Kitchens of Distinction, led by the warm and genuine Executive Chef Shirley Lang, provided amazing fare. Ingredients were noticeably fresh, and Chef Shirley combined local and indigenous flavours with the edible essence of other cultures to create original and delicious courses. The presentation was outstanding, with a fusion of classic, rustic and modern to highlight each dish. The portions were exceptionally generous.
In addition, the Kitchens of Distinction serving staff were very attentive and polite, bringing the dining experience to an even higher level of enjoyment.
Chef Shirley, her food, and the staff, combined to make the catering experience an unpretentious yet extravagant adventure.
For literally centuries people have been turning to nature to help cure themselves of disease and illness. Today is no different. Herbs have well known medicinal benefits that cannot be overlooked. They can be used to treat indigestion, anxiety and even sunburn. What’s more, many of these herbs can be grown at home.
Chamomile – Tastes delicious in tea, and is known to be a good remedy for stress, indigestion, skin issues and even colic.
Echinacea – You can buy this in pill form from the store, or in effervescent form that you add to water to treat flu symptoms and to even lessen the chance of catching colds. But, you can make your own even better and more effective remedies.
Feverfew – You can chew this or make it into a tea to treat migraines and a tincture for arthritis and skin irritations.
Lavender – Not only does this herb smell wonderful, it also can be sued to ease pain, stress, and anxiety and can work as an antiseptic for cuts and bruises. Victoria Lavender Farm
Lemon Balm – Great for gas, anxiety, bug bites and even insomnia. It also works very well on cold sores and lessoning the symptoms of the herpes virus.
Parsley – Yes, that parsley garnish on your plate is really for bad breath and a digestive aid. Chewing it after a meal can actually help.
Hibiscus — Drinking hibiscus tea is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Mint – Treats IBS, colic and allergies but some research has also shown that mint can even help protect against and improve damage associated with radiation treatments for cancer.
Oregano – Extremely high in antioxidants, it’s very good at treating infections due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
These are just a few of the herbs that offer medicinal benefits that you can learn about in the bestselling book: Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use 
Many of these you can grow and make into lotions, tinctures, and teas right from home. This will save you money and ensure that what you put into your body or your child’s body is pure and healthy. Even if you’re not a true beginner the book offers a lot of information to help you make herbal remedies including growing, preparing and storing them.
To your happiness, health and satisfaction, Alice Seba, VegetarianLost.com Guest Post
“The Robert Bateman Centre has been thrilled to work with Chef Shirley and her team on numerous events that have incorporated her creative and quality-driven culinary skills. She has delivered across a variety of budgets and tastes (and short-time frames!) – we look forward to working with her in the future” Peter Ord, Managing Director – Robert Bateman Centre
“Hi Shirley, Once again I what to thank you for helping to make my birthday party memorable. I liked Shirley from the first time I met her. She had great menu ideas for my birthday party, which was a roaring success due to her. There were 33 women at my party and every single one raved about the food, presentation and service. I would highly recommend Kitchens of Distinction to anyone looking for a first class caterer.” Lynda Rozon
“From the moment you arrived, promptly on time, you took control and proceeded to exceed our expectations at every turn. You provided decorations, which really made the season come alive. You began providing appetizers to the group as soon as people began arriving, some hot, some cold, operating in an unfamiliar kitchen with great efficiency. The food!!!!!!…. the most important ingredient, was in a word… outstanding!!! The quality and varitey was terrific, we were constantly hovering around to see what the next sumptuous item would be. The quantity was more than adequate and everyone without exception left that evening feeling fully satisfied!!! At the end of the evening your clean up was complete, returning everything to it’s previous place and leaving nothing for the host to have to attend to the next day. Again, I cannot say enough how much we enjoyed your ‘private catering experience’!” Trisha Stern, Branch Manager, TD Canada Trust
“I recently attended the National Annual General Meeting of Friendship Centres in Victoria where your company had catered the dinner. I must tell you that it was the most wonderful catered meal I have ever had. Not only was the food delicious, it was most elegantly and professionally delivered. You and your staff were so pleasant and your attire was reperesentative of the fabulous meal. The display of food was the most impressive. It made me proud as a First Nation to have our traditional food displayed in such a manner. For that, I thank you again for a pleasurable dinner enjoyed by all.” Anne Morgan, Cultural/Education Coordinator, Toquaht Nation
“ The luncheon that was provided to our event was absolutely wonderful! When I discussed with Shirley what I envisioned she was very flexible and knew exactly what I wanted. The presentation was perfection and impressed the entire group. Shirley was able to work within the budget I provided and made it a great event. I will definitely call on the services of Kitchens of Distinction again. Thank you Shirley!” Doreen Provencher, Camosun College, Lansdowne Campus
“The food was wonderful! We’re used to having soup and sandwiches when we hold our meetings at hotels, so having a nice home cooked meal was such a treat for us. It was also very kind of your community to share some of your fish with us, everyone always appreciates having some traditional food at meetings. Thanks for everything!” Aimee Arsenault
“Sometime ago I had the opportunity to sample Kitchens of Distinction’s food. This was a memorable experience that I never forgot. So when I planned a large party for sixty people in my home, I naturally selected Shirley Lang to cater it.
I wasn’t disappointed and neither were my guests. Since then I’ve had many of my guests give positive feedback on the unique menu served. This is part of what makes it extra special as you have a wonderful choice of different beautiful, tasty prepared foods by Shirley. Not only does she supply an exceptional meal on time to your home, she serves, cleans up, leaving the host the time to enjoy their party. Shirley also had helpful suggestions in the planning and organized the pick up of other supplies I needed.
Thank you Shirley for being part of making my party a successful and fun filled experience.” Anna Waugh
“We chose to work with Shirley Lang to prepare our wedding feast, based both on her philosophy of local, organic and sustainable food sourcing, as well as our desire to support Indigenous entrepreneurship. Shirley and her team expressed the utmost professionalism in their preparation, presentation, service and cleanup; they seriously blew our minds. Their service allowed us to relax and not worry about anything to do with the meal. They made just the right amount of food, so that nothing went to waste, and our guests are still talking about how delicious it all was. We would recommend Kitchens of Distinction to anyone who cares about where their food comes from. PS. Thank you so much for the little box of wedding-night goodies. That was a great idea.” Amanda, Ami, Elijah
“Shirl – Wow! Really good! Awesome food! And that’s just what our guests said! It was wonderful to have you catering our wedding, it helped to make the day really special. We very much appreciate your professionalism, how beautifully the food was presented, how scrummy delicious it was, and how lovely and clean you left our kitchen! Taking photos of us was a bonus too. Thank you thank you thank you.” Judith and Michael
Sunshine bouncing off the limo windows. Aqua ocean, warm beaches, breath-taking west coast views. Bliss. Laughter. Unforgettable cuisine. These are my memories of an extraordinary culinary adventure with Chef Shirley Lang. Her culinary tours are an extension of her rich and far reaching creative spirit and her artistic imagination as an accomplished chef. The engine behind her achievement is a commitment to excellence. From catering to touring, she gives everything she has and then some, every ounce of her positive energy fuelling the ultimate experience for her guests.
Founder of Kitchens of Distinction Culinary Arts Ltd., Executive Chef Shirley Lang’s goal is to “elevate the dining experience to the level of a culinary masterpiece.” Her repertoire includes creating delicious works of art in her Chef’s Table Dinner Series; Private Intimate Events; Caviar Experiences; Culinary Seminars; and her Culinary Tours. Every dish Shirley creates is designed to elicit a rapturous experience: “We aspire to bring the best ingredients, menus and flavor together in a way that will make your dining experience exquisite.” An aboriginal Cree woman, Shirley’s business ethics mirror her cultural beliefs. Within her personal and professional lives, there is a common thread of deep compassion and respect for all things. Caring deeply about the food she prepares, her passion translates into a world of extraordinary tastes. Shirley’s emphasis on new tantalizing flavours, spices and aromas – in her own unique combinations – turns ordinary food into an exotic culinary experience.
Shirley’s creative sense of adventure extends to a new enterprise, Spirit Culinary Excursions, where guests discover the rich culinary diversity of Vancouver Island while basking in the glory of world-renowned scenic panoramas. The Chef’s “exclusive farm, wine and artisan tours” treat guests to a day of indulging the senses – travelling to picturesque places, meeting local artisans and sampling their libations and cuisine. Shirley believes that “The only way to be truly successful is to assist others to be as well.” A major focus of her tours is spreading the word about “our local food artisans, bringing awareness to the world that they exist – and in such premier locations!”
