What's New


December 22, 2016



Happy Hour for All

Al Jessa, JOEY Restaurants President


This time of year it’s easy to get caught up on wrap reports, final projects and ensuring you are set up to take some holiday time. It’s important to remember the people who are beside you throughout the year making your success possible; your colleagues. Corporate culture is dear to my heart. At JOEY we encourage our teams to take time out to enjoy themselves and celebrate their accomplishments whether it’s a brewery tour, a cooking class or a competitive game of flag football. Remember it’s important to have a few laughs and recap your accomplishments with your team and so this Team Building Prize Pack (valued at $380) includes:


FEED apronFEED Denim Apron

I picked this apron for a couple reasons; it’s important to support the people in our organization and the communities we operate in.

When I saw this apron I was reminded of my own story as a restauranteur. I began working for the Fuller family in 1991 as a dishwasher. In 1996, I became the Executive Chef of JOEY with a CCC designation (Certified Chef de Cuisine). Now, I am honoured to be the president. People development is important to me. I want to provide our people with every opportunity to grow and be successful. Our apprenticeship programs, university partnerships and the JEIT are part of this and foster an entrepreneurial spirit in our people, while rewarding them for their efforts.

Secondly, the proceeds from each FEED apron purchased goes to feed 14 meals for children and families in America. Now that is something I can get behind. In 2009, we created the Cup of Care program, which to date has served over 15 thousand cups of soup to shelters in each of our communities. Last summer, we expanded the program with a new initiative called Scoop of Care. For the month of August, $1 from each scoop of our Spun Daily Ice Cream was donated to local charities and causes chosen by JOEY employees.

Two Copies of Jack: Straight from the Gut (one for you and one for your work colleague) Jack Welch

At JOEY, we have a saying, “Don`t be afraid of the unachievable, this is what will drive your vision forward.” We put this into practice every day by imagining ourselves a year from now and write about everything we have accomplished. Make these goals big and you will be surprised at what you turn into a reality.
That’s why I am including this New York Times bestseller as part of my giveaway. This book inspired me so much I ensured everyone at head office received a copy. In his autobiography Jack Welch recounts how he defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. From his working-class childhood to his early days in G.E. Plastics to his life at the top of the world’s most successful company, Welch tells his intensely personal story with his well-known fire and candor. And although it chronicles billion-dollar deals and high-stakes corporate standoffs, Jack is ultimately a story about people-from a man who based his career on demanding only the best from others and from himself.


gc pic for SHHH with ColleaugesSuper Happy Happy Hour for you and your colleagues

As I mentioned, time to celebrate with your coworkers is so important. I am including a $300 JOEY gift card so you can celebrate this year’s success with your team. From 3-6pm every day, including weekends, you can enjoy $4 drinks and $3.5 appetizers. As part of the Super Happy Happy Hour guests can enjoy the JOEY classics like Super Sonics and Sushi Cones or try something new like our Hawaiian Tuna Tacos. Super Happy Happy Hour also continues from 9pm-close Sunday-Thursday giving you ample opportunity to celebrate with your colleagues.


To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Team Building Prize Pack tag your work family and share your favourite accomplishment of the year. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 23, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Team Building Prize Pack post at 10:00am PST on December 23, 2016. 

Leadership Legacy; Al Jessa by Sean Moon, Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News

December 21, 2016

Leadership Legacy

It is a long road from washing dishes in the trenches to a respected place in the executive suite of a successful restaurant chain, but Al Jessa, President of JOEY Restaurant Group, is living proof that anything is possible if a person learns to make the most of the right opportunities at the right time.

Jessa has had a long history with JOEY Restaurant Group founder Jeff Fuller and his impressive lineage of foodservice entrepreneurs, starting with Bus Fuller in 1954. Jessa started out on his own journey in the restaurant world as a dishwasher for the Fuller family operations back in 1988. Just a few short years later in 1991, Jessa had graduated to chef and by 1996 had become the Executive Chef of JOEY Restaurants, which Jeff Fuller had originally launched as JOEY Tomato Kitchen in 1992.

