Gail (65) passed away peacefully from complications in her lungs resulting from breast cancer on November 16, 2016. The staff and doctors at the Cross Cancer Institute cared for her gently to the very end.
A Red Seal chef, Gail Hall was an award-winning caterer, broadcaster, food writer, educator, cooking school owner and international culinary tour guide. She operated Gourmet Goodies for 18 years, taught at Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking School for 10 years, led culinary tours to 35 destinations over a 20-year span and influenced how Edmonton thinks about local food. Her husband of 34 years, Jon, and older brother Allan survive Gail. Her brother Jerry, and parents Sol and Frances predeceased her.
Gail is now at peace enjoying a party that she does not have to cater or clean-up.
Gail Hall was a well-known Edmonton chef, educator, writer and consultant. Gail’s food apprenticeship began at the age of five, helping her mother cook for their family of five, as both parents worked. Gail loved the attention that came with serving her family food, although it wasn’t until many years later that she realized it was a passion.
After a 10-year career with the provincial government, Gail switched paths and followed her passion for cooking. For the next 18 years, she owned Gourmet Goodies catering, an award-winning customized catering company in Edmonton that became one of the largest in Canada, employing 95 full and part time staff and generating more than $3 million annually. Her business set new standards for food quality, presentation, retailing of local and regional food products, cooking classes and culinary tours.
In 2005, Gail opened Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking School and Culinary Tours. Gail was passionate about sourcing local and regional ingredients and supporting our agricultural community. Her cooking school was on the same street as the City Market on 104 Street. Students would shop the market with Gail, meet vendors and retailers and purchase ingredients, which they then created into a scrumptious three-course meal, paired with Canadian wines. The cooking school was a popular venue for private special events and corporate team building afternoons.
For five years, Gail was the weekly food columnist for CBC radio 740 am/93.9 fm. Over the course of 25 years, Gail continued to teach cooking classes for Metro Continuing Edmonton, was a culinary presenter at special events such as Christmas in November at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and was a regular speaker and presenter at conferences and conventions. Gail regularly cooked on TV for CTV Edmonton Morning Live, City TV’s DT & Global Weekend News. In 2006, Gail was selected by the Province of Alberta to organize and present the cooking stage at “Alberta at the Smithsonian,” in Washington, DC, a two-week cultural festival showcasing all cultural and economic aspects of Alberta.
Culinary Tours were another specialty of Gail’s that started with her catering business in 1997 and continued through Seasoned Solutions. Two to three times a year, Gail organized and hosted culinary tours to great food locations, knowing that the food culture discovered while traveling will enrich our food culture back home. Her list of tours included culinary regions of the US (Santa Fe, Louisiana, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Charleston, and San Francisco), as well as Italy, New Zealand, the southwest of France, Greece and Turkey, Sicily, Chile and Argentina, South Okanagan, the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Vietnam and Cambodia, Peru, and Portugal and South India.
Gail served on the board of directors for Theatre Network, was a Judge for Gold Medal Plates and the Sunshine Skillet, was a former president of Cuisine Canada and former Judge for Grand Prix Cheese Dairy Farmers of Canada. Gail was named one of Global’s Women of Vision; is an YWCA Entrepreneur of the Year; was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Sustained Support of the Arts, and was granted a Milner Fenerty’s Pinnacle Award for Business.
Gail’s favourite food reference books:
Food and the City (Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution) by Jennifer Cockrall-King
The Third Plate by Dan Barber Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing, by Raj Patel
Clean, by Dr. Alejandro Junger
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver
Cooked, Food Rules, In Defense of Food, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollen
The Food Lover’s Trail Guide to Alberta Vol. I and II, by Judy Schultz and Mary Bailey
Foodshed and Shop Talk by Dee Hobsbawn-Smith
Wheatbelly, by Dr. William Davis
The End of Illness, by Dr. David B. Angus
You on a Diet by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Roizen
The South Beach Diet by Dr. Agatston
Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Squeezed (the hidden history of orange juice) by Alissa Hamilton
Gail’s favourite food films:
Hungry for Change
The World According to Monsanto