Date: 16th July 2021
By Sarah Moore
Eat North, at its core, is a magazine about Canadian food and drink. It’s an online-only publication that offers content about why food matters to Canadians.
For Eat North co-founder and creative director Dan Clapson, the country is brimming with interesting stories.
“It’s a lot more diverse from region to region than someone–who’s not familiar with the country’s food scene–might expect,” he says. “When you travel from city to city, you will see different types of cuisines more prominent than others. For example, Edmonton has a great Filipino food scene while Calgary has a vibrant Vietnamese food community. It’s quite amazing to discover this as you travel!”
But Eat North is also about much more than just food and drink. Through hosting events and producing different forms of multimedia like a podcast and talk show, the publication has built a community that is connected to other creative pursuits.
“We love chatting with musicians, actors, drag performers… Everyone has got to eat and drink, right?” says Clapson.
Through these conversations, Eat North has expanded from a small group of food industry peers to a community with connections all over the country.
In non-pandemic times, Eat North hosts a wide range of dynamic events in Western Canada, such as a travelling pop-up restaurant called the Prairie Grid Dinner Series and Sashay, Fillet!, where drag performers and chefs pair up and compete in culinary and performance-based challenges onstage.
“We’ve found a lot of success bridging the gaps between creative realms,” says Clapson, as those events help to foster collaboration between food industry professionals and creatives.
In the absence of in-person events because of COVID-19 restrictions, Eat North has shifted to other ways to support Canada’s food and creative communities.
For example, Eat North Variety Pack, a weekly livestream talk show, was born out of the pandemic. Clapson calls it “a silver lining of a bad situation.” In it, he and Toronto-based food personality and author Mairlyn Smith chat with individuals across Canada, from food writers, musicians and actors, to activists and producers.
Eclectic and engaging, Eat North and its umbrella of events celebrate Canadian food by building a community across the country.
What was the first magazine you fell in love with?
Though it had a fall from grace last year, Bon Appetit was my first food magazine love. It was a style of magazine that Canada never had, and still doesn’t have. Eat North was launched to partially fill that void.
What is your favourite thing about working in magazines?
I’m sure most people say this too, but being able to tell the stories of unique individuals, companies, producers, etc… never gets old.
Now that I’m 13+ years into my media career, I really enjoy the aspect of creative direction – finding interesting stories and themes and assigning them to others to work on, allowing for collaboration and individual perspectives I might not have otherwise thought of.
How would you describe the Alberta magazine industry, in a couple of words?
These days, it is definitely resilient! There are some magazines in this province that hold their own when it comes to other regionally-specific magazines in different parts of North America.
Who is someone whose work you particularly admire, and why?
There are many! I always appreciate Ivy Knight’s approach to writing and her no bullshit attitude in general when it comes to the media and restaurant industries.
Dakota Kim is an L.A.-based writer who covers topics beyond the food realm, but always offers a great viewpoint.
What are you looking forward to in the next year?
All the events. All. of. them.
I have come to appreciate that you can tell stories beyond a printed magazine or online article by way of unique events where your attendees are taking time to appreciate the creativity that is unfolding in front of them.
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