“This was a big time for us as we grew JOEY from six to nine stores in just three months, transitioning from pizza and pasta to global cuisine,” Jessa recalls. “Continually being given opportunities to grow with this company is a huge reason why I am where I am today. Now, as president of JOEY, it is important to me to continue to offer growth opportunity for our partners.” 

Although Jeff Fuller’s initial casual Italian concept proved to be successful, it was speaking more to the family sector where competition was fierce and patrons tend to be more economical. So, the decision was made to re-invent JOEY and in 2000, Fuller moved the concept away from the Italian, family friendly environment with spaghetti lights hanging from the ceiling, to a more premium casual, adult-friendly concept complete with a lush patio, acoustically sound dining room, and hip lounge. Today, JOEY has grown to 26 locations across Western Canada and Ontario, with new locations also opening up in the United States.



Jessa says that despite tough economic times from 2005 to 2010, JOEY was able to grow from $48 million in revenue to $100 million. “It was our biggest challenge to date, at the time,” says Jessa. “A huge part of overcoming this was our ability to create realities that weren`t going to happen for us. Determining what we wanted to be, not what we could be due to circumstances, drove us forward. We created a vision of building a world-class company, famous for developing elite leaders, altering the way business is done and making a positive difference everywhere. This was our mantra and we made every effort to create it, from bringing on and creating great leaders, developing education and apprenticeship programs and always being driven by innovative ideas.”

Jessa says his early passion for the hospitality industry was likely the result of his mother being a good cook. He remembers the joys of entertaining family and friends with meals his Mom had prepared and says it was such memories that kept him gravitating towards the hospitality industry. That early passion for entertaining through food has evolved over the years, developing into an intense focus on innovation and execution. 


“I am passionate about only Execution,” says Jessa. “I am not particularly creative. My good friend and colleague Chris Mills (our Executive Chef) is creative. I love execution — every dish going out to the customer the same way, with the same specs, the same flavor and presentation every day, every week. That takes real talent. I am passionate about executing all aspects of hospitality including creating a profit model for the restaurants that gives customers remarkable value, while at the same time respectable returns for our shareholders.” 

Having just turned 50 this year, Jessa says his main focus these days is transferring what he has learned during his 20–year history at JOEY to the next group of leaders.

“We have always said we are in the people business and are committed to our employee partners reaching their full potential through training programs, mentorship and continual coaching. We have dozens of cases of people starting as an expo, server or dishwasher that are now Regional Managers, VP of Culinary Operations, or VP of Marketing. There are 73 chefs in the organization who have received their Red Seal, six chefs who have their CCC designation, and 10 staff who received their ACC. The food service business is about much more than food.”


Even though JOEY continues to grow, Jessa believes there are more important goals that simply opening more restaurants. He says he wants to leave the company with a secure foundation and with a vision for the future that the next set of stakeholders are completely aligned on. 

“I am always looking to be to be innovative and relevant rather than just focusing on expansion. We don’t believe in growing for the sake of growing. We want to ensure that we pick the right new locations and that our current locations are thriving. It’s about relevancy over growth. The soul of JOEY is to strive to be the best in the industry. We are focused on winning the guest vote – we want to earn that. We want to always ensure we are innovating and have great value in what we offer to our guests.”




A Giveaway for the Up-and-Coming Chef.

