Craig Flinn, 40, is the owner and chef of Chives Canadian Bistro in Halifax. The restaurant’s menu is a tribute to the Maritime provinces, with lots of seafood and local meats. Mr. Flinn is a big believer in cooking practices that are responsible to the community and environment, so, he does a little gardening. Globe Life caught up with the award-winning chef during the weekend that hurricane Irene was expected to wallop the East Coast. The chef, who thought he was going to be cooking for more than 115 people at his restaurant, had to change plans to save his heirloom tomatoes, which he cultivates at his parents’ farm. We asked him what he ate that hectic Saturday.
9 a.m. – I had a latte on the road on the way down to the Annapolis Valley. When I got to the Wolfville farmers’ market, someone was making breakfast wraps. The one I had had egg and double-smoked bacon in it. There were also some vegetables and feta cheese, and it had a drizzle of hot sauce. I also picked up a jam-jam cookie. It’s this round cookie, about an inch high and it has a deep, sunken inner with raspberry jam in it. It was made out of shortbread dough. And the jam was homemade. I didn’t eat it right away. I waited until I picked up another coffee about an hour later and had it then. I loved it!
12:15 p.m. – When I got to my mother’s house, she had a picnic set up on the back deck. She had made ham and havarti sandwiches. I also ate two peaches from their orchard. They have about 250 fruit trees on their land. The peaches I had were just a touch smaller than a tennis ball. Oh, and she made some lemonade. It was a nice on-the-deck lunch.
3:30 p.m. – Beyond trestling the heirloom tomatoes, I was also harvesting some of our veggies, like the zucchini, lettuce and peas. All afternoon, I was munching on some sun gold cherry tomatoes. I also cracked open about 10 shelling peas as I was picking them. I was only drinking water – but a ton of it, four litres – because it was like 33 C. Around 3:30 p.m., I took a quick break because my mom had made oatmeal raisin cookies. So I had one with a big glass of cold skim milk.
7 p.m. – I had requested burgers since they are my personal favourite. And in the morning, I picked up some six-inch round focaccia buns from the same baker who made the jam-jams, for the burgers. Mom made the patties while I was in the garden and I grilled them up. We had local cheddar and a red onion from the market. It was your typical burger but we had heirloom tomatoes and garden greens salad, with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. We also had some homemade roast fries that were seasoned with sea salt and pepper and a little Heinz. I had another glass of skim milk with the burger but then had some orange pekoe tea with milk after dinner.
10 p.m. – After writing the first half of Chives’ late summer menu, I had my late-evening snack. It was a massive scotch. Probably a quadruple of Glenlivet and on the rocks.
This interview has been condensed and edited.