On a sunny day in June, our tour of discovery started with a taste explosion – Shirley Lang’s Cheese Raven Spirit Cree Bannock – a warm sweet ambrosial delight. True to form, the gifted chef pushed the envelope in every aspect of our bucolic excursion. The first venue was SaltWest Naturals, a sea salt harvestry at Otter Point, Sooke, where we enjoyed a fascinating tour of their facility and sampled their products. I still dream about their Salted Caramel Chocolate sea salt. According to the owners, sea salt contains copious amounts of essential minerals. Next stop, Sheringham Distillery in Shirley (the town), with an introduction to their operations and tastings of their premium quality homemade gin, vodka and whiskey made with BC ingredients. It was easy to taste their “steadfast craftsmanship” in the extraordinary elixirs. Sooke’s Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery was set in a pastoral balmy expanse of lush greenness. Here, natural honey – crafted from local berries by wild bees – ferments into “the world’s finest, hand-crafted mead.” Proof in a bottle: the luscious Harvest Melomel Honey Mead. A vast panorama of sun-drenched grapevines greeted us at Unsworth Vineyards in Mill Bay, where staff are “committed to making wines that reflect the exceptional soil and growing conditions of the Cowichan Valley.” ‘Joy’ defined: Sipping one exquisite wine after another while Unsworth staff treated us like royalty. Finally, the O.U.R EcoVillage experience: visiting “a sustainable village community rooted in social, ecological, and economic well being.” Imagine: Sitting under a setting sun at the EcoVillage farm at Shawnigan Lake, relishing a feast of farm-raised succulent lamb and chicken, freshly picked salad greens and cold beer.
The personable chef believes that food reflects the spirit of the person cooking it: “I am giving them (guests) more than just sustenance. I want them to feel the love that went into it!” Biting into succulent jumbo prawns, dripping in spicy herb lemon dressing, and gazing over hills and an ocean vista at Sheringham Distillery, I knew that Shirley Lang had pushed the boundaries once again. Her lunch was another peak performance: spicy tuna cakes, smoked salmon in puff pastry, green salad with blueberries and pasta salad with tortellini, broccoli and fresh peas and radishes. Her ‘stinging nettle cookies’ with a lemon glaze were a glorious and edgy finale, complete with an ethnically diverse zing.
The feast-for-the-senses tour showcased Chef Shirley Lang’s exceptional skills at organization, planning, and the culinary arts. “I want my guests to have the best time ever with incredibly delicious cuisine, that they will talk about forever, I want to create memories, I want people to feel like they were treated royally, and were given more than they ever imagined.” According to her guests, Ms. Lang succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.
Maureen Kelly-Matyczuk, Rooms Division & Revenue, Hotel Rialto: “Shirley took care of every detail from beginning to end. She is calm, cool and collected and a joy to spend the day with.” Deborah Sleno, Concierge, Fairmont Empress: “Shirley is a fantastic host, and a culinary professional with a passion for what Vancouver Island has to offer.” Steve Erickson, culinary adventurer: “Shirley’s food is wonderful and makes the adventure of discovering Vancouver Island an experience you shouldn’t miss.” Teresa Sutherland: “Shirley has a wonderful heart and soul with a passion for the complete culinary experience.” Tiffany Armstrong, Sales & Marketing Manager, The Union Club: “I enjoy Shirley’s tours immensely as she is a warm and welcoming individual with a great knowledge of food.” Kyara Kahakauwila. VP/Operations, L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services: “It is wonderful working with someone who is aligned with our own value proposition and who is dedicated to the experience of her guests.” Ray MacDonald: “Her leadership, education, food preparation and service, along with the joy she exudes in making a great experience for others, will long remain with me.” And finally, Campbell Hunter: “Shirley Lang is authentic and genuine. You can see her caring and passionate personal philosophy in the experiences she is creating for her guests.”
During that exciting excursion in June, I saw excellence in action. Imagine a halcyon day, joy and fun, the sun’s warmth, eating intoxicating food, surrounded by natural wonders. And think of the passionate spirit behind the adventure. Just imagine. Written by Doreen Gee, Writing Impacts
Shirley from Kitchen’s of Distinction created a beautiful lunch for our winery trip in the Saanich Peninsula. It was a delicious seafood salad beautifully prepared with fruit, cheese and a stinging nettle and lemon glaze cookie presented in a black lacquer box served on a china plate with silverware and cloth napkins.
Transportation was provide by LA Limousines for a winery tour to Muse, Devine and Symphony wineries. After our tour LA Limousines brought us back to my home where Shirley had prepared a delicious Moroccan dinner for six. We enjoyed a very tasty chicken dish with rice, yam and raisins, mixed vegetables and rose water beets. The dinner was beautifully presented and the flavours of the food were amazing.
Thank you Chef Shirley for making our day so special with your wonderful food offerings and service. I definitely will not hesitate to recommend you to my friends, guests and acquaintances.
Shirley brings the flavours of the world alive with every bite of her scrumptious culinary creations. I’ve had pleasure and delight to collaborate with Shirley on two events (so far), and love her innovative approach, great attention to detail and ease in working with her. Until next time … Cindy Moyer, Coast Collective
L.A. Limousines & Transportation Servicesis Greater Victoria’s premier ground transportation company, providing service since 1989. Whether it’s a night out on the town to celebrate something fun or executive chauffeured car service for a business meeting or airport transfer, we have you covered!
Awarded BBB’s Torch Award for “Community Service” in 2011 and LCT’s “Operator of the Year Award” in 2012, you can be confident of the exceptional service you will receive when booking with L.A. Limousines.
Luxury Wine Tours, by L.A. Limousines is a concierge level service exploring lower Vancouver Island’s wines and beverages. We are pleased to provide 7-hour Wine Tours to the Cowichan Valley and 5 hour tours to the Saanich Peninsula. All tours are inclusive of fees for tastings and include a bistro style lunch! We, at L.A. Limousines strive to provide service that meets and beats your expectations!
We are proud to announce that Spirit Culinary Excursions has partnered with L.A. Limousines to provide transportation for their distinctively designed exclusive culinary tours.
Coast Collective Art Centre 
In its 8th year, the Coast Collective is a project of the Society for Arts on the South Island (SASI), and happy to be serving southern Vancouver Island from their beautiful new home in the heart of the West Shore.
CC produces 15-20 art gallery exhibits per year, operates a popular Artisan Gift Shop that showcases beautiful locally handcrafted work by dozens of artists/makers, and is also proud to offer a very extensive art/craft education program.
This week, the gallery is pleased to be hosting one of only two BC showings of “Edge of the Forest”, a national touring collection of fibre art by the Surface Design Association, an international organization, which is also holding their BC Chapter Annual General Meeting at the Holiday Inn. Next up will be the annual Spring Exhibition for the Victoria Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists. CC also works with other community arts organizations on programming for the children and youth in our growing community.
Workshops and Classes are offered year-round for people of all levels of experience and ages. The Coast Collective has long welcomed people from out-of-town to enjoy creative getaways with their weekend and week-long workshops, which is even easier from their new Holiday Inn Express location.
Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm
Holiday Inn Express
Welcome to Victoria’s newest and most modern Holiday Inn Express and Suites Victoria-Colwood Hotel nestled in the growing WestShore Community of Victoria, B.C., Canada.
Guests of our hotel love our value added amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, 24-hour Fitness and Business Center access, secure equipment storage, free parking, complimentary bicycle rentals, and of course our Express Start Breakfast Buffet, served hot and complimentary each morning.
Business and Leisure travelers will benefit from the proximity of our Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hotel to a multitude of popular attractions, shopping and dining. Conveniently located near Victoria, in the WestShore, close to the Trans Canada Highway, and just a short 10 minute drive from downtown Victoria.
t the heart of our identity is our essence. At Kitchens of Distinction our essence is to elevate the dining experience to the level of a culinary masterpiece. Each dish is crafted in house with fresh local ingredients and inspired by our passion for food. Award winning Executive Chef Shirley Lang brings together flavours that set our dishes apart from the everyday. We believe that the experience we offer will reflect your desire to give only the best to your guests. Chef Shirley creates cuisine that serenades your senses, flavours the conversations at your table, and ensures your event is extraordinary. Chef Shirley will enrich your dining experience by creating a feast that will delight the most discerning of tastes.
After years of smoking these succulent Fanny Bay oysters for our own consumption, our friends and family kept saying, “Since you love smoked oysters so much, maybe you should consider selling them commercially?!” As all the best salespeople are those with total belief in the products they sell, like we are for smoked oysters, it seemed like a great idea, and a natural fit!