Kathleen Good, JOEY Chef


At this time of year I like to look back at all I have accomplished and learned over the year. Over the course of 2016 my eyes have been opened, allowing me to distinguish the difference between what I thought I knew, versus what I need to learn. I have been shown what true leadership and support is and all it entails, the abundance of tools provided associated with success, the respect required from one partner to another. I joined this company through the Chef-in-Training program and with that in mind here is a prize pack (valued at $300) for the up-and-coming chef:


Global 2pc Knife and Sharpener Set

Global Cook’s Knife and Sharpener Set

This set is the perfect choice for any at-home chef. The all-purpose Chef’s Knife is Global’s most popular knife. Your top choice for slicing large quantities of vegetables, fruit and meat quickly and effectively. Loved by professional chefs around the world, Global knives are an excellent choice for the serious home cook. The thin and razor sharp Global blade allows the cook to cleanly slice through foods, preserving the integrity of the ingredient and maximizing its flavor. The majority of Global knives are ground to a straight point rather than the western style of beveling the edge. To balance their knives Global uses a hollow handle that is filled with just the right amount of sand to create the correct balance.

The handle has its own unique darkened dimples for a non-slip grip. Because the knives are very light weight they reduce hand fatigue. Global knives have a smooth contour and seamless, all stainless construction that eliminates food and dirt traps. Global knifes are forged in Japan from CROMOVA 18 Stainless Steel, a blend of 18 percent chromium for good stain resistance plus molybdenum and vanadium which gives excellent edge retention.

Minosharp Sharpener – this water wheel sharpener is a hand held ceramic sharpener and no experience or skill is required to use it. Simply fill the reservoir with water and run your knife backwards and forwards a few times. The revolutionary ceramic wheels ensure the blade is sharpened at the correct angle and prolongs the blade’s cutting edge.

At JOEY we have an amazing culinary apprentice program. Whether it`s our signature menu items or a black box Butcher Sandwichchallenge we take people development very seriously. I am including a $100 JOEY gift card as part of this giveaway to experience some of our new menu items.

To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Chef-in-Training Giveaway tag a friend or family member and share the first lesson you learned in the kitchen. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 22, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Chef-in-Training Giveaway post at 10:00am PST on December 22, 2016. 


Tis the Season for Reflection

December 20, 2016

Kathleen Good Headshot

A lot of people think of the holiday season as a time of celebration, but there is another side to it. At the end of the year, I like to look back and reflect.

I have been cooking in professional kitchens for the past sixteen years. I joined the JOEY Restaurant Group, in September of 2015. In the first few months, I was enrolled in an accelerated training program towards leadership. My vision, once entering this establishment was to become a Sous Chef at one of our Calgary locations. After eight months with the company that goal was met as I was promoted to the Night Sous Chef at Joey Chinook. Now with that goal accomplished I will not stop, I am going to continue to accelerate and pursue new horizons within this company, and aspire to be signed off for Head Sous Chef before the end of 2017. My new goal is to be the first female Chef with the Joey Restaurant Group.

In my time with JOEY my eyes have been opened, allowing me to distinguish the difference between what I thought I knew, versus what I need to learn. I have been shown what true leadership and support is and all it entails, the abundance of tools provided associated with success, the respect required from one partner to another, the integrity behind what drives and motivates individuals, how teamwork is a privilege and a necessity, and what true empowerment beholds. The people I have been given the opportunity to work with over the past eight months, have inspired me to do my best, and shown me how I can equip others to overcome challenges. It may start with my own personal development as a chef, co-worker, and leader, but there is no ending on where this can take me, and where I can lead others. I have experienced a light, a passion, a commitment and dedication, which I never knew I wanted to be a part of, but can confidently say honored to be included in. This is where I belong.

So watch out, because there is no ceiling for me, and I am going to go places with this company no one has ever experienced. As Chef Justin Rimmer once said, ‘pressure can do two things, it can break you or create a diamond, what are you going to be?”

I am going to blind you with how bright I will shine. – Kathleen Good


Jason Yamasaki Headshot

Sommelier Prize Pack Now Available! 

