Interview with Chef Hans Vogels

Sarah Velasco: Did You cook growing up?
Chef Hans Vogels: With dad’s side of the family being Dutch farmers, the importance of food was instilled in me at a young age. There was always interesting food around. I can remember when Oma would take us down to the barn to get eggs right from under the hens and milk straight from the cow and head back to the house to make crème caramel. When I think back to those days im sure that’s what drove my interest in food.

Sarah Velasco: What made you decide to become a chef?
Chef Hans Vogels: The energy of a busy kitchen is addictive, once I got my first taste I knew I had to be there working in some capacity. My first job was washing dishes in a hotel in Moncton NB while I was still in high school. After that I went to cooking school in Prince Edward Island, then apprenticed at The Church Restaurant in Stratford On., then worked my way across the country working in Wolfville NS, Whistler BC, then to Toronto to work with chefs like Susur Lee and Marc Thuet. I was lucky to have worked for some very great chefs/owners who gave me the skills I have which has enabled me to be a chef, not just a cook.

Sarah Velasco: Where were you trained?
Chef Hans Vogels: I took a 1 year basic cooking course at Holland College then a 2 year culinary arts program at the culinary institute of Canada in PEI where I received a Culinary Arts Degree
Living on the island was great in the summer with lots of work for cooks, but in the winter it was cold and quiet. I had a place in Summerside my first year where I could see the Northumberland straight from my kitchen window and the Atlantic ocean from the bedroom window. When a winter storm blew across that stretch of land it was miserable but the summer season and the people who live there make up for it 10 fold. If you haven’t been to the island I highly recommend it.

Sarah Velasco: Who and what is your inspiration?
Chef Hans Vogels: Passion is good inspiration. Very hard to maintain but I certainly respect a chef like Marc Thuet. We used to take trips to the farm to see the animals or talk to farmers about planting melons for us or raising dusks. On the farm at 8am and still in the kitchen at midnight, that’s a lot of time energy spent to get the products you feel best serve your restaurant. That is passion and that inspires me.

Sarah Velasco: What are a couple of tips for beginners?
Chef Hans Vogels: Put your head down and concentrate at work. Keep your knives sharp. Remain humble. Travel.

Sarah Velasco: If you could meet someone from the past or present and cook with them, who would it be and why?
Chef Hans Vogels: My grandfather. He passed away in 1996. I would love to cook with him now.

Sarah Velasco: When you are designing a complete meal, what factors do you take into account?
Chef Hans Vogels: Balance of tastes. Getting cooks to understand how their palates recognize tastes is tough. But once you get it, cooking is a lot more controlled.

Sarah Velasco: Is there a motto you go by?
Chef Hans Vogels: ‘The only thing more important than the success of the individual on a team is the success of the team itself.’ Jose Mourino
Fabulous quote.

Sarah Velasco: Any advice for someone wanting to get into this business?
Chef Hans Vogels: Work a few shifts in a busy restaurant kitchen before you invest time and money in a cooking school. Be sure to research that school before you hand over money. If you’re truly interested in going to cooking school make sure you’re going to the one that best suits your needs and your aware of the investment of time that this industry requires of you. Working long hours, working holidays, there is a lot of stress working in a kitchen. A lot of young cooks that come through my doors here are surprised at how hot it actually gets in the kitchen. Spending a few shifts in a kitchen will give you a good look at kitchen life.
Its not all bad though, the camaraderie, the creativity, the fact that the whole team depends on you to execute your duties is what I love

Sarah Velasco: Recommend 3 great wines that you like to drink when dining at Turf?
Chef Hans Vogels: My favourite is Hinterland, from Prince Edward Co. we have a sparkling Rose from them right now that is fantastic with food.
Cave Spring CSV Chardonnay 2007 or Clos Jordanne, Claystone Terrace, Pinot Noir 2008


Over the Rainbow: In the Press

Acid City Magazine, started in August 2008 as new trendsetters guide for arts/fashion/music around Toronto, sent columnist Sarah Velasco to interview some of the best clothing stores in the city. Velasco linked up with menswear buyer Daniel Carman to discuss his personal feelings about Over the Rainbow and why it has become what it is today. She asked a lot of very good questions, and Daniel was happy to answer them! Read the full article online HERE and while you are at it, check out the other articles courtesy of Acid City Magazine…
Posted by: Daniel
Posted in: Press Room


Garage clothing designer: Rébecca Gaudreault

Sarah Velasco: What should readers know about Garage?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Every piece is made with style, love and care.
Sarah Velasco: If you could sum up in a few words, the vision of the company, what would you say?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Building strong seasonal collections that reflect the current mood, staying on trend while satisfying everyday need.

