Design: A Notting Hill Kitchen

This kitchen in Notting Hill, UK has so many stunning details. The marble, the moulding, the brass, and the floors have all caught my eye. And since there’s already a Bialetti espresso maker in place, I can basically move in. Yup. I could!

Blenheim Crescent kitchen by Blakes London

Two for Tuesday: Pretty Peonies

It’s peony season! If you follow designers, bloggers, and floral enthusiasts on Instagram or elsewhere, you’ll likely see a peony-infusion in your feeds. My mom brought me the first two cuttings from her garden over the weekend, and the blooms are just so pretty. I saved my readers from multiple photos this time, but I can’t promise that I’ll be stopping with this one!

The pretty peony has inspired this two-of-a-kind post.

blossom flower studs, Kate Spade

peonies via The Crafted Life

Event: Terroir Symposium, Toronto

Food makes any event pretty darn great, doesn’t it? Well, what about an event that showcases the best-of-the-best in culinary gems? Count me in! Today, I’m sharing news from the Terroir Symposium. Founded by Arlene Stein, the symposium brings together chefs, pastry chefs, food enthusiasts, publishers, bloggers, and more to showcase and share the achievements of Canada’s culinary industry. This year, Terroir was held at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In short – the event was memorable!

I arrived around lunch, and easily made my way around the food booths. Lunch was presented by Ocean Wise, and each chef prepared a dish to highlight Canada’s sustainable seafood offerings. I was in fish food heaven!

Hor mok, steamed white fish from Georgian Bay, and rice in a banana leaf, from Chef Noureen Feerasta of Rickshaw Bar

crispy fried pickerel wings and cheeks with thai larb, from Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked   

Acadian Shortnose Sturgeon Toasts, from Chef Katie Venables Lloyd of lbs

albacore tuna donburi, from Chef Michael Hunter of Antler

Water and wine flowed.

S. Pellegrino – an event sponsor (and one of my faves!)

I met up with my friends from Langdon Hall for some bonding over food.

me, Anna, Chef Jason Bangerter, and Franco Stalteri (of Charlies Burgers)

Mingling and desserts pair very nicely together, so that’s where we headed post-fish! The desserts were so beautifully presented in the centre court of the AGO. Were they delicious? Of course they were! I had multiples just to be sure! (I had to do the research to report back to you, right?) The flavours were rich, and everything was of the highest quality. The pastry chefs and their teams sure did spoil all the attendees!

eclairs from Atul Palghadmal of Nugateau 

white perfection (white chocolate, vanilla cream, maple mousse, biscuit) from Lior Aronovich of Amadeus Patisserie

from Chris Kwok of Cluny Bistro

With a full belly, we happily attended sessions to learn about Canada’s culinary industry from the experts. We started with a session on cookbook publishing. It seemed right up my alley considering my background in writing. The panel consisted of Michelle Meade (senior editor, Figure 1 Publishing), Lisa Jager (art director, Penguin Random House), and Trish Bunnett (publicity manager, Penguin Random House). It was moderated by Alison Maclean. These four women spoke about the cookbook publishing industry for chefs, bloggers, and enthusiasts. I was pleased that bloggers were included in several presentations throughout the day. The women spoke of the publishing process – for pitch to proposal to editors meetings to writing to food styling – there are so many parts that go into book making, and I soaked it all up!

We then turned from cookbook publishing to Quebec’s culinary traditions in a session titled “French Flavour.” Since my trip to Montebello, Quebec has been on my mind quite a bit, so when I saw this session in the program, I was curious. We heard from Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales (co-owners: Société-Original and L’École Buissonnière), Anne Desjardins, Geneviève Vézina-Montplaisir (Caribou magazine), and Simon Thibault.

