After being named the youngest Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux in the world, winning the Top Chef Canada title and running establishments in Vancouver (including the much beloved Lumière), chef Dale MacKay recently returned to his hometown of Saskatoon. Opening the Ayden Kitchen & Bar signalled his desire to return to his roots and spend more time with the restaurant’s namesake, his son. Located downtown in a restored heritage building, Ayden favours seasonal menus showcasing the freshest produce, beautiful charcuterie boards and sharing platters. For those looking to take home a taste of the Prairies, the restaurant’s market, which opened earlier this year, sells housemade charcuterie, custom butchery, fresh cheese and gourmet condiments.
In Good Spirits
When Rémy Martin first bottled Louis XIII cognac back in 1874, they created the ultra-premium spirits category as we know it today. But now that competition at the top is fierce, they’ve had to go back into their cellars for inspiration. The result: Louis XIII Rare Cask 42,6, which comes from a single cask dating from 1913 that contained only enough spirit to fill 738 handmade black crystal Baccarat decanters. Only three bottles can be found in Canada: One is in a private collection in Quebec; the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch held a lottery for the right to purchase another; and the third was recently delivered to Vancouver’s Hawksworth restaurant, where a mere $1,500 will buy you an ounce of the precious spirit.
Fit for a Queen
Since she launched Hillberg & Berk in 2007, Rachel Mielke has proven that it takes a special sparkle to succeed. The Regina native’s jewellery has been seen on celebs like Céline Dion, Barbara Walters and Carrie Underwood, and late last year, Saskatchewan’s lieutenant-governor presented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with a $15,000 H&B brooch. The stunning contemporary piece was handcrafted with five petals of Madagascar tourmaline, surrounded by 300 diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold. Inspired by the unique brooch, Mielke went on to produce the Legacy Collection, 160 one-of-a-kind items created using the rest of the richly coloured gemstone, now available to the public.
Canadian design darling Karim Rashid has already lent his inspired mind to a range of collaborations, from the OH chair for Umbra to brand identity for Sony Mobile and even manhole covers for the city of New York. He recently added sneakers to his list of design partnerships, a footwear frontier he considers fascinating for bridging high tech with fashion. In collaboration with Sully Wong, the Toronto footwear and bag design company, Rashid will contribute prints for a series of limited-edition leather sneakers. Look for his exclusive designs, available in eight colours.
In the spring, when the Lightkeepers Seafood Restaurant in Anthony, Newfoundland, reopens for the season, owner Randy Cull jumps in his boat and heads out onto the Atlantic to gather up an unusual resource: icebergs. Cull chips off berg bits, then stores them in the restaurant’s freezer until they are used for martinis and other mixed cocktails. He’s not the first to tap into the icy trend. Brawny bars in Alaska to haute establishments in Manhattan also favour glacial ice. When it’s dropped in a drink, tiny bubbles trapped in the ice formed thousands of years ago are released, giving the tipple an effervescent quality. How cool is that?
Intrepid bartenders are already raiding the kitchen for cocktail ingredients, so it’s only natural for the culinary world to start taking cues from mixology. At Vancouver’s Bittered Sling Extracts, launched by chef Jonathan Chovancek and sommelier and mixologist Lauren Mote, artisan bitters aren’t just recommended to top off drinks, they’re meant for your meals. Tasting notes include suggestions for putting them in everything from meringues to barbecue sauce, with full recipes posted online. Try the Plum & Rootbeer bitters in brownie bites, or use the Lem-Marrakech bitters in both cured salmon and spiced margaritas – now that sounds like a perfect pairing.
Above the Fold
Lacy Barry travels light. After living and working in L.A., Brooklyn, Montreal and London, England, the Alberta-born artist relocated to Berlin, Germany, to set up shop creating magically tactile installations. Her preferred medium? Paper. After studying graphic design and working in costume design, she turned her love for the fibre arts into delicate and intricate ad campaigns and window displays for Tiffany & Co., La Canadienne and French shoe brand Arche (to name a few). This spring finds her collaborating with Bloompapers Barcelona on a wallpaper line based on her “Little Wing” series – a collection of three-dimensional bursts of colour previously exhibited at New York’s Bottleneck Gallery.
The competition at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Start Up was so fierce, it warranted two Awarded Designers. Edmonton’s Malorie Urbanovitch, a finalist in the 2012 edition, chose washable, self-lined silks in a palette of pastels and charcoal grey for her fall/winter 2014 collection. She aspired to convey effortless luxury with clothes that could be “worn to the ball or the mall.” For her part, Montreal’s Cécile Raizonville, of Matière Noire, was recognized for working with a Quebec-based weaver to create a custom fabric of linen, raw silk and wool. Her stark, strong, simple aesthetic reigned in her past collections, but Raizonville aims for a softer sensitivity with her new pieces.
Holt Renfrew continues to push the envelope of fashion with H Project, their in-store boutique filled with a highly curated selection of items. The brainchild of Alexandra Weston, the company’s director of brand strategy, the label (available at the store’s Yorkdale and Bloor Street locations in Toronto, as well as in Calgary and Vancouver) features exclusive designer collaborations, many promoting charities or eco-friendly design. Highlights include fresh-for-spring pieces from Alice & Whittles, a Toronto-based sustainable espadrille company; Bottletop, an ethical luxury accessory maker from the UK; and Lalesso, a completely carbon-neutral fashion line inspired by the East African kanga.
In 2007, Canada’s sake pioneer, Masa Shiroki, opened his microbrewery, Artisan Sake Maker, on Granville Island in Vancouver and began producing the first varieties of Canadian handmade, small-batch sake. Two years later, he launched a mission to grow rice in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, now the most northerly rice production region in the world. His sake rice yield was earmarked specifically for his “100-mile” Junmai sake. Shiroki followed this feat by partnering with PiDGiN restaurant and Fairmont Pacific Rim’s ORU to offer Osake Junmai Nama – unpasteurized draft sake – in a fresh new way: on tap. This spring, taste the latest from Shiroki’s stainless-steel kegs: Junmai sparkling sake.
Summer camp just got cooler. The Design Exchange, Canada’s de facto design museum, goes far beyond summer standards like lanyard making, campfire singalongs and canoe tripping. From July to the end of August, budding creatives aged six to 14 can sign up for one-week day camps designed to explore, stretch and refine their design skills. The list of offerings covers everything from architecture to textile fabrication. Highlights include Drama + Design, a session developed in partnership with Canadian Stage that guides participants in staging a performance from curtain call to close, and House of DX, a study of prêt-à-porter fashion, fashion illustration and pattern-making plus the chance to complete a unique garment.
Now kids can claim a Mercedes-Benz of their own. For children aged three to six, there are Kids’ Bikes (1) emblazoned with signature three-point stars and made of sturdy aluminum. Beginners aged three and up can get used to riding on two wheels with wooden, pedal-free Motorsport Balance Bikes (2). For fun on four wheels, try sporty, safety-tested Mille Miglia Go-Karts (3), recommended for children aged five to eleven.