So, after much research, thought, and recipe testing, we are proud to present SIX mouth-watering flavours of naturally smoked oysters, as well as two types of variety packs for anyone wanting to sample our different flavours! Our oysters are all sourced from reputable Fanny Bay area oyster producers, and processed in a federally inspected and approved facility in Sooke, BC. We work right alongside the owner and staff to ensure that the quality of our home-based process remains consistent in a commercial setting.
Axe and Barrel Brewing Company, the first brewing company in the Westshore, opened its doors October 30th, 2015, serving hand-crafted, creative and sessionable brews by head brewer Dave Woodward. The brewery will be accompanied by the adjoined Barbecue Brewhouse, set to open in the beginning of April, showcasing creations designed by Chef Chad Martin. You can expect delicious house made barbecue with many dishes inspired by and created with the brews. Giving it a family-business feel, Axe and Barrel is operated by a small dedicated group of local individuals, led by General Manager Chris Silvestri. Axe and Barrel, bringing craft to the Westshore.
Good Spirits was founded by sisters Sandra Turpin and Gabriella Visone. Good Spirits is proud to represent premium spirits and wine. The company is passionate about their brands and strives for excellence in representation.
Our brands include gins from G&J Greenalls Distillery which has unparalleled heritage and has been in operation for 252 years. Greenall’s London Dry Gin still has an original recipe dating back 252 years. Its taste has rounded juniper notes and mature citrus flavours, which are fresh and punchy. 
Bloom gin is the unique creation of one of the only female master distillers in the world, Joanne Moore. A light floral gin with traditional perfume and chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle.
Berkeley Square London Dry gin is a gin for the connoisseur! It is timeless classic of exceptional quality. Rich herbaceous aroma, balanced with earthy notes and a lime citrus finish.
All our brands are recognized internationally and have won many awards.
Nestled among the rolling hills of the picturesque Naramata Bench, a visit to Serendipity is all about discovery, surprise and warmth. Judy or Katie welcome every visitor with a smile and a glass, always pleased to share their passion and education with their guests. For a modest $3, visitors get a full flight of tastings. In the time since releasing their first wine, the winery continues to delight, surprise, and capture accolades. Visit to taste and learn why in 2013 Serendipity was the only BC winery invited to showcase wine at the Calgary Stampede, and why the winery was named BC Winery of the Year at a New York competition.
The Galloping Goose Sausage Company is located in Metchosin with many outlets in Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands. Since 1994 it has been a full time family business with a great staff who gets our products made and out the door each week.
So……how do you start a sausage company? Not the sensible way most people would start up a small business. Did we follow the old adage about having worked in the industry we were approaching? No. (Our background was graphics and engineering). Did we have any professional food experience? No. What we did have was one South African with homesick taste buds and one person who avidly loved food and cooking. And from that…….be careful what you wish for!
Boerewors sausage is national fare in South Africa. After a visit to family and friends many years ago we came home with several recipes and came up with our own very flavourful version. We made it for ourselves…..we made it for friends. We made it for friends again. And again.
Several years later my husband (the South African!) had the opportunity to work with a “retired” Polish sausage maker named Kaz Jachowicz. From him we learned more about sausage making in general as well as smoking and curing. Kaz did eventually truely retire at about age 74……but he kept an eye on us for the rest of his life! That experience and Boerewors were the cornerstones for the Galloping Goose Sausage Company.
Boerewors is still a key component and is one of our best sellers along with two other SA specialties: Droewors……which is Boerewors dried to a chewy texture intensifying the unique flavour and Biltong which is an allspice and coriander marinated type of jerky. (So lekker dit mak jou gala!) Johan’s ouma made both of those many years ago when they were dried on a fence in the Karoo sun! Times have changed.
Many other different varieties of sausage as well as two kinds of bacon are made during our weekly production. The sausages include ones made with pork, beef, lamb, bison and chicken. We use only quality cuts of meat, fresh ingredients and source as close to home as is realisticaly possible. For example the chicken is from Cowichan Bay and the pork is from Lower Mainland family farms who have a strong ethical interest in animal welfare. The bison is organically raised. We use beef that is antibiotic free and raised without added hormones. Our products are gluten free and low in salt and fat.The spicing for each batch is hand mixed each week according to our own recipes. (We are happy to adjust our recipes in order to work with people who have food allergies and/or sensitivities.) HUNTERS – we will turn your game meat into delicious sausage……any one of our flavours….your choice.
Victoria Event Services is the expansion of the original Joe the Bartender as we now offer a full range of services; The Labour Force Behind Your Event.
Our Bartenders are trained, experienced and certified in Serving it Right. Our Servers are Banquet trained and experienced for all occasions. “Don’t Be a Slave to Your Next Party”. Let the expertise of Victoria Event Services allow you to enjoy your next event. Full Bar Service, Equipment and Professional Bartending has set us apart for over 40 years serving Victoria.
We have expanded the business beyond the bar equipment and bartending service that it was in the beginning, now we are bringing our Bartending Experience, Service Expertise and Industry Knowledge to you in your home. From personal Dinner Parties to Weddings and Festival Events, let us play our part in the great success of your next event.
Bartending, Serving, Backyard Rescues and Mixology Parties. Let us be the first you call when you need a Bartender you can trust to make your special day a great success.
John MacArthur Music
Victoria’s own, John MacArthur is an accomplished guitarist with an extensive and eclectic background and plays a variety of jazz classics, swing, Latin and Gypsy jazz music. Despite being a member of Victoria’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame , John is most often seen around town and the island either as a soloist or in a variety of combos with the city’s top jazz musicians.
At 13 he joined The Esquires, one of Victoria’s first Rock and Roll bands winning the “Vancouver Island Battle of the Bands”, a notable event in the sixties. By 16 he played in David Foster’s first Rock band, “The Teen Beats”. Throughout that era he played in a succession of groups including R & R Hall of Famers “The Motifs”, “Amor de Cosmos”, and “Velvet Brass”. John has done an extensive cruise ship tour of the South Pacific Islands with “Party of Four”.
He has played gypsy jazz with “Twango” and “Karmel Sutra” and vintage rock with “Hot Rod Lincoln”, “Davey’s Gang” and “The Weeds”. Recently John returned from Costa Rica, where he and Melinda Whitaker perform their annual winter gig.
Petals Plus Florists
Petals Plus Florist has been serving Victoria for over 25 years, helping customers bring lasting smiles into the lives of their families and friends. We specialize in sympathy and corporate events and pride ourselves in adding that personal touch in every creation that individualizes every piece we create.
Victoria is a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences. As an island destination, Victoria offers visitors an escape from the hurried world and beams with ambiance. In Victoria, heritage architecture, colourful gardens and traditions like afternoon tea mix with outdoor adventure, authentic culinary experiences and eviable cocktail and craft beer scenes.
Boasting the mildest climate in Canada we are green and beautiful year-round. In fact, Vancouver Island, where Victoria is located, is rated the TOP ISLAND in the Continental US and Canada and one of the TOP TEN ISLANDS IN THE WORLD by the 2014 Travel+Leisure World’s Best Awards.
We were even rated as the #1 DESTINATION TO VISIT IN CANADA by the 2010 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards. You should really come here.
This is the season many of us wait for all year long. It’s an opportunity to be more creative, adding animation and glitter to everything, more than the rest of the year… to think more outside the box!
I encourage this way of being for December not only in decor but also in your celebratory festive meal offerings. Add a little more sparkle to your classic dishes which stand the test of time by enhancing your presentation or enriching flavours with a gourmet twist.
By adding contrary flavours with spices or herbs or combining what we traditionally think is an opposite, could truly surprise you. I created a home made ice cream by adding crushed SaltWest Smoked Peppercorns with maple syrup, additionally I made one with the same peppercorns and used red wine. Both were a huge hit with many requests for the recipe!
Combining Ethnic flavours from Global influences can create award winning dishes, even if it is only within our families and community! The amount of global travel and sharing of these experiences through social media and photographs lends way to deeper creativity and meaningful unconventional flavour combinations, enriching our lives in ways we would normally not think of.
May I suggest a few culinary ideas to experiment with this Holiday season:
Cumin and Caramelized Almond Creme Brûlée – an Indian and French Cultural inspiration
Salted Caramel and Chili Chocolate on a Coconut crust tart or square – opposing flavour combinations
Christmas Goose Rillette with a Mulled Wine Jelly crostini
Duck Confit with Cherry Port glazed Candied Onions crostini
Salmon roasted with Chili Chocolate crostini
Small bites of spicy warm foods punched with extraordinary flavours such as:
Moroccan Rice balls infused with Moroccan spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cumin), dried fruits like apricots, cherries or cranberries with toasted nuts such as almonds. It’s a pop of warm yet spicy and flavourful soul nourishing delight!
