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Mark Wilson


Calgary's hot summer continues on into the month of August and we are very excited to share some exciting stories with you this month!


Over the course of the summer, Raw Bar features one of Calgary's popular DJ's, Cary Chang, who we've profiled in this month's newsletter. You'll learn about DJ Cary and his experiences on the Poolside Patio as well as some other events he's been involved in. Raw Bar's very own Jinhee Lee won the final round of the Dueling Chef's Competition this Stampede and she shares her thoughts about the intense competition. Colin Tait recently attended the 2012 Worldwide G'Vine Gin Connoisseur Program that was held in Cognac, France and was one of two Canadian's selected. You'll learn about the program, Colin's experience and how to make the cocktail he competed with.


Come on down to both properties to experience new cocktail and wine offerings and try out a couple summer recipes to finish off the summer. Bella shares her favourite things to do on First Street SW which is followed by some notable mentions about the Hotel Arts Group and upcoming events in Calgary. We also share what we're doing to assist in the community around us and how you can get involved.  


The window for poolside and patio dinning is slowly closing so we hope to see you soon! 


Happy Reading!  


Mark Wilson

VP, Hotel Arts Group



Through the hot days of summer, DJ Cary keeps the vibe on the Poolside Patio cool. During the summer, DJ Cary brings his original music style to Hotel Arts Poolside on the weekends. He has a craftsmanship for music that makes the Poolside Patio the ultimate urban escape this summer.


Can you describe the vibe around the poolside?

The Poolside Patio is a chill out session. There's a great atmosphere here; a delicious menu, a beautiful environment, and original music that you won't hear anywhere else. Everyone from all different ages and places come together to relax and enjoy the day.


What types of music do you like to share with our clientele?

We really like to share a mix of deep house, ambient, world, chill out, and deep techno music styles. We pick tracks that are too relaxed for a club - but perfect for head nodding by a pool.


Do you have any memorable weekends from Hotel Arts?

I remember one time I was playing and I looked over and there were some pretty famous people sitting by the pool. I won't say names, but I remember thinking to myself, damn these guys are pretty well known and here they are listening to me! It was a pretty neat feeling.


What kind of crowd is usually around the Poolside Patio?

All sorts of people are by the poolside, of all different ages. But I would say there are mostly two distinct crowds: the adventurous crowd who likes to try something different, and the connoisseurs, those who really value high quality and something special. Hotel Arts is exactly that.


What is the best compliment you have received about the Poolside Patio?

We hear it all the time that people really love the atmosphere; they love the music, the beautiful setting, and the escape they feel when they are here. It's really something different, and they appreciate that.


Do you have a favourite cocktail from Raw Bar's Poolside Menu?

Actually I do - my team and I are all about the mimosas! They are the perfect way to start a weekend!


Do you take requests while on the Poolside Patio?

Yes we do - but to be honest we don't often get many. To us that is a big compliment; it means we are doing our job right.


Can you tell me about your micro-club Habitat Living Sound?

Basically it is the size of a lounge, but with the lights and music of a club. It is a specialty music venue that was created by partners and myself, which is very rare; most places are not owned by the DJ's. But we have been doing this for a long time, we're an older generation of DJ's and we wanted to create a certain vibe that you can't get anywhere else. We're craftsmen of music, it's what we do, and it's who we are. But at the same time, we're doing it against the grain of what's popular. Habitat Living Sound is definitely one of a kind and we're really excited about it.


What was it like to play at High Performance Rodeo's Snowblower with acts like Kid Koala?

Oh Boy- it was very daunting. I mean, what I do is definitely against the grain, so I wasn't too sure how they were all going to react to me. But it was good. I always strive to make my performances less edited and less digital, but still have that contemporary feel. I really try to keep a classical feel, but with a modern twist. It's a hard balance to keep. I learned a lot from this experience.




Jinhee Lee, Raw Bar's Chef de Partie, won the final round in the intense Calgary Stampede's Dueling Chefs Competition. She follows in Executive Chef Duncan Ly's footsteps, as Hotel Arts wins back-to-back competitions in 2011 and 2012.

