HOUSEGUEST APRIL: Derek Dammann and Chris Johns of TRUE NORTH
On Sunday April 17th, The Left Coast welcomes Derek Dammann and Chris Johns, authors of the best selling cookbook…
TRUE NORTH at SWANS BREWPUB for a very special first anniversary celebration of HOUSEGUEST; Victoria’s original pop-up dinner series celebrating collaboration in the Pacific Northwest.
A self-described ‘Vancouver Islander’ Derek Dammann, grew up in Campbell River, went to cooking school in Nanaimo and is a former Executive Chef at The Marina Restaurant. On a trip to London a few years after graduating, he landed a tryout at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen. Dammann stayed for nearly four years, eventually leading Fifteen’s kitchen brigade. He followed a girlfriend back to Montreal and now runs Maison Publique, a beloved neighbourhood restaurant and pub that specializes in what he likes to refer to as “Canadian food.”
His co-author Chris Johns spent his early childhood living around Canada’s north, in Norman Wells, Inuvik and Yellowknife. A former Victoria resident, he makes his living as a food and travel writer (he’s a frequent Globe contributor) and has eaten through Canada many times over.
Considered one of the most exciting and original coast-to-coast Canadian cookbooks published since Canada’s centennial some 50 years ago, True North doesn’t bother with the usual cedar-plank salmon or the straight-ahead tourtière or butter tart recipes – the most ploddingly overfamiliar staples of the Canadian culinary canon – because it isn’t that sort of Canadian cookbook. It is sprawling and ambitious and unabashedly patriotic, obsessed with the delicious and the strange and the new. As Johns put it in an interview the other week, “For the first time, maybe, we’re starting to acknowledge that what we have in Canada is as good if not better than anything anywhere in the world.” With True North, the duo powerfully make that case.