Each month, participants in the Canadian Food Experience Project write about a topic that aims to pull into clearer focus our Canadian food culture; it might be a Canadian ingredient or recipe – this month we’ve been asked to write about a Canadian food hero – someone who inspires us with what they do with their food.
So many people come to mind – including (immediately) Chef Michael Allemeier, one of a superb team of Culinary Arts instructors at SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary and former Winery Chef at Mission Hill Winery in Westbank, BC. He does a lot of good in this city, and is a great guy, and funnily enough, hit the highway to come out west the same time we did about a week and a half ago.. those following us on Twitter noticed our stops at the same road trip landmarks along the way – at D Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous we must have missed each other by minutes.
Michael is a positive and generous member of our Calgary food scene; earlier this summer he spent time cooking for flood victims in High River, and at the inaugural Taste Alberta farm-to-fork tour at Gull Lake, he brought his own smoker to prepare (according to the awesome Liane Faulder, another local food hero I often live vicariously through) applewood-grilled bison flat iron steaks with lovage chimichurri and marrow-stuffed potatoes. Michael has taught me a lot over the years – not least of all how to grow delicious strawberries, how to proof my bread in a warm, steamy dishwasher post-cycle, and how to approach life with a smile, looking for ways to teach and inspire the next generation of chefs and eaters. Also – he came up with this buttermilk cake with peaches and cream.
I made it before we left for Tofino, for a friend’s summer birthday. While I love grilled peaches, it was getting dark and so I skipped that stop, thickly slicing the peaches directly atop the cake as everyone chatted on the back porch. The recipe called for a strained raspberry puree to be drizzled overtop, but with a small bottle of black currant syrup in the fridge, I decided to go with that instead. It’s deep purple, almost black, with a tartness that works as well with the peaches and buttermilk cake as I imagine raspberries would. With beautiful BC peaches now in season, it’s a perfect recipe to share.