Each chef was given a mystery black box filled with ingredients that they had to use to prepare as many dishes as they could. Jinhee's mystery box consisted of a live lobster, 12oz T-Bone Steak, Chorizo Sausage, Asian Pear, Artichokes, Corn, Green Apple Soda, Ricotta Cheese, Guava, Buttermilk, Cod, Tomatoes, Lentils and a few other ingredients. Competitors also had to use a mystery tool - a smoker.

Armed with a boisterous cheering section, Jinhee prepared 7 different dishes in one hour using all the ingredients:
                1) Smoked Beef Tartar
                2) Thai Lobster & Mango, Guava Salad
                3) Tomato, Artichoke & Fresh Cherry Salad with Pine Nuts
                4) Broth of Smoked Cod & Lobster with Wild Mushroom
                5) Lentil Crusted T-Bone Steak with Ricotta, Gnocchi, Corn & Chorizo Sausage
                6) Green Apple Soda, Pineapple & Ginger Shooter as a palette cleanser
                7) Asian Peak Financier Cake with Smoked Ricotta Cream

Jinhee was mentored by Executive Chef Ly, who helped her prepare for this competition. While the competition was intense, she admits that she had a lot of fun doing it. When asked what she learned most from her experience, Jinhee replied that "it is so important to understand ingredients; their flavours, their texture, their unique qualities. Once you understand this, then you can create something magical upon a plate."


"What I love most about working at Raw Bar are the people. The kitchen team is a family; we inspire one another to create new things all the time. But most of all, I love being able to talk to my customers while I create dishes behind the bar - it is so much fun! I love how food brings people together."


Creative sparks are flying out of Raw Bar's kitchen! We invite you to come by and visit our Dueling Chef winners and let them prepare a delectable dining experience for you.

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Photo Shoot at Chef's Table

This month, Chef's Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn got a very special visit from photographer extraordinaire, John Gaucher. The kitchen artists at Chef's Table created several masterpieces for John to photograph.


Chef Craig Boje and the team at Chef's Table are true innovators preparing some amazing meals. The left example is an amazing finale to the multi-course tasting meal called "Berries & Texture". It is presented on a large slate plate at the end of the tasting meal. "Our aim is for our patrons to share the dessert." Chef Boje wants people to talk about the food they are eating as well as creating a romantic end to a sumptuous meal.



The dishes were works of art - almost too good to eat. Keep a look out for these amazing shots upcoming on our website and around Calgary.

Summer Days & Cocktails

Summer days seem to go by so fast. Take a stroll through Kensington's boutique shopping village, let yourself unwind along the beautiful Bow River trails and soothe the stress of everyday away on Kensington Riverside Inn's patio. Sample the new cocktail menu filled with vibrant and refreshing signature drinks that taste of summer. Don't let the warm days of summer slip away... savor every minute of them.


Try making one of our signature drinks at home!

The Petal Martini by Mixologist Peter Ewenson

  • 1 oz. St. Germain
  • ½ oz. Soho Liquer
  • ½ oz. Citrus Vodka
  • Splash of Grapefruit Juice for color
  • Dash of lemon zest to decorate


Chef's Table Chef de Cuisine Craig Boje's Summer Favourites

Its Craig's favourite time of year as the long stretch of winter is over and our reliance on fresh products from over the border is no longer necessary. Finally, we are starting to see Alberta's well-grown harvest and in particular, those beautiful fresh English peas. These are great in a salad with some fresh shaved pears, blue cheese and a champagne tarragon vinaigrette. You should also try those delicious heirloom tomatoes; just sliced with some sea salt, freshly cracked pepper and a little drizzle of some basil olive oil.


This month with the beautiful weather the farmers markets are overloaded with fresh produce and Calgarians have been visiting in their droves. If you haven't been yet you are truly missing out; it makes a great Saturday morning with friends or family. You can really start to appreciate how hard our local producers work year round and how passionate they truly are about the fruit and vegetables they grow.   



