The appeal of working in a winery restaurant—that specialized in cooking with local and seasonal ingredients—was impossible to refuse. It was there that Anna met her husband Chef Michael Olson and soon it was married bliss and fantastic meals to match!
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Olson moved to Ontario as a child and grew up in Toronto. Like many chefs, Olson realized her culinary dreams in a roundabout way. After earning her degree in Political Studies and Sociology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Olson spent a brief time in banking in downtown Toronto. She spent her lunch hours wandering around the St. Lawrence Market, searching for ideas, ingredients, and inspiration for her next dinner party. Recognizing that cooking was her true passion, she enrolled in the culinary program at Johnson & Wales University in Vail, Colorado and never looked back. Upon graduation, Olson travelled around the United States, working in Texas and New Orleans before finding her way to Niagara.
In addition to television, Olson also explores print media. The Inn on the Twenty Cookbook was co-authored with her husband and published in 2000 (Whitecap Publishing, Vancouver). Sugar, the companion book to her hit television series, was published in Spring 2004. Look for a new Olson collaboration in Fall 2005—a menu-driven cookbook that highlights how the Olsons cook at home, with tips and tricks for ease in entertaining and weeknight dining. Olson also freelance writes for various publications including Vines and LCBO Food & Drink.
When not taping or writing, Olson spends most of her time at Olson Foods + Bakery in Port Dalhousie, a historic lakeside community in St. Catharines, Ontario. Opened in August 2004, the shop boasts an open kitchen and sells baked goods made fresh daily, artisanal cheeses and gourmet pantry items.
In addition to participating in various fundraisers, Olson supports a local endeavour, the Niagara Women’s Enterprise Centre, which provides hospitality training to women who might not otherwise have such opportunities and her end-of-day product from the bakery is given to the local YWCA women’s shelter or the Out of the Cold Program.
For more information about Anna Olson click here: http://www.olsonfoodsandbakery.com/
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