bar & Kitchen. I walked in, told him I had an idea for a swine & dine crawl through three restaurants off Churchill Square and he promptly responded ‘sure’. At that inaugural event he treated diners to an enormous helping of pork and waffles, and even accommodated this gluten-free girl; my belly has had a soft spot for him every since. 

Over the years Andrew has treated me to plate after plate of Alberta-pork packed charcuterie boards, porchetta, Fred Flintstone worthy pork chops, and more bacon-topped treats than I can remember. I knew when I took over at Packrat Louie that this chef with a Passion for Pork would create a menu packed with Alberta pork. 

When I popped in for lunch on Saturday Chef Cowan shared a few of his new menu items featuring local pork with me – braised bacon with bacon cream corn and the pork rillette.

Both dishes are available now and there will be plenty more Alberta pork dishes featured on the new menu; as each week goes by I am sure he will be unveiling additions to his charcuterie plate. I hear Packrat Louie’s patio should be open soon – a little sunshine and bacon cream corn sounds like the perfect combination for summer in Old Strathcona.

Packrat Louie
10335 83 Ave
open daily

Chef Cowan's braised bacon with bacon cream corn at Packrat Louie
Chef Cowan’s braised bacon with bacon cream corn at Packrat Louie

Taste of Edmonton: Pork Workshops with Chef Sneazwell & Chef Cowan

Chef Sneazwell wants to show you how to debone a pig head
Chef Sneazwell wants to show you how to debone a pig head

Taste of Edmonton is just around the corner and this year’s annual food festival is helping swine lovers learn a few tricks from two Edmonton chefs with a passion for pork.

Each afternoon, Sip ‘n Savour will transform into a classroom, where up to 10 participants can learn new culinary skills and recipes while prepping, cooking and eating right along with the chef. Presented by Events Edmonton, each workshop is $25+GST per person. Service fees apply.

The Sip and Savour tent will play host to two sessions focused on how to cook and use unique cuts of pork.

Interested in nose to-tail-cuisine? First up, on July 18th, Chef Alex Sneazwell of El Cortez Tequilla Bar and Kitchen will be showing participants how to break down and debone a pig head, and prepare it for dinner. See how flavourful, from head to toe, pigs can be with this workshop on how to use a very tasty part of the pig.

I attended a pig roast where Chef Sneazwell couldn’t keep his lips off the cheeks. You’ll walk away with from this session with tips and tricks that are sure to impress the next time you host a dinner party.

Deboning Pig Heads with Chef Alex Sneazwell: Friday, July 18,  3 – 4 p.m.
To book your space click here

Chef Cowan breaking down a pig
Chef Cowan breaking down a pig

On Monday, July 21 from 3 – 4 p.m., Chef Andrew Cowan from Hundred Bar & Kitchen will be sharing his love of all things pig when he shows participants how to break down and use different cuts of pork for BBQ.

Chef Cowan invited me into the kitchen when he was breaking down an Irving Farms pig last summer and it was fascinating – his desire to share his love of pork is infectious. In this session you’ll learn his secrets on how to properly brine, smoke, and cook different cuts of meat on the BBQ. Chef Cowan will be showing you how simple it is to prep, cook, and serve pork belly and pork shoulder on the BBQ.

BBQ Pork with Andrew Cowan: Monday, July 21,  3- 4 p.m.
To book your space click here

Alberta Pork’s JPL Christmas In November Chef Line Up


Alberta Pork is excited to help participants of Jasper Park Lodge’s annual Christmas in November add a little more passion to their celebrations this holiday season. Chef Eric Hanson, Chef Andrew Cowan and Chef Doreen Prei will be bringing their Passion for Pork to the the Alberta Pork sponsored seminars, teaching you how to make Alberta Pork products a feature on your table during the holidays. Don’t worry, Dan and I will be sharing their fabulous recipes on our blogs and made available on the Passion for Pork recipe section of this website after the event.
For those who have signed up for Christmas in November this year, you’ll be treated to flavour-filled session packed with tips and tricks on how to put together a great charcuterie board for the holiday season including items like bacon jam and bacon sriracha popcorn. You’ll learn where you can buy fabulous made-in-Alberta cured meats and cuts that will have your guests reaching for one more bite. Join our chefs as their share some of their best pork dishes to help bring something different to your dinner table this holiday season.
November 1 – 4, 2013

Chef Eric Hanson, presented by Alberta Pork, will be joining us for the first weekend package of Christmas in November.

This homegrown Albertan traveler uses his love of Canadian comfort food paired with the flavors of his world travels to assemble a unique combination.

Eric was named in the Top 20 Best New Restaurants in Canada, awarded in the 2013 ‘Where to Eat in Canada Guide’ and a regular on ‘Breakfast Television’. He started his own company in 2013, and already as a competitor, Chef Eric Hanson tied for 1st at ‘Taste of Edmonton’s’ Black Box Chef Off Competition with fellow Passion for Pork Christmas in November Chef Doreen Prei, back in July. Then continuing to tie for first again at ‘Breakfast Television’s’ Annual Breakfast Chef Off in August.

Known for combining flavors and techniques from each continent, he showcases our amazing local products in new dynamic ways. Join Chef Hanson to learn his recipe for Candied smoked bacon and Gluten Free Red Wine Taralli.
November 4th – 7th, 2013

Chef Andrew Cowan, presented by Alberta Pork, will be joining us for the midweek package of Christmas in November

Andrew grew up in Southern Ontario where he discovered his love for cooking while working at a private golf course. From there he moved out west to Nelson B.C where he took the culinary arts program at Selkirk College. After college he moved to Edmonton where he took the position of sous chef at Blackhawk Golf Course. Moving on from Blackhawk he worked as a chef at a few local restaurants before taking a position at Century Hospitality Group. With the Century Group he helped oversee the food program at LUX Steakhouse+Bar as the sous chef before moving over to Hundred Bar|Kitchen as the chef