HicksBiz Blog

HICKS ON BIZ: Who needs pipelines? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 8, 2019

(This is the last of a Hicks on Biz series on Alberta’s economic future if new pipelines are not built.) For decades, Alberta’s wealth was criticized for being harvested, 100%, from the low-hanging fruit of oil and gas extraction and processing. It was just too easy to make money from oil and gas. The sector scooped up every new engineer and scientist graduating from our universities, every skilled tradesperson coming out of our colleges. Eighteen-year-old dropouts were paid $1,500 a week to drive truck. The bloom is off that rose. Alberta’s future growth will be the result of technology-savvy entrepreneurs reaching for that higher-hanging fruit. But not entirely. As mentioned at the start of this series, oil isn’t going away. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Even without new pipelines, and with more oil-by-rail, oil production at a minimum will grow from 3.5 million barrels a day today to 4 million. Meanwhile, despite the persistent denial of climate-change extre ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Turquaz Kebab House by GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 5, 2019

The Turquaz Trio - left to right, chicken, beef kafta and lamb with fries, rice, salad, hummus and garlic spread. Photos by GRAHAM HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Turquaz Kebab House (Turkish & Lebanese Cuisine) 13310 137 Ave. 780-476-4511 turquazkebabhouse.com Seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two:  Basic, $25,  loaded, $50 By GRAHAM HICKS The city’s Arabic/Middle Eastern community, both Christian and Muslim, is resolutely concentrated north of 132 Avenue. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Its better-known restaurants, some eight to 10, each with particular specialties within the broad category of “Mediterranean”, rarely advertise outside that ethnic/geographical community. Consequently, outside of donairs, shawarmas and baklava, mainstream Edmonton is little exposed to Middle Eastern fare. A great pity. The food – kebab cubes, fatouche, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Crossing the digital bridge By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 31, 2019

EDMONTON ALBERTA: OCTOBER 2, 2019. Alta-Fab Structures CEO Hank Van Weelden, left, and President Mark Taillefer stand inside one of their community ever trailers in Nisku Alberta, October 2, 2019. Jason Franson for PostmediaJASON FRANSON / PST By GRAHAM HICKS Public-sector unions scream at any suggestion their members shoulder some of Alberta’s economic pain. Interest groups go bonkers at the very thought of the provincial teat running dry. Never considered is the source of the wealth that pays the health care workers, the school custodians and subsidizes start-up companies. Which is — duh! — the taxes paid by thousands of small-to-medium sized  Alberta companies and their employees.  At least what’s left of those companies and their payrolls after the “right-sizing” of the past four years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Alberta’s future well-being depends on the entrepreneurial will of those owner/operators. Put yourself ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: Pie time at Jason Gregor’s Pizza Pigout By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 29, 2019

Panini's Italian Cucina's healthy thin-crust pizza was a favourite at Jason Gregor's Pizza Pigout. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS It was a splendid fund-raising idea for Kidsport, albeit borrowed from Calgary. Jason Gregor’s Pizza Pigout, hosted by the popular TSN radio show host, was held last week in The Molson Canadian Hockey House (in Ford Hall, in turn in Rogers Place). In the “best pizza” contest, 30 pizzerias donated six or more pizzas each, in return for bragging rights if named to any of the nine “people’s choice” categories.  Plus four judges – ex-Oiler Andrew Ference, CBC  reviewer Twyla Campbell, Phil Wilson the Baconhound and yours truly – each picked our three pizza favourites. Several hundred folks showed up – and why not?  The Pigout was an inexpensive way to help a charity ($50 for one drink and all-you-can-eat pizza) enjoy an early-evening social gathering with entertainment, and discover new ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The next 10 years are vitally important for Alberta By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 25, 2019


Hicks' Weekly Dish: The wit and wisdom of Chef Shane Chartrand By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN October 22, 2019

