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You Don't Know Spitt

Besides writing, my other skill is cooking. Some of the credit for this goes to my mother who was a terrific cook and the rest goes to Kevin McGuffin, my best friend for more than 35 years now. Kev and I met in the army and one of my first memories of him was watching him hunched over a fire made of a pile of dried caribou poop trying to coax a little flavour out of his canned army field rations by mixing different ingredients together. Our rations were packed during the Korean War and often older than we were, but once I tried Kev's cherry brandy-flambéed vintage 1952 Irish stew in a mess tin, I realized that there is a great big culinary world to explore out there.

To improve my skills, I took several part-time cooking courses over the years at George Brown but in 2004, I went to chef school full time at Humber College. It was just like being back in the army; a whole year of rising at dawn, uniform inspections and being yelled at by a short Irishman in a tall hat. It was a bit of a shock for some of my teenage classmates but I felt right at home. On top of my Humber studies I did an internship at the Intercontinental Hotel in Yorkville and went on a "Cook's Tour" of some of the finest restaurants and kitchens of Switzerland, France and Germany. Nothing like ten days of great food and sharing a room with a teenager who kept calling me "Dude."

All this has translated into a new field of work for me; food writing. So far, I have had my recipes appear in Harrowsmith, Canadian Living, Redtag Magazine and I am now the food editor for Canadian Health Magazine. I find food writing one of the hardest and yet rewarding fields that I have done. I wish to give full credit to two of my partners on this column, Janice McLean, Canadian Health's food stylist and Bernard Clark, Canadian Health's food photographer. They make my recipes look truly fabulous. Janice doesn't have a webpage but if you want to check out Bernard's other work, visit http://www.bernardclark.com/

Here are a few samples of my column for Canadian Health magazine (PDFs will pop into a new window):

For more recipes, click: http://www.canadian-health.ca/recipes.html