Sarah Velasco: What is the process in getting out the clothes each season?
Rébecca Gaudreault: The design team is in constant search of impulses; a variety of inspiring items from all over the world are collected and brought to the Montreal head office. For each new season, we are putting all these items together and brainstorming around them as a group. From there we start building the story we want to tell our customers in store, what are the key outfits, the colors, the accessories & the must have items! The Garage DNA, Casual & effortless with a spicy twist, need to be visible in each garment we design.

Sarah Velasco: Since you began working at this company, what has been the biggest change you have seen?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Explosion of social medias & communication technologies! Defining and implementing social media strategies became a key issue for the fashion and retail industries. Especially for our market. Social media plays an important role in consumers behavior with websites like facebook, Twitter, Youtube & all smart phone applications... All these new technologies & influences are changing the way we shop and will continue to evolve in the next decade.

Sarah Velasco: What has been Garage Clothing's greatest achievement thus far?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Succeeding & growing in the U.S market. To be able to see a Canadian Brand expand worldwide & be a part of it is exciting.

Sarah Velasco: How did you get into this business? Has this always been your goal?
Rébecca Gaudreault: I studied Fine arts at first. I have tried many media; painting, photography, cinema... Fashion just happened to be the best way to express myself.

Sarah Velasco:What is the most challenging thing about being a designer?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Creating an original commercial product. In the fashion industry, everyone sort of copies each other. There are such strict guidelines to these trends; I think finding new inspiration and developing out-of-the-box ideas is a lot more difficult. Being able to make that emotional connection, where enough people would want to follow, that is totally different then just following a trend.

Sarah Velasco:What fashion trends do you feel are the most prominent at the moment?
Rébecca Gaudreault: I love the nautical look with all the stripe combinations and how it is evolving to color blocking. It is fun, optimistic and easy to understand! Print & pattern mix & match is also one of my favorite growing trends, but you have to follow some rules to avoid fashion disasters! You can mix busy prints within the same color palette or play bold colors with same scale simple patterns like stripes & dots.

Sarah Velasco: Can you give readers some advice if they want to get into this business?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Never think you have made it—never sit still, never sleep and never get lazy. The fashion business is constantly evolving. If you sit back and relax for one minute you will miss something—maybe a new fabric, new silhouette, new market, new magazine—who knows? Every day brings new opportunities.

Sarah Velasco: What requirements do you need to intern at Garage?
Rébecca Gaudreault: Have a point of view; bring value and a multi-discipline knowledge.


B Makowsky Review

Bag shown in: Cognac
Retail Value: 225$ , c/o B. Makowsky

- Made from the finest quality leathers
- Hand-Sculpted hardware

General Observations:

Total Pockets: 6

- Body/Trim 100% Leather
- Silver Detailing on Zippers, Buckles, etc
- Trouble free zipper on the front, extremely easy to maneuver
- Outside accessory with B . Makowsky logo and a key ring function
- Perfect Strap thickness to rest on your shoulder with the sides having the B Makowsky logo engraved
- 3 exterior pockets (both sides and the back) for convenience

- Lining 100% Polyester
- Durable lining
- Leopard Print with subtle B. Makowsky lettering
- Small zipper pocket at the center, as well as two more beneath for electronic devices

This is such a quality handbag. The leather is soft and durable and its weight is perfection. Often, many leather handbags are too heavy and the leather too hard. You can tell as soon as you touch the handbag that B. Makowsky puts time and care into designing their bags.

This bag is medium-sized and although it will not fit a laptop, this bag will accommodate all your necessities and even include a decent sized novel. It is a classic sized handbag, and also comes in black. The handle area is not extremely skinny like some bag handles, but it is also not so wide that it takes up the majority of your shoulder. It has a great thickness and width to it. 

