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The inspiration behind Chef Shonn becoming a Chef & you won’t believe it.

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A great many big names have been the inspirations behind someone becoming a chef.

Maybe it was one of the all-time legends like Julia Child or perhaps a TV-created “celebrity chef” like Gordon Ramsey, Bobby Flay or Jamie Oliver.

For me, yes, you could say it was a celebrity … but not like you’d think. My inspiration was Jack Tripper. He wasn’t even a real person but he was one heck of cook. I knew from watching him on Three’s Company, probably when I was around eight years old, that I wanted to be like him. My purpose in life was to become a real-life Jack Tripper, a star in the kitchen but with a fantastic sense of humor, too. If you’re old enough like me to remember Three’s Company, you might remember the episode when Jack had to cook for a mobster and thought he’d send him a message by overloading the linguini and clams with piles of black pepper. His eyes bugged out when that blast of spice hit his mouth. Turned out, the mobster loved it. Awesome.

Being a chef isn’t about a lot of laughs, though as much as Jack Tripper made it look so humorous and fun. It takes a great deal of time and effort. Thankfully, the passion that Jack Tripper gave me developed my work ethic and drive to succeed. I wanted to be the best I could be in the kitchen. I worked hard because I wanted to. I cared about being the best I could be and the result of that drive has certainly paid off.

I do want to pass that drive down to my kids, but I would much prefer they find their passion in something other than being in the restaurant business. TV makes it look so easy, so glamorous. Unfortunately, it is not. It is a rough business, ugly at times. The hours. The missed special occasions and holidays. The drug and alcohol abuse. I want to shelter my kids from that as best as I can.

But I would want to pass down certain aspects of being a professional chef. Be dedicated. Be organized. Work hard and work clean. Work smart.

Those capabilities are admirable ones no matter what line of work they choose.

Character ” A set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things.”

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Location: 10257 – 105 Street, Edmonton, Alberta Canada

 

Inside the Mind of Chef Shonn Oborowsky Characters Fine Dining

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I’ve been asked a number of times throughout my career what got me into cooking and what made me decide to be a chef.

My answer isn’t very dramatic or at least it wasn’t intended to be. I view cooking, particularly the high-end, dedicated work that is done in the kitchen of Characters is art. I’m not a painter, a sculptor, a musician, or an architect. But I am an artist. My canvas, my clay, my paper, my blueprint is food. My tools are knives, forks, and plates.

I never wanted to communicate what I feel through other forms of art. I wanted to make people understand what’s in my head and my heart through my food, and in turn, I hope they appreciate my art and it makes them happy.

Just like an artist who changes his work, I like to change mine as well. We’ll call it stirring things up. I do that by changing my menu. Something comes into my head or my heart, I get a thought process rolling, and I want to make some changes. I get antsy doing the same thing over and over again, which is the very definition of insanity. I don’t want to ever get bored or complacent with my cooking. It helps a great deal to utilize seasonal changes in food availability to shake up the menu, give it some new twists, and keep the creative juices flowing. Those never go out of season.

How these changes come about vary a great deal. Basically it comes down to just seeing things differently. For example, you and I both see a rock. But the colors, the shape, how it sits, how it feels might spring to mind something to me that I can put on a plate. That’s just how my mind works.- Shonn Oborowsky

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners

Edmonton, Alberta – February 4, 2016 – Just in time for the Valentine’s Day season, Characters announced today it has been named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners. The list of winners is derived from more than 275,000 reviews for approximately 1,600 restaurants submitted by OpenTable diners across the country.

Experience Fine Dining
“Canadians love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special meal,” said Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. Characters restaurant has been chosen by OpenTable diners for its ability to create a culinary experience and atmosphere that leaves diners with memories they cherish all year. Congratulations on being named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada.”
Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between December 7, 2014 and December 6, 2015, all restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which “romantic” was selected as a special feature.