Jason Yamasaki, JOEY Group Sommelier



Hosting friends and family can be a lot, what makes it even more difficult is selecting the right wine. To accompany my recommendation guide I want to set you up with a couple wines (and a treat for yourself) to get your season started. This prize pack (valued at $200) includes:

jy. wine


jy. An Ancient Method Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine

This is the time of year to celebrate, and nothing says celebration like bubbly. I`m excited to include a wine close to my heart. I was honoured to work on a signature wine with Okanagan Crush Pad through their program called Wine Campus. For 2016, we partnered in creating ‘jy.’ an Ancient Method Pinot Noir sparkling wine. I worked with Okanagan Crush Pad Winery’s sparkling winemaker, Jordan Kubek and this wine is very much a snapshot of the vineyard, and the fruit at the time it was picked. The vineyard is part of their working ranch, and that this was the first picking of the pinot noir grapes from the Garnet Valley. It’s very drinkable with a mid-palate of silky, aromatic fruit. 

Fontodi Wine



Chianti Classico – Fontodi

This is a JOEY favourite. Absolutely authentic Italian charm.
Fontodi is located in the heart of Chianti Classico just outside of Florence. They are considered one of the benchmark producers of the region – celebrated for the purity and intensity. The vineyards are planted in a very special site called the “Conca d’Oro” (the golden shell) because of its amphitheatre shape. It’s perfect for capturing the Tuscan sun. What you’ll experience is the warmth and richness of this site through nuances of dark berries, cucina, and sun-baked terra cotta. They also raise a heritage breed of cattle on the site – born next to beef. And that is certainly the best pairing on the plate for this Italian legend. Grill up a rib steak – season simply with salt. You’ll be transported to Tuscany.

GC pic for wine dayTo become the ultimate wine kinda-sseur you need to taste an array of different wines to determine what you like. I am including a $100 JOEY gift card in this giveaway to ensure you can taste your way through the JOEY wine menu.

To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Sommelier Prize Pack tag a friend or family member and share your favourite holiday wine. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 21, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Sommelier Prize Pack post at 10:00am PST on December 21, 2016. 



Holiday Wines with JY

December 19, 2016

Jason Yamasaki Headshot

Here’s an insiders tour through the BCLDB with JOEY Sommelier Jason Yamasaki.

Hey, I get it. The visit to any wine store can be such an intimidating and daunting task. Not only is wine the vastest of subjects – but each person comes to their glass with their own hopes and desires for what character every bottle will deliver.

 The stores themselves are challenging too! They are divided into their own sections as defined by their different origins. Labels are cryptic at the best of times. Grapes sometimes mentioned – though usually not in France or Italy. We often have no idea what to expect right?

 This is where experts like me come in. Can you believe that I’ve made it a career to seek out, decode, evaluate, visit, categorize, and taste as many samples as possible in order to make the most delicious recommendations purely for your wine enjoyment?

 Follow me on my insider’s guide to our local BCLDB. I will point out the most exciting selections on our store shelves. The wines that you should be taking home to impress your date, your family, and your guests this holiday season. These profiles are rare, delicious, delightful and full of character. They’re sometimes overlooked – but never again. Now you and your crew know exactly what to seek out.

 Here are my most delicious recommendations with a small quote of what I’d probably say if I was taking you on a live tour. And of course, I would take you through every section in the store – so here we have eight different countries to showcase!


Medici Ermete ‘Concerto’ Lambrusco – Emilia-Romagna, Italy $19.99

“This is absolutely one of the most delicious and delightful wines in BC. It’s a sparkling red wine from northern Italy. Yes, sparkling red. When you pour it, It looks like it’s going to be horrifically sweet. But try it! And it’s bone dry. Super fresh! And the perfect, and I mean PERFECT, pairing to your nearest takeout pizza. It’s made by a 4th generation family estate – so you know that this is pure Italian heritage.”


Herdade do Rocim ‘Mariana’ Branco – Alentejano, Portugal $17.99

“Who ever goes for the Portuguese wine? Very few, right? Well, I’d love to introduce you to some of the most charming wines on the planet. They are so horrifically unsung that we can find incredible expressions at crazy value. Here’s a blended white wine from central Portugal – the blend doesn’t matter because native Portuguese grape varieties are a whole nursery of history on their own. If you’re intro dry, complex, fragrant and ultra-fresh styles of white – you have to try this!”