**Save the Date for the next wine dinner at Chef's Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn on Tuesday, September 11th, hosted by Galileo Wine and Vignamaggio Vineyard.  Call Chef's Table at 403.228.4442 to make a reservation now.**  



Right now you can find some incredible baby beets, the rich vibrant colours of the familiar red, yellow and pink candy caine are hard to ignore. Alberta, as we all know, is the best place on the face of the earth to grow root vegetables and these beets are a perfect example. The following recipe can be easily adapted depending on the type of vegetable to wish to use.

  • 4 Bunches varied baby beets
  • 8 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Bunch Fresh herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Tarragon, Sage; choose your favourites and mix them up)
  • 1 Orange (Juice & Zest)
  • 1 Apple (cut into wedges)
  • 1tsp Elderflower syrup (Rose water or orange blossom work as well with a sprinkle of some sugar
  • 1 Large piece of local soft chevre goat's cheese
  • 1tbsp Truffle Honey
  • 1 Bunch Thyme flowers (these can be picked from your own garden or from the farmers market

1. Separate the beets up into 2 groups: the dark red beets and then the yellow and pink beets. This will stop the red beets bleeding into the others while cooking.  


2. Cut two large squares of foil and place the beets (making sure the greens have been trimmed off, leave about a cm) onto the foil.  


3. Add the zest from one orange and the juice to the red beets; give a good pinch of coarse salt, pepper and 2tbsp of olive oil. Add whatever herbs you desire. Seal up the foil to form a pouch.  


4. In the second foil add the yellow and pink beets, with the wedges of apple. Add a tsp of elderflower cordial, salt, pepper and 2tbsp of olive oil. Seal up the foil to form a pouch.  


5. Open a large bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc and pour a glass for yourself - cooking is hard work after all!  


6. Place the foil bags on the top shelf of the bbq, not directly on the heat, and roast them for approximately 30 minutes. This cooking time will vary according to heat and size. Check them every 15 minutes or so. When you can gently push a small needle or knife into the beets you know they are done. If you are not sure, just go a little longer.  


7. Pour a second glass of wine or beer - all this cooking can be tiring!  


8. Once done remove the beets from the foil still keeping them separate, place in two bowls and let cool for 10 minutes. Take a paper towel and peel the skin off all the beets. Once this is done let them cool completely in the fridge.  


9. Once cool, cut the beets into quarters, drizzle some fresh olive oil, 1tbsp truffle oil, coarse sea salt and pepper over the beets to dress them well. Gently break the chevre into small pieces and place throughout the salad, do not over mix. Then garnish with fresh thyme flowers and enjoy!

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July's Wine Feature Tasting Notes

During the 10-day Stampede Centennial Celebrations, Raw Bar decided to feature some western styled wines to commemorate the event from Wente Hayes Ranch & Vineyards in San Francisco, California, USA.

  • Wente Hayes Ranch "Best Foot Forward" Chardonnay: The Chardonnay is fruit-driven, with fresh aromas of pineapple, grapefruit, and citrus. The barrel aging brings hints of oak and vanilla as well as honey and a smooth, lightly toasted oak finish. 
  •   Wente Hayes Ranch "In the Saddle" Cabernet Sauvignon: The Cabernet Sauvignon (85% Cabernet and 15% Petit Verdot) has rich flavours of red cherry and anise, with a hint of vanilla. A well balanced wine with medium tannin, a smooth mid-palate and a spicy, coffee finish. Perfectly paired with grilled dishes, roasts, and hearty pastas or just simply enjoyed by the glass.


 For the entire month of July, Raw Bar also featured 2 wines from Argentina highlighting the 2 national grape varieties of Torrontes and Malbec.

