HicksBiz Blog

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pe mitso! Let's eat! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 19, 2020

By GRAHAM HICKS It was the simplest of ideas, taking much work. Mackenzie Brown — a young Cree artist/musician/activist who describes herself as having a “moccasin in both worlds,” was chatting with food entrepreneur Brad Lazarenko in his Culina To Go within the lovely, fully re-invented Oliver Exchange retail/hospitality centre. Why not, she suggested, an evening of First Nations food, culture and stories here in Edmonton, introducing the wider community to a rich culture that has always been here, but usually presented within a political context rather than pure cultural enjoyment. Lazarenko, being Metis himself, thought this a splendid idea. Planning for Pe Mitso — Cree for “let’s eat” — began in earnest.  Two other indigenous chefs happily joined in, the renowned Shane Chartrand of the River Cree Resort’s SC Restaurant, and a newcomer to the Edmonton culinary scene, Scott Iserhoff of Pei Pei Chei Ow Catering. He ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Saving Edmonton, saving Alberta By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 14, 2020

Skyline taken from the airport control tower at the Blatchford Redevelopment in Edmonton, December 4, 2017.Ed Kaiser Ed Kaiser / Ed Kaiser/Postmedia Two interesting reports will be coming forward in the next few weeks, one to Edmonton City Council, one to the Government of Alberta. Whoa, don’t let your eyes glaze over! Don’t give up on Hicks on Biz! Reports, however dry and horrible and impossible to read, can profoundly influence the economic well-being of our city and province. And never before has Edmonton/Alberta faced such crossroads as today. If there’s not ingenuity and leadership and innovation, we are going to see a continuing decline in our real estate prices. Our children and grandchildren will reluctantly leave Alberta for career opportunities elsewhere. A slow, steady decline in entrepreneurial spirit will infect the province, to a point, where, like too many parts of Canada, the big deal will be to get a government job and never let it go. STORY CONT ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: My word, Ma chef offers tasty food By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 11, 2020

Ma chef Korean Restaurant's "Rocky Mountain" bulgogi is a sight to behold! Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Ma chef Korean Restaurant 5818 111 St. NW (Lendrum Place Shopping Centre) 780-757-8889 Mon. to Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Fri + Sat to 9:30 p.m., Sun to 8:30 p.m.) Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30, loaded, $60 Food: 5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns No, that is not a typo. The Weekly Dish’s food rating for Ma chef Korean Restaurant is a perfect five Suns out of five. STORY CONTINUES BELOW From this clean, cheerful Korean restaurant,  in the Lendrum Place strip mall just up 111 Street from Southgate,  you’d expect comfort food for sharing with family and friends. Ma chef is that … and waaaaaay more. All six diners in our party were flabbergasted at the superb quality of the dishes coming out of chef/owner Jung Ho (Jacky) Lee’s open kitchen. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Patience is a virtue By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 7, 2020

After 27 years, Dr. Robert Foster's drug developed at the U of A, Voclosporin, has been approved as a treatment for lupus kidney disease. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton In the modest south Edmonton office of his latest drug-development company, Dr. Robert Foster can now chuckle about the day in 2007 when his net worth crashed from $30 million to $250,000. The pharmaceutical scientist, businessperson and professor lost his fortune with the collapse of Edmonton-based drug company Isotechnica. The company had been formed to commercialize Voclosporin, an immunosuppression drug Foster had created with a team of University of Alberta scientists and medical researchers. Isotechnica was as good as gone, but Foster never lost faith in Voclosporin’s medical potential. Today, after an incredible 26-year tale involving the cold-hearted realities of the international drug-development world, politics, betrayal, drug regulation and a never-ending search for investment cash, Dr. Foster has been vindicat ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: May Bistro Praha go on forever By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, February 4, 2020

The best steak tartare in Edmonton, at Bistro Praha. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Bistro Praha 10117-101 St. 780-424-4218 bistropraha.com No delivery service listed Parking in Scotia Place Parkade Mon. to Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sat. noon to 1 a.m. Sun. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tip and taxes: Basic, $30, loaded, $100 Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Many restaurants in this town have been around since the 1970s. There’s a list below. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But none wear the years so well as the downtown’s Bistro Praha – 32 years in its original location in Rice-Howard Way until the Kelly Ramsay Building burned in 2009, re-opening two years later in the Empire Building, on 101 Street north of Jasper. When Bistro Praha re-opened, it was an exact copy of the original with better washrooms: The same sturdy wooden tables and chairs, the same giant European count ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Metro Edmonton is a political mess By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, January 31, 2020

Edmonton's downtown skyline is seen from the Blatchford project site on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.Ian Kucerak / Postmedia A new regional report is urging the 13 towns, counties and cities of Greater Edmonton to get their acts together and set up a regional public transit service. Yes, a regional public transit system is way overdue, and, overall, is a good thing. Except, being government-driven and involving 13 municipalities, it will happen years later than planned, will cost twice as much as anticipated, will have far fewer riders than projected, and will not reduce the number of cars on the road. (Always unacknowledged in these reports is human nature. When it’s super cold outside half the year, anybody with the means will use a warm, comfortable, door-to-door car, not public transit.) I digress. The reason regional transit will take so long and be so inefficient is that — as with anything to do with Greater (or Metropolitan) Edmonton — 13 municipalities debate and mus ... Read the rest of entry »