Tahbilk Marsanne – Nagambie Lakes, Australia $18.49

“Australia is the source of the most delicious and unique wines on earth right now. And you can quote me on that. Confidently. This is a five-generation, family-owned winery dating back 160 years. On their farm – in the middle of nowhere in southeastern Australia – they have more of a grape called Marsanne than anyone else in the world. It’s honeyed – it’s waxy – it’s fragrant – it’s full of character. It’s a flavour all its own and step back into the Australian wine history.”

Laurenz Und Sophie Grüner Veltliner – Kamptal, Austria $21.49

“Austria has been so hot in the realms of the wine pros for the last few years. It doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either. Really, Austria produces some of the most captivatingly energetic wines. They have such a scintillating and quenching freshness! Their native grape is called Grüner Veltliner. You can think of Sauvignon Blanc meeting a Pinot Grigio and resolving with a Mozart-like finesse. Try this with fresh greens and vegetables and you’ll demand on a bottle always on hand.”


Jadot ‘Combes aux Jacques’ Beaujolais-Villages – Beaujolais, France $21.99IMG_2871

“Its drinky juice.” Short, meaningful descriptions rule.

Santa Rita ‘Medalla Real’ Cabernet Sauvigonon – Maipo, Chile $20.99

“We expect Cabernet Sauvignon to be our big, full-flavoured, broad-shouldered bruiser of a wine right? It’s intense in colour – massive in structure – and unapologetic in its intensity. But sometimes we want some restraint. This very classic Chilean winery crafts Cabernet in a way that is far too rare. Angles, balance, structure, permission. For a different but satisfying time…”

Rodney Strong ‘Knotty Vines’ Zinfandel – Sonoma, California $22.99

“Sometimes I wish there would be no grapes listed on a wine label. I wish that the producer would have the confidence just to say ‘California Red Wine.’ This is what they should have done here.IMG_3056 It’s so juicy – so delightful. And honestly, it’s ruined by most other wines labeled ‘Zinfandel.’ Forget about Zinfandel. This is sensational red wine. Doesn’t matter what it’s made of!”


Gonzales Byass ‘Nutty Solera’ Oloroso – Jerez, Spain $15.99

“Sherry is not just for your granny. It’s for everyone. Especially at this price – it’s for everyone. This belongs with every dessert that you serve this season. It’s a whole category of wine worth reviving. Let’s be part of that revolution! Sweeter styles of sherry with unbelievable balance. That’s what we can stand for.”

***Note that these will all be available at the larger ‘Signature’ stores. It is more difficult to find them at the smaller locations. Check www.bcliquorstores.com to see about stock near you!***




A Giveaway for the Design Enthusiast! 

Meghan Pitt, JOEY Designer

Hosting friends and family can be a lot, what makes it even more difficult is selecting the right wine. To accompany my recommendation guide I want to set you up with a couple wines (and a treat for yourself) to get your season started. This prize pack (valued at $230) includes:


 Styled Book for design day

Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves, by Emily Henderson

This New York Time Best Seller is the ultimate guide to thinking like a stylist. With 1,000 design ideas for creating the most beautiful, personal, and livable rooms, it’s easy to find your own style confidence once you know this secret: While decorating can take months and tons of money, styling often takes just minutes. Even a few little tweaks can transform the way your room feels.
At the heart of Styled are Emily Henderson’s ten easy steps to styling any space. From editing out what you don’t love to repurposing what you can’t live without to arranging the most eye-catching vignettes on any surface, you’ll learn how to make your own style magic.



