The Pulse: March 22, 2022

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  • 13°C: Mainly sunny. Wind up to 15 km/h. High 13. Wind chill minus 5 in the morning. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • 76.3%: According to Alberta Health, 76.3% of all Albertans have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. (details)
  • 2-3: The Oilers (35-23-5) lost to the Avalanche (45-13-5) in overtime. (details)
  • 6:30pm The Oilers will play the Stars (34-24-3) tonight in Dallas. (details)

A bowl of tantanmen ramen

Kasey Ramen grows with help from the community

By Sharon Yeo

In just 16 months, upstart Kasey Ramen has transitioned from a home-based business offering ramen kits to hosting pop-ups in an Edmonton restaurant.

Kasey Ramen proprietor Allen Gao has had a keen interest in food for years. "Since high school, I've had friends over and cooked food for them," said Gao. "It's my way of showing that I care about them."

After graduating from the University of Alberta in 2020 with an environmental engineering degree, Gao was unable to secure a job in his field. So, while working in engineering-adjacent positions, he started to further explore his passion for food.

"Ramen was the one food that stumped me," said Gao. "All other times I could crack open a recipe and make it work. But I couldn't crack ramen. And ramen was one of my favourite foods growing up."

Gao then stumbled upon a YouTube channel called Way of Ramen that changed everything for him. "Ryan Esaki was the first person on the internet making really good videos of how to make ramen," said Gao. "Through Way of Ramen I was able to discover a whole community of online ramen makers doing it professionally or at home."

In November 2020, Gao made his first ramen kits under the Kasey Ramen banner ("Kasey" is the sound of the initials in Gao's Chinese name, "Kechao"). He gave 15 kits out to friends as samples, and sold 15 more to individuals he was connected to on social media. Once it grew to a point where he was selling to people he didn't know, he knew he had to move into a commercial kitchen.

In September 2021, the folks behind District Café offered him in-kind use of their bakery space to make his noodles. A month later, he was connected to Ark Café, which had commercial kitchen space available for rent. Both businesses now serve as pickup locations for his ramen kits, which sell out every week within hours of being posted online.

"The limiting factor was actually being able to make enough noodles," said Gao. "Prepping at District has allowed me to grow exponentially. I did 40 servings a week in September, and then 60, and now I'm doing 150."

Kasey Ramen will host its first pop-up at District Cafe on March 27 and 28. "I'm excited to serve people and see people eat the ramen," Gao said. "I've only seen online feedback, and sometimes it's difficult when it's just through a screen."

Continue reading


By Mack Male

  • Between September 2011 and December 2021, 2,068 people were criminally charged by Edmonton police school resource officers, the Edmonton SRO Research Project has found. Researchers Bashir Mohamed and Alexandre Da Costa analyzed data about the SRO program that they obtained through a freedom of information request. "The fact this program has existed since 1979 and we're only now getting enforcement data should be a scandal," Mohamed told Postmedia. They said the data provides "validation of the experiences of students that have been overpoliced." The EPS is reviewing the research, and both the Edmonton Public School Board and the Edmonton Catholic School District have engaged external researchers to review their SRO programs.
  • As part of phase two of the Nature's Wild Backyard project, the Edmonton Valley Zoo will "bring the zoo up to current industry standards, give the public more chances to see animals," and improve homes for meerkats, gibbons, tamarin, wallabies, emus, lemurs, and exotic birds, Postmedia reports. City council approved borrowing of $44.9 million for the project last week, with another $5.4 million coming from the Valley Zoo Development Society.
  • Sifarish is a new non-profit organization aimed at supporting the South Asian business and professional community in Edmonton. "It's a community builder, but obviously it starts with what we know, where we're from, and where our connections lie," co-founder Sunny Kakar told Postmedia. The organization will provide networking, mentorship, and other career development opportunities.
  • The Alberta Aviation Museum has received a $20,000 donation from the 700 Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association, to help renovate the building's washrooms. The museum still needs to raise $75,000 to complete the project.
  • According to a new report from the Canada West Foundation, more young Albertans are choosing to leave the province and youth from elsewhere aren't keen to come, in part because of a perceived lack of diversity in the economy. "They see that the oil and gas sector is still the biggest employment sector as far as they see, and it is perception to them," Janet Lane, who co-authored the report, told CBC News. "Youth aren't as attracted to coming to Alberta as they used to be."
  • Edmonton will host all games for the rescheduled 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which will take place from Aug. 9-20.
Cover art for Writers' Guild of Alberta Podcast, with an image of headphones around an open book

Podcast pick: Writers' Guild of Alberta Podcast

By Karen Unland

The pandemic deprived us of many kinds of gatherings, including literary readings, those lovely communal experiences that supplement the solitary experience of reading a book. But the pandemic also seems to have encouraged the digital dissemination of events that used to happen only in real life, which brings us to the Writers' Guild of Alberta Podcast.

This podcast shares audio recordings of the 2021 online reading series, which was sponsored by Read Alberta and University of Alberta Press. It features readings from books of all kinds — non-fiction and fiction, poetry and prose, for adults and for children — followed by Q&A sessions with a moderator and the online audience.

Among the Edmonton writers and books featured are Adriana Davies and From Sojourners to Citizens: Alberta's Italian History; Leif Gregersen and Alert and Oriented x3; Jennifer Bowering Delisle and Deriving; and Beth Sanders and Nest City. (For more on that, check out Sanders' own podcast, City Nestmaking.) The 20th and final episode in the series is to be released this week.

After that, the Writers' Guild of Alberta seems to be looking forward to the return of in-person encounters, but with the knowledge that there are benefits to the online variety, too: "After two years of trying new digital programs to adapt our literary world to the pandemic, we are now looking at how our creative lives might shift going forward — perhaps we won't return to 'normal,' but instead take the things we learned during the pandemic to create a new vision of the literary world for the future," says the description for the 2022 annual conference, slated to take place as a hybrid event from June 3 to 5.

You can find this and the rest of Taproot's podcast picks in our Listen Notes list.

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