At SJI, food is a huge part of who we are and what we offer to the community. Not only do we pride ourselves on our in-house and offsite catering, our delicious everyday meals for residents, and our extensive, varied menu, but we also respect and appreciate the culture of food as it exists throughout Edmonton.
Our involvement in Edmonton’s food culture is extensive: we’ve recently partnered with Reclaim Urban Farm to provide space for their organic vegetable plots; we’re gearing up for a food project that will combine the talents of our own chefs with those of external chefs in teaching underprivileged children how to cook healthy, affordable meals; and our very own event coordinator and food blogger, Cheryl Cottrell-Smith, regularly reviews restaurants for her blog, wine + dine.
When we heard that a blogger from EatYourCity.ca had recently visited SJI for one of our bi-monthly perogy suppers, we knew that we had to chat with them about their food philosophy, their reasons for blogging about food, and why they chose SJI to satisfy their pyrohy cravings. All bloggers of EatYourCity.ca remain anonymous to prevent bias, but we’d like to thank this unnamed blogger for the chance to interview them – we hope that you’ll come back for more perogies soon, mystery blogger!
When was EatYourCity.ca founded?
We were born in 2010, out of the need to share our love of food, food pictures, rave about amazing culinary gems (and fails) we find along the way and tell our friends our honest thoughts about what we eat at at home, in the city and when we travel.
Who contributes to EatYourCity.ca?
A small group of friends contribute to Eat Your City, each with their own blogger name, style and flair. We’re all professionals in our own fields, and we have a large number of friends and colleagues that help taste test all our kitchen experiments successes and fails. We also have a wonderful group of friends that are always up to eating out or trying a new restaurant when we call them up! We all are very lucky to be able to say we live to eat, not eat to live.
Why did you start the blog?
We love food and the way it brings friends, family, cultures and traditions together. We were always asked in the past what/where to eat, and details about the food, so having reviews and photos online for our friends to browse whenever they wanted just made sense. Since most of us love experimenting/blowing up our kitchens, we started to include tried and true recipes online as well. It was difficult to find anyone who wrote about food and reviews that were truly honest, and that also wasn’t afraid to give constructive criticism back to chefs and restaurants. It was a huge pet peeve to go out for a special occasion and spend $100+/ person for an extremely disappointing meal…so we post the good, bad and ugly. Its a great way to share our passion for food and people can look for healthy/indulgent/traditional menu items and make a more informed decision before spending their hard earned money, plus great chefs listen and improve. We enjoy going to multiple fundraising events year round, share our recipes with non-profit organizations and donating to Food Banks Canada as our way of giving back.
What do you do when you aren’t blogging about food?
Daydreaming about food, adding new restaurants we’d like to try on our top secret list, figuring out what to have for dinner, meal-planning just like everyone else, experimenting in the kitchen, baking, sharing our baking goodies, and having occasional potlucks with our friends. Our lives revolve around our friends, family and food…and work too; we pay for all of our meals out of our own pocket.
What do you think is important about Edmonton’s food culture?
Its diversity, the multitude of traditional and ethnic foods, the movement to healthier, quality farm to fork practices many restaurants and chefs are embracing. Most importantly, it’s the people in Edmonton that make our food culture so unique. We have top notch producers, growers, chefs and waitstaff that funnel their passion for food into an amazing food experience, and its no surprise when bigger food critics discover them and announce they are award winning.
Where are your favourite places to eat?
Wherever the food is authentic and speaks to its roots. It helps, too, if service is good. When you have simple fresh ingredients and execute them well – that takes skill. It’s about the food and experience! We enjoy all sorts and types of food, whether it is off a foodtruck, off the beaten path, or at a ritzy restaurant…it just depends on what we’re craving.
Why do you come to SJI’s perogy suppers?
We love going to perogy suppers around the city. If we see the sign out and we can make it, we’re there! One day, we’ll hit up all the churches and organizations that offer monthly perogy dinners…one day!
What do you like about them?
SJI’s perogy suppers have friendly folks, lovely borsht soup, and, since its one of the few that isn’t all you can eat, if you’re a smaller eater (or don’t pig out and food coma), there’s enough leftovers for a snack or light lunch the next day!
What we like about perogy dinners in general is that they’re the only place to get hand-pinched perogies outside of harassing our Ukrainian friends’ babas. Sausage, onions, sauerkraut, sour cream, bacon, occasionally cabbage rolls and decadent pyrizhky – even though we tend to stick out as newcomers, we’re always welcomed warmly…best of all, proceeds usually go to a good cause.
Do you have any advice for local foodies?
Don’t be afraid to try new flavours, cuisines and foods. Search out the hidden culinary gems, and let us know! Let everyone know of chef’s successes and frame complaints in a constructive manner so that maybe the chef/restaurant will change its ways for the better (or one can hope). Make a huge mess in the kitchen recreating something awesome you’ve tasted before. Be open minded…and taste life.
Find out more about the blog at eatyourcity.ca.