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Redwater Rustic Grille, Charlottetown, PEI

WHEN SHE was just five years old, Jane Crawford visited a restaurant with her parents, looked through the menu items and exclaimed to the server: “Beef tenderloin, please!”

Her parents love telling that story. They also love recounting tales of taking Jane and her younger sister out for pizza; Jane would order hers with escargot and pineapple. “A match made in heaven,” Jane says.

Born on Vancouver Island in the city of Comox, Jane was adopted and moved to her new family’s home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. when she was just one-week old. Growing up, she enjoyed time with her grandfather George in the Trinity Bay area of Newfoundland and as she embarked on her career as a chef, she knew instinctively that she wanted to live on the East Coast.

Jane graduated from the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts in Denver, Colorado, then went to northern Italy where she studied at the Italian Culinary Institute in Asti from 2002 to 2005. The urge to travel next took her to Provence, France where she earned a diploma in Provencal cuisine from instructor and star-rated master chef René Bérard.

After completing her studies Jane worked in Italy and New Orleans before moving to the East Coast. “I laugh when I share my bucket list… because everything is travelling to eat!” Jane says.

Q Who do you look up to?

A My grandmother. Her passion for homegrown, wholesome local foods was her gift of love to our family. It makes me smile to think of her making natural yogurt in her basement—she was way ahead of her time.

Q What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A I am very proud of the position that I currently hold...executive chef and general manager of the Redwater Rustic Grille. I learn something new daily and I have the opportunity to share my passion with my team.

Q What is your favourite ingredient?

A Hands down it is an egg. An egg to me is a capsule of love—so versatile and magical, you can create almost anything with an egg. It is nourishing and beautifully buttery all at the same time.

Q What kitchen tools can you not live without?

A My wooden cutting board, a little four-inch utility knife that appeared out of nowhere years ago, and my hand immersion blender—that little guy can make anything from a mustard vinaigrette to a mango margarita!

Q What is your favorite style of cooking?

A I love simplicity, texture and pronounced flavours. I love Middle Eastern cuisine, cilantro and spice.

Q What do you see as the upcoming trend in food?

A Oysters! Oysters are replacing typical bar snacks now and I think it is super cool.

Q Do you have a favourite cookbook?

A The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries, by Ben Towill and Phil Winser. I love this memoir/cookbook; the food is full of integrity and flavour.

Q What foods do you like to eat in secret?

A I absolutely love corn dogs with yellow mustard and malted milk chocolate balls from the freezer.

Q If you could cook for any one person who would it be and why?

A Stevie Wonder. Not only do I think he is a musical genius but I would love to hear his perspective on food and have him critique something I have made on taste alone, I think it would be a crazy experience. If I were to cook for him I would use lots of textures and temperature contrasts.

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