  • Finca La Florencia Torrontes: The Finca La Florencia Torrontes is a bright yellow colour with touches of green tints. Delicate and intense aromas of tropical flowers and fruits; fresh and very well balanced. A great wine to sit on the Poolside Patio and enjoy cold glass of wine while taking in the hot sun.
  • Finca La Florencia Malbec: The Finca La Florencia Malbec is produced from 18 and 55 year old vines located in Drummond, Lujan de Cuyo. Intense red fruit aromas with delicate touches of spice and pepper, fresh, and herbaceous. On the palette, it's soft and ripe tannins let you enjoy a long-lasting and substantial finish.

We look forward to featuring 2 new wines in August from Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro; a winery and bistro located in the Naramata Bench of British Columbia, Canada.



What makes an extraordinary cocktail? Is it the flourish of the presentation, the flavours that tingle your senses, or the feeling of luxury that you experience? The art of a luxury cocktail at Hotel Arts is more than just about spirits; it encompasses passion, dedication, and inspiration in each creation.


Our very own Raw Bartender extraordinaire Colin Tait recently returned from the 2012 Worldwide G'Vine Gin Connoisseur Program that was held in Cognac, France. This annual competition attracts the most gifted bartenders from across the globe to participate in a fierce five-day challenge that tests the contestants' skills, knowledge and talents with cocktail creations. Some of the challenges included blind tasting, gin making, speed pouring, cocktail creations and a series of written exams that set this competition apart from all others.  


Colin Tait went head-to-head with 14 of the best bartenders from around the world in a very close and intense competition. The final day was the G'Vine Summer Ball, which consisted of a consumer challenge, where the contestants were required to set up and design a bar, design their own cocktails and sell as much as they could to consumers. Colin brought the Calgary Stampede to France as he created a "Saloon Bar" at the Ball. At this event, he also promoted his cocktail the "Arrondisement 8 Daisy", a twist on the luxurious 8ième Arrondisement in Paris and the legendary Fouquet's Barriere. It is an exquisite cocktail that is velvety smooth with just the right amount of sweet and spice. According to Colin, it is the perfect blend of starting with something simple and building on it to create a memorable experience for the consumer.


Colin was the one of the two Canadian's entered in the contest and placed very well in a tightly contested competition. Overall, Colin placed fourth. After eight events, there was only a 1 point difference between first and second place and an 8 point difference between first and fourth place. However, there was a substantial difference of 70 points between fourth and fifth place. Colin was definitely in the top echelon.


Colin's experience at the competition gave him a resounding inspiration for his passion of creating cocktails. He is constantly striving to find the balance of reverence for the classics, along with introducing a twist of innovation. Colin learned the importance of a Mindful Bartender and embodies this at the Hotel Arts. The days of "star-tending" are over; a bartender does not simply create a drink, they create experiences.


So what makes an exceptional luxury cocktail that is impossible to resist? If you ask us, it's two parts passion, one part inspiration, a dash of devotion, and of course, the Hotel Arts twist.


For more information on the G'Vine Gin Connoisseur Program, visit http://www.legcp.fr/ or www.52martinisncom/?pageid=347.



Colin would like to share with you his winning recipe for the exquisite Arrondisement 8 Daisy:

  • 2oz G'Vine Nouaison 
  • 3/4oz Crème de Peche
  • 0.5oz Orgeat syrup
  • 0.5oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters No. 6
  • 1 egg white

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and dry shake. Add ice and hard shake for 15-20 seconds, double strain into a chilled coupe.


Garnish with a finely cut orange wheel.



  First street SW is one of my favourite spots in Calgary and not just because my favourite boutique-style hotel is there! Hotel Arts is surrounded by fabulous dining, shopping, activities and salons which make it easy to spend a full day in the area. I've put together my top hot spots and what to do while you're there.


The Hot Yoga Lounge: Start off the morning with a refreshing & relaxing hot yoga class. My favourite class is 26 Hot which is a great start for someone new to the world of yoga poses. An early class will leave you feeling energetic and ready to take on the day.


Pop Up Park: Grab a vanilla latte from Starbucks and stroll over to the Pop Up Park. You'll take in a refreshing burst of greenery amongst the city buildings while the caffeine kicks in.