The pocket placements and the texture are great. The six pockets they incorporate into the bag makes organization to your advantage. They have the standard three pockets inside like most handbags do and an additional three pockets on the exterior. It will make getting nic nacks so much quicker.

The pleating detail on the front is a nice addition. The pleating makes this handbag stand out yet is still a classic handbag.  
The B. Makowsky company is classic and elegant. Any age group, whether you are a teenager or a working businesswoman, can use this brand. This brand is versatile and their whole collection is great to know about.

You can find B Makowsky bags in-store at The Bay and Browns locations across Canada.

You may view the interview of Sonia Zarbatany, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for B. Makowsky here 


Interview with Lululemon

Sarah Velasco: What trends are happening now at Lululemon, and what are some must-have items for this summer?
Lululemon: We are continuing to surprise and delight our guests with fun patterns, bold colours and new styles this summer. We are super excited about our UPF product; these are tops with built in UPF sun protection so our guests are protected when they are outside during the summer months - it's like wearing sunscreen you can't sweat off!

Sarah Velasco: What will we see Fall 2011?
Lululemon: With function as our top priority, we are excited about moisture-wicking, seamless fabrics, built-in reflectivity, silver technology, bright colors and beautiful prints for Fall 2011.

Sarah Velasco: How has Lululemon changed over the years? What has stayed the same?
Lululemon: Lululemon was founded in 1998 and has experienced incredible growth over the past 13 years; we’ve grown from having one store which opened in 2000 in the Vancouver neighbourhood called Kitsilano to now having 142 stores in Canada, the United States and Australia. Although the size of our company has changed, our mission remains the same: we create components for people to live a long, healthy and fun life. Our focus is on innovation and providing best-in-class technical product based on feedback we receive from our guests.

Sarah Velasco: What makes it different from other brands?
Lululemon: Lululemon athletica creates yoga-inspired athletic apparel for both women and men. Our four pillars are our major points of differentiation: i. Technical Product; ii. Cool Stores; iii. Community; and iv. Our People.

Sarah Velasco: Who designs the garments? How are the collections put together?
Lululemon: Our product is created by an amazing and talent design team led by Sheree Waterson, EVP, General Merchandise Management. This team is dedicated to pushing the design envelope every season to bring our guests the most beautiful and functional athletic apparel possible.

Sarah Velasco: Why is Yoga so important? What should one do if they want to start?
Lululemon: We believe that by practicing yoga, you can remain physically active in sports as you age. All lululemon locations host weekly complimentary in-store yoga classes. These classes are taught by local yoga instructors and are suitable for all levels.

Sarah Velasco: What things at Lululemon should we expect to see in the near future? (campaigns, designs, changes etc)
Lululemon: We are going to continue to listen to feedback from our guests and create functional athletic apparel to supports all of their sweaty pursuits.


Designer for Costa Blanca: Janet Kim

Janet Kim, designer
Costa Blanca's official website.
Sarah Velasco: Can you please tell us a bit about Costa Blanca? When did the company start, by whom?
Janet Kim: Costa Blanca started in 1995 from a single boutique by Arif and Lupe Noor. It is driven to target the contemporary woman who is savvy and forward in trends whilst maintaining a career-attire with a mix of sexy and chic.

Sarah Velasco: How is it linked to Urban Behavior? Are there any differences?
Janet Kim: We are structured within the same parent company CMT-Clothing for Modern Times. Urban Behavior gears towards the younger contemporary market mixing in playful, hip and cool; while Costa Blanca focuses on a lustrous and stylish expression for the contemporary woman.

Sarah Velasco: How long have you been a designer for this company and what is your schedule like?
Janet Kim: I joined the company in March 2011. My main duties here as a designer is to focus on the creative process which entails continuous sourcing, researching, shopping and designing ensuring the items fit in well with the existing Costa Blanca customer.

Sarah Velasco: What goes in to designing items for Costa Blanca? Does your team have a specific style in mind for what women you target? (ex a businesswoman, teenager, etc)
Janet Kim: With our target customer profile intact, she leans more towards a young and attractive professional. She wants to be noticed, as well as looked to for inspiration within the fashion world. Thus, we are persistently looking towards new and updated ways in how to keep the Costa Blanca woman ideal and modernized by providing her with the latest trends and must-haves.

