Christmas in November 2014: The Presenters!

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My last post on my trip to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and their fabulous Christmas in November event is all about the presenters! Oh, the line-up of superstar presenters this year was amazing! Chef Lynn Crawford, Chef’s Anna and Micheal Olson, even some local celebrity restaurant owners were in the mix this year!

I wasn’t too sure how smart I was, booking the craft session with Chris Standring first thing in the morning after a Friday night full of wine and food.woman in standing in front of table ready for presentation

However this was the one session that I wanted to take to push my boundaries a bit. I am not crafty and to be honest, being faced with this pile of random crafty bits first thing in the morning completely intimidated me!

Christmas crafts for holiday decor arrangement

However, under the talented guidance of a holiday decor master (Chris) I was able to pull this off.

Eh? Not bad for someone who is entirely two left thumbs when it comes to floral arranging!

Christmas craft arrangement with white flower in a vase

We were guided through three different styles of arrangements, with this wide one being my favorite. All of the materials and the really cool disk that lights up underneath the arrangement were included in your course.

I really liked that I had a fabulous take-away from this session, and in fact it’s now sitting on the table in my front entryway!
cool disk that lights up underneath the arrangement

I have mentioned before – especially in my Christmas in November “Edmonton Prize Pack”  Giveaway – how happy I was that local restaurants were invited to present at this year’s Christmas in November. There were a few last year but this year the focus was very evident! Charcut from Calgary was invited and I made sure to sit in on their session as I adore their restaurant and Connie & John are seriously the nicest people ever.

lady wearing black shirt , using the mixer in the presenter table

Plus, did I mention that they served Caesar’s in their session? Oh yes, they did and these two know how to make an amazing Caesar!

a serving of Caesar

Did I also mention that they made bacon fudgsicles?

Mind blown, right there folks.

chocolate bacon fudgsicles

Liane Faulder and I caught the duo trying to get some work done in a quiet corner in the lodge and of course had to sneak some pictures. What she didn’t know is that I was sneakily taking a picture of her taking a picture and this is one of my favorite pictures from the trip.

taking a picture of man and woman sitting in the corner

Now I was lucky enough that I was invited to attend all of the events that are included in the VIP package for Christmas in November. This package is the ultimate upgrade for any food lover. The package includes:

  • Private Cooking Demo with Chef Lynn Crawford
  • Private Cooking Demo & VIP Reception with Chef Corbin Tomaszeski (package 1) and Chef Bob Blumer (package 2 & 3) 
  • Presenter-Hosted Table at Gala Dinner (This was SUPER fun!!)
  • Private Book Signing with Lynn Crawford
  • 20% off Jasper Spa Getaway package for future stays

I took a lot of pictures in the Chef Corbin Cooking Demo which was a serious hoot!

First, you started with champagne. EVERYTHING starts with champagne at Christmas in November.

pouring champagne to cocktail glasses

Then Chef Corbin taught us how to make Baked Alaska! This was a very small, intimate session where you really were able to talk with Chef Corbin, which was so much fun.

Chef demonstrating how to make Baked Alaska

Not only did he show you how to make them, there were small Baked Alaska’s for everyone to share afterwards! Champagne and Baked Alaska, what could be better?

Champagne and Baked Alaska in a white Plate

The really lovely part of the VIP package sessions is that the chefs come out and talk, visit, chat, get their pictures taken and have a fun time.

chefs talking and have picture with the participants

Another neat class was Cocktails with Micah Dew, a talented mixologist who taught us how to make several different cocktails, including my husbands favorite, the Whiskey Sour! I will be making it at home, and soon!

Christmas card underneath a glass of Cocktails with Micah Dew

I made sure to visit the session that had our local Edmonton talent and I was very excited to see what Dani and Chef Edgar from Tres Carnales had in store for us.

two man standing wearing black polo shirt and IDs

Their session was certainly one of the prettiest ones there!

colorful Christmas crafts

Hmm, spices, dried fruit? These were combined to make a traditional Mexican punch that was absolutely scrumptious! I don’t have picture because I was actually up at the front helping them make it!

So now the final answer to my Christmas in November Edmonton Prize Pack Giveaway  is that the Tres Carnales session was my favorite of all! Make sure you go and enter the contest and good luck everyone!

spices, dried fruits and Mexican punch in a Colorful tablecloth

The session with Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards was a must-attend for me! Elizabeth Baird has recently become a member of the Order of Canada and is a Canadian food icon. Emily Richards is a well-known cookbook author and a member of the Canadian Living Test Kitchen. Their session was all about Christmas desserts!

participants watching the presenters at a big screen in front

What was lovely about the sessions is that if you are at the back you can still see the action on the screens in the room.

The class featured Italian Amaretti, a gorgeous almond based cookie that are perfect for the holidays.

Italian Amaretti - gorgeous almond based cookies

The recipe for Raspberry Rugulah Pinwheels however was my favorite. These beauties are just waiting to be baked, but I was able to taste a fully baked one at the end of the session.

Yes, more food! Almost every session was food, food and more food!

Raspberry Rugulah Pinwheels in a white plate

The end result of their presentations was showing us how to make a small dessert plate, perfect for the holidays.

a small dessert plate with a glass of champagne, Italian Amaretti and Raspberry Rugulah Pinwheels

Of course, I had to get my picture taken with these two lovely ladies!

group picture of three lovely ladies

I also took a photo of Liane as well, what a trio of talent this is!

group picture of three presenters

Chef Lynn Crawford’s session was wild, crazy fun!

There were Christmas Carols, dancing and Jasper’s longest apple strudel. Oh, did I forget to mention rum shots? There were rum shots happening as well. Just another day, you know, hanging around with celebrity chefs, drinking rum. 😉

group of chef doing their things in the presentation table

Dan Clapson was right in there helping along! He is a writer from Calgary who not only has his own website but writes for the Food Network as well.

chef helping other presenter in the presentation

I took a video in her session after the strudel had been completed and had to be moved to the ovens! I heard that it made it most of the way in one piece, but since it had to be broken up by baking sheet to be baked anyways, I think they did a great job!

Chef Lynn was such a positive, happy. energetic person that I really hope she returns again to the event. She is truly one of my favorite chefs not only for her culinary talent, but for her great attitude as well.

All in all, the sessions were the highlight of the event! The chance to mix and mingle with Food Network stars, to listen to them teach us how to cook, how to prepare, how to entertain for the Christmas season was something I will never forget! When you add in the local talent, it made for an amazing three days!

I  compare Christmas in November to being on a cruise ship; you are ensconced in this amazing little world where you are fed food and wine, entertained by the finest talent around and party like there’s no end in sight. You get to dress up in your fancy clothes, meet new and old friends and basically have no worries for three whole days. There’s really nothing else comparable to it events-wise around these parts.

I’d like to thank the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for their generosity in hosting me for Christmas in November and helping me to check an item off my bucket list! I am so grateful that I had the chance to do this and am spoiled absolutely rotten!

Now, who’s coming with me next year??!

Love you more than Christmas,


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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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