Hotel Arts Poolside Patio: Around 11:00am, make your way to Hotel Arts Poolside Patio to soak up some rays, have a swim and enjoy a cocktail...or two, or three! My recommendation: a jug of Sangria to share with your girlfriends!


BLO, Lola & HedKandi: Head into BLO for a quick hair fix - wash, blo, style & go. The "Hollywood" is perfect for any occasion, red carpet or not! Right beside BLO, Lola Lash Bar will give you beautiful bombshell lashes that will be sure to grab some attention.


Desperately in need of a cut? Visit my favourite stylist Emily at HedKandi Hair Salon for a fabulous cut, colour, wash and style.


Apt. 22: Visit stylist Kim Stern at APT 22 for a new outfit from her boutique offerings. She'll find you the perfect fit and always gives her best style tips.


Forman's Fashion: Browse through a store full of international designers and hot runway looks. FF is the ideal place to find your new favourite suit.


Taste: Indulge in wine & cocktails, try out their bold flavours and share with friends. Order their home-made perogies, cheese tasting board and artichoke dip... tastefully delicious!


Vine Arts: Visit my friends over at Vine Arts for a truly unique wine shopping experience. Check out their website for special public tastings and a little "liquid education".  


That's all for now but certainly more to come from this quickly growing neighbourhood! 




Pool from above Raw Bar at Hotel Arts was profiled in Janice Tober's "The Great Canadian Hotel Bar Hop" in Hotel Chatter. Click here to read the full article.   


Hotel Arts was profiled in Bonny Reichert's "Cow-town's Culinary Scene is Smoking Hot" in The Globe & Mail as the place to stay in Calgary.  


Hotel Arts is the venue for numerous weddings throughout the year and below is a link to some fabulous wedding photography taken by Genevieve Renee. http://genevieverenee.com/blog/?p=1530   


Raw Bartender Colin Tait prepares three cocktails for Lisa Wolansky at Shaw TV for Stampede.  His Dusty Cowboy is an energetic drink designed to put your "tonk" back in "honky-tonk" to recover from the night before.


Hotel Arts was featured in Jillian Harris' blog about her recent Stampede experience.  Jillian is a talented designer, former star of the Bachelorette and a popular social media blogger.


Chef's Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn was named "The Most Memorable Stampede Breakfast in Calgary 2012" by Miss Foodie's Gourmet Adventures. The Signature Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are famous!


Chef's Table at the Kensington Riverside Inn won the "Wine Spectator's 2012 Award of Excellence". Wine Spectator's awards program honors 3,795 restaurants, across 50 states and more than 70 countries, for their top-quality wine lists. Chef's Table will be featured in the Wine Spectator's August 31 issue, which hits newsstands on July 24.



There's so much to see and do this month in Calgary! 


The Calgary International Blues Festival will be at Shaw Millennium Park from August 2nd  to 5th. Kenny Wayne Shepherd will be an amazing headliner for certain!For more information visit www.calgarybluesfest.com.  


Check out the Calgary Fringe Festival in Inglewood from Saturday August 3rd to 11th for over 160 performances of uncensored, unexpected, and unforgettable theatre. Visit www.calgaryfringe.ca for more details on upcoming performances.




Mix, mingle and enjoy the amazing display of vintage cars at the Inglewood Sunfest on Saturday August 4th. Don't miss out on all the fun! Visit www.inglewoodsunfest.com for more information.


Rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit at the 2nd annual outdoor Calgary Wellness Festival at Murdoch Park, in Bridgeland on August 11th. Practice your down ward dog, get advice from expert healers and listen to guest speakers such as Gemma Stone. Celebrate wellness! For more information, visit www.calgarywellnessfestival.com.  


The famous Marda Gras Street Festival in Marda Loop is back again for another of fun on Sunday August 12th! Be amazed as the streets of Marda Loop come alive with festivities. View all the upcoming excitement on  www.greatcalgaryfestivals.com.  