Create sweet and savoury dishes such as a Moroccan Tagine or Argentinian Empanadas infused with brilliant warm and sweet flavours. These creations are always a satisfying healthy treat with fragrant warming spices like cinnamon, allspice, cumin and nutmeg… reminiscent of childhood excitedly waiting for Grandmas cookies to be baked! Oh such comfort!
Game meats are very trendy this year and will be in 2016 as well. My belief is they need to be humanely treated and cared for from birth to sacrifice. So I advise to look locally for responsible caring farmers raising these wonderful animals. Game meats can be expensive to use for a main entree so I advise that at this time of year, create hors d’oeuvres for your guests. You can be more creative and everyone will have the opportunity to taste something magnificently new for the first time. I often make a course earthy pate with Elk or Venison from farms in Alberta. I add blueberries and juniper berry along with nutmeg and allspice including a special port to elevate the flavour. Delicious on a cracker or toasted bread.
Wishing you an exciting culinary journey! Don’t be afraid to try new and exciting flavour combinations. You will be surprised at how delicious they can be! Here is a website that allows you to explore your creative side with flavour combinations. Contact me if I can be of service in any way, email@example.com 250-858-7777
Happy Holiday Entertaining! Chef Shirley Lang, Culinary Explorer & Experience Designer
“We recently enjoyed an amazing “Clandestine Dinner” hosted and prepared by Shirley. We’ve been fortunate enough to have attended several meals that she has prepared, all of which offered incredible food. Shirley’s cuisine offers a unique blend of food and tastes from her native Metis culture combined with cuisines from cultures around the world. We definitely recommend Shirley’s delicious meals! They are a taste sensation not to be missed and offer a variety that you won’t find elsewhere.” Sherri and Dan Williams
With Christmas fast approaching, we are often asked what to pair with a traditional turkey dinner. While many of us live hard and fast by the rule “whatever is on the table”, with so many side dishes and condiments – there are some guidelines that will help you choose a wine that will stand out amongst some strong flavours.
Tysan Pierce, sommelier at the HerbFarm in Woodinville, outside Seattle, lives by the high-acid rule on Thanksgiving or Christmas: “You want a wine with a decent whack of acidity, to cleanse your mouth from that battery of flavors.” A touch of sweetness is a good thing in her book too. So, we chose 3 varieties to fit every fancy. For the white wine lover; Traminer – Reisling, off-dry, medium bodied and unoaked. Pairing a red wine with turkey is an adventurous choice, so we kept the selection light – with a Pinot Nior. Lastly, we selected a Rose – the White Merlot is sure to please those who enjoy the best of both worlds.
Dalinda & Tony Stark, Black Tie Wines  
“What an amazing time Peter and I had at the Tugwell Mead Fest. When I was handed my glass I was so excited, I turned to Peter and said “This is a beer glass!!! It’s going to be a beer style mead!!!” I was giddy with excitement and he was giddy after a couple of samples. A generous 13% in this beautiful Ale style mead. The nose had just a touch of floral and the flavours were amazing. You knew you were drinking a honey mead yet it wasn’t super sweet or overpowering like some flavoured honey ales on the market. Three magical ingredients makes the “Kilt Twister” a delight that definitely has the ability to sneak up and twist your kilt when you’re not looking. Hops, heather and of course honey make it gluten free too! Not that gluten has ever stopped me.” Fran Nemeth, Wine & Spirits Expert (Fran’s Facebook)
Holiday Decor: Holiday Decorating Tip:
“The first step to deciding your holiday décor this season is your color scheme. This scheme should be consistent throughout your home. This could be monochrome scheme or a few colors. Christmas tree ornaments are a great item to use to add to your table or mantel décor. They do not need to be used just for the tree. Your gifts wrapped under your tree can tie into your color scheme. I dare ya to be creative this holiday season.” Daria Bunting, Principal Designer & Stager with I Dare-ya Designs
I Dare-ya Designs, 250-858-0679, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.idare-yadesigns.ca
Floral Design Ideas:
This is a great piece for the holidays as it can be used in many placed during the home as the holiday season evolve with various parties and dinners. Presented in a low ceramic cube and filled with long lasting flowers, bells of Ireland, pussy willow, cymbidium orchids, mums and various greens this piece will last for a good few weeks if properly cared for. One of the ways to do this is to ensure that your arrangement is always watered everyday (specially if you have a warm house), secondly if you can at night put the arrangement in a cooler environment for example a kitchen window sill.
This is our version of a Bento Box. Presented in a 4 high wooden box it creates a great talking piece for your guests. With the flowers cut low in the box the flowers (yes even the roses) will last at least 10 days – providing you remember to water your arrangement on a regular basis. This arrangement can be made in many colour formats to enhance your holiday decor.
Have some fun this holiday season with a Figgie Pudding, the type that puts smiles onto your holiday guests faces. Done all in carnations and presented on a ceramic plate topped with holly this would make a great gift to send to someone special for the holidays. Beautifully long lasting.
A traditional centerpiece is never out of place on the Christmas dinner table. Done up in roses and carnations simple reds, with a touch of silver against the lush of winter greens adds a beautiful accent to your holiday table.
Kitchens of Distinction Culinary Arts Ltd.: http://kitchensofdistinction.ca
From our initial consultation with Kitchens of Distinction, we knew we were in capable hands. Shirley had us covered. We worked closely with her to design a fabulous menu for our event. Then we left things to her for the big day. Her execution was flawless, the presentation was elegant, and each mouth watering bite was kitchen poetry. The goal for our event was to feel catered to, and Shirley (KOD) was marvellous. Maureen Washington & Darryl Schultz
Hello Shirley Lang, Kitchen’s of Distinction. Organizing a large feast can be daunting but thankfully a friend referred me to you! Our Indigenous Law Student Association’s graduation was a fantastic event this year. Your team Whitney, Beric, Joe and yourself cooked delicious food with stellar service and a smile, even with our shifting schedule. Many people at the event made a point to comment on how they enjoyed the way you incorporated traditional foods with some fusion of taste and texture. The food really was a great part of the feast, thank you! I look forward to dining with you again soon. Michael Jakeman, Cultural Support Coordinator at UVic Law, Lawyer and Mediator
For an 80th birthday celebration the catering was from Kitchens of Distinction, done superbly by Chef Shirley Lang. The wonderfully prepared food from the salmon to the salads was a big part of making our special day very special. Thank you Shirley and your wonderful staff. Doug Webb
“On a magical late summer evening, we held a celebration in our garden for over sixty friends for cocktails, tapas and a giant Pacific Coast paella cooked outdoors. If it wasn’t for the talents of Shirley Lang of Kitchen of Distinction, it would never have been the success it was and I am very grateful. Thank you Shirley for the truly different tapas using ingredients from Vancouver Island, some, right from our kitchen garden. It was a pleasure to work with you on the food. Guests particularly commented on the mini corn cakes with slivers of venison, the tiny finger croquettes of wild and white rice and garden herbs and local smoked salmon on cucumber cups. The platters of quail eggs mascerated in red wine disappeared in seconds. As you prepared all the tapas, I was free to work on the paella. We were a good team and the party was a grand success. It was such a pleasure to return to the kitchen later in the evening and find it in perfect order. Many thanks, muchas gracias, to you.” Mary Spilsbury Ross
Thank you sooooo much for a lovely dinner that our children arranged for us (Sheryl Bell) on Sunday with your help. A totally new experience to be served in one’s own environment – I love it… the palate tickling’s were extremely pleasurable and we are enjoying the leftovers. How kind and professional of you to wash and tidy up so thoroughly. I appreciate your attention to those matters. Brendan performed his duties without being “invasive” to what was going on around our family table. I’ll recommend your expertise to my friends. Again, heartfelt appreciation. Anita and Ron Fownes
I have had the pleasure of working with Shirley, and Kitchens of Distinction on two separate occasions. Both times, I was amazed by the quality of food, Shirley’s professionalism and her willingness and creativity to develop an outstanding dining experience. Dishes were made with wholesome fresh foods, great taste and presented beautifully. Moreover, Shirley created the food respecting her Indigenous teachings. I believe you can really taste the difference! I continue to receive comments “that the food was the best meal ever eaten at a banquet,” “the food was amazing,” and “the casserole was the best I have ever eaten.” The million dollar question is if you would use this caterer again? I would 100% work with Kitchens of Distinction again. If you want flavorfully foods, healthy options and fresh ingredients, beautiful presentations, creative menu planning, professionalism, outstanding service all while working within your budget, I would recommend working with Kitchens of Distinction! Nicole Bresser, Co-Chair Indigenous Law Student’s Association
We had the pleasure of attending Barbara Hubbard’s barbecue last night. Your young man in attendance provided superb service. The appetizers were terrific and we were most impressed with the professionalism displayed by you and your staff, well done, Cedric and Dorene Steele
“I hired Shirley for a private function, a small gathering of 30 people, for a surprise party. Shirley Lang, Kitchens of Distinction provided the Tapas and served 6 different small plate menu items over a 2 hour interval. The food was amazing, everyone was so pleased – and if the guests are happy, I’m happy! Shirley’s server, John, was attentive, personable and very professional. The duo took over my kitchen and left at the end of the night with everything in it’s place. A great event, great food, great service. Would recommend Shirley without question.” Deb Alcadinho
Hi Shirley, Thank you so much for the wonderful appy’s you provided. They were a big hit. I think the two fave’s were the Prawn, Mango, red pepper, garlic, cilantro salad in a Chinese spoon and the Endive boats with Ahi Tuna sesame tartare. Even my mom who doesn’t eat seafood really loved the Tuna sesame tartare appy… I was shocked! Thanks again for everything and I will definitely spread the good word. Good luck with the business, you’ve got a great talent! Sacha Mullen
I want to pass along and recommend Shirley Lang of Kitchen’s of Distinction, whom I recently had the pleasure of having had cook for my 40+ guests. She is in my words an artist of the most delectable, mouth watering culinary work I’ve experienced. I’d even say it was no doubt the best I have ever experienced including that of the The Aerie or Sooke Harbour House Restaurants with which I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.
