HicksBiz Blog

Hicks on Biz: MIA MLAs, oil investment and a little bit of this 'n' that BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 9, 2018

Robyn Luff, MLA for Calgary-East poses for a photo in her Calgary office on Aug. 20, 2018.Al Charest/Postmedia DOES ANYBODY KNOW THESE PEOPLE? When the Alberta NDP government was elected in May of 2015, the same question reverberated through business circles.  “Does anybody KNOW any of these people?” Outside of their own constituencies, you still hardly see or hear from those NDP MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly) who are not cabinet ministers. Representing Metropolitan Edmonton constituencies for the NDP are Erin Babcock, Jon Carson, Estefania Cortes-Vargas, Lorne Dach, Nicole Goehring, Trevor Horne, Jessica Littlewood, Rod Loyola, Annie McKitrick, Chris Nielsen, Marie Renaud, Heather Sweet, Bob Turner and Denise Woollard. Does anybody even recognize their names? The only non-ministerial Edmonton NDP MLA with any kind of public profile is Edmonton Centre’s David Shepherd! Now we know why. Calgary MLA Robyn Luff, kicked out of the NDP caucus for spilling confidenti ... Read the rest of entry »

Weekly Dish: BUOK Fresh Korean Kitchen — in search of soul BY GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 7, 2018

The BUOK Bibimbap bowl: rice, veggies, bulgogi beef, chili sauce all topped with an egg. PHOTOS BY GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN BUOK Fresh Korean Kitchen 10707 100 Avenue 780-244-2865 buokfresh.ca Tues. to Fri. 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. Thurs. and Fri.) Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sun./Mon. No listed delivery service Food:  3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $20; loaded $50 By GRAHAM HICKS BUOK Fresh Korean Kitchen is disappointing, in a puzzling way. The restaurant has worked hard at creating soul. Hands-on owner Henry Song is in the kitchen every hour BUOK is open and proudly greets his customers. Song makes a big deal out of using his mother’s recipes, of making his sauces from scratch – especially the complex creation of BUOK’s in-house kimchi. The emphasis is on using fresh, fresh ingredients, as the name suggests. Yes, the food is fresh – good on BUOK. But ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Not much in it for Alberta on LNG approval By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, November 2, 2018

Rendering of the North West side of the LNG Canada.Supplied / LNG Canada By GRAHAM HICKS Congrats to British Columbia. But is that the sound of one-hand clapping? It looks like the $40 billion – that’s BILLIONs, not MILLIONs – LNG Canada project/port is going  ahead. At least all the permits and processes and environmental this ‘n’ thats have been approved. LNG Canada will build a mega-specialized transfer port at Kitimat – in the same general region as Prince Rupert on the northern B.C. coast – to receive  natural gas through as yet-unbuilt-but-approved pipelines from the Montney natural gas fields of northeastern B.C. The gas shipped to the Kitimat plant will be super-cooled to the point of liquification, pumped into specialty LNG tankers and transported across the Pacific Ocean to countries where natural gas prices are five times higher than in North America. Thanks to new drilling and extraction technologies, Canada and the ... Read the rest of entry »

Canada 151 at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - A revue of all things Canadian, eh? Review by GRAHAM HICKS

The best Christmas party in town won’t be a one-night affair.

In fact, you’ll have 80-odd chances to enjoy the enormous musical fun of Canada 151, the Mayfield Dinner Theatre’s Christmas show, with eight shows a week through January 27, 2019.

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Hicks' Weekly Dish: Crazy hours but the best of food in Spain By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 30, 2018

How could you not enjoy food consumed in such beautiful surroundings, being Seville in Spain. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By Graham Hicks Either Spain has it all figured out, with a fabulous lifestyle when it comes to food, drink and the timing thereof … or the Spaniards have the most cockamamie eating habits on Earth. My wife and I are back in Edmonton after four weeks in Spain with a side-trip to Italy. Maria loves Spain and Spanish food and the café culture.  But her stomach works on North American time – she needs her morning snack, lunch at noon and dinner by 6:30 p.m. at the latest. That is not how Spain operates:  “how do Spaniards manage to dine at midnight,” once wrote former Sun columnist Eric Margolis of the mysteries of Europe, “hit the discos afterwards, then go to work the next morning?” The Spanish do not rise before 8:30 a.m.  (at this time of year, the dawn does not break before 8 a.m. and night falls by 8 p. ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Growing high-tech companies takes time By GRAHAM HICKS, first published September 28, 2018