Calling all Rastagarians!! The wait is almost over - Reggae Fest is August 15th to 18th this year at Shaw Millennium Park. For all the details visit www.reggaefest.ca We be jammin'!




Get ready for the most explosive festival of all - Global Fest! Come see all the festivities and fireworks at Elliston Park from August 16th to 26th. For more details visit www.globalfest.ca.   




Roses are red, violets are blue... the People's Poetry Festival is coming soon! Stroll through Kensington Village between August 17th to 19th and enjoy the rhymes of local poets. Visit www.peoplespoetryfestival.com for more information and how to submit your own poetry.  


The race is on - the Calgary Dragon Boat Race Festival runs August 25th to 26th at North Glenmore Park. Don't miss out on all the excitement of the races, the lion dances and multicultural performances! For more information, visit www.chinatowncalgary.com/dragonboat/ 


The most rocking event of the year is almost here - Xfest is September 1st at Fort Calgary! Take advantage of special rates at Hotel Arts for all Xfest ticket holders. For more information on Xfest, visit www.xfestcalgary.com. For reservations at Hotel Arts, call 403.266.4611 and ask about our Xfest Concert Rates.




Hotel Arts Group Second Annual Clothing Drive

In the month of June, Hotel Arts Group employees shed of their winter wardrobe to prepare for Calgary's hot summer in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association. Throughout the 200+ employees we have, we managed to collect 45 garbage bags full of clothes. This clothing was then donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association's Clothesline program where the clothing is sold to various Value Villages' across Canada. For more information on the Clothesline program, visit http://www.diabetes.ca/get-involved/supporting-us/clothesline/.


We also partnered with The Swap Team for their "Take Off Your Clothes" event at Hotel Arts on June 3. Calgarians' were able to drop off unwanted clothing in exchange for tickets to purchase items at the boutique on the day of the event. The event was a huge success and Calgary hit a new record, swapping 3,990 items! To get involved with The Swap Team, visit www.theswapteam.org.


We're in the neighbourhood!

Hotel Arts Group is actively involved in the neighbourhood around us.  Every month, we are dedicated to giving back to the community that supports our businesses and helps to make Calgary such a great place to live, work and play.    


Here are a few highlights of some of the groups we assist with donations:

  • Servants Anonymous Society: "The Servants Anonymous Society of Calgary [SAS] mission is to provide long-term programs, ongoing support, hope and wholeness to women, age 16 and over, with or without children, who are victims of, or are at risk of, sexual exploitation." For more information visit: http://www.servantsanon.com/.   
  • National Music Centre: Hotel Arts supported NMC's "Great Canadian Music Challenge" this Stampede at the Bell Centennial Midway. For more information about NMC and how you can support visit http://www.nmc.ca/.   
  • The Alberta Association of Architects: The AAA is a self-governing professional association charged under the Architects Act with the registration of Architects and Licensed Interior Designers and regulates the practice of architecture and interior design for the protection of the public in the province of Alberta. Hotel Arts is supporting their upcoming golf tournament in September 2012. For more information, visit www.aaa.ab.ca. 

Thank you for taking the time to read about the Hotel Arts Group.  We invite you to create your own experiences at our properties that we hope will be source of your own memorable stories.


Thank you for supporting the Hotel Arts Group and best wishes for a great August.



Mark Wilson
VP, Hotel Arts Group

Contributing Editors: Katie Mayer, Kristina Plank and Fraser Abbott 


Along with the Hotel Arts Group Newsletter comes a chance to win Monthly Prizes and enjoy the many aspects of our properties, whether it be luxurious stays at the Hotel Arts or the Kensington Riverside Inn, or unforgettable dining experiences at Raw Bar and Chef's Table! 


This month's prize is:
$50 Credit to Raw Bar  


To enter in to win the prize above, please send kmayer@hotelarts.ca an email with the answer to this question: Would you read the Hotel Arts Group blog and what would you be interested in reading about on our blog? 


If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please email Katie Mayer at kmayer@hotelarts.ca.  


*Please respond by Monday, August 31, 2012