Dear Shirl – thank you so very much for helping make Jack’s 80th birthday celebration such a success for our entire family. Everything was wonderful, especially the delicious, creative menu and your friendly and warm disposition. Fondly, Sharon Shalinsky
Hi Shirl, we had such a wonderful evening, 20 of us, staff party, and everybody was enthralled with the food you provided. Fresh, fresh, fresh! That together with a barbecued leg of lamb, wonderful fresh appetizers, and amazing service. The food was not “Costco” (nothing wrong with Costco) but is was wonderfully different. Thank you so much for a very successful evening! Barbara Hubbard, Baden-Baden Boutique Ltd., Sidney, BC
Hello Shirley, Thank you so much for providing such wonderful food this evening. It was so gratifying to be standing next to someone who was sampling a particular item and hearing the moans of pleasure and appreciation. Everything looked so beautiful and everything, as usual, was so tasty. Once again your staff make a special event even more memorable with their thoughtful and attentive service. Warm regards, Pamela Madoff, City of Victoria Councillor
Shirley, Thank you for the wonderful job you and your crew did catering my daughter’s wedding reception at our house on August 30. We got nothing but compliments on the food, the service, the setup and the way in which you all managed the crowd. The guests were very happy with the food and the care your servers took to ensure people had the food and beverages they needed. There was a wide range of dietary requirements – guests included vegans, vegetarians, people with gluten issues and with various allergies – and everyone had something they could eat. All of the offerings were delicious and flavorful and the staff went above and beyond what we expected. It was a wonderful event due in large part to the appetizers and dinner. Thank you again. Yours, Don and Janis Schaffer
Dear Shirley, Just a note to say thank you for the delicious dinner you prepared for Linda’s birthday party! It was truly spectacular and I will keep your card in a safe place so that I will know where to find you if I ever would like to have someone cater a dinner for me! We also enjoyed talking with your partner…and wished we’d had more time with you! Best wishes, Betty Davies
WOW! Shirley, I can’t begin to thank you enough for such a great dinner party, everything was perfect, our guests raved about the food, your outstanding culinary expertise and John’s amazing service! I could not have asked for anything more, Hugh was thrilled and said it “was perfect” for his 60th Celebration.
Thank you again and a big thank you from each of our guests, they will be raving about the dinner for months I’m sure! I will look forward to planning something with you again! Sherry Paterson
1. The ability to create a memorable experience thru beautiful presentation whether lunch or gathering! Shirley magically knows the perfect menu by asking a few key questions about the meeting or guests. We have chosen our favorite dishes that have to be on every order now! We have to have the mousse! The most common question is “who was the caterer?”. Kathleen King-Hunt, District Principal Aboriginal Education, SD62
2. I thought that the food was definitely a step above the rest. You could see the quality and the care put into the preparation. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Shirley. I loved the ethnic flavour of things too…. Heather
3. My comment would be that all of your food has been fresh, colourful and exciting! I have tried new foods like your Quinoa Salad for the first time from your catering. Your menu is so different with unbelievable flavour. I love your Salmon Chiabatta sandwiches, Quinoa Salad and Chocolate Mousse… I am getting hungry just thinking about your menus! Thanks Shirley!
We recently went on an unusual tour of Vancouver Island. Our guides Shirley and Fran took us on a fabulous food lovers adventure. We visited farms, wineries, a distillery, a salt harvestry, a cidery and an ecovillage which practices permaculture food production and sustainable living. We traveled roads known only to locals and visited businesses that demonstrated the independent entrepreneurship that is flourishing on Vancouver Island. We were fed both body and soul. Shirley’s bannock helped us to start the day, her wonderful chicken and roast vegetable salad sustained us through the noon time and we ended the evening with Moroccan lamb chops that were to die for. We will be singing the praises of Spirit Excursions for years to come. Matt & Lynne Pearson, Kirkland, Washington
“We hired Shirley for two important corporate events and were completely amazed and delighted. Shirley delivered a highly professional and extremely delicious menu. We will most certainly hire her again for future events and would readily recommend her to anyone wishing to set the bar high at their event!” Paula Blazina, Assistant Manager, Coastal Community Credit Union
I love Malbec Wine. So when I was asked to create some tasty treats for a Malbec wine tasting at Everything Wine for April 11, from 2:00 – 4:00, I was super excited! To prepare myself and determine what I should make, I tried Las Moras. It is a full bodied wine, with loads of cherry flavour and hints of liquorice and leather. It is a well rounded wine.
I tried it in two different glasses. The first a bowl shaped glass, the result not pleasant. It tasted almost vinegar ish. Which lead me to the second larger and taller, more open glass. This glass was perfect! I could taste every note. Fresh and clean. I will definitely drink this wine with a spicy meat dish. Something which will transport me to another exotic local, Argentina.
“The Clandestine Dinner at Chef Shirley Lang’s home was a culinary tour de force! Creative combinations full of sublime flavours. The best oyster bisque I’ve ever tasted! Do not miss this experience!” Budd L Hall, UNESCO Chair UVIC
UNESCO Chair UVIC: http://www.unescochair-cbrsr.org
“I attended a nine course Valentine’s dinner at Kitchens of Distinction, hosted by Executive Chef and owner Shirley Lang. From the hors d’oeuvres to the closing dessert trio, every item was so delicious and served professionally. The chocolate chili sauce on my perfectly done prime rib was a highlight as was the creamy oyster bisque. I highly recommend Shirley and her staff for any occasion, large or corporate, or intimate and romantic. Thank you Kitchens of Distinction! It was a great evening!” Fergus Kyne, Fergus Kyne Realty
“Wow, what an incredible evening you gave us all last night, the food was divine and so well planned. I loved every mouthful. It was like a symphony on a plate, with every course. My musical metaphor would be “Carmina Burana”, Inspired, classical and eclectic!” Liza Miles, Gracious Grape Wine Tours
“This was undoubtedly one of the best dinners I have ever had. Shirley absolutely knocked it out of the park on all 6 courses. Duck confit on Foie Gras Pate started this dinner, beautiful tapas plate with prawns, tuna and salmon, velvety oyster bisque, beautiful salad, citrus ice palette cleanser to beef tenderloin and then a plate of 3 types of chocolate variation, omgosh!!! One of the best dinners ever, intimate, and just one of the best evenings! Can’t wait till the next event!” Erin Morton
“I attended the single’s Valentine dinner party last night at Shirley’s beautiful home. My nervousness vanished with Shirley’s graciousness and warmth. There were 11 other people and we got along famously: much laughter and good cheer. The food was extraordinary: original dishes and very flavourful. The velvety crème oyster bisque was the best soup I’ve had in my life. If this event happens in the future, I’ll be the first one to sign up!” Barb McLean, Employment Counsellor
CALLING ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS: PRIME SOCIAL EVENTS TO SELL YOUR HOME
by Shirley Lang | February 9, 2015 5:21 pm
PRIME SOCIAL EVENTS TO SELL YOUR HOME
Combining the culinary art of food and a relaxed and fun environment in order to market high-end properties in Victoria.