The city skyline, in Edmonton Alta. on Tuesday May 10, 2016. Photo by David Bloom ... Stock photo STK skylineDavid Bloom / Postmedia Network By GRAHAM HICKS Edmonton’s high-tech companies often receive gobs of publicity when they are new-born, touted by government-funded economic development agencies as can’t-miss companies with breath-taking new technology. The expectation is of instant success. The reality is most new, innovative companies face 10 years of blood, sweat and tears, are chronically short of investment cash, barely make their payroll and take two steps back for every three steps forward. Everybody is looking for the next Microsoft, Apple or Amazon. That’s not going to happen.  For most start-up companies, on-going success is A) not going out of business,  B) being a sound, small business generating $3 to $5 million in revenues a year, making a niche product with 10 to 50 employees, and C) if a company does shut down, its principal partne ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: A FEASTival of fun! By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 25, 2018

The NAIT team's ribeye was one of the most impressive main dishes on offer at the FEASTival of Fine Chefs attended by over 1000 guests at the Shaw Conference Centre on Sept. 19, 2018. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN FEASTival of Fine Chefs Show Conference Centre September 19, 2018 By Graham Hicks It’s called FEASTival, it’s been around 30 years, and it’s a lot of fun. On Sept. 19, the Shaw Conference Centre’s main exhibition hall is full. One thousand people have bought tickets or come as guests. Around the walls are booths representing just about every major hotel restaurant in town, along with a few other dining facilities such as the Royal Glenora Club. Every booth has a number. Every guest has a number. Master of Ceremonies Seanna Collins did a countdown. Three, two, one … GO! Immediately, every person jumps up to pick up the first of four courses, looking for the booth number that corresponds to the number they hold for the evening. The chefs a ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: What will buying pot look like after it's legal? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 20, 2018

These are examples of the small containers in which legal, AGLC-approved cannabis will be sold in Alberta come October 17, 2018. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN By GRAHAM HICKS Somehow I had this vision of Alberta’s new legal pot stores (as of October 17, 2018) being like a Bulk Barn, where you would scoop your favourite cannabis buds out of a bin, fill your baggie, weigh, pay at the cashier then home you’d go to roll joints. Nope, nope, nope. While we are soon to embark on the Wild West of legalized marijuana, this Wild West comes with rules as decreed by Health Canada, the province, the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) and municipalities. I toured Alberta pot-retailer-in-waiting Fire & Flower’s concept store on Jasper Avenue West. This is no Bulk Barn.  It’s more like an Apple or a Nike store. Spotless, modern, art on the walls, display merchandising, no loose pot to be seen. Definitely no bins of pot buds. (The words cannabis, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Hardware Grill shows cracks in the armour graham.hicks By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 18, 2018

A certain famous Oiler always orders the Hardware Grill's signature sea bass, and with good reason! Photos by GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUN Hardware Grill 9698 Jasper Avenue Hardwaregrill.com 780-423-0969 Reservations: opentable.com Mon. to Thurs.  5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sundays No listed delivery service Food:  4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes and beverages: Basic, $70; loaded $130 By GRAHAM HICKS A bit of slippage here, Mr. Stewart. Not that any other restaurant will knock the Hardware Grill off its perch as THE downtown place for corporate dining, special occasions, or simply to enjoy a dinner for two based on surprisingly well-priced small plates. But last Friday’s dinner for four — at least the tenth time I’ve dined at executive chef/owner Larry Stewart’s fine restaurant — was not as effortlessly perfect as in years past. The at-table service wa ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Using a sledge hammer to squash a mosquito By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, September 14, 2018

The official opening of the Hyatt Place Downtown Edmonton, 9576 Jasper Ave., was held Monday Jan. 23, 2017.David Bloom / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Of course we need laws, bylaws rules and regulations. Their impartial administration and enforcement have made our country safe, secure and prosperous. But lately, Canada has been plagued by over-zealous regulation, regulation piled upon regulation. Regulation and rules that have little to do with encouraging entrepreneurship and wealth creation, everything to do with government as Big Brother, regulation for the sake of regulation. We have become a society more concerned with regulation than prosperity! When it comes to pipelines, an ultimate regulator — the Federal Court of Appeal — sided with a small group of protestors versus the economic well-being of the entire province of Alberta.  How does that work? Locally, over-zealous regulation has had severe, unforeseen consequences. In late August, Alberta Health Service ... Read the rest of entry »