#HtH – Hometown Heroes of YYC – Dan Clapson, Food Writer

As a transition to my new home in Dublin, I have decided to pay a symbolic homage to my hometown, Calgary– mourning it by highlighting a few people in our food, coffee, and restaurant scene.  As I complete of each biography in this piece,  I am so encouraged to have encountered these people in our city.  In most cases, we sat down for a conversation over coffee and these are the stories.

RT  with #HtH or #LMSF & Comment throughout the series for a chance to WIN a brand new copy of your choice of John Gilchrist’s Cheap Eats: Calgary or My Favourite Restaurants. Unlimited entries.    

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[the DownLow]

Dan is a relatable writer that prides himself in writing to the masses.  His writing is approachable, which means everyone can gain something from it; not just the fancy pants of food.

Three years ago, he was working at Higher Grounds Coffee shop in Kensington and he noticed that there was a lack of Calgary conent on the Food Network.  He approached them and asked if they would be looking for additional content, the rest, he says… is history.  What do you mean it’s history?!  Well, in addition to Food Network, he maintains a food blog at dansgoodside.com, and now writes about food topics/restaurants/cooking for several local papers such as Metro, Avenue Magazine, FFWD Magazine.

One very cool and notable thing about Dan, is that he started ‘Start from Scratch‘ (previously known as Kick the KD – a whole other story altogether), a culinary program that teaches and encourages post-secondary students to gain hands-on kitchen skills to cook tasty, nutritious meals. It is a several week course that engages the students at weekly gatherings to try new recipes and techniques, making cooking applicable and accessible.  We all know how poorly we ate as students, but did you know that students are among the majority who live below the low income cut-off?  Low budget and limited time make for a bad combination!  This program has now taken off in Calgary and other major cities across Canada.  He keeps it interesting by inviting guest chefs and keeping it casual, easy-going, and fun.  For example, the other week his class made Dino-shaped Meat loaf.

Personally, I feel people lack interest because they feel it is a chore, or the lack of knowledge prevents people from even getting started.  But this program is an excellent way to ‘capacity build’, which means equipping people with the ability and skill to get nutritious food.  This is one of the major barriers in food security, and Dan’s willingness to tackle this has motivated me leaps and bounds! Wait to push boundaries and benefit the  food knowledge of those around you, Dan.  So cool! Cheers!

[the Generics]

What is your background in studies?

Archaeology

What’s your most fave thing to make at home?

Meatloaf. 

Fave place to Eat & Fave place to get Coffee in Calgary?

Place to eat: I hate doing that, such a hard choice, there are so many, but if someone comes to town we would probably take them to Anju, that’s a good restaurant.

Coffee: I’m not really a massive coffee connoisseur  so I would probably say Higher Grounds has a special place in my heart.  I don’t know … OH, and Caffe Rosso.  

What do you think is your most valuable tool?

My knife from Knifeware  

 

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