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Students get cooking for Culinary Olympics

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CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI—I am not a foodie, but I tolerate them.

Foodies are travel writers who specialize in writing about food and reviewing restaurants.

A display of cakes prepared by students at the Culinary Institute of Canada.
A display of cakes prepared by students at the Culinary Institute of Canada.

When I am travelling with foodies I don’t dare dig in when my plate of food arrives in front of me — somebody will first want to photograph it undisturbed.

So you can imagine the gnashing of teeth and groans of frustration when 10 travel writers recently sat down to a fabulous meal at the Culinary Institute of Canada (CIC) in Charlottetown and were told “no photos.”

The meal of which we were about to partake will be used to help 12 young students at the CIC to defend their title as World Culinary Champions. They didn’t want to tip off their competitors at the world culinary championships in Luxemburg in November.

Students from across Canada and around the world come to the Culinary Institute of Canada at Holland College on Charlottowne’s waterfront to learn how to be a superstar in the kitchen.

Graduates are working at some of the finest restaurants and dining rooms across Canada and around the world.

In 2016 a student team from CIC won two gold medals and finished fourth among 57 nations competing at the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. They were a regional student team competed against professional adult chefs performing as national teams.

As a result student chefs at Holland College will in future represent Canada as a national team.

As well as students, they are also culinary teachers — to tourists from around the world.

Charlottetown will host 94 cruise ships this season and many passengers from each ship take a short walk from the cruise dock to Holland College to attend a culinary boot camp.

Advanced students and their instructors give the visiting passengers a four-hour crash course on the tricks and techniques that create magic in the kitchen. It has been a very popular excursion for cruise passengers.

And those passengers will learn why Prince Edward Island is called the Garden of the Gulf — also sometimes called the million-acre farm.

The warm ocean currents that awash this million-acre island produce fertile farm fields and ideal growing conditions. And of course the surrounding waters are world-renowned for their lobster, mussels, oysters, clams, scallops and 1,600-pound Bluefin Tuna.

A quarter of all potatoes consumed in Canada are grown in PEI’s famous red soil. And its roadside markets are full of colourful island fruits and vegetables.

CIC’s 8,500-square-foot kitchen underwent a $7.5-million expansion and modernization last year and is one of the most professional kitchens in Canada. The open kitchen can be seen from the large dining room and so can Charlottetown’s busy harbour. The visiting cruise ships make a left-hand turn (that’s port to sailor types) just outside the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows when leaving town.

The public is welcome to dine at the college’s professional dining room. Students in the hospitality program operate the dining room and the culinary students prepare the meals under the watchful eye of their instructors.

Not all the food instructors wear double-breasted chef jackets. Some wear yellow rain slickers.

Joey Gautier is a veteran deep-sea fisherman who welcomes both culinary students and the general public aboard his 45-foot-long lobster boat Julie Ann Jamie 1 (named after his kids) to learn all about the bountiful sea surrounding PEI.

Gautier recently invited the nine visiting food writers — and me — aboard the Julie Ann Jamie 1 to watch he and his crew catch lobster and describe how bountiful are the waters around the Garden of the Gulf.

One of the lobster traps pulled up from the bottom of the sea contained 10 cans of Beach Chair Lager, a craft beer brewed on PEI. Like a good mariner, Captain Gautier thinks ahead.

He and his fellow deep-sea fishermen go to work in some very harrowing weather, but there’s only on sea creature they fear — the Right Whale.

They’re 100 feet long and weigh 60 tons, but it’s not their size they fear. It’s spotting them.

When an endangered Right Whale is spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence all fishing activity 16 km in all directions from the whale must halt for 15 days.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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