• [C]hronicled. | HEAT LALIBERTE

     … audentis fortuna iuvat

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Heat’s Home & Culinary Capers · Gear | Leica

    A timid tree in abscission,
    And a hatched egg underside a fallen leaf.
    ’Tis the gift of life, surely.
    But what of the land; fraught with flustered flora?
    A detritus there beckons,
    Laden with throes. Laced with trauma.
    Careful, caterpillar.
    Your iridescence has foes,
    And though time doth passes,
    It leaves holes.

    But the sun rises,
    And survival begets spun silk,
    Now you’re a cocoon,
    But distanced from your ilk.
    Where’s your limerence! Incant! Sing!
    You’ve finally emerged from chrysalis,
    Just flap your wings.

    Once a larvae,
    And now a lullaby,
    I watch you fly,
    Into blue blue skies.

    Fortune favours the bold. And we favour you. Welcome to The Curatorialist, Heat Laliberté.
    [And thanks to my friend Matt, Vancouver’s venerable Dumpling King, for telling me about this beautiful man.]

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  • KARRI SCHUERMANS

     …a beautiful inappropriateness & principum individuationis.  

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Chambar · Gear | Leica

    A forlorn moon, and lonely skies befriended by curious constellation. Our night is waning; left is the scent of dying embers, the lingering smoke of ashed cigarettes, and the poignant perfume of potato chips. It’s late. So late we can hear the pond frogs fuck. But what’s an inundation of amphibian virility in the face of revelry? These are the love-children of Dionysus, a ragtag of impish lifers—chefs, industry, and everyone in between. Tightly nestled inside a wunderkammer tucked deep in the wilderness, suddenly, there’s a turn in parlance. Sitting in the corner, his eyes disguised under a cap, a chef renders wax poetic, “Karri and Nico… they were like godparents to me”. A forceful introspect, and a final pour of red. As nostalgia bleeds into wistfulness, we observe our silence. And even though the frogs have come to a halt, we remain sentient, beckoned by daybreak. So I fasten my wings and journey to the Sun. And in an utter reversal of fate, amidst dark coffee and crumbling cake, there appears Helios incarnate—“Good morning. I’m Karri”.

    Though I’ve fallen victim to hubris, much like the ill-fated Icarus, the case of Karri, vis-à-vis Chambar, is one that demands heavy concessions to promulgated pontifications. Deeming “West-Coast safe” their anathema, Karri and Nico, alongside their bacchanal-inducing staff, have conjured up a cosmic brand of revelry—a phenomenon they’ve coined Civilized Debauchery—that [still] constitutes the single most unassailable blueprint for operational success in Vancouver today. It’s the telling tale of trickle-down gastronomics, and not a soul feels foisted. Over the last decade and a half, hundreds of Chambar alumni have bid adieu to their lodestar in search of new beginnings, bringing along with them the patois, and boundless bravura, they once helped forge at Chambar. Collectively, they’ve unfucked the complacency out of a town once painted in pastels.

    I’m not in the business of lauding restaurants, it’s the people that compel me. And from where I stand, a posteriori, Karri is rara avis—an effusive spirit, a post-modern mother, and a boss [I’m told] you’d prison-shank yourself to work for. We’ve imbibed the Chambar story ad nauseam, but perhaps, this particular rendition of Karri’s life, and lore, proves to be the one never before witnessed.

    Welcome to The Curatorialist, Karri Schuermans.

    & & &

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  • [C]hronicled. | HAIDEE HART

     … Home is where the Hart is.

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Stowel Lake Farm, Salt Spring Island · Gear | Leica

    Gazing through my viewfinder, inside a country kitchen I stand. And amidst a pantheon of burly chefs cascaded in chiaroscuro, I see only her—an oculus, through which shoots a blinding beam of light, seamlessly elucidating this chthonic cavern. And with an arresting sentience she luxuriates—professing admiration to piles of sun-kissed bounty—to each bulb of beet, and last petal picked. And though I’m a louche cynic, I’ll indulge you, and perhaps even promulgate, that it’s beyond beautiful. All of it. So much so, you feel remorse even picturing it. From where hails this wondrous woman—this epicurean pugilist—evincing in me maudlin sentiments of ambrosia, petrichor, and grace?

