This is the start of a series of 5 questions that we will ask Niagara chefs, restaurant owners, foodies and amazing people we have met along our journey as culinary tour owners. We hope to post these bi-weekly this winter and continue monthly throughout the summer.
To get off to a good start we thought we would interview ourselves so we can show others what they are getting themselves into! We are Kimberley Gunning and Steven Lovelace, co-owners of Niagara Culinary Tours and Niagara Urban Adventures and married to each other for the past 21 years. After 20 years of marriage we decided why not start a food tour business together! It has been quite the journey and a real learning curve for both of us.
What are 5 things you can’t live without?
Steven: The first is food of course! I eat everything, unlike my wife who is a picky eater. I even eat brussel sprouts….she has converted me and I love them! I won’t eat offal, liver kidney, brains. Otherwise my taste buds are adventurous and eclectic.
Wine…red, white, sparkling. Wine and food bring people together on many levels. It makes for good conversation and friendships. Our cellar is primarily Australian and Niagaran with a few Argentinian Malbecs, Spanish Riojas or Napa Cabs. Niagara’s sub appellations with their micro climates bring us wine from some incredible winemakers. I would never pick a favourite because I like all of my friends. Australian wines in my cellar right now are Ebenezer, Dead Arm Shiraz and some Cockfighter’s Ghost.
Good Friends, because who else would I share my wine and food with!
My breakfast, Greek yogurt, muesli, berries and hemp seeds. I can’t start my day without it.
The gym at White Oaks. We gave up our membership this past year when we launched Niagara Culinary Tours and I’ve found it hard to live without. The atmosphere, the people, the variety. The gym keeps me sane, motivated and fit.
What are 5 things you can’t live without?
Kimberley: My cats, they know how to give you space and treat you with just the right amount of love and indifference.
My morning tea, This year I splurged and bought a Breville tea maker and it has opened a whole new world of flavours for me. I love chai, rooibos, mate and have yet to meet a latte I didn’t like.
Travel, we had a fleeting trip to Australia which was unplanned but we managed to get to a few wineries in Yarra Glen which was inspiring. I love doing a food tour when we travel because it gives you a bit of history, culture and of course food. In Melbourne we went on a chocolate tour which was really great. We are off to Annapolis and Washington this spring and will book a couple food tours then too.
Sleep….without it I just can’t function. I am a bit of a bath bomb junkie. Lavender, bergamot, rosemary, ylang ylang are so relaxing and perfect for a good nights sleep. Our senses are always on overload and it helps me unwind.
My iPad…it goes everywhere with me. I can read a magazine, hop on social media, Google a recipe or just play Candy Crush.
You work together now, What’s the good, the bad and the ugly?
Steven: The good, we’re in this together and we have fun doing things, being creative and just meeting new people together. The bad, she doesn’t schedule meetings and then wants things done. The ugly, when she has these unscheduled meetings before I have coffee.
Kimberley: The good is that Steven is a lot of fun. We enjoy each other’s company and starting a business together has been an adventure. The bad is that he doesn’t like planning and I like to map things out. The ugly is when things don’t get done and we get annoyed at each other and want to fire each other. The first year has been good but it has been about establishing our roles within the business.
What do you love about living and working in Niagara?
Steven: I like Niagara because there is space between cities. It’s big and small all at the same time. There is water all around and you can put a picnic together and cycle along the water or over to the wineries. Niagara has wine, food, cycling, markets and craft breweries. I miss the Wednesday night supper market in Niagara on the Lake right now. It was such a nice place to run into friends, grab a bite and listen to some music.
Kimberley: when I moved back to Niagara from time in Toronto and London, England I had trouble adjusting to the more laid back lifestyle. Back then nothing was open on Sundays it was terrible. On any given weekend there is something to do now. Theatre, wine events, restaurants and friends. It is a fantastic place to live…we have it all right here in our own backyards.
What is your favourite kitchen item?
Steven: My Santoku Japanese style general purpose kitchen knife.
Kimberley: My Kitchen Aid mixer. I can tackle almost anything with that work horse!
What is your favourite thing to make?
Steven: Kimberley would say ” a mess”! I love to make ribs because there are so many ways to do them, dry rub, Asian style, barbecue, braised. My favourite though is looking in the fridge and cupboard and creating something from what I find there. We collect spices when we travel so it can make for some interesting meals that can never be replicated.
Kimberley: I am a huge fan of Pinterest. I love to try new recipes and if I like something in a restaurant I will search for the perfect recipe for it. We like things that use fresh ingredients and have a lot of flavours. Salads with local produce and garlic scape gnocchi are my go tos.
What is your dirty little foodie secret? or what wouldn’t you want someone to know you eat?
Steven: When I am home alone I love to have a can of baked beans on toast. Also I look forward to when Dairy Queen reopens each spring so I can have a turtle blizzard.
Kimberley: I keep a box of Kraft dinner in the back of the cupboard for that comfort food emergency.