Ottawa-based streetwear company Raised by Wolves designs and manufactures all its clothing in Ontario, so when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their production shut down completely. Calum Green, creative director and co-owner of Raised by Wolves, told me that forced hiatus was the impetus he needed to finally act on a project he and his co-owner Pete Williams had been joking about for close to a decade: A cookbook—titled, of course, Braised by Wolves.
“Our team is really into food—it’s actually a big part of the culture at our company. We celebrate at our favourite restaurants, we go out for 5 à 7 after a big week. But also, pretty much every launch party we do, we work with breweries or distilleries and local restaurants to cater the events,” Green told me. So when it became clear they were actually doing the book, he already had a contact list full of chefs and restaurateurs to reach out to, including Kristine Hartling of Oz Kafe, Jamie Stunt of Arlo, Adam Vettorel of North & Navy, and more.
Contributing chefs were asked to keep their recipes fairly simple so they could realistically be made by non-professionals. “There’s no rare ingredients or rare tools. They range from quite simple to more complex, but nothing is super complicated. There’s pancakes, desserts, salads, and braised dishes, obviously. We let people choose dishes that they make at their restaurant or something that the chef has been making at home during quarantine,” Green explained.
Braised by Wolves took about six weeks to put together, with Green himself working on the layout (he has a background in graphic design) and editing done by Williams, who did some time in the world of magazines. The finished product includes 17 food recipes and a cocktail section, with many recipes featuring gorgeous hand-drawn illustrations by Ottawa artist and architect Sally Vandrish, who draws local restaurants for her series Dear Ott City. “Because this is a local project, we thought she’d be a perfect partner,” Green said.
All proceeds from the book, which is available as a downloadable PDF from a dedicated GoFundMe page, are being donated to the Ottawa Food Bank, which Green said made sense “because it was a food-based project. Obviously, access to food in normal times is important, but during the pandemic even more so. We felt it was the best allocation of funds.” Technically the book is free, but the suggested donation is $20.
The original funding goal for Braised by Wolves was $10,000, which the book achieved after its first week. That’s since been increased to $25,000 and the campaign will run until the end of June. “We’re really pumped with what we’ve done so far. Everyone involved in the project was really pumped,” said Green.
I asked Green what his favourite recipe in the book was, and he went with Vettorel’s sugo di carne, an Italian meat sauce that can serve as a base for many other dishes. After downloading it myself, I’m most excited to try the seared scallops in miso-cashew dressing, contributed by Michael Portigal of Whalesbone. But the whole book seems pretty great: the directions are clear, the ingredients lists are short and simple, the layout is easy to read and the illustrations are inspiring. It’s a unique pivot for a streetwear company, but one that showcases their connection and dedication to our city and community.