Creating an “at home” essence is an essential core to marketing and selling home real estate. The essence of a home is determined by giving potential buyers the opportunity to experience actual living within that environment. What creates the essence of a home? Food. A home filled with dedicatedly prepared dishes, filling the space with comforting and inviting scents, striking the euphoric sensation of what one envisions for themselves, their family and their home.
Combining an “open house” social event that is only open to exclusive guests, with a menu prepared by a personal chef, will assist you in providing the atmosphere for striking the right note for the sophisticated buyer. Whether it’s a cocktail party with appetisers or passed hors d’oeuvres, or a full course sit down dinner party, Kitchens of Distinction can assist in creating the element that those looking to buy a new home would be enticed by.
The advantages of marketing a property with food are obvious. It’s an opportunity to provide choice exposure, attracting inspired buyers to engage with you and your brand. These types of social functions open the door for influential future business referrals, allowing you to add your personal touch, which your elite clients are in search of.
Another option: Are you at a loss deciding what to give to your buyers to show your appreciation for their business? A Gift Certificate towards a catered meal in their new home is an exceptional gift, conveying to your clients that you truly appreciate their business, that you believe they are special, and deserving of only the best. The rewards will be limitless…
Contact Executive Chef Shirley Lang of Kitchens of Distinction at 250-858-7777 or email@example.com to inquire more about our exclusive services to compliment your distinctive company.
Strong healthy relationships are fueled by an intense intimacy, both emotional and physical. There are times in some relationships when intimacy is far reaching. When a deep commitment is present, taking the time to learn ways of rekindling or rediscovering intimacy will reap awe-inspiring rewards.
For centuries and in many cultures around the world, many different foods, drinks, herbs and spices have been considered Aphrodisiacs with the sole purpose of increasing one’s sexual desire leading to heightened romantic intimacy.
The dictionary describes aphrodisiac (noun) as:
· a food, drink, or drug that stimulates sexual desire: the Romans worshiped the apple as an aphrodisiac with aphrodisiac powers;
· a thing that causes excitement: for a few seconds she’d fallen for the powerful aphrodisiac of music | power is an aphrodisiac.
Kitchens of Distinction Culinary Arts offers privately catered 6 to 12 course menus to suit couples that want to share with their partner a Romantic Aphrodisiac meal in the privacy of their own homes or other venues. We customize the menu to suit the couples tastes and desires. Foods that are healthy, with live nutrients, vitamins and minerals, are the most powerful Aphrodisiacs.
To learn more about what a sensuous seductive meal would look like, please visit: SAMPLE MENUS
“I want to write this letter to express how happy I am with the service, and more importantly the quality of food, provided by Kitchens of Distinction. This was for my 40th birthday party, which was obviously a really important event for my family and closest friends. In total we had about 40 guests. We had previously booked another company that ended up cancelling on us a week before the event, which put us in a real bind.
We met with Shirley who asked us a number of questions about our favorite foods, was very attentive do some dietary requirements we had, and gave us a bunch of different options. We finalized the menu a couple days after our first meeting. When we picked up the food there was not only all of the dishes we had discussed, but instead of one salmon half there were three, along with a bunch of extras. We could not have been happier with her service and the quality of the food. It was delicious to say the least. It’s nice to come across someone that lives up to what they say they will do and Shirley is definitely one of those people!
I own a medium sized business and feel that the true reflection of a satisfied customer is whether or not they would refer my business to family or friends: since our experience with Shirley we have done both.” Curtis Erickson, Hazpro Environmental Ltd.
“Our company’s Christmas party was that much more special with Chef Shirley’s amazing 8 course meal. Every dish was unique, delicious and everyone was raving about it days later!” Tracy McAllister, Marketing Strategist
“I have used Kitchens of Distinction to cater events and have attended events catered by Chef Shirley and her wonderful staff. The catering experience provided has always been very professional and the food consistently delicious and beautifully presented. Having dietary restrictions and allergies, I found her very sensitive and careful with the food she prepared for my occasions, and even at other functions I have attended. I have will continue to recommend Chef Shirley, without hesitation, to many looking to host a catered event.” Bonnie Mitchell, Mitchell Creative
“I hosted an African themed afternoon. Trying to be the Fabulous Hostess, I called upon Chef Shirley to assist. I received much more than I could have asked for! Shirley not only took the stress away from preparing all the appetizers for my lady friends, she complimented my party by serving delicious African appetizers! A truly successful afternoon! Thank you Shirley for your professionalism and for serving such a delightful assortment of fabulous delicious appetizers! I was able to relax and enjoy my own party!” Annette Quan
Even the best-laid plans can go awry. If you find that you’re stuck in a situation where you aren’t prepared to eat a healthy meal from home, you can still be healthy. Most health experts would agree that eating an occasional fast food meal is not going to negatively impact your health.
But you may want to try to make better choices if you do find your vehicle in the fast food drive through. Most restaurants do have healthy choices if you’re looking for them. For example:
Choose grilled items from the menu
Opt for a side salad instead of fries with your meal
Avoid the urge to “super-size” your meal
Choose water or tea with your meal instead of soda
Try eating a kids’ meal to get a smaller portion of food
Add a fruit cup or apples to your meal
Choose sandwiches that have are made of lean meats and vegetables
Check the nutrition facts at the restaurant before ordering – some foods are deceptively high in fats and calories
If you find yourself busy and unprepared, you may also want to try a quick trip to the grocery store. Purchasing a rotisserie chicken and a bagged salad makes a very quick meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.
You may find other items in the deli that are healthier than fast food alternatives, but are convenient to purchase and take home. Ordering a pizza can also be a healthy alternative if you stick with a thinner crust, cheese, and veggies. Add a side salad and you have a solid meal choice.
Change Takes Time
If you find yourself making a commitment to eliminate fast food and then sliding back, don’t be too hard on yourself. It takes a long time to instill a new habit. You’re bound to have a few slip ups along the way.
The important thing is that you keep trying. Eventually you’ll create a lifestyle that’s conducive to having great nutrition and is no longer in need of a quick meal through the drive through window.
Talking with other busy families can help you to get tips on eating a healthier diet. You might want to swap recipes and ideas with others experiencing the same thing. Having social support can help you to stick to your commitment.
The Benefits of Saying Yes to a Healthy Diet
Once you begin to let go of your fast food habit, you’ll begin to see immediate benefits. First you may notice that after meals you no longer feel weighed down by heavy foods. Healthy foods tend to leave you feeling light and energized while fast food tends to make you feel heavy and lethargic.
You may also enjoy one or more of the following benefits:
Weight loss – you may find that you begin to lose weight without really focusing on it
Reduced risk of heart disease
Reduced risk of diabetes and fewer problems if you’ve already been diagnosed
When you say no to fast food and yes to a healthy diet, you’re choosing a life that’s free from many of the health problems associated with a diet high in calories, fat, and sodium. Eating healthy when you’re busy can be a challenge, but developing new habits will help you to succeed!
Executive Chef Shirley Lang 
Executive Chef Shirley Lang : http://www.kitchensofdistinction.ca/about/
So, how can you have healthy food when your life is full of work, school, activities, and social occasions? You may find that it can be a challenge to change your lifestyle, but it will be a challenge you never regret.
The first thing you need to do is take a hard look at what’s going on in your life that’s making you so busy in the first place. Being overscheduled can affect more than just your diet. It can deprive you of sleep and increase your stress levels in an unhealthy way.
So make sure you’re not doing too much in the first place. Wherever you can, eliminate unneeded obligations. For example, you may want to limit your children to one after school activity instead of trying to do several.
You may also want to block off one night a week when you have no scheduled activities so that you can relax and have quality time. If you’re attending a lot of social gatherings, you may want to narrow it down to one or two that are most important to you each week or month.
Once you’ve pared down your schedule, you can begin to work on making nutrition a bigger priority in your household. It’s not as difficult as you may think – and the rewards of eating healthy will surprise you.
There are several things you can do to keep up with being busy and hectic without compromising on good nutrition. A few simple tips can help you to get the most out of your time and your budget.
Plan ahead. When you plan ahead you can make sure to have ingredients on hand for making healthy meals. You may want to make a meal calendar that rotates on a weekly or monthly basis to stay organized.
