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Q&A: Gail Norton, author of “Calgary Eats”

Gail Norton, author of the newly released Calgary Eats cookbook, is the co-owner of Calgary’s culinary hub The Cookbook Co. Cooks, a specialty cookbook, food and kitchenware store and cooking school. A lifelong Calgarian with deep and sprawling roots in the local food community, Norton is the former publisher of City Palate magazine, a judge for Taste Canada and co-author of Calgary Cooks.


How do you normally start your day?

Coffee, always coffee first. Nice rich, strong cup of pour-over coffee made from Transcend roasters. Then I start to putz away making lunch. I have taken to composing salads for my lunch. Open the fridge — shred cabbage, sliver some kohlrabi, a couple of radishes, and drizzle with olive oil and Calamansi vinegar (there is not anything that vinegar touches that is not elevated!) a boiled egg or roasted chicken bit on the side — rip up a herb or two — done for lunch.

What are you reading at the moment?

I Regret Everything by Seth Greenland — a quirky love story

What’s your favourite go-to ingredient?

Grilled chicken. Crunchy vegetables — see above! Radishes, cabbage, cucumber, kohlrabi — depends on the season and what was in my produce box for the week.

What food is your guilty pleasure?

I don’t really like to associate guilt with eating — save guilt for bigger crimes. But probably eating something that I probably shouldn’t eat too often…. is a piece of baguette smeared with butter, then peanut butter, then a grand dollop of creamy honey.

Who has influenced your cooking the most?

I have been immersed in cookbooks for 35 years (The Cookbook Co. celebrates it’s 35 anniversary in November) so it is a long list. My first cookbook I bought that made my heart beat faster was Madhur Jaffrey’s An Invitation to Indian Cooking. I bought it in Toronto at The Cookbook Store in 1984. That store was a revelation! From there, it’s been Paul Prudhomme, Marcella Hazan, Carol Field for bread, so many! Paula Wolfert, Diana Henry, and of course Ottolenghi.

Is there a food you can’t bring yourself to eat?

Bugs. Ick.

The thing I love about Calgary is…

The proximity to the mountains, the crisp air at night, the close knit food community…

Calgary EatsSignature Recipes from the City’s Best Restaurants and Bars is available now.

September 24, 2019
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