Miche Genest

Michele Genest is a Whitehorse-based chef and writer. She is also somewhat of a gardener. Michele has also written two books “The Boreal Feast - A Culinary Journey Through The North” and “The Boreal Gourmet - Adventures In Northern Cooking.”

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Oat, Barley, and Walnut Bread

Fibre, Fibre, Fibre!

In January I stopped eating fresh vegetables, and my roommate quit his granola habit. We just didn’t feel like it anymore.

Scotch Broth (not the traditional version)

Soup Season

Soup is just the best for the busy cook, especially in February when the light’s coming back and we’re rushing in from…

Sausage Rolls for The Darkness

Finger Food For Dark Nights

The MI5 agents came into the house by stealth, wrapped in worn, crinkled purple tissue paper. The package nestled under the tree…

Foolproof Pesto

Final Suppers

My husband and I are on our last visit to my sister’s house in Parksville, on Vancouver Island. She is moving across the country…

A moose entree

How To Cook A Moose

I want to share with you a success I had this weekend. But first, hands up anyone who has ever overcooked a moose roast.

Barley salad

Barley Converts

My old friend Julie called to me from the back of her car, where she’d just finished loading her groceries.

A plate with Spinach-Cheese Pies (Spanakotiropita), With Lamb’s Quarters Greens

Go Wild With Greens

There are few wild greens easier to enjoy than lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album) also known as white goosefoot and, sometimes, pigweed. A member of the populous Amaranthaceae family, which includes amaranth, quinoa, beets and spinach, among thousands of other plants, the leaves can be eaten fresh or cooked and have a flavour somewhere between spinach and kale.

Fresh spruce tips

Gather: All The Spruce Tip Things

Spruce tip season is short. There’s anxiety about getting out soon enough. Once picked and processed, you can experiment with abandon.

Bright Flavours for Spring

Lemon yogurt cake. With the addition of tangy low-bush cranberries, this cake will provide a burst of bright flavours

When Gatherers Become Gardeners

Mid-winter Potato, Kale and Cheddar Pie. A hearty, cheesy, main course that only needs a side salad for a satisfying mid-winter meal.


Gather: No Trifling Matter

trifle—luscious, layered concoction of cake or cookies, fruit, custard, jam and whipped cream invented by the British and adored by everyone

Parmesan and Spruce Tip Shortbreads

Ever eat from a package and think, “Huh. I could make that.” I sampled pricey Parmesan &rosemary shortbreads, I tried spruce tips instead.

Cranberry Almond Roll

Cranberry bounty

Old-fashioned jelly roll, made with cranberry jam, not jelly, and finished with whipped cream, Amaretto and toasted sliced almonds.

The secret to good rhubarb

Inspired by a couple of recipes we found online, we mixed and matched and livened up with our own combo of spicy aromatics

Birthday Pairings, Campground Treats

Jennifer’s (Free Pour Jenny) cocktail and an appetizer. The cocktail’s bright, sharp and tart. Something cheesy immediately suggested itself. 

Dandelion season

Don’t hate them! Not only are dandelions beautiful, the bees love them and we should too! They are delicious.

A Hubbub of Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a good producer to just keep harvesting, resulting in a pile-up of chopped rhubarb in bags in the freezer. A hubbub of rhubarb!

Wild Strawberry jam

The berry season is still months away, but a close friend gave me a small jar of jam for Christmas. And so, I made cheesecake.

The Easter Moose

Why not celebrate this time round with a feast that connects you to the landscape; that reminds you of where you live.

Adaptive strategies

During this bizarre year of COVID constraints, home cooks have had to develop adaptive culinary behaviours to increase our success in the kitchen. Sometimes key ingredients for a recipe simply weren’t available, so we acquired new competencies. We became masters of substitution.


In these recipes you may use any coffee roast you like—the effect will be different with each one–but be sure to use a fine grind. The coarser stuff can be unpleasantly gritty.

Post-holiday baking projects

I’ve wanted to make savoury thumbprint cookies forever, so once the spruce needles were swept up, the decorations put back in their boxes and the cookie tins fully emptied, I decided to give them a try.

An old favourite with a smoky twist

Sometimes, in the midst of celebratory foods, we just feel like something simple. Like a melty, comforting, satisfying mac and cheese!

Freezer candy

There is a famous vegetarian restaurant in New York City called Dirt Candy. Someday I will get there, but, in the meantime, I love the name. It perfectly captures the sweetness of the root vegetables that come up from the dirt in their jewel-like colours. At this time of year, I think of another jewel-like …

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Tall tales and fish cakes

People who live and work on the water are good at tall tales. Fisher people don’t just tell whoppers about the whopper that got away, they tell ghost stories, stories with an element of magic, stories that strike a chill into the heart. The movie Jaws is one such tall tale. For me the two …

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Morels and rascals

My father had a favourite expression when he came home from work late because he’d stayed downtown for a drink with his friends. “I fell among thieves,” he would tell my mother. I thought of his expression last summer on a morel mushroom picking expedition, when I fell among rascals. The first rascal showed up …

