Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It kind of looks as though I put the cart before the horse on this one. I went ahead and showed you what I made for dinner without telling you anything about the guy who ate it! A little hasty to get this blog off the ground I'd say, but now I'll fill you in!

Currently, I live in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. It is located in the Okanagan Valley - the fruit belt of British Columbia - and lucky for me, the wine grape growing region as well! The ecosystem (desert) supports optimum conditions for growing the best fruit and wine grapes in Canada. As a result...I am surrounded by dozens of spectacular wineries! It's a tough life living here, I tell ya!

As a chef, I really appreciate being able to stop into one of the many local farmer's markets to pick up field/orchard fresh produce and then stop into a winery to grab a nice bottle of wine for the evening meal.

Penticton is also located on Okanagan Lake and attracts thousands of tourists every summer. It is a summer playground for people from around the world.

Here's a bit about me............

Biography of Mark Livingston

Mark Livingston began his culinary career in 1991 when he began a two year culinary management course at George Brown College in Toronto. During this time, Livingston concentrated his efforts on learning the theory of the kitchen trade by day and working in various busy Toronto kitchens by night; learning up to the minute techniques taught to him by several talented chefs. Among the kitchens that served as a springboard for Mark at this time were Marcel’s Bistro, Jonathan’s of Oakville, The Caledon Inn and The Peppercorn Mill.

After successfully completing his stint at George Brown College, Livingston moved his talent to Peter Oliver’s Auberge Du Pommier and served under the tutelage of Executive Chef Steven Treadwell. While there, Livingston submerged himself in his work and felt his passion and creativity for the culinary arts take off. He found not only the knowledge that his mentor Steve Treadwell instilled in him, but he found his own style of cooking and his ability to lead others. That was the beginning.

Livingston followed Treadwell from Auberge Du Pommier to King Valley Golf and Country Club - not only Club Link Corporation’s flagship property, but the fourth highest ranked club in Canada – where he served as Treadwell’s sous chef. Livingston co-managed his first kitchen, serving up some of the best club food in the country and after only a year with the company, was offered the position of executive chef when Treadwell left to take over Niagara’s Queen’s Landing.

While working as Executive Chef of King Valley, Livingston fine-tuned two key ingredients in the recipe of his success. These were his leadership skills and his interpersonal skills. He found that he had as much skill in dealing with his customers as he did with his co-workers and staff and that enabled him to assist patrons plan the many large catered banquets he oversaw during his time there.

From King Valley, Livingston headed west to British Columbia. To be exact, he landed in Whistler - North America’s top ski resort – where he was the opening executive chef of the renowned Bearfoot Bistro. Known for its cutting edge cuisine, the Bearfoot quickly took the spotlight in Whistler as the best place to eat in town, and Livingston’s competitive edge kept him striving to push the boundaries with his cuisine.

From Whistler he headed south to Squamish to open the state of the art Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company. This was the ground up opening of a micro-brewery/fine dining room/brew pub/mountain inn, and Livingston was hired on as executive chef with the task of reviving the art of cooking with beer and the byproducts of brewing. Livingston also added an open window bakery to the venue which utilized many of the beers produced on site.

Out of this venture into “Cuisine à la Bière,” a cookbook was born. Livingston co-authored “Contemporary Brewhouse Cooking” which took a serious look at the brewing styles and brewing facilities of the Pacific Northwest as well as the many recipes he had labored over to create while developing his menus at the Howe Sound Inn & and Brewing Company. A spin off from the book had Livingston appearing on television shows such as “The Vicky Gabereau Show”, City TV’s “Breakfast Television”, VTV’s “Good Morning Show” and “Sea to Sky” Magazine. During this time, Livingston also wrote for many newspapers and trade magazines such as “The Voice” in Vancouver, “Western Hospitality” and “The North Shore News”.

Livingston left the Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company and took on Aviano’s in Whistler. One of the busiest restaurants in Whistler, Aviano’s saw him working as a co-chef so he could concentrate on writing and spend some time with his family. He also taught cooking at a local cooking school and catered part time in Whistler.

After the birth of his son, Mark decided to change to a career which would afford him more time to spend with his family and went into the painting and decorating business as an independent contractor. His business, “Argyll Painting and Decorating,” quickly became a company known for precision workmanship and quality. Livingston’s personality enabled him to win the confidence of many of Whistler’s top name designers, residents, hotels and businesses, and his list of repeat customers grew quickly.

Mark and his family located to The Okanagan where he continued his contracting career. His reputation in Whistler followed him and the transition was effortless. Again, his personality enabled him to sell his services to his customers and he had more than enough business. He saw the opportunity to make his personality and his creativity work together to provide another service to his clientele and studied interior design for two years. “Livingston House Design and Décor” was added to the list of services that his business provided and he was able to employ his creativity, management skills and knowledge of the building trades in the opening of a second business.

With the construction boom in the Okanagan as well as the real estate frenzy throughout British Columbia, Mark has served hundreds of customers and has decorated everything from multi-million dollar luxury homes in Whistler, to commercial offices in the Okanagan and everything in between. His blend of creativity, knowledge and personality have helped him to maintain a solid reputation and build a profitable business.

Mark’s passion for food and wine have not diminished even though he is not presently working as a chef, nor have his skills fallen by the wayside. Mark plans, hosts and prepares theme dinners on a regular basis for a group of fellow culinarians and wine aficionados. Living in the Okanagan in the bosom of British Columbia’s wine country, Livingston has had the opportunity to get involved in the local culinary scene for many special events and festivals. One such event was the Okanagan Wine Festival in 2006 where he participated in an Iron Chef competition at Summerland’s Adora Estate Winery. He took first place with his grilled Okanagan quails in an herbed Shiraz reduction.

Livingston continues to seek out opportunities to showcase his culinary, artistic, writing and interpersonal skills in order to bring to life the art of fine cooking and living well to all those who share his passion for a full flavored life.

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