Sarah Velasco: How did you get into this business? Was it always your dream to be a designer?
Janet Kim: Upon graduating with a BFA in Fashion Design & Illustration, I have been working for the past 9 years in design for the contemporary market. As I recall sitting through elementary school classes daydreaming about a garment and the 100 different ways I can remake it while sketching amateur fashion dolls, I must admit and as cliché as it sounds, this is in fact a ‘dream come true’.

Sarah Velasco: What trends are in right now, and what have fallen out of style since the beginning of 2011?
Janet Kim: Trends that are currently thriving are relatable to tribal with an ethnic influence. As a result, the native Indian persuasion has taken on its course with a touch of Western influence. Prominent staples such as the harem look we were noticing in the recent past has fallen away from the eastern traits, whereas, now East Asia trends are robustly combining its dissimilar unique sense of attire.

Sarah Velasco: What will we see next collection?
Janet Kim: Fashion has become dramatic, illuminating and mischievous. A powerful era of the late 60’s and 70’s with silhouettes becoming long, wide and open portraying motifs as balloon-like. A great portion of fabric yardage is being used for a more dramatic effect in both strong and unique solid colors, as well as striking prints. In order to keep to our future, a reflection of the 90’s is here to stay centralizing its edge. Classicism will always reinvent itself keeping inspiration from the 30’s-40’s essential for a lady-like appeal. With creative ideas in place to move forward with our past, it leaves for a fun mix of dress-up.


Celebrity Hair Stylist: Charles Baker Strahan

Sarah Velasco: How did you get into the hair styling business and why?
Charles Baker Strahan:My mother pushed me into it believe it or not. When I was 10 my parents divorced and I wound up switching schools a lot. That is when I became aware that people assume a lot by how you look, so with each new school I switched my appearance and hair was a big part of that. I had a natural affinity for it and my mother recognized this and encouraged me. (I have an AWESOME Mother - Love you Donna)

Sarah Velasco: What is your schedule like?
Charles Baker Strahan: Well I am typing this on a plane if that gives you any impression. I have several projects that I invest my time in and also things happen in a short lead time for me so flexibility is key. No day is the same and often times I am working on multiple things in one day. I love it though and consider myself very blessed.

Sarah Velasco: Who or what inspires you?
Charles Baker Strahan: Michelangelo and Toulouse-Lautrec create art that really resonates with me. I admire the beauty of Kate Moss. I get lost in Architectural Digest Magazine. The esthetic of Tom Ford. When I am working specifically with hair, my client's essence and the influence it has on me is key. My current muse is Crystal Reed from “Teen Wolf.”

Sarah Velasco: If you had to pick the best moment of your career so far, what would it be?
Charles Baker Strahan: I have been truly blessed and have seen the world and met and worked with amazing people, but I would have to say working with Herbal Essences has been the source of the most pride.

Sarah Velasco:Who is your dream person to style?
Charles Baker Strahan: I would go back in time and work with Audrey Hepburn.

Sarah Velasco: Are there any particular disadvantages/advantages in your line of work?
Charles Baker Strahan: With the right attitude you can make the most of pretty much anything, but I do have a pretty amazing job I have to say.

Sarah Velasco: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in the hair styling industry?
Charles Baker Strahan: Never believe someone who says there are rules or that something is absolutely right or wrong, I believe in principles but I always leave room for discovery.

Sarah Velasco: There have always been different opinions on how often one should wash their hair, how often do you recommend?
Charles Baker Strahan: I say do it when you feel the need to. The new reformulated collections from Herbal Essences with hydro-activated silkening ingredients leave hair soft, shiny and well hydrated. Hydration is KEY! It gives your hair shine, elasticity and affects how your hair moves and how product moves through your hair to make styling products most effective. I love what it does for my work!

Sarah Velasco: What are some must-have products that women should incorporate into their everyday routine?
Charles Baker Strahan: Any one of Herbal Essences new reformulated collections. I LOVE Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner and I start my day with that every day. I can't work without Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly stylers, Body Envy Volumizing Hairspray and Set Me Up Extra Hold and Max Hold Hairsprays and the Long-Term Relationship Leave-In Split-End Protector.