Throw Blanket

A Cozy Texture Throw

A great and easy way to create a sophisticated holiday ambiance is to add accents to existing furniture. This can be especially effective for individuals living in downtown dwellings that don’t allow you to have a holiday tree. One easy go-to is a throw blank. Select a colour that matches your holiday theme or go with a classic neutral like cream or grey as they are so versatile. They not only say “warm and cozy” but are functional, perfect for curling up with a hot chocolate and your favourite holiday movie.



GC pic for design dayAt JOEY we used a refined, modern, industrial aesthetic, balanced by materials that lend a sense of warmth. I am including a $100 JOEY gift card as part of this giveaway so you can enjoy the ambiance the JOEY design team works to create.


To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Styled for the Season Giveaway tag a friend or family member and share your favourite JOEY location. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 20, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Styled for the Season Giveaway post at 10:00am PST on December 20, 2016. 


Decorate in Style this Holiday Season

December 18, 2016

PittAs the start of the holiday season gets underway, many of you may be dusting off your Christmas boxes, planning the perfect spot to hang your collection of handmade pipe-cleaner ornaments and blinking colored Christmas lights. But before tearing open the tinsel, read these five easy tips to keeping your home looking seasonally stylish throughout the holidays – without going overboard.

- Meghan Pitt, JOEY Designer

1. Sometimes less is more.

Your entire space doesn’t need to be overhauled with sparkly trimmings. Accent your holiday decor with warm and textured elements that you already have, like plaid blankets and sheepskin throws.

 throw by fire

2. Go au naturel.

Take inspiration from the outdoors and incorporate evergreen boughs, berries, and herbs into garlands, centerpieces and even giftwrap. Not only will your home and gifts look fresh and natural, they will smell glorious.  

 2.1 2.2 2.3


3. Keep the spirit alive.

Decorating a potted living fir or spruce avoids chopping down a new tree every year and adds some nice greenery on your patio in the summer months. Don’t want to buy a tree, try adding white lights and a few of your favourite ornaments to a larger house plant to help avoid the unnecessary additional clutter that Christmas tends to bring.



4. Smell the pine needles.

Evoke the senses with a forest-inspired hand poured candle, blended with smoked fir, pine and winter berries. A favourite is Frasier Fir by Thymes.
4.1 4.2

5. Tasteful touches of twinkle.

Mini twinkle lights can add the perfect warm glow inside a lantern or around a centerpiece. Many retailers, including Crate & Barrel and Pottery Barn sell gold or silver battery operated lights during the holidays, found here: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/twinkle-gold-string-lights/f61132

 5.1 5.2

Bonus tip!

No fireplace, no fuss!

No need to have a fireplace to hang your stockings with care. Get creative with a large branch, piece of rope, or even try your hand at sketching your perfect fireplace in chalk on a wall.  

6.1 6.2





Mixology Set Giveaway

Jesse Sahlin, JOEY Beverage Director


Our holiday celebration continues with a curated bartending starter kit (valued at $250) for those of you who like cocktailing. Our Beverage Director, Jesse Sahlin has selected some tools to get you started. The bartending starter kit includes:

Death & Co cocktail book


Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes by David Kaplan

This is a great read and one of my personal favourites. Death & Co is one of the most critically praised and influential bars in the world. They collected more than 500 of their most innovative and sought-after cocktails for this book. What I like about this collection is that it is more than just recipes. It is a complete cocktail education, from theory to buying and using spirits and step-by step technique instructions. Filled with beautiful imagery; informative graphics; and colorful essays about the characters who fill the bar each night; Death & Co—like its namesake bar—is bold, elegant, and setting the pace for mixologists around the world.

barware set



A Mixology Bar Tool Starter Set

A must have for any home bartender. Hand-crafted cocktails are always a hit at this time of year. I love whiskey and darker spirits for cold December nights. One tool every host needs is a great cocktail shaker. The rest is simple; focus on the quality of ingredients as opposed to the complexity in your cocktail. This is not to suggest you should go spend your beverage funds on the higher-priced spirits; the most important ingredients are the types of juices and fruits you are mixing with the spirits. This shift will work well for receptions, especially larger parties, as the flavour and integrity of drinks will remain exceptional without taking too much time to create.



