[GIVEAWAY] Interview with Chef-Turned-Artist Kristina Groeger

I’m really drawn to people who hold many talents. It might be that I see myself in them, but I think it’s mostly because it excites me to think of all the collaborations and conversations we could have, and the things that we can put out into the world. Chef-Turned-Artist, Kristina Groeger, has been a FGFS Fan Club member since Day One and was the first submission to roll in when we announced our gallery show, Fat In Public. If you live in or around Roncesvalles, or are an adventurer, you can see Kristina’s design work in the logo for Extra Butter, a nifty addition to the bourgeoning strip. I recently roped Kristina into answering a few burning questions about her work and life. kristinaG FGFS: Who are you?

Kristina: Oh, hi hello. I’m Kristina Groeger.

FGFS: What do you do?

Kristina: I am a visual artist that lives in Toronto. I was a chef for a good number of years and decided to do a bit of a career change to focus more on making art and comics.

FGFS: What gets you excited about what you do?

Kristina: Half of my life ago (in high school), I can remember feeling really excited by creating a whole world with paint or pictures. I loved the idea of telling a story through something so simple. It’s exciting to watch a blob of paint or plate of food turn into a person with personality or a symphony of colour and taste.

FGFS: You’re like me in that your talents are varied. We do it all. Web, photography, art, cooking. I can’t imagine life being any other way. How about you? Is that just who you are, and how you function?

Kristina: I think this is definitely something I still explore and struggle with a bit. Without seeming like a “Jill of all trades, master of none” I like to think of myself more as an absent minded professor who is super close to a breakthrough. I’ve tried very hard to string together why I am such a “renaissance woman” (read: distracted aquarius). But, as far as web, photography, art, cooking? I see them all as forms of creation, story telling, or challenge and those are my favourite things to explore.

FGFS: What dish are you really, really good at making? Either you’re known for it, or just can just bang it out no problem and impress everyone.

Kristina: I would say that I am fairly known for my savoury or sweet pies. I really love working with pastry, also encompassing pasta and bread. I love kneading and sculpting the mixture of water, flour, and fat. It’s crazy how powder and liquid takes form into a delicious vehicle for flavour.

FGFS: Why is it that you create imagery and art that deals with food so prominently?

Kristina: Food for me has been an enormous part of my life for a really long time. I’ve been on a strict regime for the past six months to have more energy and start getting back into some sporty stuff I used to enjoy (skiing, swimming, baseball). When I was painting the donuts [paintings featured in Fat in Public], it was having an intense internal struggle about eating for pleasure vs. eating for body fuel. I also notice that everyone takes photos of their food the same way people would take photos of their family. The way we view food has shifted. When you see the way chefs like Michel Bras, Jason Bangerter, Daniel Humm, or Graham Elliott plate food you realize that this is art. They are using textures and viscosity to paint a beautiful landscape and story. I love exploring this in all types of mediums.

Ref: Chef Michel Bras Gargilou Source

FGFS: Anything else to add?

Kristine: This is one of my favourite videos of all time that shows the melding of food/art : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ_zMnxR9z8

Kristina has generously given us some prints and stickers(!) of the donut paintings from her series, Round Food Makes You Round, that hung in out gallery show in February.

To be one of the lucky winners follow these steps: 1. Go follow Kristina on Twitter 2. Tweet using the hashtag #FGFSxRoundFood and let us know why you want to win!

For further exploration find Kristina at these hot online places:   Tumblrhttp://tumblr.kristinagroeger.com/ and Etsyhttps://www.etsy.com/shop/KristinaGroegerArt
Portfoliohttp://kristinagroeger.com/

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[ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT] – Fat In Public an Art Show Presented by Fat Girl Food Squad

After spending the last several weeks accepting applications from artists (far and wide) for Fat Girl Food Squad’s first gallery show, Fat in Public, we are pleased to make the official announcement of the artists whom will be displaying art.

*Sam Abel
*Sookie Bardwell
*Ronald Caddigan
*Derrick Chow
*Elana Delaney
*Amanda Drodge
*Kristina Groeger
*Melody Krauze
*Jessica Levy
*Amarina Norris of Ursa Major +
*Megan Stulberg
*Yuli Scheidt

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With Fat Girl Food Squad‘s first gallery showing and through our artists selected pieces, we intend to de-stigmatize the (fat) body and give an outlet for art featuring imperfect and sybaritically characters in equal measure.

FAT IN PUBLIC’s opening reception will take place on January 30th at 2186 Dundas (located at, well, 2186 Dundas in Roncesvalles, Toronto) from 7-11pm. Please come celebrate with us and help celebrate our artists.

We have been beyond excited about this show for quite some time now. You can click on “attending” here on Facebook, should you feel obliged.

One final thing to note! All of our artists pieces will be for sale that evening with 100% of the sales going back to the artists. So please, support your fellow artists!