Sarah Velasco: Can you give us some tips on how to achieve a perfect blow-out at home?
Charles Baker Strahan: Great hair starts in the shower. Herbal Essences Touchably Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner is one of the reformulated collections and it’s infused with a smoothing serum to fight frizz. Heat changes the shape of hair and coolness sets it in, so use your cool shot on your blow dryer to lock in your look. Boar bristle brushes polish the hair cuticle and close it to create great shine! Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Leave-In Split-End Protector is great for smoothing post blow-out flyaways.

Sarah Velasco: What are the top trends this summer? What will we see for Fall 2011?
Charles Baker Strahan: For summer it’s all about top knots, braids/fishtails and natural hair texture that is freshly washed.
For fall, strong shapes in hair cuts that are classic and minimal layering will be popular.

Picture of actress, Leighton Meester and Herbal Essences national spokesperson and celebrity hair stylist: Charles Baker Strahan
You can view clips them working together here  and here 


Over the Rainbow: Interview with Daniel Carman

Image from the Over the Rainbow website

Since 1975, Over the Rainbow has been a favorite store for many shoppers including countless celebrities (from the Olsen Twins, to Adam Sandler). Located in Yorkville, this store has a vast range of labels, making it possible to meet your every denim- related need. They also sell other items including accessories. You can view their website here.
Sarah Velasco: How did you get into this business?
Daniel Carman: After I graduated from university, I worked for a slew of different clothing operations, from wholesale to sales to denim production. From my experiences there, I genuinely wanted to be in the clothing business, and more importantly wanted to interact with customers in a retail atmosphere. Over the Rainbow was a business my father founded in the 70’s; coming back to work for this incredible store was a natural fit for my career goals.

Sarah Velasco: As one of the owners, what is your role? The things you do on a daily basis?
Daniel Carman: I personally oversee the menswear division of our store: I decide what to buy and help develop selling strategies with my staff & senior management. As one of the owners (along with the rest of my family), you wear all kinds of hats. Every day is different from the next. It could be training, financing, marketing, merchandising or even managing day-to-day operations, but every day presents a new set of challenges. It’s a discipline the entire ownership (and management) team has learned through experience and patience. You have to know how to do it all…

Sarah Velasco: Why Over the Rainbow? What makes it special?
Daniel Carman: We have a unique culture to our store. In an environment that promotes constant expansion, we stuck with our roots and remained a one location clothing store. Some people might find that limiting, but I think it allows us to control our destiny and maintain our identity. Our specialty is serving families; the staff we hire and the merchandise is catered to everyone in a family. We try to offer a wide range of products for any kind of style, regardless of age or taste. It’s easier to buy for one customer or niche market, but we’d rather take the challenging road if it means running the risk of satisfying more people. I believe our attention to customer service also sets us apart…that and the free jujubes

Sarah Velasco: How does premium denim differ from non-premium?
Daniel Carman: From making a jean with my own bare hands, I can tell you that there is much more time, work and detail put into a premium jean. There is definitely more attention to fit; premium labels make smaller quantities than large, vertical retailers and therefore have more room to play with more refined fits (and better selection of fits too). Quality of denim fabric is also superior, especially in “raw denim”. The lycra/spandex stretch material found our jeans is pertinent to the premium world. You also have to keep in mind that every fade, whisker, stitch and feature of a premium jean is carefully produced by a person’s hands in a factory. There’s very little mechanization to a premium jean…

Sarah Velasco: What other things do you sell in store other than jeans?
Daniel Carman: Anything that goes with denim, from tops to t-shirts to dresses to jackets and more. We also carry alternative fabric pants and a great variety of shorts. I truly believe our accessories are both in-style and affordable to add-on to any outfit for any season. We’ve certainly diversified ourselves from being “just” a denim store.

Sarah Velasco: What are some things we will see in the Fall ?
Daniel Carman: Classic mixed with new. That’s been our goal every season: stay on the cutting edge without straying too far from our comfort zone. I think you will be pleasantly amazed with our selection coming for Fall. It’s our best lineup to date…

Sarah Velasco: Current trends right now?
Daniel Carman: Colour is definitely in. It’s looked like Fall in our city for way too long, and I’m glad to see people are starting to gravitate back to colour, whether it’s jeans or tops. There is also less focus on graphic design and more emphasis on quality craftsmanship and material. Customers are getting smarter as to what makes clothing premium.