The third session we went to before the break was titled “The Science of Flavour.” In this session, moderated by Brian Gilvesy (YU Ranch), Joshua Evans (PhD student), Mark Schatzker (author and hst on Flavour TV), and John Szabo (master sommelier) addressed questions and concerns about flavour. Why do people taste things differently, what are we doing when we grow our food to enhance or change flavour, etc. “Tomatoes” was a hot topic…flavourful or flavourless? It depends on the time of year and where they’re grown, of course!

At this point in the day, attendees were invited to a reception. While I could not eat more caviar (I know, I know, but I couldn’t!), I did manage to sip on a delicious bourbon cocktail! And just like the food and desserts that were served earlier in the day, the cocktails were made with much attention to detail. Loved it!

The late-afternoon sessions first consisted of a panel moderated by Matty Matheson, Viceland TV host and chef, Parts & Labour. We saw clips from Kevin Kossowan’s dramatic film about food and agriculture, learned about pulses (which are dried goods like chickpeas and lentils) from Courtney Hirota from Pulse Canada, and Michael Ableman, author and organic farmer. It was a session that urged us to think about where our food is grown, where we buy it, and how we can maximize our local efforts.

Following this, we heard about the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Jacob Richeler of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants moderated the session with Alison Ramage (Design to Dine) and Normand LaPrise (Toqué). Could you imagine judging a food competition? That would be amazing! They should get the public (aka people like me) right on in there alongside the top chefs! Right?

To end Terroir Symposium, we attended an “Iconically Canadian” panel with Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson. The four chefs have different personalities and culinary backgrounds, so it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on the Canadian culinary industry. While the session focused on Toronto, I know that there are many gems across Canada that add to our culinary excellence!

So would I attend the Terroir Symposium again? You bet I would! Food, mingling, art, and learning…these are some of my favourite things, and Terroir served them all!

All photos by Jordana.

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The Friday Five: Spring Home Maintenance

No, I don’t have any major DIY projects planned in the near future (but you never know what might happen), but I do have a list of not-so-fun things that I should/need to buy to keep my home in the best possible working order this spring and summer.

Most of these items are definitely not fun ones to buy, but they’re necessary (see item 1 – garage door opener). Each season, I think it’s nice to take stock of what’s going on in your home, and do your best to keep it maintained.

And, yes, I know I’m a day late with this post, but given my recent trip to Toronto and prepping for a garage sale, I couldn’t finish my draft.

1. Garage Door Opener
I was under the impression that garage door openers last quite a number of years. Mine has lasted less than 4. Unfortunate, but true. It opens only when it feels like opening these days. It’s quite the moody thing. It’s been so darn annoying!

Note – It’s by Craftsman, but I bought it at Sears. When I called Craftsman to ask about warranty/replacement options, they sent me to Sears. When I called Sears, they sent me to Craftsman. Imagine that. I got absolutely nowhere with warranty/replacement options, so I’m out of luck. Completely annoying. Not impressed at all. I’m looking at alternative brands at the moment such as Chamberlain. Any advice? Does anyone have a garage door opener that they’d recommend? Thankfully for my budget, Father’s Day sales are currently happening, so I might get lucky.

2. BBQ
Speaking of Father’s Day sales…I’m also looking to invest in a BBQ this summer. Mine is in decent working condition, but it’s old and tired. I’d love something new – and with more knobs. I’m sort of set on “I want more knobs” even though I don’t really know if I need them. It’s probably not the best way to choose a BBQ, but it’s what I want.

3. Bathroom fan(s)
My bathroom fans are fine, but they’re kind of loud. You don’t even want to know why one of them was extra loud in recent weeks. Let’s just say that my dad needed to get in there with gloves. Ew. So, yeah, quieter, sleeker fans would be nice.

4. Closet organizer
Does anyone know where I can get a closet organizer for about a 3-foot-wide closet? I don’t want a wire system. I would like solid shelves. Ideally, I’d also find time/energy/interest to replace an existing bi-fold door with a double-door set-up.