Friday Foodie Five

Every Friday we bring you our favourite foodie sights and sounds. Everything from food packaging and food inspired art, to recipes and reviews. 

1.  Food Styling Sakura Candy Corn styled by Nikole Herriott for Oh Joy!

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2. Local (Toronto) – Jelly Modern Doughnuts

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The Calgary transplant not only has their store on College St. but now are opening a mini-store in Pusateri’s on Avenue Road.

3. Pretty Packaging – Goddess Tea by The Seventh Duchess’ 

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Sounds aaaaah-mazing. And it’s so pretty.

 

4. Cakes – Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

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I bet this tastes like a dream.

 

5. Food Art – Famous Architecture Recreated with Gingerbread and Candy

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This one was sent in from FGFS reader and longtime pal, Kristina Groeger

 

Eat, Drink and Play at the Summer Camp for Adults – Two Islands Weekend

Two-Islands

Everybody longs to be a kid still.  We hang onto those memories oh so dearly.  As a kid, we all remember being sent off on the yellow school bus off to Camp and enjoying roasting marshmallows over the open fire with friends.  This September, Danielle Goldfinger (coordinator of The Stop’s Night Market) has developed this one-of-a-kind experience for adult’s that will have you reminiscing of your childhood days. Say hello to the Two Island’s Weekend.  an adults-only, two-day retreat at Camp Timberlane in Halliburton.

For $300 all-in, campers will feast on meals prepared by top Toronto chefs (including Tom Brodi a private chef, formally of TOCA, Joshna Maharaj, a food activist, Rossy Earle, Elyse Wahle of Sullivan & Bleeker, Trish Gill of Catch Seafood, Amanda Ford of Citygirl Catering, Daniel Sanders of Globe Bistro, Jason Cox of Opus, Tony Cammalleri of Pusateri’s, and Kristina Groeger) But that is not all.  .Camp admission also includes all remarkable programming and an all-you-can drink bar with spirits included by Rosewood Estate Winery, McAuslan Brewery, and Black Fly Spirit Beverages.

I had the chance to speak with Danielle regarding her newest project and what potential attendees can expect from this whirlwind weekend:

(1) Tell me about the Two Islands Weekend?  How did you come up with the concept?

I came up with a concept while hanging out with a friend last summer.  We were reminiscing about our childhood summers at camp and how as adults were just don’t have those opportunities to take off and literally run around outside all summer.  We joked about starting a summer camp for grown-ups.  After that conversation, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.  I started to do some research and found that a summer camp for adults don’t really exist her in Ontario, despite our plethora of children’s camps.

(2) When you were developing the programming, how did you come up with what would take place and did you fear that some people would not want to be involved.

Camp Timberlane provided a lot of support on this front.  They gave me insight into the activities that usually do well with adult groups.

I’ve definitely considered that some people will not want to participate.  No one has to participate in any activity they don’t to – unlike camp for children.  No one is going to force you to play baseball, when you really want to hang out by the beach.  That being said, there are so many great activities – there will definitely be something for everyone.

 (3) Tell me an experience you had a camp (bad or good).

I went to camp for 6 summers – so I have a lot of memories and they range from the profound to the mundane.   When I was 10, I sang a song from Les Miserable and was so terrible that I made the entire camp cringe in their seats.  You know that moment, when everyone is so embarrassed for someone they just can’t bare to look? I was that source of embarrassment!  To this day, I don’t really like signing out loud.

But I also remember lots of small things: signing & dancing to Patricia the Stripper with my cabin.  There was always PB&J and hot chocolate in the mess hall in between meals and the way my friend Justine braided her hair every night before bed.

(4) What can you tell me about the location of where Two Islands is being held — how did you secure it and tell me more about the landscape.  What can people expect when they arrive?

When I started to do research I discovered that lots of camps rent their facilities out.  They mostly rent them for weddings, schools and corporate groups and so I when I pitched my idea many immediately said it wasn’t the right fit.  When I met Harley, from Timberlane, he immediately got it and worked with me to create the perfect concept.  He’s been a camper, counsellor and now Director at the Camp, so he knows the place inside and out and knows what ideas will work and what won’t – that’s pretty invaluable information.   When I went for a visit last October – I knew that it was the right place.  The facilities are immaculate – you can tell the people that work and live there really respect the place.

The camp is located on The Lake of Two Islands – it’s a pretty small lake and it’s really private.  Surrounding the camp are forests and trails of the Halliburton Highlands.

When people arrive they will be greeted by a team of enthusiastic counsellors, who will show them to their bunks.  Once people are settled in, they can make their way to the beach, where we’ll have some drinks and snacks and get to know everyone.

(5) Why should people attend the Two Islands weekend?

It’s an opportunity to shed our 9 – 5 selves and just have a nice time, in a beautiful place with super nice people and great food.