Chef Angie Quaale

Chef Angie Quaale

Well Seasoned for Picnic Perfection

Angie Quaale not only grills with the best of them, she barbecues in a league of her own.  As the province’s female barbecue pitmaster on the competitive circuit, she is the undisputed B.C. Queen of BBQ, as well as one of only two female head judges in Western Canada certified by the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association.

She has barbecues like rock stars have guitars, and come summer, the Webber clamshell and fully stocked hamper are in-car necessities.  Not surprisingly, Quaale can picnic on a dime – especially considering where she spends her days.

“Picnics and barbecue go hand in hand.  It’s easy to be spontaneous when you are prepared,” says Quaale who never travels far without the requisite corkscrew, cutlery, glasses, knife, napkins, plates and simple seasonings. “With a bit of forethought, you can picnic anywhere, anytime.”

As the owner of Langley’s gourmet food store, Well Seasoned, Quaale opened the doors to the perfect pantry for Fraser Valley freshness in 2004: salts, oils, spices, marinades and more, bundled with a coterie of hand-picked pots, pans, local products and a bustling cooking school. Unquestionably, Well Seasoned has lived up to its name  since opening, and become a Fraser Valley hub for chefs and home cooks, wine masters and glass acts alike.

“We have a lot of weekend warriors coming out to explore, but there are still a lot of people who see gourmet as scary,” says Quaale with a grin that is anything but. “Eating fast food in your car is scary.  We have plenty of good alternatives here.  Everything I make is real food for real people.”

“Here” references both Well Seasoned’s well-stocked domain, as well as the grander scope of the surrounding community.

“Staying in, eating at home and doing it well, does not have to be complicated,” she explains. “Especially when we are so lucky in the Valley to have such a wide range of suppliers.”

From the produce of Windset Farms to the pristine pork of Gelderman and top turkey of JD Farms, alongside the local bakeries and artisan cheese makers, Quaale admits that the Fraser Valley may be lean on haute cuisine, but has all the fixings for gourmet goodness on a daily basis.

“We could easily do a 50-mile diet out here,” Quaale says before adding with a nod to her stocked shelves.

“Naturally, I take an 80/20 view on local eating.  Exploring the backyard potential is important, but I am not giving up on oil, lemons, salt, pepper and whatnot.”

Other essentials that keep Quaale’s home fires burning with quick kitchen inspiration include arborio rice, pasta, good canned San Marzano tomatoes, a range of canned beans, peanut butter, tahini, pesto and hummus.

Where she is most in her element, though, is in the realm of low and slow – and she is quick to point out the difference between barbecue and firing up the grill.  The first is where her mastery shines, as she and her husband compete under the team name of “Completely Q-less” on the competitive barbecue circuit.  Crowned Grand Champions in Kelowna at the 2010 Smoke on the Water BBQ competition, for four years running, Quaale has been the local hero behind the Well Seasoned BBQ on the Bypass.

While this year’s event is not until Sept. 18, Indulge readers don’t have to wait that long to savour a quotient of Quaale’s barbecue.  For the truly Q-less, her slow-cooked pulled turkey comes together beautifully in a crock pot – and tastes even better cold on a bun stretched out on a blanket somewhere warm with friends!

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