Mitchel Raphael on Hill catering secrets and why Liberals are praying for Sheila Fraser -

Mitchel Raphael on Hill catering secrets and why Liberals are praying for Sheila Fraser


MeatGive them meat, in bite-sized pieces
Prorogation was a big blow to receptions on the Hill. With Parliament again in full force the platters are being passed around once more. Groups holding events always want to get as many MPs out as they can. Good food creates a buzz, especially among underpaid staffers, who can sniff out a quality caterer and talk a party up to their bosses. (The prospect of good food can be even more motivating than the event’s cause.)

Two caterers who delight taste buds on the Hill are Tulips & Maple and Thyme & Again Creative Catering. Sheila Whyte, owner of Thyme & Again, says one of the big jobs is to help the client navigate Hill culture. Clients are often not aware that Hill maintenance people are seasoned at transforming a room from the venue of a Karlheinz Schreiber inquiry into an Israeli wine tasting or a reception for groups battling autism. “The maintenance people are amazing,” says Whyte, who recalls the year 300 litres of pumpkin squash soup tipped over and went down an elevator shaft. She makes sure to send them good Christmas gifts. Thyme & Again has been catering on the Hill since the ’90s. A typical request is “something to represent Canada” or the provinces. Some areas are easy: P.E.I. potatoes, Quebec cheeses. Some, such as the Prairies, are more of a challenge, says Whyte. She says prime ministers tend to not eat much at the few receptions they do attend. But there are cases when she’s been asked to put aside some food for a PM. Security has changed dramatically over the years: staff lists of who is working must now be sent in advance.

Mark van der Pas, the “visioneer” at the superb Tulips & Maple, which has been catering on the Hill for 18 years, says a key thing to have at receptions is meat. The reality, he says, is that most MPs and staff are men, and men tend to be carnivores. “They like beef on a bun,” he notes. The key to Hill receptions, van der Pas says, is to allow networking to occur. Small bite-sized portions allow for more schmoozing and keep MPs there longer. Also, he adds, the food must have bilingual signs. The recession has meant cutbacks on excesses such as shrimp trees and a move toward comfort foods, although comfort food here means macaroni and cheese “with lobster and good cheese from Quebec.” MPs are appreciative of the effort of caterers because their schedules mean a reception often ends up being their dinner. Also, adds van der Pas, “the higher they are up in the government, the more courteous they are to the servers.”

Who is stalking gail Shea?
Anti-seal-hunt PETA protesters are on the tail of Fisheries Minister Gail Shea when she attends Ottawa events. They continue to spread misinformation that baby seals are killed in the hunt, when it is actually illegal to kill the white-furred babies. One shaggy-haired protester yelling into a megaphone outside an event Shea was attending seemed obsessed with seal penises, repeating over and over that Shea is peddling seal penises to China. A spokesperson for the minister says there is no push for any one part of the seal.

BairdWhy Baird likes to talk about Dalton McGuinty

Gerard Kennedy, the Liberal critic for infrastructure, cities and communities, can’t wait for Sheila Fraser’s stimulus spending fall audit. He is hoping an interim report from the auditor general will come soon. With billions of stimulus dollars pouring out of Ottawa, the hope is Fraser will uncover something to give the Grits some heavy election-worthy ammo. When Kennedy asks him questions, Transport Minister John Baird likes to stress he is working well with the provinces and in particular with “my Premier Dalton McGuinty.” Kennedy, we might recall, lost the top spot to McGuinty when the two battled for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party in 1996. Kennedy led for four ballots before losing to McGuinty on the fifth.

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Mitchel Raphael on Hill catering secrets and why Liberals are praying for Sheila Fraser

  1. PETA is not saying they are killing white coats, they are letting people know that they are killed just days after they shed their white coats. The majority of seals killed are under 3 months of age, and more specifically between 2 weeks and 3 months of age. Most of the seals at that age have not eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim before they are slaughtered. They are newly weened pups now, instead of newborns. It's the DFO who keeps saying that organizations are spreading that white coats are being killed – but when do animal organizations say that? Of course some use photos of white coats only because it's illegal to film the massacre without a permit – so a few of these groups only have footage of the seals a day or so before they are actually killed. PETA says they kill babies because they do – the newly weaned grey beater seals – it's the DFO that keeps spreading the misinformation and making it look like organizations are spreading info about the white ones.

  2. continued….

    White or grey it doesn't matter the babies feel such pain when they suffer for several minutes from bullet wounds before a sealer can crush they're sculls – and not checking if they're actually dead like they are supposed to. Footage from the 2010 shows barely anyone – if anyone – checking for a pulse before they skin them or impale them in the face with spikes to drag them across the ice. Stop saying organizations are spreading mis-info about the white ones because it's very clear that no one says that. If you haven't noticed there is a baby grey seal that follows the PM around and you can see all around Ottawa. I think you should address the correction that needs to be made – as it is false that animal rights say white coats are being killed – and that it is true that newly weaned grey seals under 3 months old are the target – grey babies not white babies.

  3. Who cares it the seals are babies or teenagers or adults or great grandfathers. Point is, bashing in other species' brains for fashion demonstrates that we humans have not evolved out of a violent and morally degenerate relationship with Earth–a dysfunctional relationship that is ultimately self-destructive.

  4. That most of us still glut ourselves on meat shows a similar lack of evolution. Cavemen with fancier toys.

  5. Why Baird likes to talk about Dalton McGuinty = apparently John Baird is a bit of a douche.
    Colour me surprised.