Home and fam­ily ba­sis for new recipes

Chef in­spired by ca­sual trend

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life - Break­ing news at calgaryher­ald.com JUDY CREIGHTON

Known in­ter­na­tion­ally for his in­no­va­tive ap­proach to pre­par­ing fine food, Van­cou­ver chef Rob Fee­nie has turned his con­sid­er­able tal­ents to dishes that re­flect a grow­ing trend to­ward ca­sual din­ing.

“I think ca­sual din­ing is an evo­lu­tion and is part of the whole din­ing scene that is go­ing on in Canada,” says the for­mer owner of two restau­rants in his na­tive city who in 2008 be­came ex­ec­u­tive chef of Cactus Club Cafe, a chain of restau­rants in Western Canada.

He has pro­duced three cook­books, starred in New Clas­sics with Chef Rob Fee­nie on Food Net­work Canada and in 2005 was the first Cana­dian to win on the tele­vi­sion show Iron Chef Amer­ica by de­feat­ing chef Masa­haru Mo­ri­moto.

The 47-year-old Fee­nie is mar­ried with three chil­dren and this has also been a huge influence on his views to­ward home and ap­proach­able food prepa­ra­tion.

Noth­ing is more ev­i­dent of his af­fec­tion for fam­ily life than his lat­est cook­book, Rob Fee­nie’s Ca­sual Clas­sics: Ev­ery­day Recipes for Fam­ily and Friends (Dou­glas & McIn­tyre, $29.95, pa­per­back).

“Our kids like to cook with me,” he says proudly, “and now I have my week­ends free I spend a lot of time cook­ing at home with them.”

To em­pha­size this close­ness of fam­ily, the book has pho­tos of Fee­nie, his wife Michelle and chil­dren Devon, Jor­dan and Brook­lyn.

“Even­tu­ally I will teach the kids some skills and safety tips, but they are more hands on when we make pan­cakes from scratch,” their fa­ther says, “Right now they want to put the in­gre­di­ents in the bowl and mix, so we let them do that.”

He be­lieves the ca­sual din­ing scene is a re­flec­tion of the fact more peo­ple are be­com­ing aware of fresh pro­duce as more farm­ers mar­kets are pop­ping up.

“We are see­ing this real wave of emo­tion and at­tach­ment to food in this coun­try,” he adds.

Fee­nie has fond mem­o­ries of his child­hood when Sun­day din­ner was fam­ily night and now he pre­pares some­thing spe­cial for his kin.

“Hav­ing the kids in­volved in eat­ing at home to­gether with par­ents, grand­par­ents and other fam­ily mem­bers is re­ally im­por­tant to us,” he says.

If get­ting the kids to eat broc­coli is a chore, Fee­nie in­cludes this recipe in the book. It is one of his chil­dren’s favourites.

Post­meida News/files

Chef Rob Fee­nie will be in Eat! Fraser Val­ley.

The Cana­dian Press

Van­cou­ver chef Rob Fee­nie’s Ca­sual Clas­sics cook­book fo­cuses more on ca­sual din­ing.

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