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Juniper—Not Just for Gin

Juniper is used to flavour gin and game dishes; crushed berries are excellent in rubs for hot-smoked salmon or braised or roasted meats – Photos: Miche Genest In my Yukon world, ‘Juniper’ is a name that has been given to kittens and new babies; in the world of musician Donovan Leitch it is affixed to …

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Blueberry Pilgrims

I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so many berry pickers as this year in the White Pass near Fraser, B.C., southern Yukon’s favourite place to find blueberries. The pandemic was driving us out into the stunning moonscape of small lakes, rock, balsam fir, lichen, alder and dwarf birch from Log Cabin to Summit Creek in …

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Currant-ly Available

Blackcurrants do grow wild in the Yukon, sparsely. You may find Ribes hudsoniam in damp forests at the base of mountains, like for example on the King’s Throne hike in Kluane National Park.

Sage Advice

I find one of the best ways to calm the spirit and focus the mind is to go out foraging. When foraging for wild plants we enter the landscape on an intimate scale, we’re down on our knees, looking, exploring, paying attention, the microcosm engages us and the macro shrinks away. 

It’s Spruce Tip Season!

For those as yet uninitiated, spruce tips are one of those truly magical wild northern foods. They’re packed with Vitamin C and have been used by Indigenous people to soothe sore throats and combat flu for centuries.

Spruce Tip Jelly

Serve spruce tip jelly on toast with butter; in thumb-print cookies; on a charcuterie platter; with smoked salmon and cream cheese; or to accompany any wild meat or fish, whether braised, grilled, roasted or fried.

Dreamtime, Bourbon Time

I’ve always loved the stories where people slip out of the present and into a different time; kid’s stories like Tom’s Midnight Garden, or the Narnia series, or, in adult fiction, The Time Traveller’s Wife. There’s something compelling about the notion of arriving in another time, unmoored from the present, where the universe bends and …

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Sweet news: Northern bitters make beautiful drinks

Yukon concocters, experimenters, cocktail lovers and fans of northern botanicals, take cheer! A kindred spirit walks among us. She is Jennifer Tyldesley, and as you will have recently learned in these pages, she makes her own small-batch bitters and sells them under the brand name Free Pour Jenny’s. Tyldesley’s philosophy is similar to my own: …

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Whisky and Cake

It’s 6 a.m. on a rainy morning just before Canada Day. In six hours I need to be ready to drive to Mayo, with three canoes on the roof and six days of breakfasts, dinners and desserts packed and labelled for the communal kitchen, and 17 days of lunches for me and my companion. Tomorrow …

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Sherry, Baby

I developed an interest in food and restaurants early. In this I had a companion: my friend Sarah, who at sixteen was a year older than me and even keener than I to explore everything culinary the city of Toronto had to offer. In 1971 the mainstream Toronto restaurant scene was emerging from its love …

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Sprucey French 75

The spruce tip harvest was early this year; green buds started appearing at the ends of spruce branches around mid-May in Whitehorse and continued being harvestable well into the first week of June – on higher ground at least. Best-laid plans notwithstanding, I never did make it out for a concentrated session of picking, but …

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The Dark and Stormy

I just returned from a trip to Seattle, where I didn’t go to a single cocktail bar. Nor did I enjoy the happy hours for which Seattle is famous. Instead I enjoyed cocktail hour with my travelling companion and our mutual friend at our friend’s house in Phinney Ridge, where there is both a sauna …

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The Cocktail Family Tree

I have a Cocktail Confidante to whom I turn when I need inspiration or advice. He is an amateur beverage scientist who approaches his subject with the curiosity, passion and dedication of a Marie Curie or Frederick Banting. He spends hours on applied research in his laboratory, and many more hours studying cocktail theory and …

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The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned takes us right back to the beginning of the history of cocktails. In 1806 a reader wrote to the editor of The Balance and Columbian Repository, a newspaper published in Hudson, New York from 1801-1807, asking about the meaning of a new word: “cocktail.” The editor replied, “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, …

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Yukon Spirits launched two whiskies while I was skiing in Japan. I have not tried either yet (one of them is sold out, I hear) and in Japan, where whisky has been winning international awards since 2001, I drank whisky only once, from a 200 ml bottle of 12-year-old single malt purchased at 7-11 for …

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Raspberry Ultimatum

At the beginning of January I set myself the task, for 2016, of clearing the cupboard of experimental aquavits, infused spirits and liqueurs. A task that was easier set than done, especially when the experimental beverage, put up with such hope and optimism two years before, turns out to be nasty and medicinal-tasting. Such was the …

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Taking Stock

In Scottish households it’s a New Year’s tradition to scour the house clean on December 31st to prepare for the coming year.  My household has a fair whack of Scots’ influence, and I will say we passed the vacuum over the rugs on the 31st, but it wasn’t until January 3rd, when I broke a …