We have a few new cocktails at JOEY, including the Leading Lady, and we want to give you the chance to try them. Included in this prize pack is a $100 JOEY gift card so you can get the full experience of crafting cocktails.

GC pic for cocktail day


The Leading Lady
Rosemary has long been considered a symbol for women with strong will – hence the namesake of this lovely cocktail introduced in the first annual JOEY Annual Leadership Awards cocktail competition. Notice beautiful flavours of peach, elderflower, rosemary and just the right amount of bubbles add a unique vibrancy. Bright and bubbly, yet distinguished.

To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Bartending Starter Kit tag a friend or family member and share your favourite cocktail. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 19, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Bartending Starter Kit post at 10:00am PST on December 19, 2016. 

Hosting a cocktail party? Take it to the next level with these tips.

December 17, 2016

SahlinHosting parties can be tricky, especially when you throw in the element of cocktails.  Here are a few cocktailing pointers to help you give your guests what they want while allowing you to glide through the party effortlessly as the best host ever. – Jesse Sahlin, JOEY Beverage Director

1. Mix It Up
Cheerful cocktails with sugary yet festive liqueurs are very tempting this time of year and although your guests will politely choke one down for your sake, that is not usually what they prefer to drink. Trying something different is certainly not a bad thing, just take care to consider that this may not be the best time to experiment and risk going overboard. I recommend celebrating with spirits or cocktails that already compliment the season – the spice and subtle sweetness of a bourbon Old Fashioned or the piney aroma in gin are pleasantly reminiscent of the holidays.

2. Prepare to Be Social
You may prefer hiding behind your miniature bar setup, but that does not completely relieve you from your role as the host. Offering drinks that can be prepped in advance make for very simple execution come game time, which allows you to be freed up to socialize. Large batches of different cocktails prepared in bulk before the party begins are excellent when portioned into smaller individual bottles or larger size bottles that guests can use to serve themselves. Punch is another popular holiday beverage that can be prepared very simply and then dressed up using a classy/vintage punch bowl set.

punch bowl

3. Set Up Your Station
Unless you are planning on hosting your pals from Greek row with a refrigerator full of value beer, you must set up a station to showcase your beverage offerings. A common standard these days is to seek the worthiness of a Pinterest board, but less flashy setups are undeniably acceptable. It is most important to cater to most of your guests who will immediately seek the station that speaks to them saying, “drink here”.

4. Stay Warm
Everyone loves a warm drink this time of the year and a Hot Toddy or a nice mulled wine really activate that relaxed and cozy feeling. The difficulty with these drinks is maintaining temperature, which often leaves us punching away at microwave buttons or fiddling with pots on stove tops. Avoid those mood killing tasks by utilizing your slow cooker to maintain a consistent temperature all evening long.

Hosting a great party requires a number of elements and we hope these items help with your beverage planning. The most important thing to ensure is that your guests are in good company. This is the hap-happiest time of the year so don’t go out there creating all kinds of stress for yourself. Throw a great party and let the drinks be an excellent compliment to a great night.



Curated by Chris Mills, JOEY Executive Chef

& Ted Anderson, Development Chef


To celebrate the holiday season our Executive Chef Chris Mills and Development Chef Ted Anderson have curated a prize pack fit for the foodie in your family (or for yourself). The prize pack valued at $200 includes:


