The Pulse: April 23, 2024

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  • 19°C: Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud in the afternoon. High 19. UV index 4 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Blue/Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and yellow for Lights On Afterschool Alberta Day. (details)
  • 7-4: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings in their first NHL payoff game on April 22. (details)

Scott Jonathan Iserhoff and Svitlana Kravchuk in front of the mural at Bernadette's

Bernadette's aims to raise profile of Indigenous cuisine in Edmonton

By Sharon Yeo

The owners of the forthcoming restaurant Bernadette's say their previous success with Pei Pei Chei Ow has allowed them to pursue their larger goal of increasing Indigenous representation within Edmonton's food scene — and to do it right in the core.

"It is revolutionary to have an Indigenous restaurant in downtown Edmonton," Svitlana Kravchuk told Taproot about Bernadette's, to be located at 10114 104 Street NW. "It does a lot for representation and reclaiming space." The restaurant, set to open in early May, will seat 23 inside, with up to 30 total when the patio is open later in the summer.

Kravchuk and Scott Jonathan Iserhoff, her business partner as well as spouse, closed Pei Pei Chei Ow in January. The takeout and catering kitchen was located in Whiskeyjack Art House, just north of downtown.

Pei Pei Chei Ow garnered accolades after opening in 2022, including being long-listed for enRoute's Best New Restaurant that same year, as well as being identified as one of Edify's best new restaurants in 2023.

But that success meant the operation outgrew the space. "The demand for catering has been so huge," Kravchuk said. "However, being in a heritage building, the kitchen had a lot of infrastructure challenges. We couldn't install equipment that would be efficient for us to use — we were using a residential oven."

Other limitations at Whiskeyjack Art House included a small amount of foot traffic that was less than ideal for a take-out business and a small dining area. "We enjoy serving tasting menus, engaging with customers, and talking about food with them," Kravchuk said. "We love hospitality and realized we had no growth in that location. We wanted to move on to something that we had worked towards and open a full restaurant."

The two scouted locations starting in April 2023. "This place popped up and I thought it was the perfect location," Iserhoff said of the future 104 Street spot. "Beautiful street, prominent area."

Iserhoff is Mushkego Cree. As he rose through the ranks, he said he longed to work under another Indigenous chef. He said he hopes Bernadette's can be that place for young Indigenous staff, noting that his kitchen team currently includes Indigenous people from amiskwacîwâskahikan and Haida Gwaii. "I want to inspire other Indigenous folks, even seeing it walking by," he said. "Growing up in Toronto, there was never that representation. Here we are doing everything I dreamt of as a young chef. My younger self would be so proud."

In addition, Bernadette's seeks to change perceptions about Indigenous food and ingredients. "It's not your fry-bread tacos or burgers," Iserhoff said. "It's different. It's going to showcase my style of cooking through what I've learned working in restaurants for close to 20 years. I always talk about diversity in Indigenous food because we get lumped into one group. I focus on (the) region that I'm from — Northern Ontario — but with the slight incorporation of ingredients that I've learned from here like bison and Saskatoon berries."

Added Kravchuk: "We will be breaking a lot of barriers and showcasing Indigenous food on a fine dining level. A lot of restaurants are serving Indigenous ingredients and they don't acknowledge it — oysters, lobsters, wild meats, bison."

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Headlines: April 23, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • A massive fire engulfed Hangar 11, a historic hangar located at the former Edmonton municipal airport near NAIT's main campus. Edmonton Fire Rescue Services received the call in the evening of April 22, sending 11 crews to the scene. The hangar, designated a municipal historic resource in 2022, had been slated for restoration and conversion into a mixed-use space. No injuries were reported in the blaze.
  • Josan Properties purchased the Phipps-McKinnon Building in downtown Edmonton, with plans for a $22-million redevelopment into a mixed-use facility including office spaces and more than 90 residential units. Work on the redevelopment is expected to begin in late May or early June and last about 12 months. The project reflects a recent trend in real estate to convert vacant office space for residential use.
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein wrote that Edmonton city council is facing tough choices as it considers an 8.7% property tax increase for 2024, and further increases in the next two years. The city's financial struggles are compounded by infrastructure expenses, population growth, and reduced revenues from transit and tourism, noted Gerein, arguing that further tax increases, service cuts, and infrastructure compromises will be required. "People will be upset. Political fortunes could be mortally wounded," he wrote.
  • The Edmonton Police Service says it will increase its officer presence around Rogers Place and the ICE District for the Edmonton Oilers playoff run. The policing strategy will adapt as needed, with the number of officers increasing in line with fan participation and game progression. Fans are advised to anticipate traffic congestion around the arena, even during away games.
  • The Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) are calling on the federal government to revoke funding for the Pride Centre of Edmonton because of the centre's response to the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and subsequent Israeli attacks on Gaza. In a letter to the federal government, CIJA argued that the Pride Centre had violated the national anti-racism strategy, and "does not warrant the financial support of our national government." In a statement to Postmedia, the Pride Centre said it was "saddened and troubled to learn that some members of the Jewish 2SLGBTQIA+ community have expressed feeling unsafe" at the centre, and that it is "vital to express solidarity with Palestinians experiencing ongoing displacement and genocide."
  • The condo board at Castledowns Pointe in Edmonton is seeking court approval to dissolve the condo corporation and sell the land after residents were ordered to evacuate because of structural flaws that were uncovered following a March 2023 fire. The board, which represents the owners of the 83-unit building constructed in 1999, says it is facing challenges seeking compensation as the corporations directly involved in the building's construction have been dissolved. Rebuilding would have cost more than $7 million, while the sale is expected to bring in $2 million to $3 million, said condo board president Susan Strebchuk.
  • The Edmonton Humane Society has launched its "spring them home" adoption event, offering reduced fees and a training class discount for dogs. The event runs until April 28 and is an effort to encourage families to adopt pets. The shelter recently returned to offering drop-in adoption services alongside appointment options to meet growing demand.
  • Lifelong Edmonton Oilers fan Ken Stevenson has transformed the basement of his Edmonton home into an extraordinary showcase of Oilers memorabilia. His collection includes a wide array of items, from an old Northlands Coliseum seat to signed jerseys and game-used sticks from current stars like Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Connor McDavid.
  • Strathcona County has imposed a fire restriction on all rural areas due to windy, dry conditions. Fire Chief Martin Paulson urged residents to report fires and adhere to safety measures to prevent wildfires. The restriction includes a ban on all fire and fireworks, but residents are allowed to use barbecues, recreational fire pits with screens, chimineas, and propane or natural gas appliances.
  • Residents of a Cold Lake First Nation were ordered to evacuate to a local community hall due to a wildfire burning nearby. Meanwhile, a wildfire about 4.5 kilometres from Saprae Creek Estates near Fort McMurray had expanded to about 70 hectares but was classified as being held, and an evacuation alert for the community was lifted. Alberta Wildfire said it had deployed four firefighting crews, six helicopters, two air tanker groups, and heavy equipment to combat the fire.
  • The Alberta government announced changes to legislation that would help lower utility bills in Calgary by regulating the local access fees charged by the city, but no changes are planned for customers in Edmonton. The province said customers in Calgary paid $240 in local access fees in 2023, compared with an average of $75 for Edmonton EPCOR customers in the same period.
A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: April 23, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.