Siu To and I were invited by CKUA’s Sarah Hoyles to speak about this project for the February 2, 2014 Arts Alive broadcast. (To hear Siu and I jump to minute 19:01, but the whole thing is pretty awesome.)
It was a beautiful Edmonton day (+9 degrees) and I was pretty amped. It was the first major radio outlet to pick up the story, and I was suitably prepped. Or at least I thought. I googled “how to speak on the radio” and was armed with helpful tips and tricks to assist me. Speak slowly and clearly. Imagine the sound coming from your stomach, not your throat (this made me sound like a man #justsayin). Calm blue ocean.
There was however one question I was not entirely prepared for. And it’s probably the most important question. What do I want? So here it is, my wish list for this project:
1. City of Edmonton to declare the EGOC Edmonton’s Official Dish
I want all the pomp and circumstance this city can muster. Trumpets. Confetti. The works. Every citizen of Edmonton should know the answer to the question “I’m coming to Edmonton, what should I eat?”
I would love to see our tireless leader Mayor Iveson in full regalia. I see Siu To on the stage, as well as some of our prolific Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun food writers. Maybe Stephanie Dubois and Sarah Hoyles (for their early support and promotion). Judy Shultz the first reviewer of the EGOC. Shirley Lowe, Edmonton’s venerable historian laureate. The eternally helpful Mary Sturgeon, of Make Something Edmonton. Linda Tzang, of the Royal Alberta Museum who publicly introduced the green onion cake as an “Edmonton Thing” . And maybe Edmonton’s unofficial chronicler Todd Babiak can write the story.
I want a local artist to unveil a tribute piece to our fair EGOC.
I want a photo op of everybody digging in – HARD.
For this to be accomplished I’m going to need the support of the Royal Alberta Museum, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (who incidentally own the domain edmonton.com) and above all, City Council. You know who you are.
2. An event(s) celebrating all things EGOC
This could take the form of a festival, but even a week devoted to our fair EGOC as suggested by Kevin Jesus of Global Edmonton would suffice. Local restaurants could be invited to create EGOC variations and place them square on their menus. Local food writers could commit to reviewing and profiling the best/most creative/most authentic ones.
This event might be annual at first (when we’re still in the “building awareness” phase (say five years), then might switch over to bi-annually.
I see the group Events Edmonton to be a natural fit for leading this project. They already run the ever popular Taste of Edmonton and have strong ties with the local food community. And they’re no stranger to festival promotion!
3. EGOC served at every Edmonton tourism related event
After the recent launch event for Icelandic Air, I had a moment of sadness. These Icelanders (Icelandics?) were being offered a chance to learn a bit about our fair city, in our own words, but no one gave them a green onion cake to try??? **sniff** I made lame attempts to contact them via twitter to ask if they had heard of one. Of course they hadn’t.
There’s a big role here for Edmonton Economic Development. They released a beautiful 158 page photo spread depicting our fair city in all its glory. Not one picture of Edmontonian’s digging in to a green onion cake.
When dignitaries are invited to Edmonton, I want to see them all photographed licking the burning remnance of Sambal Oelek off their lips. Courtesy of an EGOC.
4. To have a 5 star EGOC available within walking distance of every LRT station
I admit this one could be tricky, as it requires the cooperation of numerous Edmonton restaurants. I am currently in the process of compiling a list of which stations are already suitably served. The Underground has already nailed it at Churchill Square Station. I expect there to be some gaping holes. I will start a campaign to actively recruit nearby restaurants to volunteer. Good for them, great for the City.
So how does that sound Edmonton? Am I asking too much? Not in this town!
If you are interested in helping me see this through, drop me a line. You can also help by sharing this with as many Edmontonians as you can.