Award-winning Canadian food writer Chris Johns and Prince Edward County based photographer Johnny C.Y. Lam have teamed up to created A Taste of Prince Edward County: A Guide to People, Places & Food of Ontario’s Favourite Getaway. The book covers hotels, restaurants, wineries, local attractions, and much more, along with itinerary suggestions showcasing the best of what Prince Edward County has to offer. Also included is a selection of recipes and wine pairings like this Smoked Elk recipe from chefs and restaurateurs based in the area, all inspired by the culinary bounty PEC has to offer.
Chris Johns, one of Canada’s most highly sought after food writers, has written for en Route, The Globe and Mail, Wallpaper, and Toronto Life. Johns took some time while travelling to chat with The Good Local about his upcoming book.
TGL: Hey Chris! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us about your new book. You have a pretty impressive resume, but can you share a bit about yourself with those that aren’t familiar with your work?
CJ: Sure. I’m a Toronto based food and travel writer. My work has taken me around the world and to every Province and Territory in Canada except the Yukon (I’m coming for you, Yukon). My first book, True North: Canadian Cooking from Coast to Coast, that I wrote with my friend Derek Dammann, came out at the end of 2015. A Taste of Prince Edward County is my second book and I’ve got a third, The Last Schmaltz, with Anthony Rose coming out in October.
TGL: Tell us a bit about your latest project, A Taste of Prince Edward County, what is the book all about?
CJ: A Taste of Prince Edward County is a celebration of one of Canada’s most beautiful and historic places. The book is sort of unique in that it has elements of a great guide book along with recipes from local chefs, profiles of community leaders, a bit of history and geography, as well as suggestions for fun things to do all around the island at any time of year. And, of course, the whole thing is beautifully illustrated throughout with incredible photographs and contributions from local designers and artists.
TGL: What compelled you to take on a project about Prince Edward County?
CJ: I’ve had the good fortune to visit and write about Prince Edward County many times over the years. Like everyone who visits the island, it didn’t take long for me to fall head over heels for the place. There’s such a rich history here, the community of artists and entrepreneurs is so inspiring, and the energy of this place so profound, that I was only too happy to put a book together about it.
TGL: You profile all kinds of wonderful wineries, hotels, restaurants, and attractions in the book. Do you have a favourite spot that you visited?
CJ: Haha. I’m hard pressed to say I’ve got a single favourite, as the County is so diverse that my expectations and requirements might change from visit to visit and what be my favorite one day or at one time of year might change the next. If I’m looking for a relaxing getaway with my family I’ll want to seek out different experiences and places than if I want to have a more adventurous vacation with friends. That’s part of the reason why my list of suggested itineraries for visitors – kind of a greatest hits of the county – is written with all kinds of different travelers in mind.
TGL: Fair enough! You teamed up with Johnny C. Y. Lam for this project, can you share a bit about your experience working with Johnny on this book?
CJ: When I first took on this project I started asking people in the County who they thought would be the right person to shoot it. Johnny’s name kept coming up on nearly everyone’s list, and after a quick phone conversation I knew he was the right fit. Beyond his beautiful photos, Johnny is just so passionate about the County and so active in the community that his input was crucial in putting the book together.
TGL: Who do you think will want to pick up A Taste of Prince Edward County?
CJ: Like any proud author, I’d like everyone and their dog to pick up a copy and then a second for backup just in case.
Honestly, though, I’m really hopeful that the book will appeal both to first time visitors as well as people who have lived here for generations. It was really important to me and everyone involved in the book that we strike the right balance between talking about all of the cool new things that are happening, while respecting the rich history of the community that laid the groundwork for everything that’s going on now. If we pulled that off I think the book will find a wide audience.
TGL: What was the response from the small businesses and attractions that you visited to the book? Will some of them be carrying the book?
CJ: I feel really honored that the whole community has shown so much enthusiasm and support for this book. The people of Prince Edward County are what make the area special, and I’m honored to have been able to meet so many of them, and celebrate who they are and what they’re doing. We’ve had an incredible response from so many people and businesses wanting to share the book that it looks like there will be no shortage of places carrying it.
TGL: Thank you Chris for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your beautifully put together new book, we look forward to recommending to everyone (and their dogs!)
Interview by Brianna Bell
June 21, 2018
To celebrate the release of Taste of Prince Edward County we giving away TWO copies!! To enter: (1) Follow @thegoodlocal (2) Like this post (3) Tag a friend in SEPARATE COMMENTS, but as many as you wish. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by DM June 26. Good luck!!
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And if you don’t win you can always purchase a copy of A Taste of Prince Edward County in our store!