Chef Shane Chartrand, SC Damn Good Food Restaurant at River Cree Resort & Casino, holds a plate of pan-seared strip loin steak, fingerling potatoes and broccolini.Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS Many years ago, at the opening of the West Edmonton Mall Cactus Club, mall owner (with his family) Nader Ghermezian couldn’t stop singing the praises of a young indigenous chef recently placed in charge of the dining room at the mall’s Fantasyland Hotel. It culminated, a few weeks later, in one of the best multi-course chef’s dinners I have ever eaten. All kinds of wonderful edible things were going on – like meats literally being smoked at the table. The chef was none other than Shane Chartrand, barely out of his ‘20s and already making his mark on the city’s culinary scene. Chef Chartrand’s story was all the more interesting, as he is Cree First Nation, adopted into loving Metis family from Southern Alberta at the age of six. ST ... Read the rest of entry »

Inspired '60s silliness at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre - Review by GRAHAM HICKS, HicksBiz.com

Musical Theatre review Class of '63 Rockin' Reunion Mayfield Dinner Theatre November 5, 2019 to January 26, 2020 Review by GRAHAM HICKS,  HicksBiz.com Tickets: MayfieldTheatre.ca  Don’t expect a plot line, or anything the least bit serious for that matter. Just sit back at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre and drink in all the great (and silly) pop songs of the pre-Beatles ‘60s, laugh at the silliest of costumes from the Fabian/Elvis Presley/Nah Nah Nah days. Those outfits must have been worn by our grandparents when they were high school hipsters of their day!  Okay ... our older sister and brothers! As always with these classic Mayfield pop medleys, the eight musical actors – Mike Zimmerman, Brad Wiebe, Stephanie Pitsiladis, Melanie Piatocha, Kieran Martin Murphy, Pamela Gordon, Simone Denny and particularly possible-rising star Jahlen Barnes – are without peers when it comes to musical fun and interpretation. Likewise, the under-appreciated Mayfield house band, co ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The Conservatives will not win By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN October 18, 2019

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.GEOFF ROBINS / AFP/Getty Images It looks like Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will not win Monday’s election. A very accurate, independent and unbiased website – 338canada.com – brings together every bit of data gathered during this election and publishes a daily update. For every electoral riding in the country – all 338 of them (hence the website’s name),  338canada.com declares if the riding is, from among the four major political parties and independents, “safe”, “leaning”, “likely” or a “toss-up.” If the Conservatives do not lose a single seat they now hold, AND they take every seat from the other parties that 338canada.com says is leaning or likely to go Conservative, AND they win every seat that 338canada.com says is too close to call, the very best Scheer’s party could do is 127 seats, up from the current 95. Then there’s reality. Outside Alb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: A tale of two burger joints By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 15, 2019

Winning a comparison between the Fox and Woodshed craft burger eateries was Woodshed's "The Woodshed" burger. Photos by GRAHA M HICKS / EDMONTON SUN Woodshed Burgers 10723-124 St. 780-752-2874 thewoodshedyeg.com Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns Ambience: 3.5 of 5 Suns Service: 3 of 5 Suns 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week  (11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 9 p.m. Sundays) Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: Basic. $28; loaded, $52. (No publicized delivery service) Fox Burgers 6423 112 Ave. (Gibbard Block) 780-250-0369 foxburger.ca Food: 3 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Monday to Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., closed Tuesdays Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: Basic. $36; loaded, $50 STORY CONTINUES BELOW (No publicized delivery service) By GRAHAM HICKS I liked this idea, a comparison of Edmonton’s two new “craft burger” restaurants. Two well-known chef/entrepreneurs are behind two new, updated, ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The divisions in Canada grow ever deeper this election By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 10, 2019

Federal party leaders ready for debate: Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.POOL / REUTERS By GRAHAM HICKS As this uncomfortable federal election stumbles its way to Oct. 21, there’s early-warning signs of irreconcilable differences between provinces, between provinces and the federal government, between Canadians of different age groups, between regions within the country. All over Canada’s approach to climate change. As Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid so gloomily and accurately pointed out, four of the five federal party leaders have cast their lot, supporting policies that mean the end of oil and gas. The worst-case outcome of the federal election would be a Liberal minority government, kept in power in coalition with either the NDP or the Greens, both deeply opp ... Read the rest of entry »