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    The Steak

    in the beginning in the beginning


    After my last cooking class and then barbequing some nice New Yorks for dinner tonight , I thought  a few tips might be in order. So here we go:

    1. Always choose an appropriate cut of beef to grill- the more tender,well-marbled cuts such as striploin( New York)  or Rib Steak work very well but are not the only ones that can give you good results with proper preparation beforehand. Try a sirloin or flat iron but give them son TLC beforehand by marinating them in a concoction with a high acid content- salad dressings are some of my favourite bases for marinating. Always choose Alberta Beef for the best results.


    2.  Always pre heat your grill and you want it quite hot.


    3. Remember to season them even if you marinated.


    4. Don’t overcook them-  a maximum of medium will give you the best results.


    5. Serve them right away for best results and remember they will cook another 5 degrees after you take them off the grill.



    Ready to serve Ready to serve






    Cooking classes

    So tonight marks the start of the roster of cooking classes we are doing this year in conjunction with Crowsnest Pass Adult Education. Boy does Toni have me doing lots of them.  They are all new ones and its going to be fun and of course will reflect this years travels.

    Tonight – Viva Vegetarian   All kinds of good things and tips for the vegetarian in your life. 

    For a complete listing of courses check Cowsnest Pass Adult Ed site

    Overall Small Business Award 2012

    Wow did we get a nice surprise a couple of  weeks ago. We are  thrilled to be chosen as the winners of the Overall Small Business Award for 2012 at the Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce AGM.  Congratulations to  all the nominees and other winners who represent small business here in the Crowsnest Pass.  Thank you to all of our staff and customers who helped make 2012 a great year.  Thanks also to the Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce for their support and efforts on behalf off all Crowsnest Pass business.


    Hokuto cultural exchange

    For the last week we have been hosting jointly with  York Creek B&B  a group of junior high students from Hokuto city Japan . The young people have been here taking in the sights and life in the Crowsnest Pass. Along with visits to the local tourist venues they met up with the boys and girls club, volunteered picking weeds at the Bellevue mine, and read to the kids at the library. The visit, organized by Jenn Corwin of KEEP, was a wonderful addition to our summer groups and gave us an opportunity to work with our friends at York Creek.






    Chamber After Hours

    We had the good fortune to cater the goodies for the Crowsnest Pass Chamber After Hours last night. It was at the new store of Crowsnest Pass rentals and hosted by Kathy and Arran of the for mentioned as well as Lowry Tombs of Royal Lapage. With about 50 people in attendance it was a great turn out particularly considering such an event has never been held in July.

    Camber After Hours are social events were business owners can get together,  network, and  become aqanted with a new or existing business in a social atmosphere. It was a nice way to spend a hot evening.
    Some pics of the event and the stuff we made.




    Our interview with Elisha Rasmussen of Global Lethbridge

    Late last month Elisha Rasmussen came out to the Crowsnest Pass  and interviewed a number of local tourism folks.  On July 9  our interview was aired as part of her segment on Global News. You can see ours at  It was a pleasure to have her here with us . Thanks Elisha

    My new smartphone

    I just discovered I can write posts from my new galaxy3 phone and had try it out.
    Too cool !

    Is This the Service Industry? By: Brian Duffy

    This made it’s way to me via my daughter Erika and her F&B director Jim Brown at The Lethbridge Lodge.  Good stuff and a great reminder to all of us in the industry – Our Guests are the reason we do this. 


    Is This the Service Industry?

    March 28, 2012 By: Brian Duffy

    Editor’s Note: The following is one in a series of blogs provided by the experts who have worked incredibly hard to make Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” reality program, starring Nightclub & Bar Media Group President Jon Taffer, such a success. The Bar Rescue Insider blog series will deliver tried-and-true tips and tricks to help bar owners, operators and managers solve common problems and increase their bottom line. Tune in to every Wednesday for the next edition of Bar Rescue Insider!


    On the menu: “No substitutions.”
    The bartender: “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.”
    The server: “The chef said no.”
    The manager: “No!”

    I have heard and read these phrases far too many times. This way of thinking actually makes me mad! We are in the service industry; it is our job to serve our guests, our duty to make our guests “raving fans” and our livelihood to provide a service to our guests.