    Haidee’s presence is indelible, and most evident in her idyllic domain, Salt Spring Island’s heaven-on-earth fixture, Stowel Lake Farm—brandishing a singular facet of utopia where bunnies hop, chickens talk, and gregarious farm folk welcome flocking souls with inviting eyes, uttering phrases like “How are you?” and really mean it. It’s sun-drenched. It’s lollipops and crisps. It’s a soul-rending Radiohead song, a palpable chimera where your heart skips.

    Wife to an [equally] astonishing artisan, and mother to four delightful [and perfectly chiseled] children, Haidee has singlehandedly transformed her life’s passion of cooking—once just a humble avocation—into a full-fledged international career. Her endless quest for beauty—be it in the ground, or on a plate—has commanded indefatigable effort and tremendous sacrifice. Harbouring diehard allegiance to the land [and life], she’s the embodiment of grit & grace—a dreamweaver who weaves while she’s awake. And with an island community championing her every move, us converts watch in awe, utterly subsumed.

    Welcome to The Curatorialist, Chef Haidee Hart.

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  • RECIPES: Haidee Hart’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

    Recipe | Haidee Hart · Curator | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Stowel Lake Farm · Gear | Leica

    What would’ve been a muse to a renaissance painter versed in natures mortes, is now Haidee’s salacious sacrifice to the Gods of Cake. And as far as dessert dalliances go, what humankind have known as “cake” just doesn’t get more velvety than this. It fashions a fragile façade—a timid, meringue shell that fissures with a silent whisper—yet beneath the cracks, there’s a raging tempest of merciless, unctuous chocolate, that eats like the lovechild of a bodacious brownie, and a meritorious mousse cake. It has, what the vanguards of pastry would call, “éclat”. Pastry is chemistry, but we are not chemists. And though you should follow Haidee’s maxims with a careful eye, you should also make it your own—be it with a festoon of gleaming berries, or a virgin olive oil infused with the tears of dessert fiends. Be our guest, pander to your sweet-tooth.

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  • RECIPES: Kieran Fanning’s Toronto Cocktail

    Recipe | Kieran Fanning · Curator | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Pepino’s Spaghetti House · Gear | Leica

    Mr. Fanning’s sure to fracture froideur [via lascivious libation] with his take on The Toronto Cocktail. The lovechild of sweet & spicy rye and [nostrum-typecast] fernet—and effectively, a Fernet Manhattan—it’s the liquid conduit for beguiling botanicals that dazzle fast, and drink slow. Kieran prefers making his with Rittenhouse Rye, and a bit more than the recipe calls for in Fernet-Branca. But Kieran’s an easy-going guy, and we live in a cocktail democracy, so feel free to unleash these ardent aromas at your own peril. Make it nice, and chill your fucking cocktail glass. Please enjoy responsibly.

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  • KIERAN FANNING

     …on wanderlust, weltschmerz, and wine [grape juice]

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Kieran’s Home & Pepino’s · Gear | Leica

    Life doesn’t come easy for a wunderkind, especially with the countenance of a 13-year old [his words, not mine]. And as is the case with most of his ilk, Kieran, too, vacillates the grey areas between weltschmerz and wanderlust, searching for his place in this world. Otherwise, he’s heedful—tending to thirst—pandering to the baser instincts of impish patrons with burgundy lips, and bubbly spirits. And though he brandishes an unassuming patina, he’s studious—and forever curious—holding a panoply of grape [and classical music] knowledge that is unassailable. This, coupled with his unorthodox ways, imparts a much-needed fleck of sunshine into two worlds that are otherwise rigid, and pantheistic. And for that, he’s deserved of any paean.

    Kieran also holds a dear place in our heart for being the inaugural subject in our newly founded exposé—SpeakEasy. Partial to the life stories of beguiling boozers & belligerent bon vivants, it’ll serve as an insightful, yet electric, echo chamber for those who hail from the world of hospitality. Expect no aphorisms, and assailants to the inviolable. Welcome to The Curatorialist, Mr. Kieran Fanning.