5. A hallway light
This is probably the smallest and most inexpensive projects on my spring/summer home maintenance list. I have a hallway light in my basement that is made up of a bulb. Yup. One bulb. I don’t think a real fixture has ever been there. I just need to get something small and inexpensive to replace it. I may have to zip over to Ikea Kitchener to see what’s in stock. Simple. That’s what I’d like.

Ah…the beauty of home ownership!

Do you have any must-buy items to get your home in top condition this season? Do you enjoy these purchases?

House to Home: The Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

We are going all the way to South Africa today to Cape Town’s The Cellars-Hohenort. This 5-star hotel is luxurious and comfortable. Easy and welcoming. The mix of white and soft blue, pink, and green make each room unique.

I’m taking us into one of the sitting areas today and recreating the look for home.

via Cellars-Hohenort

arm chair, vintage bentwood rocker, sofa, mantelpiece, art, art, art, chair, ottoman

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Travel: White Cabana Goes to Toronto

I just came back from an extended stay in Toronto. I was there for an academic conference. My presentations went smoothly, and it was great to catch up with my academic community in person (#PhDlife). While I was there, I couldn’t help but snap photos.

Hydrangea pompoms in my parents’ garden. I love them!

The Crystal at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is one of my favourite buildings in the city.

Toronto in one photo: CN Tower in the background, TTC and postal-code-clad mail box in the foreground.

Skateboard action in front of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

Canadian chefs’ panel presentation at Terroir Symposium: Chef Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson (full review coming soon)

If you’d like to see a few more photos (mostly of my outfits), check out #WhiteCabanaGoestoToronto.

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20 Below: Croc Style

Texture and pattern are big draws for people like me who embrace the (mostly) monochromatic life. Today I’ve turned to two brands to bring you some texture in the style of crocodile skin.

silver plated mail tray, 250 Euro, Christofle

Botkier Quincy mini embossed leather crossbody, $333

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The Friday Five: 5 Things to Watch on Netflix

I have very little time for watching TV/Netflix/movies, so I don’t have a massive list of show recommendations for you today. I just thought I’d share with you what I have been (sort of) watching over the last couple of months.

1. Chelsea. I have mixed feelings about Chelsea Handler. I sort of like her tough/funny personality, but I can only take it in small doses. I think she asks good questions, and I like her guests. For these reasons, I keep watching her show(s).

2. The Mind of a Chef. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this show, but I’m definitely enjoying it. The show follows Momofuku’s David Chang as he travels around the world, meets with his top-chef friends, and cooks up wild dishes (poached eggs in saran wrap – I want to try this!). I’m learning a lot! And it’s making me want to go to Japan!

3. My Way: The Rise and Fall of Silvio Berlusconi. I’m only about 30 minutes into this documentary. While I mostly like listening to Silvio Berlusconi’s Italian and seeing his massive villa, I’ve also been enjoying learning about his life.

4. Riverdale. I binge-watched this I-think-it’s-only-for-teens show in April when I had some free time. I was entertained.

5. Alice Through the Looking Glass. Why did I wait so long to watch this? What a fun movie! I loved it. I’d watch it again. Easily.

I have taken note of Rox-Anne’s recommendations from last month, and maybe I’ll eventually get to the must-watch-asap 13 Reasons Why.

What have you been watching? What are your recommendations?

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Hotel to Home: La Maison Champs Elysées, Paris

How have I not yet come across this gorgeous, boutique hotel of white cloudy goodness in Paris? La Maison is absolutely stunning, and although I’m only showing you one photo here, I encourage you to check out its gallery. It’s a completely breathtaking hotel, and even if you don’t like white as much as I do, I’m sure you’ll be impressed by La Maison’s design and decor. If you notice a bit of a fashion influence, it’s because fashion designer Martin Margiela served as artistic director for this hotel.

Since I’ve recreated many bedrooms and bathrooms in this Hotel to Home series, I have opted for an office area from one of the hotel’s suites. Look at those sculptural chairs! Absolutely cool!

via La Maison Champs Elysées

armchair, side table, desk, wallpaper,  sheer curtains, chair

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