Keep quick, convenient foods on hand. When you’re on the go a lot, you need to have food that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go. Stocking up on healthy foods such as yogurt, nuts, trail mix, granola bars, and plenty of fruits and veggies can help you be prepared to snack in between larger meals.
Take advantage of crock-pot cooking. If you’re busy, there’s nothing easier than throwing a few ingredients into a crock-pot and letting it do the cooking for you. You’ll come home to a fully cooked meal ready to eat.
Stock up on sale items. When you’re trying to stay on a budget, it’s important to take advantage of sales. When your favorite healthy foods go on sale, stock up. It helps to have a freezer so that you can store meats, fruits, and veggies for later use.
Learn a few quick recipes. Having several recipes on hand that are easy to cook and quick can help you to stick to your plan of avoiding fast food. If you have a “go to” set of meals that you can always fall back on, you’ll be in good shape.
Prepare meals ahead of time. Some people like to cook once a week for the rest of the week. You can make all of your meals on a weekend day or a day that’s just less hectic for you. Then throughout the week all you have to do is heat up your food.
Have soup and sandwiches. This is a really quick dinner if you’re pressed for time. You can either make homemade soup or try prepared soup and add a quick sandwich. You’ll get a wholesome meal that doesn’t take much time or energy.
Portion foods right after shopping. When you get home from the grocery store, wash and cut all of your produce. You can even store it in individually portioned bags or containers so you can grab it quickly on a busy night.
Brown bag it. Many people do well with eating at home for breakfast and dinner, but falter when it comes to lunch. Make sure to pack a lunch so that you won’t feel pressure to grab a quick bite at a fast food restaurant. Packing lunch the night before can keep you from having to rush around in the morning.
By planning ahead and making the decision ahead of time that you’re not going to eat fast food, you can have healthy meals and adapt them to your busy lifestyle. You can even do so on a budget that meets your financial needs.
Fast food may seem like a friend to the busy family trying to save money. However, it’s really not as friendly as you might think. Eating fast food regularly has consequences that greatly outweigh its benefits to your lifestyle.
Here are a few problems with fast food:
The average fast food meal can have as many calories as you need for an entire day
Fast food meals tend to be high in saturated fat – that’s the fat that causes heart disease
Food from fast food restaurants tends to have high amounts of preservatives
Many fast food restaurants serve meat with fillers known as “pink slime” that are treated with harsh chemicals
While many restaurants offer healthier choices, those choices are usually more expensive and not chosen as often
Fast food meals don’t contain the necessary vitamins and minerals for good health
Fast food meals don’t contain much fiber which helps to keep digestion regular and lower cholesterol
The cost of treating medical conditions caused by a poor diet are much greater than any money you could save on a value menu
For the first time in history, children are having problems due to obesity that once plagued only adults such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol
While it may seem convenient and inexpensive, the real cost of a fast food diet can be devastating for your health. It’s important to find a way to eat healthier foods that will fit into your lifestyle.
When it comes to eating healthy, one of the most dangerous habits people develop is depending on fast food for meals. In today’s society, fast food has become a quick replacement for eating a home-cooked meal. As a result, we’re experiencing more problems with obesity and chronic illness than ever before. Heart disease, stroke, and diabetes have become some of the most serious problems we face as a society. This is the first generation in many that our life expectancy is actually decreasing. While fast food certainly isn’t the only factor to consider, it’s definitely a major contributor to health problems. It’s important to take stock of your lifestyle and make sure you’re doing all you can to live the best life possible.
Why We Take the Fast Lane for Food
For many people, eating fast food is as habitual as brushing their teeth. In fact there are many families that eat most of their meals from a fast food restaurant. What is it about this lifestyle that’s appealing? First, today our schedules are more hectic than ever. It’s not uncommon for a typical family of four to have activities to attend every night of the week. After coming home from work or school, you may only have a few minutes to spend before heading out again.
Enter fast food. When you need something quick, it’s easy to just hop in the car and grab a quick bite to eat on the way to your next stop. Most people don’t even take a few moments to eat something at a table. The cost of fast food is also appealing for many people. Buying fresh, nutritious ingredients for meals can often break the family budget. Fast food companies have appealed to the thrifty family by offering dollar menu items that are less expensive than some home cooked meals.
Fast food companies have also capitalized on the flavors that our bodies crave. We are genetically engineered to love fat, sugar, and salt. These are essential nutrients, but in nature they aren’t that abundant. We’re hard-wired to crave these nutrients and take them in whenever we can. Unfortunately, we’re no longer part of hunter-gatherer societies and the typical person can have access to these nutrients at any time. That means that we tend to overindulge in the things that once were hard to come by. Fast food companies tend to serve meals loaded with extra fats, salt, and sugar and we keep them in business by eating them regularly.
Even if you don’t have a large family and activities to attend, you may find that after a long day of work you’re just too tired to cook a meal. Sometimes single people can be as much or more affected by the temptation to grab a quick bite on the way home.
“I have known Shirley since 1988. At that time she had hair salons and a talent agency in Toronto and was involved in every stage of the entertainment industry; publicity, event planning, many charity events and fund raisers. Whether she was hosting a TIFF event or raising funds for a much needed cause, Shirley always created an atmosphere that was one of a kind, vibrant and in step with the event. And she handled everything, from guest lists to catering. Her catered events were fabulous with flavourful fresh home made items. Shirley’s culinary skills are unique, weaving her traditional teachings throughout the process. She’s an intuitive chef, which makes her cuisine so flavourful! As an actor in Toronto, I attended many of her fetes and events. They were not to be missed! Shirley was always creative, professional and inspiring. She is very much missed in Toronto!” Sincerely yours, Heidi Von Palleske, Actor & Writer 
Heidi Von Palleske, Actor & Writer: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/heidi-von-palleske/4a/aa4/9aa
Your family and friends always tell you that your cooking is fantastic. Now it’s the holidays and you feel it’s time to add the ‘wow’ factor. Food presentation is an art with minimal rules. Understanding just a few of the laws of presentation can rocket your meals from average to divine. Here are some easy first steps to food presentation mastery…
All food experiences must start and end with the plate. That is why the choice of plate is an art in itself. The plate must hold food comfortably—it should not feel cramped or too sparse. Always highlight the food by contrasting it against the color of the plate. Dark foods like chocolate and braised beef should be presented on a light plate. Lightly coloured foods like prawn filled tortillas can be presented on a rustic terracotta. Personally as a chef, I think all food looks its best on a white plate, using different shapes and sizes is one of my main ways to be more creative. Mix and match your serving features. Keep it simple, elegant and comfortable.
Before placing the food, you can add texture to the plate. Sprinkle herbs on the plate of a savoury dish. White powdered sugar can be sprinkled on a plate before a dark chocolate cake is added. Flick sauce from a spoon across the plate before adding its match or you can use a food paint brush to streak a coulis stroke. Contrast colors, accentuate scents, and combine harsh and soft textures.
When combining foods, do not leave too much space between them. At the same time, don’t clump them together. Allow the foods on the plate to breath, to have their own space where they can announce themselves. Always place the main dish (such as the meat) as the focal point, while placing the tallest dish (such as lettuce wrapped in cucumber) at the back. Only use odd numbers when distributing foods on a plate. It’s called the magic of three! As an idea for excellent asparagus presentation, place the stalks in a criss-cross formation with meat served on top. Put your starches on the bottom of the meat, tell your guests “it’s miso sablefish on a bed of ……”.
Garnishing the plate is an art and a science. A strand of lemon or orange peel is a simple garnish. Place a slice of fruit, edible flowers or micro greens that contrast the dish on the plate. Make sure the taste and texture of the garnish relates to the dish. A tomato might not always be appropriate as a garnish next to a salad. Try an apricot or a scallion flower!
Play with shapes. Carrots, onions and cucumbers don’t have to be sliced in circles. Cut them at angles. Peel them. Create ovals, triangles, curls. Weave them with other vegetables. These garnishes should be placed around the food or in the corner. Just remember to use garnishes sparingly. You want your main creations to speak for them selves. Keep it looking clean and simple. Be creative and have fun with it!
Serve right away. Eat slowly, savour the flavours! Enjoy your family and guests! And don’t forget, Bon Appetite!