For more information about all of the restaurants on this list, please visit http://www.opentable.com/m/50-most-romantic-restaurants-in-canada/.
About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 17 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 33,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company’s website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet’s most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated more than 940 million diners around the world and almost 35 million in Canada. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.

Follow OpenTable Canada on Twitter: @OpenTableCanada.

Winter Cravings: 3 great Cigars for special occasions

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Partagás Aniversario
To commemorate the 170th anniversary of its Partagás brand, General Cigar has created the Aniversario cigar, which incorporates ligero and viso tobacco leaves from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua (including a proprietary Nicaraguan Gurdian leaf) and a Connecticut Habano binder. The crowning glory is a 5-year-old Cameroon wrapper, which imparts a sophisticated spice. The cigar is rolled in three sizes—a 5 × 50 robusto, a 6 × 54 toro, and a 7¼ × 54 salomon (our favorite)—and limited to 15,000 examples per size, which are available primarily in anniversary chests of 10 each. ($159.90–$179.90 per box) cigarworld.com

Rocky Patel 20th Anniversary
Twenty years ago, Rocky Patel transitioned from a career as a Hollywood attorney and launched his own cigar brand. To mark the occasion, he has produced an anniversary smoke that offers a medium-full body, thanks to filler tobaccos sourced from Nicaragua (in Estelí and Jalapa) and Honduras (in Jamastran) and a Honduran wrapper. The box-pressed cigar is available in five sizes—ranging from a 7½ × 38 lancero to a 6 × 60 toro—and is worthy of a snifter of the Macallan Fine Oak 30 Year Old. ($9.65–$12.80) rockypatel.com

Fuente Fuente OpusX
Though previous attempts by others had failed, Carlito Fuente proved in 1995 that it was possible to grow a flavorful Dominican wrapper and use it to make a Dominican puro. The result, the Fuente Fuente OpusX, has become one of the world’s most sought-after and elusive cigars. Smoking it, in any of its numerous sizes, is akin to dining on a Kobe filet mignon, seared medium-rare. ($12–$26) cigarfamily.com

written by:

Richard Carleton Hacker | Robb Report

14 Surprising Health Benefits Of Wine

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You pop open the cork after a killer day at the office, and the luscious wine flows in mellow drops into your shiny glass. Then this voice whispers in your ear. “Should I be drinking wine?” You try to make healthy food choices and go to the gym and yoga a few times a week. Are you negating your efforts with a few sips?  You know that over-indulging is a health no-no, but what about a glass of wine a few times per week?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of the heart-healthy benefits of red wine. But this is not your big concern; you already exercise and eat pretty well.

Prepare to be amazed. More than just being heart-healthy, wine has a slew of surprising health benefits, many of which stem from resveratrol. Some plants make resveratrol to fight off bacteria and fungi, or to withstand a drought or lack of nutrients. Red and purple grapes, blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts, and pistachios are sources. Resveratrol may be the wonder ingredient responsible for many of wine’s benefits. Isolating the resveratrol does not yield the same powers, indicating that a constellation of forces act together to protect the body. Most studies focus on the benefits of red wine because white grapes do not contain resveratrol.

Prepare to be amazed and relieved. You’re about to learhow your wine-drinking ritual can be a powerful health elixir. Check out the following fourteen benefits of wine that go way beyond heart healthiness.

1. Live longer

That’s right. On the island of Ikarios, a recently discovered Blue Zone, people live longer than anywhere else in the world. Daily wine consumption is part of a dietary pattern that encourages long life through eating fewer animal-based foods and eating more plant-based foods. You’ll find the long-lived residents of Crete and Sardinia sipping dark red wine, a part of their anti-aging lifestyle. A 2007 study suggests procyanidins, compounds found in red wine tannins, help promote cardiovascular health. Wines produced in areas of southwest France and Sardinia, where people tend to live longer, have particularly high concentrations of the compound.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School uncovered evidence that resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity in animal models. Resveratrol increases the activity of sirtuins (longevity pathways), a group of genes that protects the body from diseases of aging.

