Ex-navy, ex-banker, now novelist, journalist and professor.


Crypto Kingpin

Calvin Ayre gained vast riches and notoriety as a gambling mogul, but ended up a fugitive from U.S. law. Now he’s made a big bet on bitcoin, the world’s most explosive cryptocurrency. Will this adventure have a happier ending? — I have to hand it to him. Ten years since the last time I saw…

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Anna Lena

When Chef Michael Robbins auditioned for Top Chef Canada, he stressed in his audition video that he was an “extremely competitive person”, like a promise of what might come. All the more painful an irony that he ended up cut first, before even preparing a complete dish. That was a loss for the judges and show.…

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Continuing with my repost of restaurant reviews written for my friends at Vancouver Magazine… I confess that I’m torn about posting the bad ones. There have been a few. But I don’t know many food writers who enjoy speaking poorly of a place. And if you have to – because a place is pretentious or…

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The Farmer’s Apprentice

I started as Food Critic over at VanMag last year. I’ll be posting my reviews here periodically after they’re published. Chef David Gunawan’s restaurant Farmer’s Apprentice was my first assignment on the job. He captures perfectly the inversion of culinary values in the foodie west over the course of the past 30 years or so.…

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Zahed Haftlang’s Big Idea

The first time I met Zahed Haftlang was over two years ago, in connection with an article I wrote for Vancouver Magazine called Blood Brothers. That story was one of hope and determination. An Iranian boy soldier during the Iran-Iraq War, Haftlang saved the life of an Iraqi soldier, Nadjah Aboud, on the battlefield. Twenty years…

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The Way Things Are: Fred Herzog’s Art of Observation

Fred Herzog portrait

First published in Canadian Art Winter 2013 By Timothy Taylor At 82 years of age, photographer Fred Herzog doesn’t move quite as quickly as he used to. But then, few people ever did. In his younger days, Herzog was the kind of guy who’d jump on his Norton motorcycle after lunch and ride back roads…

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Coffee and Coral Snakes: Batesian Mimicry at Work and Play

Coral Snake Illustration

From Vancouver Magazine Fall Issue 2012 *** Note: I was inspired by the always-fascinating work of Eric Falkenstein (at Falkenblog) in my application of Batesian Mimicry to consumer behaviour. *** It will have escaped nobody’s notice that Vancouver is a top-ranked city in at least three categories. We’re always high on those “liveable city” lists.…

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Music in the City and the Psyche

Update: 28 August 2012 The editors at Harpers have assigned the story. So this piece will be appearing in an upcoming issue of that great magazine. We’re very much interested in the story of PTSD and how it is illuminated by Christian Ellis’s story and the remarkable opera inspired by his experiences. That’s both sides…

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The Accidental Local


First published EnRoute Magazine We’ve been motoring seaward for about an hour when Roberto finally cuts the diesel. Brazil is a bare pencil line on the horizon, Monte Pascoal a tiny bump, as it must have been when Portuguese explorers first came across these cobalt blue waters 500 years ago, and I’m feeling more here than I…

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