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A familiar sight at many a gathering during the holiday season is the punch bowl, ranging in formality from fine, etched crystal to battered salad bowl, filled to the brim with a fruity, bubbly concoction, set on a tablecloth stained here and there by the berries that slipped ‘twixt cup and lip and surrounded by …

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Old Friends and Family Recipes

When my Mom and Dad were a young couple living on Avenue Road in Toronto their local watering hole was the rooftop bar at the Park Plaza Hotel, one of Toronto’s most elegant drinking spots. Mom and her best friend, who lived in the same building, would hop on the Avenue Road streetcar and ride …

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Switching Up the Drinks Menu

In the world of beverages, everything old is new again. The cocktail revival of recent years has been matched by a revival of interest in old-fashioned, non-alcoholic refreshers. On food blogs, in restaurants and in modern cookbooks you’ll find recipes for herb or fruit-infused waters, fruit and vinegar combinations like shrub or schwitzel, fermented drinks …

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Extraneous Bananas

When your friend blows into town, you hang onto your hat and lay on the groceries, especially the Stolichnaya Vodka, or “Stoli”, as he calls it. Your friend is a Martini drinker, and particular about his cocktail of choice. He likes a dry Martini, so the vermouth must be dispensed via a tiny spray bottle. …

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Here’s a tip: spruce makes for a great cocktail

Like so many Yukoners during this crazy low-bush cranberry season, I’m clearing out the freezer to make room for berries. In the process I’ve unearthed several treasures: 10 kilos of pork bones, 3 duck carcasses, 2 whole Taku River sockeye, undated, and best of all, 3 bags of spruce tips, harvested in 2014, that I’d …

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Crabapples and Calvados

It’s August 31 and the snow is halfway down Gray Mountain. In downtown Whitehorse the leaves are still on the trees and many of them are green. This morning I talked to my sister, who lives in Parksville but used to live here, and she said that in 1992, the snow fell on September 13 …

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The Appropriate Road Trip Beverage Strategy

Key to the success of the summer road trip is an assortment of the beverages appropriate to each occasion, and the necessary equipment to concoct and serve them. Take this morning, for instance I am sitting on a camp chair outside Pinedale Auto Wreckers on the outskirts of Prince George, British Columbia. The fence beside …

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Birch Beer!

I’ve always known Uncle Berwyn’s Pure Yukon Birch Syrup was the best birch syrup in Canada. As it turns out, our homegrown syrup, produced off-grid in a homestead on the banks of the McQuesten River by Berywn Larsen and Sylvia Frisch, is actually the second-best birch syrup in the world. So say New York birch …

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Bitter Lessons and Sweet Memories

Gin is the quintessential summer spirit, especially for those of us who live above the 49th parallel. Rum, tequila, and bourbon more properly belong to the south, evoking sea and sand and dreamy afternoons under the liveoak tree. Gin, however, was invented in the Northern Hemisphere, first appearing in Holland in the 17th Century and …

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Speak Easy, Drink Well

In New York, speakeasy-style bars are all the rage. Dark, guarded by doormen or hidden behind a “front” establishment like a hot dog stand or a drugstore, these modern shrines to the cocktail recall the thrill of illicit drinking during Prohibition. On a recent tour through Harlem, home to hundreds of speakeasies in its heyday, …

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A Tale of Two Gardens

A Whitehorse friend recently told me about a useful book called The Gin and Tonic Gardener, by Janice Wells, a gardener and newspaper columnist in St. John’s, whose thesis is there is no gardening problem so large that it cannot be solved by a gin and tonic in a deck chair. Gardens, she posits, should …

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Bourbon and Words to Live By

On a sunny Saturday a few weeks ago I joined 70 other curious souls at a bourbon tasting and barbecue cohosted by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce and the Yukon Liquor Corporation. Seventeen different fine and rare bourbons were set up at three tasting stations in Waterfront Station, while a long table of crispy chicken …

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Learning As I Go

In an interview, Bob Weir, rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead, admitted somewhat sheepishly, that yes, it was a bit embarrassing learning how to play the slide guitar on stage. All his mistakes were out there for the audience to see. Judging by the success of the Grateful Dead’s live shows from the mid ‘60s …

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Cherries for the Delayed Win

Last holiday season I cajoled members of my family into forming teams and entering a contest, invented by me, entitled, “The First Annual Shake-off, Stiroff Cocktail Competition,” to be held on Christmas day just prior to dinner. My 85-year-old mother agreed to be the judge. There were many things wrong with this idea. First of …

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Honouring the Bounty of Scotland

Up on the Alaska Highway, in the bright boîte called Tonimoes, attached to the SKKY Hotel, a quiet ritual takes place every Tuesday. Informally known as Scotch night, the weekly event “honour[s] the bounty of Scotland with the frugality of a Scot,” according to the Tonimoes website. In other words, you can get a really …

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Let us now sing the praises of The Boreal Herbal, Beverly Gray’s herbal encyclopedia, compendium, spiritual guide and cookery book based on the flowers, plants and trees of the boreal forest. Published this June, The Boreal Herbal, Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North is a highly personal work, in which the author generously …

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