Gjelina cookbook Gjelina cookbook, selected by Executive Chef Chris Mills

When we opened JOEY Woodland Hills we spent a lot of time getting to know the food scene and enjoying all that Los Angeles had to offer. One of my favourite experiences was walking with Karen Beverlin, also known as the Produce Hunter, through the Santa Monika Farmer’s Market one sunny day. She’s the link between local growers and the LA food scene and was kind enough to introduce me to all the local vendors. Walking through the market and seeing all the vibrant and abundant produce was remarkable. No wonder restaurants in LA are so vegetable-centric! One of our favourite places was Gjelina restaurant and that’s why I have selected the Gjelina cookbook for this prize pack. For this book, Chef Travis Lett combined a selection of Gjelina’s rustic and eclectic Cal-Med menu items. Lett’s ingredient-based cooking really embodies the experiences I had walking through the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market. Combine this with the phenomenal photography and this cookbook truly evokes the vibe of Venice Beach and the Gjelina aesthetic. 

marble & wood cheese boardMarble + Wood Cutting Board Slab, selected by Development Chef Ted Anderson

Presentation is key, remember; you also eat with your eyes! Every good host needs a good serving tray. This marble + wood cutting board works great because it is simple and clean. This brings the attention to the food you are serving. I love that this serving tray embraces natural elements. This parallels and accentuates fresh ingredients very beautifully. All you needs is a selection of your favourite meats, cheeses or fresh grapes, and that’s it – a low maintenance appetizer! When the quality of the ingredients shines through you really don’t need anything more. Create some dimension by layering or adding height and your work is done!


AND, to treat yourself over the season a $100 JOEY gift card. 

GC pic for culinary day

 To enter: Follow @JOEYRestaurants on Instagram. In the comment section for today’s Instagram Culinary Prize Pack tag a friend or family member and share your favourite memory in the kitchen. Contest closes at 9:30am PST on December 18, 2016. Winner will be selected at random and announced on the Instagram Culinary Prize Pack post at 10:00am PST on December 18, 2016. 

How to cook the perfect turkey

December 16, 2016


Image from BC Living.

Chris Mills is the Executive Chef of JOEY Restaurants. He oversees the culinary department, finding inspiration from around the world while mentoring promising talent through the JOEY apprenticeship program. Chris encourages young chefs to achieve their Red Seal through teaching them different cooking methods and is sharing some of his top tips with our readers.

A big dish during the holiday season is turkey. It can be difficult to achieve the perfect bird. Here are Chris Mills’ top five tips to achieve the wow factor this season.

1. Go fresh over frozen.

I know this sound like an obvious one but it’s something so simple that can make such a drastic difference. Freezing and thawing out your turkey can be very damaging and aggressive to the meat. It can make a huge difference to a dry or moist bird as you lose fluids when you thaw it out.

2. Brine, brine, brine.

It’s no trend – it really does keep your turkey moist! Soak your turkey in a mixture of sea salt, sugar your favourite flavours and water. It’s generally a 2:2 ratio of salt to sugar – a standard 12 to 25 pound turkey will require around two pounds of salt, and two cups of brown sugar. You will need a large container like a cooler to do this. Make sure your turkey is FULLY submerged. A small turkey should brine for around 4 hours while a large one should be around 6 hours. Once complete make sure to rinse the bird of thoroughly and let it dry for a while before putting a rub on or stuffing it.

3. Butter is better.

Butter goes a long way; it adds flavour and a beautiful golden colour to your bird. Infuse it with herbs and rub it under the skin for a flavourful bird.

4. Watch the size of your bird.

If you are having a large group of people over than you obviously will need a larger bird. However, consider cutting a part your bird into sections that are the same size (take the legs off before roasting) and putting them in separate pans. This will allow you to monitor the cook time better. If you want to serve it whole and have it be the center piece you may want to consider doing two smaller birds. This will keep them moist and they will cool down more quickly.

5. Don’t overcook it.

It sounds obvious but turkey can be very temperamental and can overcook easily if you do not watch it. Use a thermometer to watch the temperature closely. You want to test thickest part of the turkey like the thigh as this takes the longest to cook. It’s important to remember that you will want to let your turkey rest before carving as you don’t want to lose any of the juices. By letting it sit you are completing the cooking process and letting the juices redistribute. Remember, the turkey will continue to cook while resting so watch the time it is in the oven.