    & & &

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  • LEVANTINE LULLABY LULLS APPETITES

    Menu | Haitham El-Khatib & Fiona Hepher & Ivan Truong · Curators | Hakan Burcuoğlu & Linda Gallo · Venue | Aleph Eatery · Gear | Leica

    That’s a wrap on Levantine Lullaby—two nocturnes of salacious serenade that conjured up a heartwarming—and unapologetically vegetarian—feast inspired by the utterly indulgent, cross-pollinated flavours of the Eastern Mediterranean. From Haitham’s Fatteh & Fesenjan—a sultry concoction disguised as a majestic mash-up—to Ivan’s butter-laced, concupiscent halloumi grilled cheese, and Cheese Boats [shall we say Turkish Pide, with unctuous, bubbling yolks] the size of mini-humans, it was a focused dissertation in Levantine cookery, a masterclass in Middle Eastern hospitality, and two long nights of nostalgic longing—pure romantic revelry.

    Just like all Curatorialist events, Levantine Lullaby was made possible thanks to the collective toil of passionate and dedicated bon vivants who work in the food and creative industries. Our heartfelt thanks goes to helmers Haitham El-Khatib and Fiona Hepher, who delivered a seamless epicurean feast worthy of any paean. We also acknowledge the brains & brawn of Aleph Eatery‘s [cool as a cucumber] incumbent staff, comprised of Ivan Truong, Alex Durrant, Paul Takayesu as well as the magical musicians who serenaded our guests, and made Levantine Lullaby live up to its name—Farooq Al-Sajee and singer/songwriter Shadi Toloui-Wallace.

    East became Feast, sistren and brethren, and we’ll continue to gild the lily to satisfy your hungry minds. Tune in for our next pop-up food phenomenon in August.

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  • [C]hronicled. | MELANIE WITT

     … the anatomy of melancholia

    Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Mel’s Home & Osteria Savio Volpe · Gear | Leica

    Akitchen clad in forlorn formica, and the poignant perfume of steamed, buttery cake. We’re here to lay bare—victims of vignettes—our visages cascaded by soft, intermittent shadows, of rustling drapes. Pilfered of light, and her alluring gaze, it’s scintillating shadowplay—an ocular tryst. How to posterize this instance… and to elucidate this camera obscura? I now realize it was never about the depiction, but rather the telling imprint of her subdued aversion—magnificent melancholia.

    And that magnificence transcends, evident in her sultry paramour—Vancouver’s boner-inducing, saporous fixture, Osteria Savio Volpe. But she’s no wistful protagonist in this autofiction; instead, she transmogrifies, stoically helming a brilliant brigade of burly, hardknock chefs. Though she’s poised in her passion, and deserved of any paean, there’s always that heart of darkness—that line she’ll never cross. And as is with most chefs cooking at this level, life outside the sanctuary can be one painted in abstractions.

    We’re partial to Mel here at The Curatorialist—she’s the first woman to grace our presence, and a herald for many, many more. So now that we’ve seen the light, let this Falstaffian foray be our aubade for ascension. Welcome, Chef Melanie Witt. [And our apologies for plastering 1000 posters of you around town. Video here.]

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  • RECIPES: Melanie Witt’s Muscovado Cake

    Recipe | Melanie Witt · Curator | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Melanie’s Home · Gear | Leica

    We’ve formed mawkish allegiances to the plasticized heroes that run the pastry cosmos, but Chef Melanie Witt’s Muscovado [aka Khandsari and/or Khand] Cake is anything but parvenu—in fact, its pervasive, buttery perfume is said to induce poignant pirouettes. So ash your cigarette, separate them yolks and put on your apron—it’s steamy cake time. It eats like an Aero, goes down like butter [literally] and smells of majestic molasses. This one’s not chemistry, it’s simple math. Steam it like it’s hot in 10 easy steps, including pirouette.

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