Calgary's top restaurants voluntarily open recipe file in new book

Two Calgary authors have managed to pry open the secret, coveted recipe files of dozens of the city's top restaurants and pubs.

OK, that's veering into fake news territory. Gail Norton says the chefs of some 40 eating establishments handed them over quite freely.

"They are excited when people want to cook their recipes. It's not really a secret," Norton told The Homestretch.

"They are not one-trick ponies. This is not the last, yummiest thing they are ever going to make. If they can get other people interested in cooking and eating good food, they are all for it."

Susan Holzman/CBC

Norton, along with literary partner Karen Ralph, compiled all those supposedly freely-offered recipes in Calgary Eats.

Their publishers came a calling when a previous project, Calgary Cooks, really hit the spot and the shelves five years ago.

"They contact Gail. Within three weeks she had 45 restaurants signed up," Ralph recalls.

"We ended up with 40 so it came together really quickly. We collected three recipes from each restaurant. Then we test and cook and test and cook and eat."

Recipes came from a nice mix of new and old fooderies covering a range of styles.

Bridgette Bar, Calcutta Cricket Club, Ten Foot Henry, The Coup, Cassis Bistro, Foreign Concept, KLEIN / HARRIS jumped at the chance, among many others.

"We wanted people to go, 'Hey, I love that place,'" Norton said.

It might be hard to pick favourites.

But Norton tried.

Concorde cake is up there.

Gail Norton, Karen Ralph

"It's a really pretty, diaphanous chocolate cake that is just wonderful from Decadent Brulee," she shared.

"One of my personal favourite recipes is the stuffed pasta with homemade ricotta and preserved lemon butter."

And sometimes great recipes come from where you might not expect.

Calgary Eats

"Kevin Kent of Kent of Inglewood always has great ideas. We think it's funny that his recipe does not require a knife. It requires a rolling pin where you take a cucumber and bash it and dress it with a vinaigrette and off you go," Norton said.

"It's delicious and fun."