Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Love led to bistro with bite-sized name

New parents worked in some of the best eateries in Toronto

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Kristen Chemerika-Lew and Kyle Lew with their three-month-old son Charlie. The couple just opened a new bistro in River Heights called Chew.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Kristen Chemerika-Lew and Kyle Lew with their three-month-old son Charlie. The couple just opened a new bistro in River Heights called Chew. Photo Store

TODAY'S MENU... Restaurant du jour, followed by Roast of Bomber Public Relations, and for dessert, an update on Homeless Joe. Bon appetite.

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EAT DRINK AND BE MARRIED... I love good food -- who doesn't? -- but I also love passionate, purposeful talented young chefs who come home to Winnipeg to serve it up and enhance our city life.

Meet Garden City-raised Kristen Chemerika-Lew, 29, and her Toronto-born husband, Kyle Lew, 27.

A pair of Red Seal-certified chefs who worked in some of Toronto's finest restaurants before moving to Winnipeg, where three months ago they had their first child, and two weeks ago opened the city's newest bistro.

He's called Charlie. And it's called Chew. The bite-sized name is derived from the first two letters of her surname and the last two of his. Chew is sandwiched into a strip mall at Corydon and Waterloo.

The story of how Kristen, the daughter of criminal defence lawyers Roberta Campbell and Alan Libman, chose the life of a chef starts at age 20, when with no formal training, she talked her way into what was then Chef Michael Dacquisto's kitchen at 529 Wellington. But it really launched with a word of advice from her grandma, Hilda Libman, while Kristen was going to school in Toronto.

"I was in university," Kristen recalled, "and realized I spent more time cooking for my roommates than going to class. And my grandmother said, "this is silly, just go to cooking school. Go to George Brown College next year."

And that's where Kristen met Kyle and connected.

"We always worked together," Kristen said. "From the very beginning he was always my partner."

As it happened, Kristen chose a younger, but more experienced man. Kyle grew up in his grandfather's Chinese restaurant, just as their baby Charlie will grow up at Chew.

Oh, one more bite that's sure to delight. Chew takes reservations.

But, unless you're ordering from the catering menu, you'd better hurry.

It only seats 21.

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SPEAKING UP FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE... Last Wednesday, Bombers fan Sean Cox sent an email to the Bombers to ask if they were planning a tribute or a moment of silence to mark the passing of team great Leo Lewis.

Two days later, when Cox hadn't received a response, he emailed me.

And I emailed Bombers media manager Darren Cameron with two questions: Were the Bombers planning a moment of silence? And why hadn't they responded to a fan's simple question? Half an hour later, Cameron finally replied to Cox, and copied me.

He wrote: "We will be honouring Mr. Lewis with a moment of silence prior to kick off..."

Around that same time, Cameron tweeted the news of the Leo Lewis tribute. The tweet came across as a hurried announcement, and even a hurried decision.

So I wrote back to Cameron again, asking if the coincidental timing of the tweet was prompted by a fan's suggestion? Or was the tribute already planned?

"It was decided days ago -- unrelated to the fan's inquiry," Cameron responded. "And the tweet went out once we finalized other portions of the tribute."

Really?

In any event, even with a new CEO, the Bomber front office still seems to be fumbling the public relations ball. Cameron never did say why the Bombers neglected to respond to Cox's initial email when they claim to have known the answer "days ago."

-- -- --

AND NOW, SOME GOOD NEWS FOR DESSERT... Last Saturday, I introduced you to Harold Brown, a.k.a. Homeless Joe, the 95-year-old sweetheart of a war veteran who was left without a permanent address last spring after the place he rented for more that 20 years was sold. Since July he's had a bed and a room at the Salvation Army. Now comes word the Salvation Army had found him a place to live and, once all supports are in place next week, "Joe" will be homeless no more.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2013 B2

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