2. Get smarter

Resveratrol may help improve short-term memory. After just 30 minutes of testing, researchers found that participants taking resveratrol had a significant increase in retention of words and showed faster performance in the portion of the brain associated with the formation of new memories, learning, and emotions.

3.   Banish breakouts with wine

Resveratrol is able to inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria longer than benzoyl peroxide. And it works even better when combined with benzoyl peroxide.  So far, drinking the antioxidant is the best way to benefit from its properties. Topical application in creams has not been proven as effective – so imbibe your antioxidants in wine, fruits, and veggies rather than buying expensive creams.

4.  Wine may beat trips to the gym

Would you rather drink wine or slave away at the gym?  Scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada found that resveratrol improves heart, brain, and bone function; the same way these parts are improved when you go to the gym. Now imagine the benefits of doing both!

5. Say goodbye to the blues

You know wine helps you relax…but depression?  Researchers in Spain found that men and women who drank two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Even when taking into account lifestyle factors which could influence their findings, the reduced risk held strong.

6. Reduce (not increase) your risk of liver disease

This study challenged conventional thinking about alcohol and liver disease. Modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may decrease the prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Modest wine drinkers, as compared to teetotalers, cut their risk of NAFLD in half. And compared with wine drinkers, modest beer or liquor drinkers had four times the odds of having suspected NAFLD.

7. Promote healthy eyes

Resveratrol stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eyes, according to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This may help with treatment of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Note that these studies were done in mice, so the dose for humans is not yet clear. But this is a great start.

8.  Protect your pearly whites

Did you know that drinking wine is a little-known way to protect your teeth from bacteria? We mentioned wine’s antimicrobial effects on the skin. Well, it also helps reduce bacteria on our teeth.Using five of the common oral plaque-causing bacteria, scientists noted almost complete degradation of the bacteria after applying the biofilms with red wine.

9.  Cut multiple cancer risks

Breast Cancer

Red grapes are the fruit best able to suppress the activity of aromatase, the enzyme used by breast tumors to produce their own estrogen – this is called an aromatase inhibitor. Red wine may serve as a nutritional aromatase inhibitor, which may ameliorate the elevated breast cancer risk associated with alcohol intake. Note that you can also eat red grapes; those with seeds are especially helpful. Resveratrol is also thought to kill cancer cells by cutting off a pathway that feeds cancer cells.

Colon cancer

Studies show that moderate consumption of red wine can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 50%.

Prostate Cancer

Harvard Men’s Health Watch reports that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week have a 52% less chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to those who don’t drink wine.  Red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers. Doctors speculate that flavonoids and resveratrol contain potent antioxidants and may counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

10.  Stave off those pesky sniffles

So maybe grandma’s cold remedy isn’t so strange after all. A study looked at 4,000 faculty members at five universities across Spain. Those who drank wine were less likely to come down with a cold compared to those that drank beer or spirits. Researchers think that the antioxidants help lower inflammation and reduce the symptoms of colds.

11.  Lower your cholesterol (without changing your diet)

Resveratrol is thought to reduce LDL and increase HDL, meaning that our blood vessels are less likely to be coated with plaque. Even the American Heart Association admits that moderate consumption of any type of alcohol can increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, by about 12%.

12. Reduce the risk of stroke

Wine may reduce your risk of ischemic stroke. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, and smoking, intake of wine on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis was associated with a lower risk of stroke compared with no wine intake.  The benefits were not seen in beer or hard alcohol consumption.

13. Regulate blood sugar levels without drugs

Red wine is abundant in polyphenols. The polyphenols in wine interact with cells involved in the development and storage of fat and the regulation of blood sugar.  The amount of polyphenols in a small glass of red wine appears to rival the blood sugar regulating activity of certain diabetes drugs.

14. Slash your diabetes risk

Men and women who drink moderately have a 30% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This may be due again to resveratrol, which improves sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is the most important critical factor contributing to Type 2 diabetes risk.

Written by: Jessica Blanchard