“de Vine Vineyards gives a big THANK YOU to Shirley and her team for catering our Christmas Party at the winery. Shirley is down-to-Earth and passionate about her food. The attention to detail from the client to the food placement on the plate will make anyone feel comfortable knowing that their needs have been met. The food was absolutely insatiable!!! We are very excited to have another event in the future where Shirley and her team will provide us with great food and company.” de Vine Vineyards ~ Helen Windsor 
de Vine Vineyards ~ Helen Windsor : http://www.devinevineyards.ca
“I attended a small Moroccan Themed dinner party that was catered by Kitchens of Distinctions. The food was delicious and each course was a feast for both the eye and the palate. Shirley and her staff were professional with Shirley explaining each beautifully presented dish. Finally, we were all impressed that after dessert was served the kitchen was cleaned up with no evidence that a feast had just happened.” Kathleen Gilbert, Film Commissioner, Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission
Kathleen Gilbert, Film Commissioner, Vancouver Island South Film & Media Commission: http://www.filmvictoria.com
“On behalf of the Office of the Auditor General’s Wellness Team, I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for your contributions to our 2012 Cultural Awareness Luncheon for National Aboriginal Day. Your foundational role in preparing and presenting the gourmet selection of Aboriginal inspired delicacies for the occasion, were key to the event’s success. It was truly a Diverse Cultural Culinary Experience. Thank you and Best Regards.” Jesse Skulmoski
Office of the Auditor General – Performance Auditor
“Thank you Shirley Lang of Kitchens of Distinction for the incredible Aboriginal fusion dinner you created for our family and guests during the Congress at UVIC this summer. Our guests raved about the flavours and presentation all evening. You and your staff, Brendan was exceptional. The next morning there was no evidence there was even a dinner party. I said this that evening and I want to say it again, you certainly operate a ‘First Class’ business! Your customer service and attention to detail is superior! Thank you so much for the very memorable cuisine.” Budd L Hall PhD, Co-Chair, UNESCO Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, University of Victoria
“We hired Shirley Lang’s Kitchens of Distinction to take care of the food and drink for my 50th birthday party. From planning to clean up, Shirley and her crew were outstanding, and our 55 friends were blown away by the quality of the food and service. Falling off the bone tender moose ribs, perfectly cooked seafoods, interesting and health side dishes, and diverse flavours of the best cuisine from around the world were all brought together elegantly by Shirley Lang. The meal was the highlight of a dinner party that our well-travelled and discerning guests all raved about, for
days afterward. Kitchens of Distinction is a well organized, very professional and stylish operation that takes all the stress out of hosting a dinner party. Shirley and her conscientious and capable crew handle everything and go above and beyond food and drink service to handle set up and serving and cleaning afterwards – one of her staff stayed until the wee hours taking care of guests’ needs. Shirley makes sure that you only have to enjoy your gathering and soak up the good feelings of your guests!” Rose Lenser & Taiaiake Alfred
TORONTO — The value of coffee beans has nearly doubled this year, partly due to concerns that lack of rain in Brazil could affect exports, reports CTV News.In October, the price of Arabica beans rose to a two-and-a-half year high, as weather forecasts for the region suggested that next year’s crop could be dramatically impacted.Some coffee prices have already increased in anticipation of future supply levels. Seattle-based Coffee chain Starbucks increased prices during the summer and other suppliers have followed suit, including Keurig K-Cup maker Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. based in Waterbury, Vt., and Orrville, Ohio-based J.M. Smucker, which makes the Folgers brand.
According to CTV, most of Oakville, Ont.-based Tim Hortons’ key coffee deals were negotiated more than a year ago, which has allowed executives to navigate through one of the most volatile periods for coffee prices in recent memory. But CFO, Cynthia Devine, said the increased cost of beans will be taken into consideration as the company prepares for 2015. [ctvnews.ca]
Christine Woychesko, Operations Manager, The Robert Bateman Centre
by Shirley Lang | November 10, 2014 1:33 pm
“Thank you for allowing us to add you to our list of preferred caterers. I know everyone was very pleased with the food and service. I was very impressed with your food and service and have been recommending you to people who ask for approved caterers.” Christine Woychesko, Operations Manager, The Robert Bateman Centre
Christine Woychesko, Operations Manager, The Robert Bateman Centre: http://batemancentre.org
“My visual memory of your stunning presentations are clear and delightful. I have heard so many rapturous comments about the appetizers and the salads, and the roast beast and the pumpkin waffles and etc., etc., etc….. There were so many praises for your staff who have such a natural warm mannerism. You made the event wonderful for us. One Hundred Thousand Thank Yous!” Dr. Maria Cescon, Toronto
5 Stars: “Went for a great lunch today. Shirley had special Spanish tapas, what a feast. And the fresh Bannock was fantastic. My wife also savored the lime cheese cake. Great little place with unique and very special food. Did I mention that the service was exceptional?” Hermann T, Victoria
Erik Wolf, World Food Travel Association, Yelp Review
by Shirley Lang | October 29, 2014 5:40 pm
5 Stars: “I actually came here for lunch, not the catering side of the business. Probably never would have come upon it if I had not been with 2 locals who recommended it. I had the Vegetable Tourtine (kind of like a tart, or like a UK “pie” but a whole lot better). We also had the chestnut soup and when you sit down, they bring you some pita bread with dip. The food is fantastic, The service was very attentive. Prices were also very reasonable. I’m glad I was introduced to this place. I will be back on my next trip to Victoria.” Erik W, Portland
“I would highly recommend Kitchens of Distinction Culinary Arts for any catering needs you may have. We have used them for a large cocktail party, an intimate dinner for 10 and a 3 day large family gathering that required food to feed a discerning crowd. The food was unique and flavourful, the customer service impeccable and the opportunity to customize the menu allowed me to “wow” all our guests. Thank you and we look forward to our next event with you!” Kerry Brown & Richard Larkin, Success Biz Coach
Kerry Brown & Richard Larkin, Success Biz Coach: http://www.successbizcoach.com
“It was a pleasure working with Shirley and her team at Kitchens of Distinction for our event at The Legacy Art Gallery. The staff were pleasant and professional throughout the planning process, the food was exquisite and beautifully presented and the service impeccable. I would not hesitate to recommend Kitchens of Distinction for future events and look forward to working with them again.” Nichola Reddington, City of Victoria
Nichola Reddington, City of Victoria: http://www.victoria.ca
“Shirley Lang’s Kitchens of Distinction is a First Nations catering company that is my go to people for my events! She is professional and does a superb job with the First Nations art projects that I coordinate in the Victoria area. The appetizers with the First Nations flare are gorgeous to view and taste!
In my Art and culture special event work I coordinate I have much pride and always have the best of First Nations artists in the events themselves and as many of my people hired to do a fantastic job with class and integrity and Shirley Lang never disappoints! Amazing and spectacular food!” Rose M Spahan, First Nations Liaison, City of Victoria
“From our initial consultation with Kitchens of Distinction, we knew we were in capable hands. Shirley had us covered. We worked closely with her to design a fabulous menu for our event. Then we left things to her for the big day. Her execution was flawless, the presentation was elegant, and each mouth watering bite was kitchen poetry. The goal for our wedding was to feel catered to, and Shirley (KOD) was marvellous.” Maureen Washington, Singer/Artist/Producer & Darryl Schultz
“I had the honour of having a gourmet meal prepared by Chef Shirley as a gift from my husband for my birthday. I had invited 5 friends to celebrate with me and Shirley worked with me to create the perfect dinner. She had many options for me and accomodated all my guests’ needs. Presentation was superb, flavour was perfect and her suggestions for the wines was impeccable. What a great gift for someone or for treating yourself. Shirley’s personable service is amazing! Once again, thank you for a great presentation! I loved it and so did ALL my guests!” Maria Cocquio Manna, Singer/Artist/Producer
Maria Cocquio Manna, Singer/Artist/Producer: http://www.mariamanna.com
“A huge thank you goes out to Kitchens of Distinction for the incredible lunch and dinner prepared for us. In the two years I have worked for IPS I have shared many meals with the Board and staff members and this was the first time I heard so many people exclaim with excitement over the colourful, fresh and delicious food! As the event planner it was a feel good moment to have found a caterer who could make so many people, with so many different dietary needs, so happy! Thank you so much and we cannot wait to have you cater our next event!” Samantha Vanderdonck, Indigenous Perspectives Society
“Fantastic. Each meal feels impeccably thought through and you can taste the freshness of the ingredients for each one. Food and service greatly exceeds eateries that charge far more. It’s in an unusual location and is easily missed – don’t make that mistake. Go in and be amazed.” Kerokerocola
“For an 80th birthday celebration the catering was from Kitchens of Distinction, done superbly by Chef Shirley Lang. The wonderfully prepared food from the hors d’oeuvres to the salmon to the salads, was a big part of making our special day very special. Many of my guests commented on how delicious the food was and asked who prepared it. Thank you Shirley and your wonderful staff.” Doug Webb, Coast Outdoor