    I recently walked into a restaurant in NYC’s Rockefeller Plaza on a Friday for lunch, headed to the bar and sat down with cash in hand. After waiting 6 to 8 minutes for the bartender to stop cutting lemons, she had the gall to hold up her hand and say, “I’ll be there in a minute.” She then walked over and asked, “What can I get you?” I ordered and she replied, “No.”

    No?! I left, hungry and furious. I was so mad I didn’t even have time to rant via social media!

    There are way too many opportunities for bar staff members to take a ball and run with it unobstructed right into the end zone. But so many times the ball is dropped simply because of management’s inability to effectively communicate their goals to the staff.

    Too often we go into business with the intention of service but our intentions later become that of a disgruntled owner, always talking about how much everything costs, how much the staff sucks and how much of a pain “Mike” at the end of the bar is. But if it weren’t for “Mike,” guest counts would begin to diminish.

    We need to grab our guests (please note that in the service industry, we use the term “guests”) with our service, intellect, personalities and product. If I feel I am interrupting a bartender at 11:30 a.m. on a Friday while she is cutting lemons, I will feel uncomfortable when I need service.

    My goal is to create a synergy among managers, servers, chefs and cooks; we are all in this together. We all have to work as a team to make sure our guests continue to walk through our doors, to tell their friends how great it is to walk into “Billy Frank’s Burger Emporium” and be treated like the King of Table No. 24 or Barstool No. 17.  It is our job to go beyond our guests’ expectations.

    Try this: Every time one of your guests walk in the door,

    • Have your host or hostess walk with them to the table, not 20 feet ahead.
    • Have your server introduce his or herself to your guests, ask the guests their names and then use them! For example, “Here is your burger, Tim.”
    • Managers should spend a few minutes walking through the dining room. Imagine if Jill the server introduced Liam the manager to Tim the guest: “Liam, this is Tim. This is Tim’s first time here.” The guest is now engaged.
    • Chefs also should spend a few minutes out in the dining room meeting their guests. I loved walking through the dining room, meeting my guests and hearing feedback. Listening to what they would like to see on the menu! To go the extra distance, run the special the guest wanted to see and call him to let him know it will be on the menu.
    • Give your servers business cards to create the regular guest experience.

    A few years back, I was introduced to a book, “Raving Fans” by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. As a chef, I was uncertain which direction I should run with it. It’s a simple book. There are not many pages, but the message is powerful: Go 1% above what your guest is expecting. I have shared this book with many of my clients, students and even my children.

    I am a chef; I love to create and play with food. I love the business of creating reactions and guest experiences, but that is only going to happen if we are all on the same page and have the same mindset. As owners, operators and managers, we need to engage our staff and give them the tools to succeed. Create your “raving fans” every time you open the door, answer the phone or drop the check. It’s what we do.




    Layered Spinach Salad

    Here’s one for Bridget:

    Layered Spinach Salad

    bunch of baby spinach leaves

    1/2 head of iceberg lettuce

    3 hard boiled eggs

    6-8 strips bacon cooked and crumbled

    1/2 white or red onion cut in strips

    1 red pepper cut in strips

    shredded cheese


    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • dry mustard
    • celery seed
    • 1 medium Vidalia onion, grated, or other sweet onion
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup vinegar
    • mayo


    In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt, mustard and celery seed. Add grated sweet onion, oil, and vinegar. Heat until sugar is melted. Cool then mix with mayo 1/2 vinigar mix 1/2 mayo
    Wash and clean up the veggies and dry well.
    In a glass/ clear  serving bowl  layer of spinach, shredded lettuce, egg , peppers and onions. completely cover top with dressing and then garnich with cheese and bacon.
    It can be made a day ahead and turns out nice. Also if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the dressing from scratch  mix 1/2 mayo and 1/2 bottled sweet onion and add a little bit of grainy mustard to it. ( that’s what you had that day at the plant Bridget!)

    Small Town Saturday Night Contest

    The Crowsnest Pass  has entered the contest hosted by Big Valley Jamboree and Travel Alberta.  We have made the cut to Top 10 and now need your vote.

    The prize is great – a “mini” Jamboree on the April 28 week end – the same day as The Kananaskis Indoor Rodeo  here in the Pass.

    You can see the video and vote at

    Well  done to the committee that produced the video you did a great job.

    We need your votes so please vote daily